The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 April 2005

Growing up on the Hill

John Hendrickson, last heard from here back in February, favors us with another tale from the south side of the city:

A very fond memory of growing up in Capitol Hill was the amount of places a 'kid' could go on Friday &/or Saturday to dance. Capitol Hill Jr. High would have sock-hops following a few basketball games which were held on the basketball court. No street shoes allowed! Socks only, thus sock-hops. Mt. Saint Mary's did not have its own gym so it played basketball and held dances in the Sacred Heart School Gym. I don't think I ever attended a dance at CHHS. I am sure dances were held there but I do not know where or when.

For a young person growing-up in the 1960's love was found and lost near Robinson St. Just south of Grand Ave (36th street) on Robinson is the Capitol Hill Lions Center. At 7:00 p.m. the weekly dance in the bldg began. Why 7:00? At that time families had meals together at or near the same time each day. Home cooked from scratch meals. The first dances were held using a record player to play records we kids brought from home. Later on a jukebox played most of the new stuff and some of the earlier music. Might I add that there was no cost, all you had to do was make a selection and it played. Boys scanned girls and girls scanned boys. The idea I think was to locate the person to dance with through the night. You knew whether or not the person felt the same during slow dances. When you are in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade to dance with a girl so close that a piece of paper could not come between you and her head is resting on your shoulder while your cheek lays across her open cheek it is love. The events ended I believe by 9:30 or 10:00. Often you and your "find" went to different schools and you may never meet again so you savor in the smell of her perfume on your hand and shirt. Her hairspray lingers. But next Friday a new love might just be waiting.

Saturday night was for the IOOF Hall west of Robinson and on the south side of Commerce Street. To me and my family and friends Commerce was just called 25th St. The Hall was much the same as the Lions Club dances. The difference was that the females were strangers and you would probably never see them again.

WKY Channel 4 carried a local program fashioned after American Bandstand. The show was called the "Scene" hosted by media personality Ronnie Kaye. An old movie theater at SW 28th and Agnew (Yes! That is part of Capitol Hill also) had the seats removed and on the stage local bands would play and with an admission charge you could go in and dance your butt off. On some nights there would be a battle of the bands. Groups set up some times in different areas and take turns playing sets. Of all the dance halls this one I think lasted the longest.

Another point I would like to make is that only the IOOF was near home. Yet we walked to and from these places 99% of the time. We only asked for a ride if there was a downpour.

Posted at 8:47 AM to City Scene , Special Guest Scriveners