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2006 Newsletters

Newsletter Home Slow Dance and Romance

So, why are the 2001 records so skimpy? 

Well, this was a roller coaster year for a certain Mr. Archer.
First he got separated in January. That curtailed his writing because he was grouchy
First he got divorced in May. That curtailed his writing because he was angry at the world.
Then the Big June Flood hit. He did actually write a little about that, but there were a lot of problems to handle.
Then he fell madly in love in August. That curtailed his writing because he was preoccupied.
Then 9/11 hit. That curtailed his writing because like the rest of us he was deeply depressed.

Need any more explanation?  Didn't think so.


The Official SSQQ News Source
Written, Slandered, and Misquoted by Rick Archer.

Our Motto : Surely there is no rumor too vicious to report !
Please relay any news or dirt to Rick at dance@ssqq.com

So What's Happening in the SSQQ Jungle These Days ??


Is SSQQ the Romance Capital of Houston?? 

30 SSQQ Couples got Engaged and/or Married in Year 2000.
Does this make SSQQ the Romance Capital of Houston?

Decide for yourself. Slow Dance and Romance 2000 (PS - this link is good as of 2006)


Karen Davidson and Dennis Clawsen get Married

Congratulations to SSQQ staff member Karen Davidson!  On Saturday September 29 Karen and Dennis Clawsen were Married.  Imagine my surprise when I found out about it just three days before the wedding!  It wasn't elopin', but it sure felt like it! 

Best wishes to a great lady and a nice guy!!

Kelly Baehr and Harsha Mokashi get Married

The former Miss Kelly Baehr met her handsome husband Harsha at SSQQ a couple years ago. Kelly was a first-year middle school art teacher when she moved to Houston from Iowa back in 1994. Kelly was sweet enough to come to help my daughter Samantha with various art projects here at the studio. Naturally I am very happy for her and Harsha. Here is her note: 

"Dear Rick, I thought I would drop a line and let you know that Harsha and I got married in Iowa, August, 18th, 2001. I hope all is well in Texas, we are currently living in New Jersey.
I came across the ssqq homepage, and was amazed to see my name on your list. Well, anyway, if it must be known, Harsha and I officially met at one of Darrell Armstong's parties several years ago, obviously we all had the same social circle friends of SSQQ.
I will never forget all the wonderful times I have spent with your daughter, Sammie, and can't believe she must be in 5th-6th grade (?)now!
Keep in touch and when Harsha and I visit in Houston, we will stop bye, tell everyone who knew us, hello." Kelly (Baehr) Mokashi

Donna Julien and Ken Adair get Engaged

"My thanks to SSQQ for having practice nights on Tuesdays at the Long Horn! Otherwise, I may not have met the man I am going to marry!

His name is Ken Adair. He is a previous SSQQ student. I met him at dance practice at the Longhorn on Tuesday, July 10th. I had only been to dance practice twice before that (I usually play softball with my work on Tuesdays - two rain outs in June - so I went to dance practice!). Also, I was scheduled to be in Melrose Park,IL on July 10 for a map computer training course for my employer. At the last minute the trip was cancelled. So I decided - go to dance practice! And there he was. I smiled at him, he asked me to dance, and we danced. I didn't give him my number (nor did he ask)! 

But I went back to dance practice the next Tuesday and he was there again, and again the following Tuesday! I had a rule though, I was never going to have a relationship of with any man I met in a bar! But, dance practice is not the same, and as you can see, I made an exception!!

Funny thing is, we're both from California. I have been here for two years and Ken has been here for a little over 5 years. He is from Sacramento and I am from Redding (about 200 miles apart). We had to move all the way to Houston, TX (2007 miles) to meet!!!!

And, we've taken a dance class together since we met and plan on taking a few more. Of course, at SSQQ!!" Donna Julien

Betty Biddy and Ken McElvain get Engaged

Ken and Betty met in my very own Western Swing class on Wednesday nights around May. In a class full of all sorts of trouble makers such as Tommy Huddleston, Diane Murrell, Sandy Lenarduzzi, and many more, I am amazed they could concentrate long enough to connect on the level that they did.

