A Couple of Hard Cases

Greetings Blogworld… from the great and beautiful city of Atlanta.

I just had the most surreal moment. I was standing in a coffee shop a few minutes ago (no big surprise) when I heard the song “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” by Shenandoah and Alison Krauss. Have you heard it? I kid you not, I was teleported back to my 8th grade dance. I had forgotten how awkward yet glorious that historical moment was. Awkward because I was still sporting my braces but glorious because a person’s first big school dance is a rite of passage. Good or bad, it remains a milestone. I mean, I spent a month in a tanning salon preparing for that dance! I still remember exactly what formal dress I was wearing and even what my corsage smelled like. My date and I were attempting to two-step to this very passionate country tune. We were very much wrapped up into the song, so much so that I think I may have even put my head on his shoulder. Who doesn’t get caught up in the moment under a disco ball? You laugh…but this was a big move for an innocent thirteen-year-old girl with very well known parents. In between our very emotional embraces I would glance to make sure my homeroom teacher wasn’t looking because I knew darn well she was going to tell my Mom. Total downside of having your homeroom teacher doing your mother’s Bible studies. Okay, I digress, but today as I listened to the lyrics now from the perspective of an adult, I about died. Please take a minute to read the first two verses of this song:

Thousand miles
Of lonesome highway
Drinking gallons of coffee in a little cafe
Brought me here, and it’s so good to find there’s someone who’s got
The same story as mine

Just look at us, we’re a couple hard cases
So how’d we end up where we are?
Somewhere in the vicinity of the heart
I feel somethin hittin me awful hard
I don’t know where it’s gonna lead
I just know it starts
Somewhere in the vicinity of the heart

When I heard these lyrics again today I nearly went into hysterics. To think that a couple of suburban kids who had never so much as kissed were honestly identifying with these lines is completely absurd. But there we were. We were identifying, alright. Just a couple of hard cases looking for someone else with a similar tumultuous relational past.

Okay, so it’s your turn- I want to know what takes you back to the past? What was your best or funniest memory at a middle school or high school dance? To what songs did you dance?


201 Responses to “A Couple of Hard Cases”

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  1. 1
    Mary w/ no cool name says:

    Ahh — songs of the Bee Gees and they had about ….. forty eleven hundred (that’s a whole big ol’ bunch in southernese). How Deep is Your Love was a favorite to dance to and then there was also Tonight’s the Night by Rod Stewart (really appropriate stuff).

    I was in middle school at the height of the Disco era — which is also known as the musical wasteland. But I still love some serious disco from time to time.

  2. 2
    Cindy- My Life HIS Story says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention…I did dance with my dates to fast songs and slow dances – Journey, Air Supply, etc… but never to the country songs!

    This has been so fun to read!!! I’m loving this…if we all had coffee, we could just sip and giggle together over these funny stories!
    Thanks, Melissa!!

  3. 3
    Mary w/ the nameless blog says:

    Smell? Ahh Final Net hairspray — the pump kind because we gave up aerosol to save the planet — reminds me of the beach. We tanned all day and then showered, rolled our hair on hot rollers) and sprayed about half a bottle per hairdo before heading out to find boys…. wait, I mean spend quality time together.

    Apparently I’ve given up on my concern for the planet ’cause I’m all about aerosol and spray tons of ths stuff on my head daily

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    My name is Beth. “Our song” was “Beth” by KISS. We would listen…and…um…kiss.

    Any other Beths have similar memories? ; )

  5. 5
    Anonymous says:

    Chicago’s “Color My World”…..”As time goes on…I realize…just what you mean to me…and now…now that you’re here…promise your love….

  6. 6
    GentillyIzzie says:

    I remember having a “fight” with the eigth grade boy friend and calling him on the phone (my mother would die if she knew I actually called a boy at that age) I played him the New Kids on the block song I’ll be lovin you (forever). I put the phone up to the speaker on my jam box. WOW that has been oh so many years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

    Melissa this has been a fun post to read 🙂

  7. 7
    bobbi says:

    “When I see you smile, I can face the world oh, oh you know I can do anything…” by Bad English takes me back to 7th grade and my first boyfriend.
    What is so funny about it is that it was not warm, mushy feelings that makes this song “his song” but the fact that my best friend always told me he looked like a turtle when he smiled. Sure enough he did look like a turtle when he smiled! Just picture two 7th grade girls falling into hysterics when this song came on the radio. It still tickles me 20+ years later.

