It All Started with a Dance and Dad Standing on His Head

14 Feb

Joe and Mary Coleman Wedding Day January 19, 1952

Every couple has a story on how they first met.  My Mother and Father-in-Law’s story set the stage for their marriage of over 59 years.  It was the early 1950’s and the local hot spot on a Saturday night for teenagers was the Dance hall.  Wang Chang in their song “Dance Hall Days”  Really capture to flavor of the era.

Dad was hanging out the local Dance Hall in Kansas City with his best friend Bob.  To make a quick buck they would bet local patrons that Joe(Dad) could stand on his head.  Here is a classic never judge a book by its cover moment!   To the regular “Joe ” in the dance hall they would take one look at Dad and think this will be easy money in my pocket.  Dad walked with a cane and had braces on both legs.  He had Polio as a small child and his mother being the strong-willed Irish woman that she was didn’t let him do anything the easy way.  His classes at school were on the third floor and the Nuns wanted to change all his classes to the first floor so he wouldn’t have to walk up all the steps.  Grandma Coleman said, “No, if his classes are on the third floor, then he’ll go up the stairs.”
Anyway, back to the dance hall.. so Dad and Bob were taking bets that Dad could stand on his head. So now Dad is standing on his head in the corner of the dance hall and in walks Mom with her girlfriend.  Her friend happens to know Joe and introduces them later in the evening.  Mom was immediately enamoured with Dad’s charming easy-going personality.  They danced the rest of the evening! 
At the end of the night Dad asked Mom for a second date.  Mom had never made a date with guy that she didn’t actually know but there was just something about Joe that she just couldn’t say no.  She also felt a little sorry for him because of his leg braces.  She thought, “I’ll give the poor guy a chance.”
On their first date they had went to a local eatery popular with their crowd.  While eating their meal girl after girl came up to say hello to Dad.  Mom recalls, “It got to be ridiculous!  Girl after girl would could up to the table and say, “Hi, Joe.  Why haven’t you called me.”   Mom just chuckles about it now but she said, ” I never felt sorry for him ever again!”

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