The Glow

A few weekends ago, Marvin and I were furniture shopping, because whatever yahoo decided a pale blue couch ("Pool." That is the official color of our couch. "Pool."), three cats, a dog, and red dirt was a good combo was nutty. Unfortunately, I was that yahoo.

We were sitting on a very dark couch in one of those fake living rooms they set up at furniture stores, those living rooms that always include a 2348235724782390-foot TV, which I could not want less, when my cell phone rang. My cell phone never rings.

My cell's ring tone is "You can ring my belllllllllllllll, ring my bell" and I think I am hilarious the .07 times a year it plays. Anyway, it was Faithful Reader and Constant Commenter Hulk calling.

"I have bad news," Hulk said, from his home in Saginaw, where I grew up. "The news is crawling across the bottom of my TV screen as we speak."

I wonder if Hulk is one of those people who has a large TV. I'll bet he is. He watches a lot of sporting events.

Anyway, as soon as he told me this, I was certain that Barry Gibb was dead. I immediately got hysterical.

"WHAT IS IT?!?!" I said, drawing attention to myself from the other fake living rooms at the furniture store. Oh, I was ready for the tears and drama.

"The Golden Glow is burning down," said Hulk.

The Golden Glow was basically just a large reception hall in the middle of a corn field outside of my hometown.

There really could not have been a less-cool place than the Golden Glow Ballroom. Yes, "Ballroom" was part of its official title, and they weren't even trying to be ironic. Not only was it out in the country, which made it uncool, it had absolutely no cache, no aesthetic appeal, nothing going for it, really.

And I never once had a bad time there.

When I was a teenager, the Glow had teen dances on weekends. I went to those ding-dang dances if there were no parties in town, as long as I could get somebody else to drive there. Because I didn't get a driver's license till I was a senior, which is a whole 'nother June post.

Me

Me in 10th grade. Don't you want to ask me to dance? Or would you like to borrow my tweezers? Clearly I have some.

One of the best parts about the Glow was that it was just far enough out of town that you could drink a bottle of Reunite Lambrusco at a fairly leisurely pace, while somebody else–usually Diane Shotz– drove. Reunite Lambrusco was my wine of choice in high school, and I was also able to slam down a whole bottle in the two-block drive from 7-Eleven to my high school, if needed. But I preferred the elegant sips I could take getting out to the Glow. Because I was a lady. A lady of leisure. A lady of Lambrusco leisure.

I wonder when I last drank Lambrusco? Wasn't it served cold? A red wine served cold. Right there should have been my clue that it was a fine cocktail.

Diane Shotz was my most frequent Golden Glow partner; she was pretty much always up for it. She would smoke a cigarette and dance at the same time, which I thought was so.cool.

People from every high school came to the Glow, which was great, because if you'd already plowed through everyone at your own high school, you could meet someone new. I don't remember any great romances developing from dances there, I just remember always being mad that the evening had to end.

You know what song I most identify with that place? Remember that Journey song?

I'd do anything to hold you.
I'd go anywhere to touch you.
I'd do anything you want me to,
If you'll just stay with me awhile.

[Singing out loud at my computer now]

I'd sing any song your heart desires.
I would sing out loud of love's sweet fires.

[Totally holding up the scissors that were on this desk, because I don't have a lighter]

Ooo, I'd do all this and so much more.
If you'll just stay with me awhile.

Okay, Henry looks concerned. Will stop now.

The only other thing I have to say about the Glow is that when I lived in LA, my friend Renee was recovering from something–tonsillitis? after she had her baby? I can't remember now–and I gave her all my diaries to read, from fifth grade to the present.

Renee, who grew up in LA, got this idea in her head that The Golden Glow Ballroom was, like, the Studio 54 of Michigan. She kept saying things like, "You HAVE to take me home and see if we can get into the Glow." I was all, Renee, if you have a dollar you can get into the Glow. I couldn't make her understand how not-happening that place was.

The Golden Glow burned to the ground that day Hulk called me. All my high school memories, in ashes.

I'd do anything if it would just stay with me awhile.

40 thoughts on “The Glow

  1. Know how people try to sympathise and they say “I know how you feel”? And they totally don’t because they have never lost a turtle in a truck accident, and so what the hell would they know?
    Well, Miss June, in this case I honestly DO have an understanding of how you feel. I lost my bar to fire on 19 July 2002. I was out of town and heard about it via text message, I came straight home and stood across the road, crying fat salty tears with the rest of the crowd. Kind of like the fatty, salty pizza I used to buy before stumbling home. RIP Mooseheads, I still miss you every thursday, friday and saturday night between 9pm and taxi-o-clock.

