Stairway to Heaven & Junior High Dances!!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Transporter.”

Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven is stuck in my head as if I was the person who wrote the stupid song.  There’s plenty to like about the track, but all I think about is the ending of every Junior High dance from the time I was 12!  Why someone thought that this was the way to end the evening, every evening is beyond me.  But it was the sign to go find that young lady you have been watching from afar and ask her in your best squeeky voice if she would like to dance.

Having been over 6 feet tall from that tender age, it was always a challenge to find someone who wasn’t going to need a chair in order to place her hands on my shoulders.  And to make matters a little more confusing for the teenage boy, when they can literally see you coming from the other side of the room there is always that chance someone is going to walk the other way.  We used to refer to guys like me as “Wallflowers”, standing out in the crowd was an issue; so I would do my best to help support the walls by casually leaning against them.

There was once a young lady, her name was Sara.  As time and puberty would intervene she was taller then her female peers.  So she made for a slightly more enticing dance partner under the circumstances.  It helped that she was also attractive to my 12 year old eyes.  It was a match made in desperation.

The song played on, the night was coming to a close and for a few minutes it was nice.  Everyone looking about the gym floor to see who had asked whom.  A little snickering, some outright laughing, and there were the occasional tears shed by someone who felt a little left out.  It was also the last opportunity for that week to ask your partner what their plans were for the next evening.  What we were thinking is still beyond me!  But during that one chance I asked if she wanted to go to the movies [something that would have required parental intervention!] She said “No”.

Well the crushed spirit of the 12 year old Lary took it well.  Finished the dance and slunk my way outside to locate whatever parent had been tricked into retrieving me at 10:30.  But this one time, I at least remember the look on Sara’s face as she climbed into her father’s car.  A little shyness, a lot of laughing with her friends, but she waved as we pulled out of the parking lot.  So that was the victory.

I used to listen to this station out of Baltimore that played Stairway to Heaven during it’s lunch time show.  Almost every day I would hear it.  It was my sign to make a phone call to Whitney and check on her.  See how lunch and her day were going.  I now avoid that station, NPR it is.  No chance of music for me.  But I will always think of those Junior High Dances and both shake and smile from those memories.


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