Jeanette Lintelman: In the 40s gym meant dances as well


    Columbus School in the 40’s was a kindergarten to sixth grade school.    Mr. Kirschbaumer was the principal, Miss Ferguson was the dreaded sixth grade teacher and her friend, Miss Elliott, was the kindly science teacher, and Miss Urbanic  taught  gym.    I don’t know if they call it gym today or not, but in the forties  gym meant exercise, team games, and even dance.   

    Miss Urbanic really liked dance.    She taught us to fox trot, square dance, and do these funny little  group dances.  Dancing always seemed more fun to me than  sports, because I wore glasses  and either you have to take them off or play very carefully.    Glasses in those days did not have plastic lens  so I suppose there were real  concerns  let alone the cost of replacing the glasses which my folks would not have been happy about.  

    In sixth grade Miss Urbanic  told our  class about a special dance  program she was  asked to teach.  There was going to be  a special meeting   of the Board of Education for the City of Pittsburgh and she was to present  a dance  program  with her student    she told us that she would pick the dancers from the sixth graders.   If  my memory is  still serving me, I think it was soon after January that she began to teach the  dances to the entire class, girls only of course.    We were all to learn the dances and then  in March  she and her committee would pick the  six  girls who would be in the program.

    I wanted to be in that program so much I could taste it.    Our mothers had to be willing to sew the outfits and I know I nagged my mother   to  the extreme over this project.  

    One of the dances  included these giant  colored beach balls  which we girls danced with  and  positioned to the right and left above our heads  in dramatic ways.   We just wore colored socks that matched our  short colored  dresses.   

    Another dance  we were dressed like  Mexican  girls with colorful skirts and white blouses that  had an eyelet ruffled  collar.   We  wore  beads and  well, it was really  glamorous, to me at least.    I even remember the melody of the dance music.   I practiced  day and night.    I wanted to be picked too much and was determined to do what ever it took and low and behold I was chosen to be in the program.  
    I vaguely remember dancing at the performance program.    It  was more exciting and memorable  preparing for the program.   That’s the part I very much remember.   Maybe we even did a performance for the school but it was the preparation that I remember most.    I don’t think that anyone in our class took dance lessons.  First of all there were not that many places around that taught dance and  second, my parents  would never have paid for such frivolity as dance.   
    Yes, Miss Urbanic, had us dance right into spring with my glasses and all.     Oh and did I mention we wore lipstick and face powder, too.    What a  wonderful time  it was  and what a happy memory.    
Well, hold in there folks.   Spring is just around the corner.   Put on some good music and  dance.   Remember  what Katherine Murray used to say in those early television days?  “Put some fun in your life.   Try dancing.”  

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