Joyful Tales: Guest blogger, Joy Healy, writes about growing up with a mother for a seamstress in Tomball, Texas.
“Rock Around the Clock”, sung by Bill Haley and the Comets, inspired many Third Graders (and others) to really swing! The music set a fast pace, and any eight-year old found it impossible to keep those feet still when listening to it, much less his/her little body!
In 1954, I was a Third Grader in the public school system in Tomball, Texas. It was my passion to always be on the move – playing baseball with the guys, racing my fellow schoolmates across the playground, climbing trees in the forest behind our house, swinging on our swing set as high as gravity would allow, and more. The first time I heard “Rock Around the Clock” I became addicted to its rhythm. My best girlfriends, Jodie and Glenda Joy, and I would play the 45 RPM over and over and over, twisting our bodies to the music. No wonder we never had a problem with childhood obesity!
One momentous day, my Third Grade teacher informed the class that the elementary school would have a talent show. She invited each of us to participate. My initial response was, “I want to pantomime ‘Rock Around the Clock’.” However, there was one glitch – I didn’t have one of those fabulous onstage outfits to perform in.
Mother to the rescue! Mom was every child’s dream in many ways, but especially where clothing came in. I raced home that day and excitedly shared with Mom that I needed a special outfit “’cause I was gonna be on stage!” She whipped out a couple of patterns, I chose one, and away we went into her stash of material to finalize our plans.
I chose gingham check, three colors, for the skirt that Mom would make me had three tiers, each a different color of gingham. Additionally, it had color-coded rickrack between the three tiers. And the best part was that when I twirled, the skirt literally swung out horizontally with the floor, exposing pretty slips especially made for this kind of skirt, and, oh yes, my underwear. I thought I was very ‘hot’!
The Tomball Elementary Talent Show went off without a glitch. This is probably the only time I ever had a solo appearance on stage. What ‘made’ my day was the special skirt my Mom made especially for me. She gave me what I considered imperative to be able to feel very special at a time when many kids struggle with their self image. My Mom ‘rocked’ me in SO many ways!!!
*The picture above is of Joy Healy in third grade, but the dress pictured is not the one mentioned in the blog.
Joy Healy is retired and lives in Olmstedville, NY, with her husband, Ed, and their Black Labrador, Bella. Until Spring 2010, she taught English at Albany High School, in Albany, NY.