Betty whispered the good news to me on Sunday, October 1. Best wishes to both!


Mark Billingsley and Cindy Hansen get Married

On Saturday, September 1st, Mark and Cindy are scheduled to have their wedding. I imagine their first dance will be something to behold - they have been practicing with Judy Archer for several months in preparation!  

Mark and Cindy met right here at SSQQ in a Western class. They got engaged a year ago last August. Best wishes for both!

Douglas Saadeh and Jaime Potter get Engaged!

Doug and Jaime wrote in to announce they are getting married March 23rd. Doug and Jaime took most of our Whip classes earlier this year and are currently in Martian Whip. Jaime was sweet enough to surprise Doug with a pre-honeymoon trip on our recent VeraCruise trip. Best wishes to both!  (Click here for their cruise picture!)


Tina Taupo & Luis Nino De Rivera get Engaged!

Tina Taupo is the beautiful sister of SSQQ Staffer Dennis Taupo. I met her fiancee Luis in a recent Twostep class - Tina wrote to tell me Luis is pumped to look great at their Wedding Dance!  Best wishes to both!


Rafael Perez and Megan Ann Christenson get Engaged!

Rafael and Megan are engaged to be married on Wednesday, June 15, 2002. They are the first SSQQ couple that I know of who met in one of our Salsa classes!  I have heard that Latin dancing is good for the libido and this welcome news reassures me that Salsa is good for the spirit too!  Best wishes to both! 


Cole Liles has a Birthday!!

It has been only a year since Diana and Ben Liles experienced a nightmare and received a blessing that has changed their lives. Little Cole Liles was born 3 MONTHS premature. Here is some of the story from last year:

On July 28, 2000 we became the proud parents of two beautiful baby boys. Unfortunately they were only 27 weeks along. That is about 3 months early.

William Bennett Liles IV (Will) was born at 2lbs. 14oz. and Coleman Cooper Liles (Cole) was born at 2lbs. 6oz.. We have been on a roller coaster ever since concerning the  health of the two boys. Cole is SLOWLY but steadily improving and is still on a machine that breathes for him, but we hope to get off by the end of the week.

Will's lungs just were more fragile and he lost the battle on Sunday Night about midnight and we handed him over to the care of his grandfathers in heaven. We will be spending much of the next many weeks in San Antonio as Cole's cheerleaders. We ask for and thank you for ALL of your prayers and thoughts. We'll keep you updated as changes come.

Thanks from the bottom of our hearts.
Ben & Diana Liles

Cole slowly but surely gained health. After nearly TWO MONTHS in intensive care, Cole was strong enough to come home in late September 2000. How times flies!!  When I first saw Cole, he wasn't much bigger than your average grapefruit, but to look at him now he is a happy, strapping boy. I have never seen a cuter kid in my whole life which is saying something 'cause I have a certain daughter of my own I am pretty fond of (Samantha, I am proud to say, turned 10 this past Monday!)

Ben and Diana threw Cole a Birthday party at the studio on Friday, July 27th. Cole looked terrific. He had a big grin the whole night long. At least a dozen different people got to hold him and admire how cute he is. I was amazed at just how much weight he has gained and how wonderfully robust he looks!

Cole is no stranger to SSQQ. At least two nights a week he is at the studio in the company of his Dad Ben who teaches Western and Whip at the studio. His Mom Diana picks him up on the way home from work. Diana is a pediatric nurse - I give her a lot of credit for the miracle survival and recovery of her incredibly premature little boy!

As we celebrated, I asked Ben if a year ago he could even remotely vision at such an idyllic scene just one short year later. He smiled and nodded at the miracle turn of events. Ben replied, "I hoped it would turn out this way, but I had a hard time believing it would happen!"  

This little boy is a miracle. Congratulations to the parents for a job WELL DONE!

