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. 101
    Anonymous says:

    I have loved reading all these comments, except for one thing….I am so old!!! I graduated in the early 60’s and so my “favorites” were Ricky Nelson and guess who….ELVIS!!! So you can only imagine!!! We danced a ton and to remember one dance, ain’t gonna happen. We were a “wild bunch”, seriously wild!!
    Lots of lewd dancing if you know what I mean….The dancing on the movie dirty dancing had nothing on us….Thank goodness for salvation!! Oh yes, one song that comes to mind, is “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To…”
    Loved this post Melissa…
    Bible Bunny in No MI (Hey we are going to get to 32 degrees on Sunday. Then back to the twenties and teens…..:(

  2. 102
    Anonymous says:

    I seldom have time to read more than a couple dozen of the responses, but I took a little more time today and it was so much fun! Melissa, I was so much fun to read your responses, it really seemed like a group conversation! Thanks for taking the time for personal responses, your mom and sister do the same now and again and it really makes it live! How about Ice, Ice, Baby, it was my kids Jr. High song, but that song really reminds me of a “time”

  3. 103
    TN Girl says:

    Hey Melissa! Thanks for taking us back.

    Middle School – “Purple Rain”. I was so love sick over several boys, but too scared to let any of them know.

    Senior Prom – “Forever Young” – Rod Stewart. I think this was the most fun I had because I’d out grown all of the worry over what other people thought. I was dating a great guy named John and we danced the night away! What a blast!

  4. 104
    Allison says:

    I remember being in 8th grade and having a total jr. high crush on a good guy friend. Everyone of our friends knew I liked him, but he was “dating” someone else. Well, Savage Garden’s “Truly, Madly, Deeply” came on at the 8th grade Valentine’s Dance, and one of my sneaky guy friends asked my crush’s girlfriend to dance. Who was left? Me! So we danced to “Truly Madly Deeply” the song of my unrequited 14-year old love. 🙂

    Melissa- I had dinner with you and your mom and Jordan Haines at Black Eyed Pea in I think Spring 2002- I don’t know if you remember me- I was a couple years behind you at LCHS. Hope all is well!

  5. 105
    Janice says:

    My kids who are now 23 & 26 know that if Color My World by Chicago is playing I will always find their dad. It became our song in 1972 – we were in the 9th grade.
    As time goes on I realize
    Just what you mean to me
    And now, now that you're near
    Promise your love
    That I've waited to share
    And dreams of our moments together
    Color my world with hope of loving you.

  6. 106
    Anonymous says:

    Yeah, Journey or Chicago songs rocked my world especially at dances.
    I remember a regular middle school dance event that we had every other month. I was infatuated with someone 2 years older than me and wanted him to ask me to dance, but he was super shy. Instead, a guy 2 heads taller than me and the same age became my slow dance partner for the evening. While I danced with the giraffe, the other dude and I stared at each other when I would go around in circles listening to Hard Habit to Break with Mr. Bean pole and my head at rib cage level. Last time I heard, the lanky master married someone 3 heads shorter than himself.

  7. 107
    Tanya says:

    “American Pie” — with a “first love” at a sock hop in jr high.

  8. 108
    Cristie says:

    My Dad was the suprerintendent of our school so he and my mom were at EVERY dance I ever attended. In light of that, it’s amazing any boy ever asked me. 🙂 God is good!! My,my, aren’t those years precious and painful all at once? Anytime I hear Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”, I remember my Junior Prom and every time I hear “I’ll be watching you” I think of a young man I very much loved. So many songs..so many memories.

  9. 109
    Traci says:

    Did somebody mention Love’s Baby Soft?! Oh my gosh, how I would love to get my hands on some of that good smelling stuff.

    My first dance was 9th grade…I was a cheerleader, he was on the football team and I was oh so in love. The song was “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All” by Air Supply. He broke up with me the next day because I refused to kiss him that night (I was way too scared!!). Ah yes, let’s do thank God for unanswered prayers girls!

  10. 110
    Big Mama says:

    Let’s just say that there might have been a lot of tears and lip-synching in the mirror to “Separate Lives” by Phil Collins the day I found out my boyfriend was moving to a new city with his parents.

    It was all very dramatic.

    In fact, I wasn’t sure I would love again until a month later when a cute junior in high school asked me to prom.

  11. 111
    Anonymous says:

    7th grade is just awkward and ugly for everyone. I was no exception. I wanted to look like Marcia Brady, but looked more like Jan.

    I wore a dress that my mother made to my first dance. It had a navy back ground with flowers as big as my head covering the landscape. To complete her creation, mother had added yellow rick rack around the sleeves and hem.

