Lawrence Welk and the Potion of Dance

What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

My earliest memory involved Bobby and Cissy from the Lawrence Welk show. Almost every evening, my mother would take us downstairs after dinner to watch the Lawrence Welk Show and whatever sitcoms came on afterwards. I had no idea these otherwordly experiences were called “reruns” … I was enthralled by this seemingly magical musical world of pretty women, toothy smiling men and potions with the fancy name of “Geritol” and “Rose Milk” hand lotion.


And Bobby and Cissy. Wow, they were like magic. My mother loved it and so I loved it, too. It was reinforced on the weekends when my grandparents watched other episodes along with variety shows featuring the Mandrell Sisters and the Statler Brothers. I was mesmerized by the hokey romanticized notions of grace and beauty.

My brother and I used to try to imitate them, but obviously – we failed. Still, it might be fun to take ballroom dance lessons one day.

What’s most lovely about this memory is how secure I felt. My father worked shift so 2/3 of the time, he was either at work or asleep after dinner. Going into the basement to these familiar strains and playing while my mother watched television made me feel safe even when he wasn’t at home. And I remember my mother smiling and she hummed while tapping her hand against her thigh to the tune. Sometimes she would even sing – the tunes from the 30’s and 40’s reminded her of childhood memories with her own parents and grandparents.


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