My sister was a pretty girl. When we lived in England, at age 12 and 13 she liked to join her peers at the “disco” on Saturday nights. Being the eldest of six children, and a very responsible young lady in general, she was, perhaps, afforded a little more leniency than the rest of us were to enjoy over the years. Still, with a boyfriend several years her senior, Dad had his eye on my sister’s activities.
It seems odd to me as I recall a certain Saturday night back in 1970 or so. It seems odd because, I cannot, as a parent myself, quite imagine suggesting what my father suggested. So, that makes me think that, perhaps, we had asked to participate and Dad figured out a way to make it work. I don’t really know. I do know that in my memory of the event, it was Dad’s idea.
So it was a Friday or Saturday night and Jeannie wanted to go to the disco with Dennis. Dad agreed to let her go. There was talk of trust and responsibility and such. Jeannie left with Dennis. Meanwhile, Dad recruited my bother Tim, one year my junior, and me to “spy” on Jeannie. We were to attend the disco as well, and “blend in.” We were not to appear obvious in our duties, but we were to make sure any shenanigans were reported back.
I don’t recall being too thrilled with the idea, but Tim was on cloud nine! He donned his pink shirt, onto which he attached his “ruffle” that attached using the buttons on the shirt. (This was “in style” then, believe it or not.) I dressed in my “disguise” of the uniform mini-skirt and fake patent leather boots. These were made by first pulling on these sock-like patent leather things and then slipping the clad feet into patent leather shoes. Again, another fashion of the times.
Once, properly attired to attend something, though maybe not a teen and young adult dance, Tim and I were dropped off in front of the disco. We moved into the crowded room which literally vibrated with movement of hundreds of dancing young people. We were mesmerized. We looked around, trying to find our sister, and the subject of our stake-out. Sure enough, we discovered her dancing with Dennis…oddly, they had a coat over their heads, shielding themselves from curious eyes.
Hmmm…interesting, but not for long. A “line dance” was gearing up and Tim and I were propelled into it by some older kids who thought these two teenie boppers were “cute.” The rest of the night was a blast. Tim and I learned the line dances of that year, and completely forgot about the reason we were even there. When the time came for us to go home, and we climbed in the car, we simply reported that we didn’t see Jeannie do anything wrong. (How could we have? We were dancing!) And so, Dad was able to sleep well for at least one more night, confident that his eldest daughter was not on the fast track to delinquency!