For pictures of Cole, click here


The Romance Magic Continues...

Tony Catalano Marries Karen Day

Email from Janet Barnes:

Just wanted to pass along that Tony Catalano and Karen Day were married on July 21, 2001 at the Lancaster Hotel in downtown Houston and left soon after for their honeymoon in France.

Editors Note: Karen and Tony are wonderful long-time SSQQ people who go 'way back' here at the studio. Tony and Karen have long been known as SSQQ's most colorful couple. Click here for their wedding picture! Now read below for their engagement story: 


Tony Catalano and Karen Day get Engaged!

Susie Merrill stopped me at the studio on Friday with a grin so wide it exceeded her face. She said that Tony Catalano and Karen Day had just told her they were getting married! 

I have known Tony and Karen for many years. They are two of the nicest people I know and I must admit I thought they made a terrific couple the moment they started dating about two years ago. 

I of course would never have told them that, but Susie on the other hand thinks she is the reincarnation of Cupid. Susie is a huge matchmaker at heart. She has had her eye on Tony and Karen for a long time. Now that they have made it official, Susie said she can finally be at peace... except that now Susie has her eye on another couple!  Poor Susie. 

In the meantime, I am extraordinarily pleased for Tony and Karen!  What a lovely couple! 

Speaking of Wedding Pictures, check out Barbara Moore!

Barbara Moore (nee Herndon) is a gal with a sense of humor. Just back from her honeymoon, I ran into Barbara and new husband Bill at the Longhorn. After I helped them up, Barbara smiled and asked me if I noticed any change. Actually I said she was much prettier than I remembered her. She said the marriage had helped her appearance considerably and was glad I noticed. First you should see how much Barbara has improved (Click here for her wedding picture!)!!  Then click here to figure out what the joke is about.

As Barbara wrote me when she sent me her wedding picture, she 'cleans up pretty good'. That's an understatement in my opinion!

Don Blakey Marries Sharon Shafer

Email from Janet Barnes:

Quick reminder that Sharon Schafer and Don Blakey were married on Saturday, May 26, 2001!  


Jim Bohli Marries Sharon Scribner

Jim Bohli, one of our long-time Whip students from the mid-90s, wed the lovely redheaded former Miss Sharon Scribner on Saturday, July 14th. Although they didn't meet at the studio, this doesn't prevent me from claiming partial credit since Jim clearly met Sharon through dancing (either Whip or Square Dancing, I'm not sure). 

Jim was in one of my most famous Whip classes. He was a classmate of SSQQ Instructors Beth Bowman and Jack Benard in 1994. I met Sharon this year when she took one of my Whip classes too - with Jim happily attending the classes with her as well. Sharon is a lovely, graceful woman indeed!

Best wishes to both!


Three New Wedding Announcments!!

So far, SSQQ has had 10 new weddings in 6 months. This puts us on track to equal or better our impressive record from a year ago when we had 18 SSQQ Weddings!  Yes, I still think our studio is the Romance Capital of Houston. 

Gary Bezemek Marries Elizabeth Monzingo

Congratulations to Gary Bezemek and the former Miss Elizabeth Monzingo!  I ran into them at the studio a couple weeks ago and noticed they were sporting huge smiles. Gary and ElizaI hadn't seen them lately, so I immediately stopped to ask when the wedding was. They grinned even wider and said they had gotten married back in April. Ah, so that was the big secret!!  Congratulations to both. I hope they will send me a wedding picture!  

Larry Carlton Marries Brenda Evett

Last summer 2000 a beautiful lady named Brenda Evetts was clearly one of the stars of my Whip class. In addition to her good looks and big smile, Brenda was also a natural dancer. She looked great when she did the Whip!!  However I wasn't the only one to notice. Almost immediately Larry Carlton took note and asked Brenda out. And now look what happened!!  Larry proposed to Brenda in September and I just now found out they tied the knot this past March. Congratulations to a great couple!