  8. 8
    Christal says:

    oh wow too funny!! OK has to be boyz II men and Bryan Adams’ Everything I do…..ok now im going to turn on some 90210 for nostalgia sake lol

  9. 9
    jen says:

    “I DOn’t want to Cry” by Mariah Carey. I played that song over and over wishing about a boy that I was crazy about. I must have played it one hundred times in one day. I was 14. We dated three different times and my best friend married his brother so I see him at least twice a year but I don’t “want to cry” anymore 🙂

  10. 10
    Keri says:

    I had to come back and read some of the comments and I find out that there at least 2 of you who were “tall guy stealers” and ended up dancing on chairs…….so funny!!

    The idea of scents that take us back……DRAKAR. They actually still sell the stuff, can’t believe it!

  11. 11
    AbbyLane says:

    we didn’t have many dances and the ones we had were, i’m sure like everyone else, l.a.m.e. we all sat on the bleachers and watched the older kids dance, so afraid that one day that might have to be us.

    i’m from a really small town, and my middle school was in the ghetto of that small town-and despite our thug surroundings, the only song that got everyone on the dance floor was “cotten-eyed joe”. sad.

    it was kind of like a movie though where everyone jumped off the bleachers and started the group dance. ah yes, the coreography. it’s all coming back to me now…

  12. 12
    freetobeme says:

    “Total Eclispe of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler.

    Homecoming Dance, 10th grade.

    First “real” date and first “real” kiss.

    I remember thinking that the world was spinning wonderfully out of control.

    I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it is so embarrassingly true!

    We never went out again.

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    I had a date to my first middle school dance, and we slow danced to “Unchained Melody” while the chaperones walked around making sure we were arm’s length apart.
    The Macarena was also a big craze that year, and anything by N Sync or the Backstreet Boys!

  14. 14
    Diane Muir says:

    Oh my goodness. I’m so old. There were two songs that I loved and did nearly anything to get out on the dance floor to dance to: “If” by Bread and “Colour My World” by Chicago. I would negotiate with whomever was DJing the dance so that they got played as often as possible. Wow … darkened gymnasium, boys against a wall glancing down so they wouldn’t look like they wanted to dance, teachers separating kids on the dance floor. Jr. Hi. 1971-72. Wow. I’m old. But, what awesome memories!

  15. 15
    Melissa says:

    I loved your comment! Spinning out of control, I love it!

  16. 16
    Anonymous says:

    With no hesitation, “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks, takes me all the way back to the 10th grade!!!

  17. 17
    elawhorn says:

    I am recalling Grand Funk Railroad and their song, “Locomotion” when we all did group dances when we did NOT want to dance with our date solo!! Those were some of the most fun times of my life, thanks for this post.

  18. 18
    Teri~Facedown says:

    Oh my goodness…all you 80’s girls, how about this song…

    BAAAAAABAAAAAAYYYYYYYY Ohhhh I get chills when I’m with you oooo oooo.

    (When I’m With You-Sheriff)

    HA! I danced with Steve to this song in 8th grade and thought I was going to marry him.

    But the funniest thing was in High School. I was in show choir and we did a ton of dancing with our songs. Our choir director was an older lady and really didn’t care what we did. So there was this kid who could dance just like Patrick Swayze in dirty dancing, but the guy could not sing a lick. So he asked if he could do a dance at the choir concert to Time of My Life and asked me to do the dance with him. I was a little confused when he asked me because I thought we would be singing the song. NOPE. So there I was, dancing the song (sans the “dirty dancing” parts) complete with the jump off the stage. He jumped, I did not. I looked like a fool standing there watching him dance all along the front of the stage.

    Right that moment, my boyfriend came up and said “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” and I left carrying a watermelon.

    Ok, that last part didn’t happen, but I couldn’t resist. 🙂

    Good times.

