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Wick High 49/51 Reunion

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Dancing in the Gym

 Janis Paterson

With less than 3 weeks to go to the reunion, I hope that everyone has been brushing up on their dancing skills and that you are all ready to trip the light fantastic in the Mackayís.

 This, as you might have gathered, takes me wandering down memory lane again.  In Wick High School in the month or so leading up to Christmas, the segregation of males and females for gym suddenly ceased.  No more jumping over horses or climbing up ropes in our white blouses and navy knickers.  No more swimming lessons in the pool.  As we all know, Christmas was a time for dances and socials (thanks Celia, Iíd totally forgotten that word) and we had to learn to dance.

I remember BB socials, very risquť affairs with Postmanís Knock, if you donít mind.  Now who can remember that?  Then of course, there was the Wick High School third year dance, which was probably the main reason for lessons.

Mr Abernethy was our dance teacher and he must have been pretty good at dancing or teaching, or perhaps both, because I still retain some of the knowledge gained in the dancing classes.  Well I like to think so anyway, although Mr Abernethy might beg to differ.  I have to say that I was a bit scared of him though, as he didnít stand for any nonsense.

None of your modern rubbish here, the dances we were taught were the St Bernardís Waltz, the Viennese Waltz, the Gay Gordons, the Dashing White Sergeant and the like.  I only have to hear one of those tunes, the St. Bernardís Waltz for example, and I am transported back in time, to the gym at Wick High School.

To prepare us for future dances in the Assembly Rooms (I imagine), the girls had to line up on one side of the room, while the boys picked a partner.  Well on one such day, I decided I wasnít having any of this and told the unsuspecting boy that ďNo, I didnít want to dance.Ē  At this point, a thunderous voice boomed out to tell me, ďIt is customary when a gentleman asks you to dance, that you accept.Ē  Well I hadnít seen any gentlemen anywhere, but I decided that it probably wasnít prudent to argue the point, so Viennese Waltz it was.

 You might ask if I learnt anything from this incident.  Well yes, I suppose I did.  I realised that you could end up married to the first spotty little twerp that asked you to dance, just because you were too polite to say, ďNo, I donít want to dance.Ē  Didnít seem like a very good deal to me, so I actually learned to say it quite a lot until I found the ideal dancing partner.

As for the reunion, if you have teenage spots, donít bother asking me up for the Viennese Waltz.  Iím sitting that one out.