Larry Carlton is a holder of one of SSQQ's Lifetime Contribution Card holders. Larry is a carpenter-extraordinaire. Not only will you see his work on display in a week or two when Dracula's coffin re-emerges, but he designed and made the big "S-S-Q-Q" letters you see in Room 3 as well as the signs on the doors for the men's and women's restrooms. In addition Larry was instrumental in helping remodel the studio on many different occasions. However the thing I like Larry for the most is his wonderful annual Christmas hayride to look at Christmas lights each December. I look forward to it all year long!  

I am very happy for both!!

Barbara Herndon Marries Bill Moore!!

An excerpt from an email sent to me by Barbara and Bill's friend Mary du Plessis. They were married in Las Vegas on June 10. Apparently the hardest part was getting out of Water World that weekend to make their flight to Vegas!

The Wedding:

At 5:00 Bill's best man, Gerald and his girlfriend, Roseanna (she's all for marriage, as long as it's someone else's), meet us in Bill and Barbara's room. Barbara is breathtakingly beautiful in her simple lace bodice and satin skirt. Bill is completely dashing in his smart western cut leather jacket and trademark black hat. The limo arrives at 5:15. First stop is the Clark County courthouse for the marriage license, then onto the Candlelight Wedding Chapel. On the way, Roseanna explains her aversion to marriage. In their eyes, she and Gerald have a wonderful relationship (spanning 21 years) and she doesn't want to ruin it by signing a piece of paper. They really seem perfect for each other. I tell my version of Barbara and Bill's story: how they dated without knowing so, how she initiated their first 'real date', then never went home again. On the surface, it's good for a laugh, but there's no denying why we're here. They fit.

The ceremony starts promptly at 6:30, even though one carload of guests is still MIA. There's another wedding right after so we must start without them.

The simple, lovely ceremony goes off without a hitch. No one even notices that Bill places Barbara's 'fing on her ringer', since Gerald and I manage to contain our laughter. They kiss - we work out a group picture of everyone in the chapel - The Group is then dismissed - wedding party pictures are taken - the wedding party is then banished for Bride and Groom shots. After twenty minutes of hugging, kissing, and refrains of 'you look beautiful', the limo takes us back to the hotel. We speak with Felicia briefly and she tells us the 3-D simulator at Caesar's Palace is a must do. Mental note taken. We won't see Felicia and Cary for the rest of the trip. Too bad, they seem like fun.

The Group then sets up at Gilley's in the Frontier Hotel for BBQ and dancing. Barbara's off to change. We find out later that Sunday is Karaoke night at the club. Barbara and Bill's wedding dance has good background music. That's all that matters. David and I are exhausted and I didn't bring boots for dancing, so we opt out. A quiet dinner at Ballista's Hole in the Wall Italian Restaurant (one of the few places NOT inside a hotel), a carafe of house wine, and an hour of working out who all the celebrities are in the photos on the wall are enough to end our day. 


Barbara Herndon and Bill Moore Announce Engagement!

Email sent to me by Mary du Plessis:

Hi Rick 

Thought you'd like to know that Barbara Herndon and Bill Moore got 'officially' engaged last month. They met in the Beginning Two Step class in August 1999. After circling each other for a month or so (I was about to push her into him in the parking lot so they'd just get on with it) and dating without even knowing it, they decided on a 'real' date and have been inseparable ever since. 

The wedding is June 10 in Vegas. I'll report when we get back!  

(Editor's Note: Barbara is a tall, striking blonde lady and Bill is extremely handsome in the Tom Selleck mode. I imagine their wedding picture will be wonderful!  In the meantime, however, I have to report it is likely that Barbara cast a spell over Bill. Small wonder that he finds her so irresistible!  Click here for a quick look at our engaging couple!  

Did you see the picture?  Good, 'cause here's a joke: 

A daughter comes home from the Peace Corps in Africa and surprises her mother. The mother is so thrilled she can't stop hugging and kissing her daughter. Finally she says, "Sit down, darling. Tell me all about what you were doing."

Her daughter says, "Mom, I got married!"

