Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Miami Memories: Norse Stars

Oh, such bitter cold blowing snow outside. The shivering little birds are lined up on my south window ledges hovering out of the storm. Their heads bobbing up and down create an appearance of conversations from facebook. "Golly, can you believe this wind."
"Why didn't we go South for the winter?"
"Too late now, we can't see past the bushes."
"I was too hungry to sleep in. Now here I am foraging for food on the ground."
"What about a zumba or a line dance to stay warm?"

Then just like that they danced, fluttered about and took off. Maybe it's warmer down under the bushes where I stashed their food.
Three Norse Stars who danced in the cold:  Letty, Charlotte, Cindi

Now I sit and shiver even with a heater at my feet. The cold just seeps in through the glass. Fetching a blanket for my shoulders helped conjure up a frigid memory of being a member of the Norse Stars drill team at NEO A&M.

We were a proud college drill team of well figured young girls. Virginia Lee Wilson worked us hard so we'd be proud to wear the costumes of leotards, tights, vest, fringed skirts, boots, topped with white felt hats on the football fields, basketball courts, or in parades. Our performances took us to such great cities as Coffeyville, KS, Hutchinson, KS, Trinidad, CO, Lawton, OK, and Kilgore, TX. Winter storms during football season or Christmas parades only served to make our performances and travels more memorable. We danced for the big shows at Christmas: Miami, OK; Vinita, OK; Joplin, MO; Seneca, MO.

The college dressed us well in costumes of blue and gold, or for special shows our white Indian guise. One Christmas parade in the tiny town of Seneca we marched in our Indian Headdress costumes. The white feathers on the headdresses were old then and oh, so very fragile. We truly handled them with loving care and only placed them on our heads moments before our lineup. Each of us held our heads high proudly strutting and supporting a full regalia of white Indian feathers that trailed down our backs nearly to the ground. Our white leotards were the base for a highly decorated fringed vest and skirt that didn't cover much. Tan hose covered our bare legs and a pair of socks protected our feet in those golden tasseled white boots.

But on this particular Saturday morning Mrs. Sandmire and other mothers followed our bus to Seneca to help us dress for the bitter winds. It was the invention of saran wrap, laundry cleaner plastic bags, and cellophane that saved our skins and allowed us to march that day.

Oh, what a scene that bus must have been as sixty girls unwrapped themselves from the heavy blue/gold woolen blankets, pulling down leotards and hose, exposing already cold body parts to the world inside the bus. With the help of a few mothers we, one by one, began to wrap each other in clear sticky saran wrap and plastic pieces. The windows steamed over with the heat of anticipation. With the frantic yelling of Virginia Lee and hand clapping of Mrs. Sandmire we at last, one by one, emerged from the bus layered in cellophane, two or three pair of hose, cotton in our ears, and as many socks as our boots would allow. Our smooth youthful bodies looked a bit lumpy under the leotard and adornments of fringe and feathers.

With proper counting, clapping, and training we lined up to march down the narrow main street lined with parents holding blankets around two or three shivering little children. The band's music traveled forward with us in the wind and helped us to keep a steady beat that day. Hearing the crowds clap and cheer kept smiles frozen on our red faces, and helped to propel our legs and nearly numb feet forward with kicks and marched steps. In the end we were greeted by a warm bus, blankets, and a cup of hot chocolate.

It seems only right to say we danced and kicked passionately that day and gave the parade onlookers our best performance ever. Just like the little birds that fluttered away, we, too, fluttered and danced till the performances of our youth gave way to the lives we lead now.

1 comment:

  1. I completely understand every word and feeling you described on this page. True dancers dance no matter what the conditions are and what a comparison to birds. Loved it!!!!