  19. 19
    Lynn says:

    Our 8th grade year was all about
    “That’s what friends are for…” and Whitney singing – “The Greatest Love of All.”

    Now I know the personally the Greatest Lover of all – and He is AWESOME!

  20. 20
    TraciG says:

    I had my 20? year reunion this past June. My good friend and event planner put together an entire “Amazing Race” for the 35 of us who came home. We visited the old movie theatre, the gym, the football field, barrel-racing at the arena, a trip to the museum to look through old annuals (you know you’re from a small town in Montana when a 20 year old annual is in the museum!)…she even convinced several of our teachers who are still in the profession to show up on a Saturday in June to administer quizzes and make us sing the school song. She included clues to the local “party” spots in the country (which put us considerably behind as we got lost and had no clue where we were going!!) We finished at the cemetery where we put flowers on the graves of our classmates who have passed away. It was crazy! So much fun and a great way to get reacquainted with everyone. It also really brought all KINDS of memories back to us, and not just the ones that took place inside the 4 walls of the school! Our class site on facebook was recently uploaded with pictures from the event and they mad me laugh out loud even today!

  21. 21
    Teri~Facedown says:

    Oops sorry. I just realized how much of a dirty rotten sinner I sound like because I can quote lines from the movie Dirty Dancing. Sorry, it was quite cult like in the 80’s!

  22. 22
    Michelle says:

    “Party like it’s 1999” and thinking whew that is forever away and I will be in my 30’s then GASP!!!I also remember having the biggest crush on a boy I met at church camp and my parents knew his parents so for homecoming my tenth grade year they let him come stay at our house for the weekend and I dreamed of us dancing romantically to Journey’s “Open Arms” The time came, we gussied up, went to the dance, he met my friends and said these words, “This is one bad mamma jamma of a dance” – Kiss of death – I lost IMMEDIATE interest- I mean I was from the sticks and we didn’t even say anything that uncool! Those were the days.

  23. 23
    Alexia says:

    Well I have to say I did not attend many dances, due to the fact I have no rhythm and can not dance except slow dancing. But at my wedding in the 80’s one of our songs was “You Decorated My Life”, how goofy was that song if you read the lyrics. Oh well if at that time I was more in tune with God than getting married I am sure our choice of somgs would have been more geared to God. A pastor recently said to us you did not have that sung at your wedding, oh yes indeed, he looked at us with one of those looks only mothers give. oh well thought I would add this.

  24. 24
    Nana 2 four says:

    Ok, back when I was in the 8th grade, there was song that I think was called “Something”. The first words are “Something in the way, she moves. Attract me like no other lover.”… Of course at the time I had NOT A CLUE what that even possibly meant! We just loved the slow song and slow dance that went with it and didn’t even wonder at the meaning of the words. I have even just now shocked myself that I liked this song and that was 33 years ago….


  25. 25
    Moose Mama says:

    Man, I am so old!

    “Jeremiah was a Bull Frog” (and that was high school).

    I can’t even remember Junior High songs. But there is one memory… this really cute and very sweet boy (Craig) asked me to dance and I did not know how, but I said yes, got out on the dance floor…got so flustered…grabbed a girl friend and said “Here dance with her” and I left. To his credit, he never mentioned it and he was still nice to me. Oh the trauma of Jr. High!

    Melana in Wyoming

  26. 26
    Sandra says:

    Only dance I went to was square dancing. In 6th grade (lived in California at that time) we had outdoor school and one night we got to square dance. We learned in school for this one night. I loved it. One night and it was over. Never danced again. I did love Barry Manilow and the Bee Gees.

    What can I say, I lived a boring life.

  27. 27
    Melissa says:

    I only went to my prom my junior year and went with a guy I was so totally nuts over, but I was a nervous cat. Interesting points:

    1. He showed in a limo! This was 1984…not the norm!

    2. I had a beautiful frilly lavender dress and while we were eating a little girl pointed to me and said, “Look Mommy, it’s Cinderella!” That was the highlight of my night!

