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That Was The Day

May 2024
1min read

My dance with a future legend

It was the Summer of 1957, before my senior year at Carlsbad High School in New Mexico. The weather was hot and my friends and I were bored. The only excitement was a dance at the Elks Club Ballroom sponsored by the cheerleaders at my school. They usually hired local talent, but this time they had taken the suggestion of Roy Rucker and Buddy Shirley, two students who had transferred from Lubbock, Texas. Roy and Buddy knew a band whose star was rising, a group led by another young man named Buddy. The band charged the cheerleaders $500, which seemed like a lot. Waiting in the long line to get into the dance, though, I heard someone in front of me say the band could have charged even more: Buddy had opened for Elvis Presley twice.

The big hall was packed. The band’s glorious pounding went on for an hour before the musicians went on a break and the jukebox took over for the dancers who didn’t want to rest.

I was talking with some other girls when someone tapped me on the shoulder, grabbed my hand, and led me out onto the floor. Maybe he picked me because I had dark-framed glasses like his. I hadn’t danced much so far, and I was thankful for the invitation. I was also grateful because later I could tell my students, children, and grandchildren about the night I danced with Buddy Holly.

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