    The best part was that we found some yellow sandals to complete my ensemble , and I got to wear perfume ( white shoulders) Between the aqua net and perfume, my poor date had to be gasping for air.

  12. 112
    Anonymous says:

    Growing up in the 70's, I would say, we had the greatest music ever! From the Motown of the early 70's to the disco in the latter part of the decade, and everything else in-between, I loved it all!!! — Gladys Knight and the Pips, Marvin Gaye, The Fifth Dimension, Bread, Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, Three Dog Night, KC and the Sunshine Band, The Bee Gees, Donna Summers and so many more!

    And though I LOVED the music, I was one of those who was raised in a church that basically believed that dancing was a sin. It ranked right up there with the sin of going to movies, and of course, the more outrageous sins of drinking, smoking, and swearing. I suppose it was the sin nature in me that wanted to do all those things and more. Thank the Lord after many years and much soul searching, God & I HAVE worked out my salvation.

    But I digress……I am so thankful that in recent years there is quite an abundance of good Christian music available that wasn't around in my younger days. I still love to listen to music, but now it is all the Christian artists and songs, and I am thrilled that my kids love to listen to them too!

    Regardless, you gotta love……. Starlight Vocal Band – Afternoon Delight, Rupert Holmes – The Pina Colada Song, Feelings, The Hustle, Gloria Gaynor – I will Survive, Chicago – If you Leave Me now, Eagles – Best of My Love, Manfred Mann – Blinded By The Light, Bachman-Turner Overdrive – You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet…….

    I still love the 70's! It was groovy!!!

  13. 113
    troxsarah says:

    You got to go tanning in Junior High?! Your mom is so cool.

  14. 114
    Sandy says:

    Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around & Fell in Love. Still love that song but I'm a little embarassed by the lyrics now that I know better. Funny the things we sang out loud that we would never dream of doing. Be careful little ears what you hear… 🙂

  15. 115
    Nesha says:

    I never went a dance during school years. I was happy with being in my jeans at the barn than in a dress. Plus, the town I grew up in was 100% country music. We thought we were so bad in every way for sneaking off and listening to Bonnie Tyler, Heart, Chicago, Richard Marx, etc. Instead of no dancing like in ‘Footloose’, we could dance but only to country.

  16. 116
    Julie Temple says:

    I wasn’t the girl who got asked to dance. I was the girl who watched her popular (prettier) friends dance with the cutest boys while she saved their seats along the perimeter of the gym. The song that every seventh grade girl hoped to dance to with her crush (because she knew, if he asked her to dance to that song, it had to be a sign of his true intentions, his undying love and devotion 🙂 was “I Swear” by Boyz II Men.

    It was the last dance of the year and I was standing along the edge of the dance floor putting out the “I’m available” vibe in typical jr. high fashion, looking at the ground and singing along with the music, when I heard the DJ announce that the next song would bring the evening to a close. I saw (who I thought were my friends at the time) in the middle of the crowd start to couple up and rock back and forth to “I Swear.” I watched. I saw one of the girls whispering in the ear of her partner, then they headed my way. He asked me to dance and I must have said yes because he grabbed my hand and lead me to the middle of the dance floor. That moment, “I Swear” I will never forget.

  17. 117
    Anonymous says:

    The funniest moment I remember is in my junior year of high school. I had my wisdome teeth out a few weeks before a winter formal. They put in stiches that are supposed to be self-dissolving. However, right in the middle of a slow dance with a cute guy, a big wad of stiches fell out on to my tougue!!! What is one supposed to do in a moment like that? Pick them out? Say, “excusth me, my mouth ith full of stiches??”. So I just snuggled in a little closer and spit the wad over his shoulder. To my knowledge, he was none the wiser. I still wonder, to this day, if someone saw and thought I was completely disgusting for spitting on the high school cafeteria floor during a formal!


  18. 118
    Anonymous says:

    Like a good Conservative Baptist girl from the North was allowed to dance??? Don’t ya know satan is the DJ? 🙂 My dad gave us no dancing options. I can laugh about it now, because I’m 42. 🙂

  19. 119
    bgrannaboo says:

    ‘Me and Bobby McGee” and the guys name was David.Ha Ha Go figure.

  20. 120
    April says:

    My junior prom was the only dance I went to in HS, and I disliked it so much I skipped my senior prom.

    BUT there are quite a few songs that bring me back to my flag corps days! I heard The Heat Is On at the grocery store yesterday, and it was all I could do not to find a broom and perform my old routine right in the store!

