Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dance Montage: Let's Dance

circa 1950, I'm 2nd in line

We all get chain emails---some annoying, some enjoyable. The enjoyable ones often include video clips featuring cute animals, beautiful scenery or photos with humorous captions. But rarely do I get one that brings joy to my heart as much as the one I’m going to write about today and is linked below. It’s a dance montage called Let’s Dance and its set to the music of All These Things That I’ve Done by the Killers. The montage was put together by Barbara Collins and includes clips ranging from Charlie Chaplin to the present day Dancing with the Star’s Maxim and Mel. Of the twenty-six clips there was only one that didn’t evoke a strong memory for me. I guess you’d call that an advantage of growing old. We old people know stuff. We’ve been there, done that and came home with tons of t-shirts that we think about making into quilts.

A lot of women in my advanced age bracket got put into dance classes at a very early age. Shirley Temple movies, no double, being the prime motivator of many parents including mine. Plus the Arthur Murray Dance Studio franchises made it so easy; if you didn’t have a studio in your town they sold dancing lessons by mail. Send in your money and you’d get a set of “footprints” on paper that would teach you the steps. In my town, the local Arthur Murray Studio was also selling poise and self-confidence for any child who’d take their golden trio of tap, ballet and acrobat. I don’t remember how many years I took lessons but judging by the recital photos in my album I’m guessing around five. I washed out of ballet and acrobat early on but I passionately adored tap dancing and I worshiped the greats of my era---Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. The little no talent kid that I was wanted to grow up and marry Gene Kelly. Jean and Gene Kelly has a nice ring don’t you think. (A few years later I had a five alarm crush on Gene Autry, but I digress.) Fast forward many decades later and I have trouble just walking to the bathroom without tripping over my own feet. I guess that Arthur Murray acquired poise and self-confidence didn’t stick.

I’m writing this blog entry for my nieces in hopes that some day if I'm too old to remember how to use the computer that they’ll show me this YouTube montage from time to time. And if it puts a twinkle in my eyes or brings a smile to lips while I’m watching it they’ll know I’m thinking about how these great performances wove in and out of my life. For example, when the Elvis Jailhouse Rock clip appears I remember the little movie theater in a town near-by our summer cottage where I first saw that film back in 1957. When I see the ballerinas performing Swan Lake I remember the college semester I took music appreciation and studied Tchaikovsky (1963). When I see the Michael Jackson clip it reminds me of the day I made Don go see This Is It and he slept through the whole thing. That was 2009. If I had to name a favorite memory this dance montage brings me it would Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain (1952). For some hazy reason beyond my grasp that song, that dance, always reminds me of my dad. Patrick Swayze, The Three Stooges, the cast of the Wizard of Oz---I can’t image anyone not finding a few memories while watching this montage. 

After you view Let’s Dance you’re going to want to see the lineup of performers in the video, so I’ve posted it below. You might even want to know which dance number I had never seen before. That would be Jimmy Cagney dancing down the staircase in the 1942 film, Yankee Doodle Dandy.  I think seeing that movie should go on my Bucket List, don’t you? ©

1) Svetlana Zakharova - Swan Lake  
2) Riverdance - Reel of the Sun
3) Michael Flatley - Lord of the Dance
4) Michael Jackson - Beat It
5) Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse - Singing in the Rain 
6) Elvis - Jailhouse Rock
7) Charlie Chaplin - Modern Times
8) John Travolta/Olivia Newton John - Grease
9) Jimmy Cagney - Yankee Doodle Dandy
10) Debbie Reynolds - Singing in the Rain
11) A Chorus Line
12) Patrick Swayze - Dirty Dancing
13) Natalie Wood/Richard Beymar - West Side Story
14) Al Nims & Leon James doing the Charleston
15) Maxim & Mel B - Dancing with the Stars
16) Elvis and Ann Margret - Viva Las Vegas
17) Michael Jackson from TV Special
18) Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers - Swing Time
19) Gene Kelly - Singing in the Rain
20) All That Jazz
21) Three Stooges get a dance lesson
22) Flashdance
23) Shirley Temple & Bill "Bojangles" Robinson - Just Around the Corner
24) Anne Reinking - All That Jazz
25) Nicholas Brothers - Stormy Weather
26) Wizard of Oz


  1. What a fun video! There were some parts that brought back memories for me too.

  2. Glad, you liked it, Donna. I've watched it so many times, it's embarrassing. My niece tells me that it made her remember a time back in the 70s when I had taken her to go see the movie "Grease". And when John and Olivia were at a drive-in I was the only one in the movie theater laughing. I was laughing at an intermission advertisement of dancing hot dogs, pop bottles and pop corn bags that was showing on the drive-in's screen. I remember that advertisement for real when we'd go to drive-ins back in the 50s.

  3. Weren't drive-in movies fun? As a kid, we always made our own popcorn and put it in a big brown paper bag that would be full of grease spots (from the butter) by the time we got there. It was such a treat to get to wear our pajamas outside of the house! (Nowadays you find its common to see people wearing pajama pants shopping.) Reid and I had our first date at a drive in movie. He was so mad because it was a movie he really wanted to see and I was so nervous that I talked to him all through the movie. He got to see the whole thing again, this time in silence, after we were married. There are also fond memories of "making out" at the drive in too...*sigh*....we won't get into that right now.

  4. Drive-ins were great for families. There is nothing to compare to it today. Oh my gosh, though, my mother would about have a cow at the thought of me going to a drive-in with a boy which was strictly forbidden but I did it a couple of times anyway. But she had nothing to worry about. I was one of those "good girls" who followed all (well most) of the rules of life. :)