    3. We were both so nervous we only danced on slow songs, and we didn’t even really dance too close.

    4. For our “after prom” fun, he took me to his favorite hangout, the video game arcade! I tell you no lie siestas! I have never been a fan of them, but there were all the greased up loners who had no date to prom (probably because they were too chicken to ask someone!) and we got heckled to no end.

    Needless to say, that was the end of whatever could have become of the two of us!


  28. 28
    Stephanie says:

    Winter formal the song was I will survive by Gloria Gaynor this was during the disco era. This takes me way back

  29. 29
    roxanne worsham says:

    Maybe Beth can relate to this one because it happened at her old Alma Mater – Northbrook High School.

    I was in the tenth grade and he was in the ninth grade. We shared an Algebra Class together. His name was Russell and I had the biggest crush on him. He was a jock, I was a chubby but funny girl! Oh my granny! I was in love with that boy!!!

    We had our school dances in the gymnasium. Russell knew I had a major crush on him but he was still way out of my league. I am talking MAJOR BABE here!!! He was such a hunk! (LOL) Feathered back hair. Total FOX! ( are these words really coming out of my mouth right now!?)

    He came over to ask me to dance to Peaches and Herb – “Reunited”

    It was a nice slow song and I was in Heaven!!! I was also extremely nervous because everyone was watching us. When the song was over I ran out to the commons and called my Algebra Teacher from the pay phone near the lockers to tell her of my glorious fate!!! She was excited with me!!

    I’m still very good friends with that Algebra Teacher – haven’t got a clue what happened to Russell.
    And no Beth, it was not Russell Mooney!! I am a little younger than you…

    Just for grins, here is the song.
    Feel free to sing along, Siestas!
    Take a trip to yesteryear!


    I was a fool to ever leave your side
    Me minus you is such a lonely ride
    The breakup we had has made me lonesome and sad
    I realize I love you ’cause I want you bad, hey, hey

    I spent the ev’ning with the radio
    Regret the moment that I let you go
    Our quarrel was such a way of learnin’ so much
    I know now that I love you ’cause I need your touch, hey, hey

    Reunited and it feels so good
    Reunited ’cause we understood
    There’s one perfect fit
    And, sugar, this one is it
    We both are so excited ’cause we’re reunited, hey, hey

    I sat here starin’ at the same old wall
    Came back to life just when I got your call
    I wished I could climb right through the telephone line
    And give you what you want so you will still be mine, hey, hey

    I can’t go cheatin’, honey, I can’t play
    I found it very hard to stay away
    As we reminisce on precious moments like this
    I’m glad we’re back together ’cause I missed your kiss, hey, hey


    Yeah, yeah, yeah

    Lover, lover, this is solid love
    And you’re exactly what I’m dreamin’ of
    All through the day
    And all through the night
    BOTH: I’ll give you all the love I have with all my might, hey, hey

  30. 30
    Ann says:

    Oh my….I almost feel too old to comment! I lived in Brasil my high school years and The Beach Boys were IT!! I also remember a lot of The Byrds, (anyone out there???) and really whatever anyone would bring back from being in the states! One song I always remember dancing to at school dances was “Gloria”….anyone?? What great memories of a very neat high school and very special people!

  31. 31
    Casey says:

    there are so many embarassing moments to choose from. Saigon kick did a version of In the still of the night that I just LOVED. This “boy” that I was crazy about introduced me to it. well a cousin and myself talked about him endlessly and i was 15 year old nuts about him….on a tape..yes my voice recorded on a tape that he later listened to on a road trip home. So here I was with a tape of my teenage feelings and no way to deny any of them. I could have died when I heard they popped it in the tape deck and played it thinking it was something else and listend to our intense conversation about my feelings. major sad face

  32. 32
    Anonymous says:

    Oh brother…I honestly LOVE music, so there are a million stories I connect with song. My sister and Mom say I have “musical turretts” because people will be talking and I’ll just start spitting out a song…in my defense, it usually has something to do with something that was just said…or, some of the same words atleast… anyway…how about “Tender Love” by Force MD’s? Or, “Mr. Telephone Man, there’s something wrong with my line. Cause when I dial my babys number, I get a click everytime…” by New Edition…or “Day by Day” by the Hooters. Now, seriously girls, we danced like we had never walked, much less danced, a day in our life when that crazy song came on. I don’t know, there was just something about it that made you look like you were violently ill when you would dance to it. Anyone know what I’m talking about??