  21. 121
    Li'l Rae says:

    this has been a stinkin' hilarious trip down memory lane! The funny part, to me anyway, is that some of those awesome 70's & 80's tunes are being played at the Middle School dances now (so I have heard)!

    I graduated from a really, really small school (seriously – there were like 20 people in my class) so we didn't have any dance except the Jr/Sr Prom. I was majorly left out on the whole "awkward slow dance with a date" though because my dad was the school superintendent (& therefore ALWAYS AT EVERY PROM) – talk about a date killer for sure! 🙂

    The family story that has come from Sr. Prom, however, is one that probably will be passed on for generations. My mom was trying to help me out in the whole "date" department and suggested I invite one of several boys from other towns that I knew through 4-H. Only problem was that all of them were already in college – 250 miles away! Then she suggested a boy we knew from a rival high school down county way and I was cool with that 'cause he was cute, but I wouldn't ask him because he had a girlfriend (or so I had been told)! So, I went solo and had a great time anyway. After all, most of us had known each other – even the "dates" that were there – since grade school! 🙂

    Fast forward several years and I actually did go out on a "real" date with that cute boy from the rival school after a chance meeting at a basketball game between our respective high schools. This April we will celebrate 20 awesome years of marriage! Sometimes Mother does know best! :):):)

  22. 122
    revjen says:

    Goodness, I think I have blocked all memories of Middle and High school from my brain. Way too stressful trying to “fit in”. So glad I learned who I really “fit in” with! Gota love our God!!

  23. 123
    One Happy Chic says:

    everyone’s comments are just too good, and they bring back so many memories . . . journey, reo speedwagon, air supply . . .

    i’m not sure i would call it dancing, but wasn’t it fun? we just swayed back and forth to the music. the best part – the very last song of the night – always something slow and oh, so emotional. journey had the one i loved the most . . . faithfully!

  24. 124
    Amanda says:

    Regarding Melissa going to the tanning salon in junior high, there is a phenomenon in which younger sisters get to do things much, much earlier because their big sisters get to. I was already in 10th grade and had a car when Melissa was in 8th grade.

    What I remember about my first junior high dance was that I was with my friend and her mom when I bought my dress. When my mom saw it, she hated it. It had a v-neck that she thought was too revealing. So she sewed (this may have been the one and only time she sewed) a piece of lace into the v-neck. Although I didn’t think it was a big deal, I never lived that down among my friends. One of them will still bring it up if she has the chance!

  25. 125
    ThirtysomethingMom says:

    My mom was the Assistant Principal where I went to middle school. So I didn’t do much dancing at the 8th grade dance. The poor boy was scared to death. It was still fun getting dressed up!!! I also tanned for a month! That was back before I knew about skin cancer and wrinkles!!!

  26. 126
    Luv2Praise says:

    I am amazed at all the Siesta’s who are around my age! Amen!

    We always drove around after the dances (High School) listening to Queen, Billy Joel, Bread, Kansas, etc. My siser’s favorite song was Knights in White Satin. She had that played at her wedding back in 1977. Have you ever tried to dance to that one!!!lol (you can’t!) She is still married to that very same man though. I guess the song you play doesn’t have much to do with the stability of the relationship! Thank the Lord!

  27. 127
    Lindsee Lou says:

    So not a romantic memory here, but what takes me back is “All Star” by Smashmouth.

    Way back to like 6th or 7th grade floating down the river. And singing it literally on our drive the whole way there.

    I’ll have to think of more!

  28. 128
    Melissa says:

    Amanda I just died laughing at your post. I had totally forgotten that Mom sewed that fabric on!

  29. 129
    kdear says:

    Well, interestingly enough, 27 years ago, this young man walked into my parents’ living room with a couple of his buddies, one of whom was my boyfriend. I was all of 15 years old, and this young was much older. He was 16, and he had just gotten his driver’s license and was trying it out in snow for the first time. I really didn’t pay much attention to him, because after all, it was his buddy who was my boyfriend, not him.

    Well, the boyfriend and I broke up, and the young man with the driver’s license kept calling me. We took things reeeaaally slow and five months (dog years to a teen ager) later we started dating. We got married four years after that. We were EXTREMELY mature. I was 19 and he was 20. That young man will be walking into my living room again this evening. Its snowing again.

    I have always liked Journey. They had one song called Stone In Love, not one of their big ones. That song always has reminded me of us when we were young.

