The Hand-Jive

I met some new people at Wishing Well this week – Les, who says “he’s a plodder not a dancer” but Maggie & I caught him on his feet later on, and May & Yvonne who were lovely to talk to.  Yvonne really took to the waistcoat my mother made and told me lots of stories about her & her daughter, Tina, and the clothes they had made including her daughter’s wedding dress which Yvonne hand embroidered back in 1997.  My mother & I are currently wedding dress shopping too and we are drawn to those with detailed beading, those which evoke a history of folk or culture, those dresses which tell a story and hold memories.  I’m wondering whether this project is as much about dress making as it is about dancing.

May gets up and dances the Jive with me, she’s laughing & gets others up, she’s not shy, she’s spinning and turning and it’s 1959 and The Shadows are playing and she’s smiling, she’s smiling.  And when the track’s over, she grabs her partner close and laughs “now it’s time for the smooching songs” before she sits down.

Elsie tells me about dancing aged 7-14, all the boys & girls together for charity dances in Crewe.  Now she spots the mistakes on Strictly – she can’t get up and do it anymore but she’s still got her eye on it, she can see how it should be done.

Barbara was born in Ontario and arrived in Crewe as a young girl – she remembers Latin American dancing with swishing skirts & high heels in Crewe Town Hall on a Friday & Saturday night, and then Irish dancing on a Sunday – her father who emigrated from Northern Ireland would play the accordion.

Maggie remembered dancing round the may-pole, the ribbons intertwining, she still dances with Lou-Lou her dog around the house and she gets up and dances with me – she holds my hands and we dance, we move – she dares me to dance with Pete, with Geoff, with Roland – who’s off for two half pints of ale down the local.  We talk about Elvis, pass slices of cake around, a Buddy Hollie tape plays on in the background, we do the hand-jive and I know that Violet can do it best – she doesn’t even have to think about it, it comes naturally.


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