  33. 33
    GratefulinGA says:

    These are hilarious! Glad to see I am not the only one not allowed to go to dances or prom.

    My song that stops me in my tracks and bring me to happy tears is

    Dan Fogelberg’s song ‘Longer’. My sweetie played it as he proposed to me, dubbing it our song. My sweet sister in love sang it through tears at our wedding.

    I adore this man of mine and the song he chose for us. I even surprised him by having ‘I will love you, longer than’ engraved inside his wedding band.

    Sappy but true! Oh, where’s the tissue for goodness sakes!!

  34. 34
    Becky P says:

    How about Michael Jackson’s “You Wanna Be Starting Something”! Me and my best friend Shawn (a girl) in the sixth grade spent hours making up a dance to that song so that we would look good at the middle school dance- way back in the 80’s! The chorus goes “Too high to get over (yeah, yeah), too low to get under (yeah, yeah), you’re stuck in the middle, (yeah, yeah), and the pain is thunder!” I bet you can just picture what our dance moves looked like!!

  35. 35
    Happy Mama says:

    You are killin’ me here! That is so funny, and I can totally relate. Except of course the part about your mom being a rockstar in the Bible study world. That is not a part of my reality! Anyway, the song that brings me back to those awkward adolescent days is pretty much any Boys II Men song. Especially, “End of the Road” which was the most memorable one from my freshman homecoming dance. Ah, the innocence and absurdity of being a teenager! 🙂 Thanks for the flashbacks, it made me laugh out loud after a rough day!

  36. 36
    Casey says:

    terri facedown…I was a major Dirty Dancing fan too. It really didn’t have any moral messages did it? Anytime, I hear Hungry Eyes or I ‘ve had the time of my life I think of that movie.

  37. 37
    theweaver says:

    Oh, I would never want to relive Jr. High… please, no thanks! I went to my 7th Grade & 8th Grade dances and man alive… I never even touched a guy at either… just the girls you know. But, oh the ordeal over the clothes… especially 8th grade… I knew some girls were going all out formal and my mom wouldn't hear of it… so I ended up with a nice church-ish outfit… i still remember it, how I wore my hair, everything… and my best friend did dance with a boy… any Boyz 2 Men song transports me back to that dance…

  38. 38
    Terrie and Carley says:

    The question of what takes one back to the past could not have come at a better time. This past weekend I went up into the attic to clean out many boxes which included the boxes that housed my middle through high school year books. My daughter went with me so she could travel down memory lane with me. Her and I had a great job reading all those “corny” sayings that are written in most year books. The reason she enjoyed looking at the “old” pictures from long ago is her orthodontist and I went to school together. She enjoyed laughing at his pictures more than her own mom.

    High school doesn’t bring back great memories for me due to my crippled family life at that time. God did bless me with some great friends that I still keep in touch with after 27 years. It was fun looking at the funny clothes and hairstyles.


  39. 39
    Marty says:

    I was sent down memory lane this past Tuesday but not by a song. On Tuesday I went to look at a house and I swear I stepped back in time. The house and neighborhood reminded me of so many summers spent with my cousins at the lake.
    I can see the deer walking up to us and eating out of our hands, reading the day away in the hamock, and of course all the fun time on the lake.
    Anyways, as far as songs that will take me back any George Strait song will take be back to a specific time. I always refused to dance with a guy I liked to any George Strait song just in case it didn’t work out I didn’t want that song to “ruined” for me.

  40. 40
    Anonymous says:

    Middle School was The Hustle, and all the “cool” girls did a dance to it in our talent show at school…I was NOT one of the cool girls then…but I sure am now! LOL
    High School–no dance was complete without Stairway to Heaven and Louie, Louie….(are there even actual words in that song?)

