The year was 1974. The room was numbered 104. I was in the first grade at the newly christened Lura Sharp Elementary School in Upstate New York. My teacher, Miss Kania, was a young woman that I found incredibly beautiful. She was smart and hip and pretty and had beautiful eyes. This was her first year as a first grade teacher, every year before and afterwards she taught third grade.
School officially started at 9:10. The buses started arriving around 8:45. Our bus driver, Mr. Curry, must have been a leadfoot, because bus 43 was always the first bus to arrive at school. If we had behaved during the ride, we were allowed off the bus and into the school for an informal recess before class started. If we were unruly on the bus, he’d park next to the playground and we’d just sit there, watching the other buses pass, watching our friends gather as they met each other before walking into the school, without us. He’d then let us off the bus at 9:05, leaving us just enough time to get settled before the buzzer sounded the beginning of our studies.
During the informal recess before class, Miss Kania often set up this old dinosaur of a record player. Normally used for playing records such as “Free To Be… You And Me” and instructional narration that accompanied a filmstrip, she let us bring in our favorite records to enjoy.
Scott brought in some old waltz record he’d pilfered from his parent’s collection. I don’t know why he liked those waltzes but he always did. He and Janice would try to waltz around the braided rug. He’d usually stomp on one of her feet.
Bobby (who was killed the year before we all graduated) brought in some nursery rhyme, sing-along type record. Once in a while he’d bring in something from the Mickey Mouse Club.
I always wanted to make everyone have fun dancing, so I brought in my Mom’s copy of “Rubberneckin'” by Elvis Presley. I’d get the girls to do 1st grade versions of go-go dancing and the boys would dance like monkeys all around Room 104. I cranked the music up so loud that it broke the volume knob off the old dinosaur of a record player. We ended up having to get a replacement. Miss Kania was pretty and nice, she didn’t scold me for it.
Today I stumbled upon the video for the Paul Oakenfold Remix of “Rubberneckin'” from 2003. I hope it makes you want to dance.