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  2. I have a funny story about the “Ring My Bell” song. Well, it’s funny to me. It involved a dorky couple I knew in college. We were all working the orientation program for the in-coming freshmen. Every night we ran a little disco/pub in the rec room of one of the dorms. One night, Dorky Guy chose that very place to propose to Dorky Girl. She accepted. And my friend, Tim, who was playing DJ that night, cued up “Ring My Bell.”
    Guess you had to know them. But I would LOVE to have “Ring My Bell” as my phone ring tone.

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  3. I’m sorry – I stopped at “dark couch.” It was like that moment in a horror movie where the idiot protagonist puts her hand on the doorknob of the mysterious closet in the deserted house. DON’T DO IT! AIIIEEEEEEEE!
    Everything shows up on a dark couch. You know how sometimes you fall asleep in the afternoon on the couch, and you drool a little? That shows up on a dark couch. Light-colored pet hairs show up on a dark couch. And, inexplicably, dark stains show up on a dark couch.
    Think patterns, June – some very busy floral patterns. Don’t get geometric patterns – they end up driving you insane (a la The Yellow Wallpaper) if you are stuck lying on the couch sick all day.

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  4. I’m sorry to have been the bearer of such bad tidings, Junie. I guess I could have softened the blow had I said, “Guess what? Barry Gibb is DEAD!” You’d have gone. “WHHAAAATTTTTT???”. And I’d have said, “No, not really. But the Golden Glow is burning down.” Next time.
    The GG was quite famous for this area; many of our parents, and their parents, par-tayed there…I’ll bet Mother Gardens pitched a little woo herself out there back in the day…
    I could swing half a toothpick at a darting gnat and not missed as bad as suburban correspondent missed the point of this blog…

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  5. Now, Hulk, don’t be mean to suburban correspondent–she’s absolutely right to distract Junie in her grief….
    And she’s so right about her couch advice, too. We had the best Ikea floral couches with two cats. The fabric was so soft, the green parts matched their eyes (which made them look so cool when they were bookends on the sofa arms), and best of all, nothing showed up (not even red wine)!
    Sorry for your loss, June.

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  6. (a) if i’m every bed-ridden sick, can i please borrow your diaries?
    (b) we have had up to four cats at a time. so i’m very familiar with the search for pet-friendly furniture. neutral chenille is the way to go. i can email you photos separately. the knobby material hides claw marks, and the medium tans are great at hiding drool marks,and just about any and all pet hair accumulation. trust me on this 🙂

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  7. In 1980 I was interviewing for any vaguely arty entry level jobs in New York. One of the companies was the advertising agency that marketed Riunite wine. I’ll always remember the waiting room which had black back-lit shelf/dividers. In several of the niches were bottles of Riunite which were lit to very dramatic effect. This was not an especially fancy wine even in those days, so it was quite humorous to see them displayed like exotic objets d’art.
    And, funny you should mention it. I’m in Bologna Italy right now and they sell it at the grocery store down the street.

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  8. Sorry for your loss. Maybe next time you are in Saginaw, you could go light one of those pillar candles with a saint on it at the site of Golden Glow. Who is the Patron Saint of PartAYers or dancers?
    Go with the pattern. I have a patterned couch that shows NOTHING. The dark chair that goes with it? Looks like Hell in a handbag.

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  9. I absolutely LOVE that picture of you, beautifully arched eyebrows and all.
    I’m sorry to hear about losing that piece of your history. If you describe it correctly, it seems to me that while it was burning down was truly the only time it lived up to its name.

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  10. Yes I rember the Glow it is where I got my start as a D.J. working the teen dances with Randy Burdow. back in 1982 wow what good times their it is sad to see it go. another fire that broke my heart was the Fordney when it burned back in 91 or 92 had many a good drunkin nights their also. Thanks for the memorys! Ps that picture is about how I rember you looking.. 🙂

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  11. That IS a great picture and your hair is GORGEOUS.
    Also, I have always had cats and had a Golden Retriever (oy, tumbleweeds of fur) and leather furniture has worked for us. Or pleather if you don’t want any cows harmed in the furnishing of your home.
    My “(H&B)” disappeared before. Hmm.

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  12. That IS a great picture and your hair is GORGEOUS.
    Also, I have always had cats and had a Golden Retriever (oy, tumbleweeds of fur) and leather furniture has worked for us. Or pleather if you don’t want any cows harmed in the furnishing of your home.
    My “(H&B)” disappeared before. Hmm.

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  13. That IS a great picture and your hair is GORGEOUS.
    Also, I have always had cats and had a Golden Retriever (oy, tumbleweeds of fur) and leather furniture has worked for us. Or pleather if you don’t want any cows harmed in the furnishing of your home.
    My “(H&B)” disappeared before. Hmm.