  41. 41
    Anonymous says:

    Ok, believe it or not, at my prom I was pregnant. Early on in it morning noon and night sickness pregnant. And ANYTHING by Whitney Houston during that time made me literally get sick. I don’t know why, but even if something came on the radio I’d have to pull my car over and, well, you know.

    So, dontcha know, when they played “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” that night at the prom, I ran for the nearest trash can.

    Good times.

    (Today, whenever I happen to hear that very same song, I swear to you I can feel my stomach start churning!)

  42. 42
    His grace is sufficient. says:

    I only remember one dance besides my jr. & sr. prom. I did not have a date. Dances were more fun without a date at my school. The one thing I remember about that dance is doing "the bump". Can't say I remember the songs. But just saying I did the bump pretty well dates me.

    Being a "PK", my dad pretty weel censored anything I tried to listen to. Listening to some of those songs now, I think no wonder. Growing up in the 70's there are so many favorites.

    If there songs in the 80's, I tell my sister-in-love, I was busy taking care of my babies. I don't have a clue what the songs were then.

    Thanks for taking us back down memory lane.

  43. 43
    Chris says:

    When I was in 7th grade, I had a HUMONGOUS crush on this boy. The kind all your little friends are sick of hearing about. It came time for our school’s Halloween dance, which was incredibly informal, but exciting nonetheless when you’re 12. I got it into my head that by the end of the night I was gonna dance with Crush Boy.

    I finally got my nerves in order and approached Crush Boy and asked him to dance. In typical pre-adolescent boy style, he promptly said “no.” Deflated, I started to walk away, but then felt I deserved some sort of explanation. Turning back, I demanded to know why he wouldn’t dance with me. I should have left while I was ahead, because his answer was “because you’re ugly.”

    Now, before you feel too sorry for me, bear in mind that at that time I was completely convinced that I was one good-lookin’ gal. My good self-esteem had veered into vanity, so I didn’t believe him for a minute. However, I was still mortally offended that he would say such a thing in a crowded gym where we were surrounded by other equally gallant boys. So I did the only thing I could think of: I shoved him to the floor.

    Full of the thrill of victory (and nearly swooning at my uncharacteristic show of violence) I left the gym and never looked back.

  44. 44
    Vicki says:

    We didn’t have junior high dances, but did have them in high school. The main groups that we always danced to were the Doobie Brothers, Three Dog Night, Chicago, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. I can remember slow dancing to “Ain’t No Sunshine” and counting the “I know”s in the song. Also, “How do you mend a broken heart?” by the BeeGees was good for tears after a break-up. This post certainly brought back memories. Thanks Melissa.

  45. 45
    Kimberly says:

    This has been such a fun post to read! Loveshack always takes me back to high school dances b/c my BFFs and I would always run out to the floor and dance in a big circle when the DJ played it.

    And I also love the Cha-Cha Slide. When I taught high school a couple of years ago, I would always run out and participate when I was chaperoning at prom. As someone else mentioned, I also am not really sure how to cha-cha.:)

  46. 46
    Anonymous says:

    Stevie Wonder “Superstition”. That first boyfriend in the 8th grade grew up and died of Aids. What sadness.

  47. 47
    Tracy says:

    I am having entirely too much fun reliving all this, but I have to say – the Peaches & Herb lyrics are just about to do me in! Cannot.stop.laughing!! = D

  48. 48
    Rhonda says:

    okay – "Ghostbusters" – just came on Bravo & I was instantly transported. "Who you gonna call?"Even my husband said 'I bet that will bring back some memories!

  49. 49
    Living day by day for Jesus says:

    I danced to Boys 2 Men…I’ll Make Love to You! AND I THOUGHT I KNEW EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANT!!! So clueless! HAHA!!! I sang along with gusto…”Throw Your clothes, On the floor…I’m gonna take my clothes off too!” Oh my…

  50. 50
    Anonymous says:

    Whenever I hear the song "Takin' Care of Business" by BTO. I graduated in 1976, in case your're wondering. My grandmother made me a green, double-knit skirt & long-sleeved jacket (how darling–not!). I was so hot and itchy in it that I could hardly dance! It's the only school dance I ever went to in my life zwonder why?). Thanks for funny memory.

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