It’s 1970 — You’re A Teenager — You Live In L.A. — You’re In High…
The time honored ritual: The awkward placement of hands — the blank mind struggling for clever things to say. The jaundiced gaze of the Boy’s VP.
Unless you were hiding, dropped out or had a job, chances were pretty good you went to a dance at some point during your High School experience. It was a time honored ritual, like shaving or your first period or your first sip of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine. You had to go through it in order to get to the next step; French-kissing, hickeys and Drivers Ed. Everybody you knew went to at least one — some of you went to every one the school put on from the 10th grade to graduation. And, incredulously some of you even went long after you graduated because well, it was loaded with nostalgia. Not at the time — but over the years when your youthful cynicism gave way to wistful middle-aged gazes out windows and the old curiosities that began with “I wonder what happened to . . .” and fill in the blank spaces.
And maybe those rituals have changed in 2019, but in 1970 it was still the tradition; the Student Body would take all the money they raised during the semester and blow it on a band of note or at least vague recognition — and a member of the Sound Crew was stuck in the unenviable position of playing records before the band got there. It was almost always the guy who had bad taste in music and a 45 collection he borrowed from somebody. And you would be peering desperately around the cavernous space of the gym in search of your friends, one of whom promised to bring a “bottle of something” and the other who promised to bring a “toke of something”. Sometimes they made good on their promise and sometimes they brought excuses; “fuckin’ guy at the liquor store wouldn’t take my i.d.” or “all he had were diet pills”. The evening would begin as a meeting of sweaty palms — girls on one side — boys on the other; a collective gaze at something of crucial interest on the ceiling took place until one of the Type A students started gyrating in the middle of the floor.
And one by one, you wandered to the middle of the gym, commencing a body movement that bore more of a resemblance to a Grand mal seizure than something you saw on American Bandstand or Soul Train.
And another rite of passage came and went — and you survived. And either your life changed or you were too cool to care. In any event — you passed and you were on to the next adventure.
And to go along with those adventures was your radio — yes, you were still listening to Top-40 AM, but less of it as time went on. In this case, it was KGBS and the date was May 22, 1970 and the disc jockey was Bill Thompson.
And it all fell into place.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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Originally published at pastdaily.com on January 12, 2019.