The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 27, 2013

Dances in Lyons and Clinton



Most kids learned to dance in physical education class. There were “square dances,” which later gave way to a good ole’ Country Two-Step. Coach Gene Knight was truly versatile, and he loved organizing dances for kids. Remember? - “You put your elbow in; you pull your elbow out; you put your elbow in and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey, and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about!” Gayle O’Hern and Eleanor Kluver did the same at their buildings. Bob Douglas could even go a step further with agility and did a masterful unit on gymnastics, which he still directs… while in his seventies! He’s truly the “Jack LaLayne” of Clinton fitness.


Some songs described the dance, “The Hucklebuck,” for example. It went: “Now, here’s a dance you should know, when the lights go down low, grab your partner and go…. You do the Hucklebuck, you do the Hucklebuck, if you don’t know how to do it, Man, you’re outta luck; wiggle like a snake, waddle like a duck, that’s what you do when you do the Hucklebuck!”


And the “Eagle Rock” - “ First, you put your two knees way up tight, then you wiggle to the left and you wiggle to the right; you bounce around the floor kinda nice and light, and then you twist around and twist around with all your might. You do the Eagle Rock way out in space, you do the Eagle Rock with style and grace…and that’s what I call balling the jack!”


Both parents and teachers contributed toward young people’s learning to “trip the light fantastic.” Many a mother taught a shy son some steps the night before a big Prom or a Deb Dance. She and Dad, too, would often discuss acceptable dating behavior around the dinner table. So, every teenager then was familiar with the boundaries of what was allowed and what was not. - There would be no “petting,” and one must get a girl home by curfew. Of course, you could stop off at Rastrelli’s, The Revere, or Marcucci’s for a short while, but you dare not tarry too long!

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