    Those summer nights are calling
    Stone in love
    Can’t help myself I’m falling Stone in love…

    The memories never fade away,
    Golden Girl I’ll keep you forever…

    You know, I was kind of mad at my husband before I started thinking about all this…maybe I’ll just get out my old Journey CDs and think about being mad tomorrow.

  30. 130
    Taylor and Robin says:

    Melissa! Man, do I have one…this song always takes me back to riding to First Baptist Church with you and your mom when we were in 6th grade. I don’t hear it often, but it takes me there every time!

    “Sittin’ in the rain
    Water on your brain
    Got a hole in your boat
    Trying to stay afloat
    Has got you down
    I’ve got a wind in my sail
    Rubber boots and a pail
    I’ll throw you a line
    Rest assured that i
    Won’t ever let you drown
    ’cause when you’re up against the wall
    You know I’ll be here for you, for you
    When you rise and when you fall
    I’ll always be here for you, for you…”

    Gotta love old school Michael W. Smith!

    Hope you are well,
    Robin (Kellam!) Ince

  31. 131
    michellemabell says:

    I wasn’t into my dances in middle school….they were awful…but rollerskating on Friday nights….now you are talking!!

    Air Supply definately takes me back to dimmed roller rinks with disco ball above….

    I wasn’t that great of a skater and the boy I was ga-ga over played hockey.
    I was hoping and praying I wouldn’t fall or trip….egads so glad those days are over!!!!

    Michelle in VT

  32. 132
    The Johnsons says:

    I cannot even think of it right now but you’ll know the song. Zack Morris and Kelly Capowski sitting outside the gym breaking-up during their dance. Same thing happened to me at my 8th grade dance – same song. That was a bummer.

  33. 133
    Libby says:

    I graduated high school in 1985 and only went to two dances the whole four years I was there. I was more of a rock n roller than most of the girls at my all girl catholic high school in uptown(very preppy) New Orleans, so I was a bit out of place. And besides, I didn’t really care for music from the 80’s. However, I remember going to Skate Country and wanting desperately to be asked to “couple skate” to the song Strawberry Letter 23 back in the 70’s and loving that song! I also love anything from Paul McCartney and Wings.

  34. 134
    Julie says:

    Everytime I hear any 80’s music I think of my very first prom date as a freshman. He was 6’2 and I was barely 4″11 and on top of that my mom tried to highlight my hair and it came out ORANGE, we covered it with brown as well as we could but those pictures still have a red tint to them! I thought my life was over… Oh if I had only known…

    Thanks Melissa for bringing up some

  35. 135
    Taylor says:

    hey Melissa! such a fun post. high school: A Moment Like This by Kelly Clarkson–very dramatic! 🙂

    other: I Love You Always Forever by Donna Lewis (i never knew who sang it and just had to google it!)


  36. 136
    Kylerjamesmom says:

    Mine would be Garth Brooks “The Dance” at our 8th grade dance.

  37. 137
    Mel @ Studio MCA Designs says:

    “On the Wings of Love” takes me right back to the skating rink!

  38. 138
    Anonymous says:

    Separate Lives by Phil Collins, oh Big Mama, you have transported me back in time.

    I met this guy at a camp I worked at during the summer. He was about to be shipped overseas for an Army assignment. We fell in love (whatever that means) 1 week before he had to depart. We corresponded for a time via mail. After about a year, I found out that he was engaged and soon to be married. That dirty dog! I sang Separate Lives in the mirror using my hairbrush as a microphone and cried every day for umteen days!

    It was shortly after that “heartbreak” that I must of been desperate to forget the military dude and begin dating a guy who had only half an ear! His song with his former girlfriend must’ve been Weird AL Yankovic’s “Just Eat it”!

  39. 139
    Anonymous says:

    Oh Melissa- I am laughing out loud.

    Pat Benatar- We Bleong….8th grade….need I say more?

  40. 140
    hisfivefooter says:

    Anything by Journey. The song, “Your love is lifting me higher..than I’ve ever been lifted before” Reminds me of summers in Montana (it always came on the radio whilst I was picking rocks out of fields!)Now I believe it is a Christian song, or should be madeover like Travis did to “Annie’s song”. Unfortunately, I must be honest and admit a deep and abiding love for Foreigner, Air Supply (egads!), Lionel Ritchie (Truly was my boyfriend and I’s song..until he dumped me!LOL) and even farthe back…Barry Manilow! Yes, cringe if you must, but for crying out loud, he wrote the songs that made the young girls cry (that was me). My girlfriend and I used to pretend to sing with mikes with the stereo blasting, we were in a concert of our own while the parents were out for dinner! Lord help us, belting it out and pretending we knew what love was! This whole post made me smile! Thanks!