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  14. I’m sorry for your loss.
    As for couches, dark leather is the way to go. I have two very fuzzy cats and the hair just wipes off. Also, they don’t like to claw it (thankfully neither has clawed anything other than their post). And it’s easy to clean up liquid messes, like red wine. Not that I would know. Besides, florals… I would think they would be dated quicker than Jon Gosselin.

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  15. St. Vitus is the patron saint of dancers, actors and curiously, dogs. I suppose that you could burn it for Tallu after you perform the ritual for the Golden Glow.
    Sorry about the ballroom. You still have your memories and they are more important than any place.
    Now I have to go listen to my shuffle because I cannot get, “THA ROOF! THA ROOF! THA ROOF IS AWN FIYAR!” out of my head. Carry on…

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  16. St. Vitus is the patron saint of dancers, actors and curiously, dogs. I suppose that you could burn it for Tallu after you perform the ritual for the Golden Glow.
    Sorry about the ballroom. You still have your memories and they are more important than any place.
    Now I have to go listen to my shuffle because I cannot get, “THA ROOF! THA ROOF! THA ROOF IS AWN FIYAR!” out of my head. Carry on…

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  17. St. Vitus is the patron saint of dancers, actors and curiously, dogs. I suppose that you could burn it for Tallu after you perform the ritual for the Golden Glow.
    Sorry about the ballroom. You still have your memories and they are more important than any place.
    Now I have to go listen to my shuffle because I cannot get, “THA ROOF! THA ROOF! THA ROOF IS AWN FIYAR!” out of my head. Carry on…

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  18. So sorry. It’s like losing a piece of your own history. I just heard that Daly’s in Detroit shut down and no one anywhere on earth makes a chili ‘n cheese like they did. So, I feel your pain.

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  19. Oh June I am so sorry. Will there be a viewing? Will you be in the reception line?
    I too know how you feel. Back in the day when I lived in Footloose City where we were not allowed to dance or have proms we used to drive 60 miles to a little Polish town. They had dances every Saturday night. (Yes Texas has Polish people too.) I digress.
    One day several years ago my mother called me and said “well i gues you know the Cataholic Church of Polish town burned down last night and all the Bathtist are blaming it on all the sinful Saturday night dances.”
    Yes that’s what dancing gets you…a pile of ashes.

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  20. You could down a bottle of Riunite in two blocks!? Sounds like me in high school except I’d be all sneaky and put it in a styrofoam cup so I could smuggle it into the football game. And I wonder what happened to my liver…

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  21. I have to tell you that I absolutely love Journey. I was singing along while I read. Another “famous” Michigander, Bob Guiney from The Bachelor, once said, “anyone who says they don’t like Journey is a liar.” (or something along those lines) I love it. How can someone not LOVE Journey.
    So sorry to hear about The Glow. So many memories, I’m sure. Fortunately you have those diaries to keep the memories alive.

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  22. Cripes! Is there no where left in Saginaw to get rip roaring blitzed? No memories, no decent bars, no more reason to go home.
    Even the freaking Children’s Zoo sign is gone…some schmoo bought it on Ebay.

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  23. I just got a call from a friend who was inquiring about where I stayed during my recent trip to MI. She went on to say she had looked at some place in “ummm… Saginaw? Ever heard of it?” I told her The Golden Glow just burned down recently. She asked if I had ever been to Saginaw and I told her not really, just virtually.

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  24. ohh this is too good. i know we are (only a few) years apart, but i too favored the Reunite Lambrusco by the bottle. AND! AND! AND! i found it again just the other week at the liquor store. joy! still around….

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  25. I think all commenters missed the point of this post. What is the size of the Hulk’s TV? I’m putting my money on 18964633627956 feet.
    and the “dated quicker than Jon Gosselin” thing gets my vote for comment of the week!

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  26. Why am I seeing the GG as the place where they had the Barn Dance in the movie Footloose? And now I’m convinced Hulk looks like Kevin Bacon… pitchin woo.
    2 words: Leather couch.

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  27. Once upon a time, the old, unused grain elevator in our town burned down. Everyone in town stood across the street watching it, including the fire department, because there was nothing they could do.
    But it’s not quite the same thing, because none of us have touching memories of that place. It was a grain elevator. But it was basically the most exciting event that had ever happened in our town.
    I was in the fifth grade.
    Anyway, I too am sorry for your loss. But I’m glad Barry Gibb is still okay.

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  28. Lynn for Comment Of The Week:
    “…Even the freaking Children’s Zoo sign is gone…some schmoo bought it on Ebay.”
    DY-ING here…

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  29. “The day they knocked down the palais
    My sister stood and cried.
    The day they knocked down the palais
    Part of my childhood died, just died.”
    The Glow was nice, but it was no Million Dollar Mikatam.

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