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 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.