30+ years ago

Back when I was in maybe 7th or 8th grade I joined the synchronized swimming team at the YWCA because I decided I did not like being on the competitive swim team and my parents insisted that I do something. That was the beginning of my destiny. Someone there suggested that I work at the YWCA day camp during the summer and I said the same thing I say about every major decision in my life "Sure, why not?" So I signed up to be a counselor and rode out to Lincolnton, GA singing camp songs with a big yellow busload of kids every week day for most of the next couple of summers.

Here's some of the counselors. I'll have to ask Lenore what she was doing there.

The director of the camp, Dianne Clements, happened to also be the head of the dance department at the YWCA and it was at camp that I discovered I might have a talent in dance that might extend past the flapper dance routines I choreographed to songs of the 1920s, 30s and 40s for a bunch of friends for the talent shows at Aquinas High. I remember Brother Phillip telling me that they really did not do the charleston to big band music but that I should not stop because it was "all good" (ok, he did not say exactly that but that's what he meant.

Dianne is in the white dress. We had some sort of costume event which is why we
all look like we're from a different era. That may be her daughter Cindy next to her.

So because of my work at the camp I then became Dianne's assistant at the Y during the school year. It was a great job. We taught ballet, tap, jazz at several locations around Augusta and we would go to out-of-town dance workshops to learn new routines that would inspire our choreography for the recitals held at the end of the school year.

When I met Dianne she had two preteen daughters who were as different as night and day. Cindy was blonde and lived to dance. Debbie was brunette and more of a tomboy who was both a bundle of energy and prone to sitting back, observing, taking it all in.

About the time I left for Chicago after college Dianne opened her own studio - Augusta West Dance Studio. I lost touch with Dianne and her family but they obviously had a profound influence on my life. And now they are back! Debbie called me to tell me that Augusta West is celebrating its 30 year anniversary. It was great talking to Debbie although I am always afraid that I won't remember something or someone. I did not do too badly although when I talked to Tommy later in the day he told me he went out with Debbie and that he went to the day camp for one session. I don't remember that. Dianne, Cindy and Debbie are all doing great. Debbie's 12 year old daughter is named Laura, which is so cool!

Here's Dianne again. I told Debbie I was not photogenic but despite the dirt I look fairly glam here.

I do hope to somehow help them celebrate their big anniversary by visit or via a video. We'll see.