Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Purple Peanut: My Baby Does the Hanky Panky

In the summer of 1966, I probably spent my Sunday afternoons going over in my mind the night before, who danced with who, who said what, what did it mean, will I be able to go next weekend, and who will be there.

'There' was The Purple Peanut, a teen dance spot where we spent most of our Saturday nights during the late 1960's. Local bands, such as Bridgeman Road, performed songs you could dance to, hopefully, including the title tune. I loved to dance, so the night I got to go to the Purple Peanut for the first time is indelibly written in my memory. Jane and I, with our good friend, Rhodeann, were just leaving the Marlowe Theater after a showing of whatever movie we just had to see that night, when my parents announced from the front seat of the car that I could go with the two older girls to the dance that night. I was so happy I cried. And then Jane and Rhodeann laughed. That was okay. I was too happy to take offense. And, they were very happy for me.

Like many of my teenage memories, I can see exactly what I was wearing at the time this memory was being made. That night it was bell-bottoms, red with small yellow flowers, slit up to the knee on each side. On top was a yellow "poor boy" sweater. On my feet, yes, I had on shoes, ankle-high deerskin moccasins with a silver button and fringed tie. Same outfit I had on when the principal of the high school called me out of algebra class for some infraction of the rules. That's right. An infraction.

Anyhoo, right after we arrived and had taken our places in the back of that cavernous room, lined with booths around an old wooden dance floor, someone came up and asked me to dance. I said yes. He was cute enough, with dark hair, in sort of a Beatles cut, and I may have mentioned, I loved to dance.

That night, like every Saturday night I spent there after that, I danced a lot, had my share, and maybe more, of fun, and went home happy as a teenager can be. That first guy that asked me to dance?  He married my sister, Jane, just a few years later.

That was many moons ago. Coming back from Minneapolis, "My Baby Does the Hanky Panky," came on the radio and there I was, traveling back in time, bopping to the music (did I just say bopping?) and remembering how much I love to dance. I haven't for awhile and may have to remedy that. Here they are, Tommy James and the Shondells. Hit the arrow, get off your Sunday couch and dance. You know you want to.


  1. Oh, that was FUN!!! What a terrific, wonderful memory! We had a teen dance place in my neighborhood too. That was right around the time that disco was just coming out (yikes), so they had this wonderful lighted dance floor that we thought was AWESOME! We wore our leotards and wrap around skirts and pretended to be in Saturday Night Fever! Good times!!

    Gotta go, I'm going to play your clip again and grab my husband for a dance!! Cheers!!

  2. Hello Teresa! It was fun to read your memories about your teens and the dance. and those picures have the most lovely colours. You had obviously some happy teenage-years and it is fun to hear about an American teenage girl. You don't want to hear about my teen-years where we danced Vienna waltz and Quickstep and our first Latin dance was the Samba, but this was in another age. OH dear!

  3. Joan, I hope you and hubby had fun dancing along. Disco Fever. I do remember. Great dance beats.

    Grethe, I probably could have used a little Vienna waltzing myself. I didn't learn those classic dances until college, but I did love all of them, very much. I watch dance shows sometimes and wish I could Jive. That looks like fun! Those teen years weren't all happy. Perhaps I'll be brave enough to write about them sometime.

    Happy Day to Both of You!

  4. I never went to teen dances. Our church didn't allow dancing and since I was a shy, clumsy kid, I didn't mind very much. Of course, that prevented me from the socialization of dances that would have helped me become more outgoing and (perhaps) graceful. I'm still clumsy but I overcame the shyness.

  5. The principals can play couth officers all they want. What was the infraction that was so necessary to call you out of algebra class where you were studying unknowns and fractions? They need to clean the whiskey bottles out of their desks. Then, they can call me to the office.

    I loved to dance in high school and later in life. Shut many a dance hall down at 2:00 a.m. in the morning in Amarillo. Last dance was with Brenda two months ago to Joe Walsh I think it was.

    Is your sister still married to the fellow you danced with? What a connection.

    I met a young woman at the Bob Wills dance in Turkey, Texas, whose name was Dorthy Bright-Rose. We went backpacking up into the Carson National Forest several months after that. What ever happened to her?

    Funny how music sets off memories. Some good, some not. I can't listen to Gordon Lightfoot or Marvin Gaye without...go figure.

  6. Ms. Sparrow: Might you have been raised a Baptist? I was, but my parents didn't enforce the rules too strictly. Obviously. Perhaps you've heard this joke told by Glen Campbell to Johnny Carson a whole lot of years ago:
    Question: Do you know why Baptists don't make love standing up?
    Answer: Someone might think they're dancing.

