Before retiring, I was a teacher, a curriculum coordinator, an assistant principal and a principal. I have a lot of good memories from those 32 years of my life. But one that stands out in bravery and sense of humor was my experience as a Macarena girl.
Every year, we did some kind of promotion for our reading program. We wanted students to read A.L.O.T!! So we always had a “carrot” out there to encourage them in their reading. And having a contest that students get to participate in is the easiest and best way. One of our fifth grade teachers was a real jewel and had a great sense of humor. Her kids were always thinking of unusual things. So when she proposed that they come up with the perfect reward for the school if they met their reading goals, they set right to work. When they finished, they had a doozy of an idea. It was better than the time that the principal dressed up as Elvis and arrived in a limo to greet and thank children for their efforts. The principal was a great sport and even wore an Elvis costume with exposed chest hair. What a hoot!
Now for the new idea. A really popular dance among children and teens was the Macarena. The kids wanted the principal, assistant principal and the counselor to dance the Macarena in front of the school. Well, that was fine with me. I didn’t know the Macrena but how hard could it be?? The second part of the idea was that we should wear swimsuits.
Swimsuits? We were all OLD-I had grandchildren. And despite the fact that I am now a water fitness instructor and live in a swimsuit all year and have NO problem anymore with wearing it in front of adults at the Y, I am sure that I did NOT want to wear a swimsuit in front of the whole school. It would probably make the Atlanta news-not in a good way.
Well, adults can be sneaky, too. The three of us talked and found a way we could wear swimsuits. So we announced that we would do it at the end of the year IF they met the goals. THE DAY arrived. Parents arrived. Nothing like making a fool in front of everyone!!! The school was abuzz. The dancing was scheduled for 1:45 in the gym. We had a sound system all ready with the music. We just smiled when kids asked us about our swimsuits. It was close to THE TIME. Children were seated in the gym. They were EXCITED! We strolled into the gym. We were wearing raincoats. LONG raincoats. We were wearing hats from the 1950’s with feathers and veils. We wore long gloves. The fifth grade teacher began to encourage the kids to tease us about the raincoats. They wanted us to take them off.
So we did! We were wearing turtlenecks, and leotards, and 1940’s swimsuits. You know-the kind that Esther Williams wore in the movies. They were high cut and anyway we had on turtlenecks with long sleeves. They were longer than some shorts that women wore then. We were in swimsuits. That was the deal. We danced the Macarena and the fifth graders danced with us. It was a blast!
Today it is still a little scary that somewhere—out there—–is a video or two with us doing our performance!