In the tenth grade there were two shows that absolutely could not be missed:
DANCE PARTY U*S*A
General Hospital was just filler until my beloved Dance Party USA came on at 4:00. With my half-gallon (yes, half-gallon) of ice cream and spoon in hand I was on the couch ready to “party” with all of my dancing “friends.”
For those of you not familiar with the show it was a lame 80’s version of American Bandstand. Teenagers dancing to popular music of the time with "regulars" dancing their asses off as my ass made an deeper indentation on our living room couch.
You felt like you knew the kids who were on there every week, well…at least I did.
I dreamed of being one of them even though my dance skills were questionable.
The most famous alumni from the show is Kelly Ripa who had enviable gigantic hair, enviable cute outfits and an enviable boyfriend named Chris Kelly. If she would have married him her name would have been KELLY KELLY. Don’t think I didn’t lay awake in bed at night thinking about that.
Warning: White people dancing and lip syncing like fools.
Kelly was just another dancer on the show at that point, along with a few other standouts:
Heather “Princess” Day – Heather, excuse me, Princess was in love with...guess who…Huey Lewis!
Just kidding, Heather loved Prince. She dressed like Prince, wore a lot of spandex and lace and went nuts when a Prince song would come on. OH AND SHE WORE A TEAR ON HER FACE EVERYDAY OF HER LIFE THAT SHE SAID SHE WOULDN'T TAKE OFF UNTIL THE DAY SHE MET PRINCE.
Phil Ferrara – Phil had a last name that was soooo close to mine - just off by one little letter. In my demented mind Phil and I were related. We had to be. Phil was not the cutest and not the best dancer by any means and had super curly hair. Further proof we toootally could have been related.
|My cousin Phil.|
Eddie O’Neill – Ok, here we go. So Eddie O’Neill was my Dance Party USA crush/obsession. I would tape the show and pause when they focused on Eddie dancing and look into his bedroom eyes, trying to make some sort of cosmic connection with him through the television. When commercials came on I would get back to my pecan praline ice cream and the storyline in my head of us spending our lives together and what our children’s names would be.
|Yup - here's my guy. |
I had that same blazer.
I wrote Eddie a love letter and mailed it to the USA Network. He wrote me back. I have desperately gone through old boxes of notes/pictures/love letters looking for Eddie's letter which I know is here somewhere - never in a million years would have thrown something that important away.
It was a form letter that looked like it was typed out on a word processor and had been photocopied 900 times.
It told of Eddie’s likes and dislikes and was signed at the bottom, in what I believe could have been actual ink.
But he wrote me back. Well, he signed the bottom of a piece of paper. It happened.
|I DIED! He's 24!|
I'm sure he was thrilled that I wrote him back.
And so begins my love affair with older men. He was 24! I was 16! He had to have been the oldest guy on the show by a long shot. While the other kids were going home after the shoot to do their homework ol' Ed was heading out to the bar.
I still think about you Eddie, especially when I eat ice cream straight from the carton with a spoon while listening to Klymaxx or Shannon or Teena Marie. Which isn't that often. Not really. Well, sometimes.
I went to a Zumba class last night and I danced like a maniac in the back row. I had Dance Party USA on my brain.
I imagined being sixteen years old again, the camera panning over to me and I smiled as I did a little robot-like move that would have killed it on the show. Then I gave the camera my best sexy-ass-shake as it panned up and away from me.