  7. Hi Jack! It seems we share a "fondness" for school authority. :) It's what made me give up teaching, eventually. I could not handle the bureaucratic B.S. Systems and I don't do much better than group activities. They seem to be kin. re: infractions: My 'dress' was met with disapproval more than once.

    I'm a big Bob Wills fan. Those Texas dance halls are legendary. Dorothy Bright-Rose. That's an interesting name. Nice memory for you, too, it sounds.

    Music made my memories, in many cases, and it sustains them. Gordon has a somewhat melancholy sound to his voice, doesn't he? His music does not elicit good memories. Marvin makes me want to dance, though. I love old R&B. His death was certainly tragic.

  8. Jack,I forgot! Yes, my sister is still married to him. About forty years now.

  9. Wow, Teresa, you had me bopping all over the chair. Hanky Panky has got to be one of the best songs ever to dance to. It's just got THAT beat!! Really enjoyed your memories...our place was the American Legion Hall...sigh...what fun we had. I remember the first dance I went to, hoping someone would ask me to dance/afraid no one would...and going home on a cloud that I danced and danced.

    Yes, I agree, those years were fun but there were also tears. Growing up is hard to do....

    What a nice story about Jane. Happy they're still married 40 years later.

    And you changed your's fabulous! You look like a kid. Whatever it is you're eating, please share! PS Missed ya!

  10. Kittie! Welcome Home! So good to hear from you. The American Legion, another dance place. Not much for ambiance, but the music is what mattered.

    My pic was taken in June, right after I found my place, between offer acceptance and closing. I was a happy "girl." :) I missed you, too.

  11. what a fun post, thank goodness for bopping to the music and infractions. I remember that song and so many now.

  12. Linda, aka Mad Scientist, I have to tell you, again, here, how much I Love your knapsack idea. Glad you liked the music.

  13. O boy, in 1968 I was a newborn! :-)
    But, In 'my' time we had teen dances too in the Netherlands.
    and yes, I have those memories of wanted to be asked to dance and it never happened.. so sad...
    But, I've gotten over that now! hihi
    In fact, I have become a very good Ballroom dancer, danced in competitions and al. you know, with the overdone makeup and dresses with Swarovski crystals on them to stand out on the dance-floor. (no use as everyone had a dress like that. :-)
    Maybe I'll post a picture of me in my 'gown' once...
    Are you the kind of person that dances around your living room? I know I am! sometimes I have my, what I call, 'music-nights'. It's when the phone is of the hook, I play al the music I want too loud and dance and sing in my living-room. Oldies included.....
    Another reason why I would like to move.... so I don't have close by neighbors.. hahaha ( I now live in an apartment building on the 3rd floor)
    hmmm, I feel an urge for music coming up......... :-)

    Have a wonderful evening, till next post! (I sooo love your posts!)

  14. Monique! A ballroom dancer! How wonderful. It would be great to see a picture of you in your gown. I love watching ballroom dancing and learned many of the dances myself, many years ago, but certainly not competition material.

    Your music nights sound fun. It does help to have a lot of space to turn up the volume without fear of someone wishing you'd turn it down. One of the benefits of my country house. Thank you for your comments. Dreaming your house into existence still, I'm sure it's on it's way. I'm happy that you enjoy my posts. Thank you.

  15. Was that "The Summer of Love?" I think it was the same summer that a bunch of girls organized a Sunday night dace at the American Legion Club. The boys were assigned the job of providing the music. So we guys broke into the school so we could record music from LP's on to reel-to-reel. Every slow song we recorded we found a way to extend a 2 minute song into a 4 minute song. We thought we were being so clever. The hottest girl in town (Kay) asked me to dance that night and I was in heaven. I will never forget that night and I will never forget that doll named Kay. Thanks for the nice memories.

  16. I think the Summer of Love was 1967, but, hey '68 was, too... You clever boys, extending the slow song time. I doubt the girls minded. And, Hottest Girl in Town Kay, asked you to dance? Groovy, man. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this and that it evoked some good memories for you. You're very welcome.

  17. Thanks, Teresa, for your warm embrace. Needed that. Each day it gets better for Susan. The service is Saturday a week...I sense that that is when the worst will come for her. I really feel for Susan.

  18. Kittie, It's the kind of pain that we recoil from, too much to think about, let alone endure. She couldn't ask for a better friend than you to help her bear her pain, and move forward into healing. My very best thoughts and prayers are with her, her family, and you.