One of the things I find amazing is how, when I was in grade school, the most popular group activity was square dancing. Now you have to remember that I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, far from any barns, cows, chickens or cowboys, except in serial movies in the theater that we saw almost every week-end.
Part of our gym class consisted of a square dancing drills, basically exercise and precision dancing all rolled up into one. Eventually a group was formed to represent our school in a borough wide square dance contest. I was chosen and we traveled to other schools for contests, usually a high school, so we were with the big kids. It was indeed fun to participate in our school square dancing program. We had to buy bandanas and cowboy shirts, which I proudly wore but it was still Brooklyn.
The yukky part was having to hold hands with girls. I also had to hold a girl by her waist as we danced around the floor. I can still hear the music in my mind and the joy all of us had in Do Si Do your partner.
The other aspect of school was the productions of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals. The H.M.S. Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance that were put on. Singing in these productions reminds me that perhaps this was our era's hip hop of lyrics. Of course these were written in the 1890s, a hundred year before current hip hop music. It is a stretch to compare the two, but when you listen to the music, you be the judge.
All of this was in the upper grades in Public School. There was no Middle School at this time; you went from Public School to High School. These are wonderful memories of my youth, my innocence and an overall joy of being with friends doing these musical programs.