We could count on one place to go

Published 12:10 pm Monday, February 12, 2018

The place to be after a football game on Friday night was the Episcopal Church Parish House. Admission was only 25 cents and the music was provided by a record player or local band that wanted the chance to play. We were lucky because Mr. Larkin had trained many of our students to play instruments, and they would form their own band and were always looking to perform.

Soft drinks and square nabs could be purchased and that was all the refreshments needed. Dances like the Bop (Shag), Continental, Cha-Cha, Twist and always a slow dance with the lights turned low. We danced to the music of The Tams, The Drifters, Temptations, Four Tops, Chubby Checker and Little Anthony and the Imperials, to name just a few. We should all thank Marie Wallace and Dance-a-rama for coming on television and keeping us up with current dances.

Students from freshmen to seniors could attend, and we could not wait for that Friday night. Some nights when the team played out of town, they held a dance, but the most enjoyable dances were after a Pam Pack win. The highlight of the evening was when the football players came in the door! They were always a little late because they showered and then picked up their dates. (Usually the dates waited outside the locker room for them). They always wore their blue letter jackets (which was reversible) with the big W on one side of the chest and their name on the other side. This made getting a letter jacket even more important to an underclassman.

They walked in with their dates, who were usually cheerleaders or majorettes, and always pretty! Cheerleaders wore their uniforms and monogram jackets as well, but a majorette had to go home to change. (Of course, Mrs. Perkins had to approve her cheerleaders’ attire.) Regardless of their attire for the evening, they were still pretty. Some were going steady and the girls wore the boys’ rings on their fingers with wax coating the inside so they would fit. And the girls were proud of them! The players wore the girls’ rings on their pinky fingers with pride. This was a sign to leave that girl alone! The players and their dates sat down and were respected because of the effort they’d had given to win the game — they could tell you everything that happened on the field. We all could not wait ’til it was our turn to play this role.

Wonder how many still have their monogram jackets? The bigger question is how many of us can still wear them? Those were the days and life was good! We really had no problems like we do today, but we could always count on one place to go at night, The Parish House. Many good times and better memories were shared at the dance on Friday nights, and some romances were made that still stand today.

They were the best of times, in the best of places, Washington, North Carolina, Home of the Pam Pack!

— Harold, Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.