Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Short Skirts, Pompons, and Go Go Boots - Memory of Me Monday

{1972-Redondo Union High School drill team}

TODAY'S MEMORY JOGGER:  "Were you in a band, drill team, pep squad in high school?  Describe your experience."

As I wrote in an earlier post, I tried out for the drill team in the spring of my freshman year at Redondo Union High School, and made it, and so did my best friend, Judy.  That fall we performed at every home game for the football team, the Seahawks.  The above photo shows our uniforms.  We had crepe-paper pompons that we made ourselves, and we wore white tennis shoes and red bobby sox.  We had red wool sweaters with our names embroidered on them to wear on cold evenings.  Unfortunately, because they were made of wool, if it rained we had to take them off and put them under the benches so they wouldn't get wet!!  Why?  Well, have you ever smelled a wet sheep?  Not good!  Someone goofed up when they chose wool for our sweaters!

We also had a "Friday uniform" which we wore every Friday to show our school spirit. The outfit was a red-and-white gingham bodysuit-style blouse under a short white skirt. While our "official" uniforms were issued to us, each girl sewed her own Friday uniform, or found someone to sew it for her.  Judy and I both made ours and we loved wearing them since that was the only time we were allowed to wear our skirts shorter than 2" above our knees!

I remember when I finished sewing my skirt and tried it on with the blouse.  I was horrified to see that the red and white gingham fabric showed right through the thin cotton of the skirt.  It looked ridiculous and stupid.  I hadn't lined the skirt because I was still a beginner at sewing, and putting a lining in just looked too hard.  It was the night before the first day we were to wear the Friday uniforms, was late, and I was tired.  I burst into tears.

My mom took the skirt from me and told me to go to bed.  In the morning when I got up there was my skirt, fully lined, and it looked great.  My mom had taken it all apart, added the lining, and then re-sewn it.  I was thrilled. My mom wasn't up yet and I was being picked up to go to an early seminary class, so I wrote her a quick little thank you note.  I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but I do remember being in tears again.  It was a great day!

Football games that fall were always very exciting and a lot of fun.  I loved being part of the drill team and, naturally, I had a boyfriend who was on the football team which made the games even more fun to watch.

In the middle of my sophomore year my family moved from Redondo Beach, CA., to Woodland Hills, CA., and I transferred to Wm. Howard Taft High School.  I wasn't happy about the move; the teen years are a tough time to have to leave your friends behind and try to make new ones.  The kids at Taft were very different from Redondo.  At Redondo most of the students were just regular kids from average-income families; we rode our bikes to school or took the bus.  At Taft many of the students had their own cars with speedboats to match!  Instead of a beach party they held car & boat shows. Yeah, I didn't really fit in.

Still, I did have a small group of good friends, Laurie Thatcher and Nancy Solomon were my two closest, and I tried out and made it onto Taft's drill team.  We were the Toreadors.  Here's a photo of my squad (there were about 10 squads in all) from our yearbook:

{1974-Wm. High School Drill Team}

I'm in the back row, second from the left.  I didn't think the uniforms were nearly as cute as the ones at Redondo High, and we wore white gloves, of all things!  Still, I had a lot of fun.

But guess what?  My high school drill team experiences weren't my first!  I was also a Sailorette at Adam's Junior High!

{1971-Redondo Beach, CA.; Adam's Jr. High Sailorette Drill Team}

How 'bout that gold trim & buttons, sailor collar, and go go boots???  Ha ha!  Unlike high school, where we performed at football games, the Sailorettes team marched in parades and performed at school rallies and other events. Let me just say those boots were NOT for marching!  I always had blisters afterwards, but I did think they were really boss.  It's too bad you can't see the back of my head in the photo.  We were all required to wear our hair pulled back into a pony tail and we wore hairpieces!  Yep, I had what we called a "fall" of bouncy curls that I pinned on and that matched my own hair color.  I remember my mom had to take me to a special shop to buy it.  It was expensive, too, and it was probably tough for my parents to afford it.

The Sailorettes didn't just have pompon routines; we also twirled flags AND rifles.  The rifles were my favorite.  They weren't real rifles, of course, just rifle-shaped pieces of lightweight wood and painted white.  But if was fun to twirl them, toss them in the air and catch them again, and "present arms."

This drill team also differed from high school in that our program expenses (equipment, parade fees, etc.) were not covered by the school, instead we had outside sponsors, one of which was the local Elk's Club.  One of the first times I performed with the team was at the Elk's Club.  It was on a bright, sunny weekday afternoon.  We lined up outside and then marched single file into a huge dark room.  A haze of smoke hung in the air (this was wayyy before cigarettes were banned from bars & clubs in California).  The center of the room had been cleared for us by crowding the round tables and chairs around the perimeter of the room.  Every chair was occupied by men, most of them with large bellies, heavy jowls, and a cigar or cigarette in hand.  I remember being terrified and not really knowing why.  I didn't yet know the word "leer;" if I had I'd have been able to perfectly describe the way those men were looking at this group of 12 and 13 year old girls in their short skirts and go go boots!

FOR NEXT WEEK: "Describe the grade schools you attended (what were the buildings like, the area; did you walk or bus), and physical descriptions."

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