  41. 141
    Heather says:

    I remember not even asking to go to my first middle school dance because I thought my (very intimidating) father would just say no anyway. When my parents found out, they laughed and told me I could go to the next one. I wish they wouldn’t have (I rather liked not having the “pressure” of going, you know?!?!). 🙂

  42. 142
    Nichole's Mom says:

    REO Speedwagon… Yikes!

    I Can’t fight this feeling anymore
    I’ve forgotten what I started fighten for, it’s time to bring this ship into the shore and something something something – Forever…

    Oh brother! Then there was Free Bird by Lynard Skinnard.

    I wept many a soulful tear over Jeff. Arn’t we funny?


  43. 143
    Jolinda says:

    I kid you not it was 1974 and a causal end of school dance called
    6th grade night. I wore a hot pink body suit and hot pants! I think I had on sneakers! My friend and I experimented with make-up for the first time! Locomotion and Little Willy by Grand Funk Railroad were the hip and happening tunes! The boys sat on one side of the gym and the girls the other. Wondering just who would be the first to get enough courage to ask someone to dance. Isn’t it fun reeling in the years. I think that was a hit back then also.

  44. 144
    Traci says:

    Our 8th grade prom has the theme of “Always and Forever”, so the song always makes me think of that, lol.

  45. 145
    Anonymous says:

    In the 70’s I remember going to one Homecoming Dance wearing a mini-dress/hot pants outfit that was navy and gray. I wore navy hose and white go-go boots…. Oh, the horror! Ha!
    Favorite fast dance song was “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. Slow dancing songs were “Colour My World” by Chicago and “If” by Bread.
    Memories……. Linda

  46. 146
    Joni says:

    Aquarias…that’s the song that always teleports me back to 1969–the year of my 9th grade prom. My husband-to-be escorted me (although I didn’t know then that he was going to be my husband). I was so nervous. When I danced with him, I couldn’t enjoy it because I was so afraid I’d step on his shoes. Then as the evening wore on I began thinking about the inevitable kiss goodnight. I worried for nothing. He left me at the front door without a hug or kiss or anything. Just a quick “good night”. I could’ve pulverized him!

  47. 147
    O'Nealya says:

    Melissa – I’m a little older (ok more than a little — 10 years!) but I had to laugh so hard at this post…You had the COOLEST parents!!! I was raised GARBC and was not allowed to go to dances! No homecoming, no prom!
    Now that I have a little girl I so can’t wait to take her to get her dress, do her makeup. Of course, she will be 25 or so according to her Daddy 🙂

    Since thinking about this post I am now singing “You’re The Inspiration” and “Look Away”. My husband is going to think I am such a nerd when he gets home and hears me…

    You guys are so much fun!

  48. 148
    The Farmer's Wife says:

    Why is it things from the most dramatic time of my life still have the power to embarrass me? I’m sitting here by myself in my own house, 37 years old, blushing about my big 1989 hair and songs that take me back there!

    I went to high school in Jordan Montana and I swear we were about 10 years behind the rest of the world. I remember wearing legwarmers to “the city” of Billings, looking around and realizing no-one else was wearing them anymore. Drats! What do you do with outdated legwarmers?! That you JUST BOUGHT…on sale, as it turns out.

    I remember lots of songs from that time, but the common denominator in them all is that if they made me want to cry, I put them on a cassette and played them over and over. Bryan Adams, Lionel Ritchie, you get the idea.

    I can’t go on! I was such a dork! The only real consolation is that I think a lot of Siestas were too, and I think they are amazing women, today.

  49. 149
    Anonymous says:

    These are so fun to read! Totally takes me back. The first dance I went to was as a sophmore, to fall homecoming. This was a big deal. A friend, Brian, asked me to go and we doubled with two people who, for the life of me, can I remember their names. Brian and I sat beside each other in science class and talked a lot. However, he did NOT talk to me the ENTIRE evening!! Not through dinner and then only to ask me for one slow dance. I couldn’t figure it out, but it made me mad. Why ask if you’re not going to talk to me? Good grief. I don’t remember talking to him much in science after that!
    Melanie Miller

  50. 150
    Anonymous says:

    This is my favorite post!! Let’s see…senior prom–I had giant, hairspray-shellacked hair and a dress that Scarlett O’Hara would have worn…it was pepto-bismal pink and I wore it with a HOOP, for crying out loud! My boyfriend had on a MIAMI VICE tux!!! It was MAUVE!! And we danced to Lover Boy and fought most of the night. Ah…memories….

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