"How could you do that without telling me!?  What's he like?  What does he do?  Where is he?"

"He's waiting outside on the porch while I tell you."

"What are you talking about?  Bring him in. I want to meet my new son-in-law."

The daughter brings him in. The mother's jaw drops in astonishment. To her consternation the mother sees a huge black man standing before her. He is practically naked except for a bone in his nose, hoop earrings, a feathered cod piece, an enormous head dress, and animal tooth beads. He is holding a very tall spear in an upright position. Her new son-in-law is straight out of National Geographic. 

The mother grabs her daughter, pinches both of her daughter's cheeks, then gets right in her face and screams, "Daughter, I love you, but I always warned you to listen more closely. You Dummy, ... I said a RICH doctor!!"

PS- if I am found face down with a spear in my back, please ask HPD to interview Ms. Herndon. However it will likely go down as "justifiable homicide" ;-)  


Water World!

On Friday, June 8, the Heavens opened up and poured down heavy rains upon Houston for nearly 10 straight hours. Most of Houston was completely flooded. More than 20 people lost their lives and the water caused over three billion dollars worth of damage. Many SSQQ students sent in stories from this evening. In particular, you can read about Steve Bahnsen's narrow escape from a flooding vehicle whose doors couldn't be opened!  Another very interesting story is Dan Green's fascinating minute-by-minute account of being trapped in the Truck Graveyard at TC Jester and the Katy Bayou... oops, Katy Freeway. His very funny story brings great wisdom as well: Don't curse people out in a storm ...because you just might end up spending the night with them at a gas station.

(2006 note: You can see three pages of pictures and read the stories sent in by members of the SSQQ community at Flood June 2001)


Bret Nelson and Laura Haslam Announce Engagement!

Email sent to me by Bret Nelson:

I just returned from Paris where I proposed to my girlfriend Laura Haslam - now my  fiancee - whom I met almost 2 years ago at SSQQ Practice night. 

Bret Nelson

Congratulations to both!!  Bret is a Swing dancer who was very active in the Swing community about the time he met Laura.



Donna Tillery Wins her Division!

Email sent by Donna Tillery:

Hi Rick.
Thank you again for the congratulations last night. I'm still kinda in a state of shock from it all. What blows me away is my scores. I received 4 golds (east coast swing, polka, cha-cha, and waltz) and 2 gold with honors in both 2-step and west coast swing in the open newcomer division against 7 other pro-am couples. Anyway, talk to you later. Donna T.

(Editor's Note: Donna Tillery is an SSQQ Staffer who takes care of Registration. She is definitely one of the world's genuinely sweet people, so it is fun to see her do so well at her hobby/passion)


Dave and Alison have a Baby!!

(Editor's Note: Dave Mammone and his wife Alison, the former Miss Terzakis, met here at SSQQ and were married last year. And here is some good news!)

Email from Dave, 05-01-01

Mom, Dad, and Baby are all doing fine.  Ali and I are going to venture to Longhorn tonight for the first time in 8 months to celebrate our first child and our first Anniversary (May 2nd).  I hope all is well with you and your family.

Email from Allison, 05-17-01

I saw the note that Dave sent you, and thought I'd fill in the details. We had a boy, Nicholas Anthony Mammone, on April 9, 2001. He weighed in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. ( although he's well over 9 pounds now!) We never made it to Longhorn that Tuesday night, but are aiming for another Tuesday soon! I'm REALLY ready to get dancing again! Maybe we'll make it to a Saturday night party at the studio before too long.........Alison. 

For a picture of the proud parents with Nicholas, click here


Eric Watson Marries Sherle Frost Morrison

Congratulations to Eric Watson and the former Miss Sherle Frost Morrison!!  For those of you who do not know Eric, he is quite a character. You might enjoy reading his amusing tale about his engagement in another part of this page. Click here. And you definitely want to see a picture of the bride and groom. Click here. Now here is Eric's latest letter. 


I apologize for not letting you know before the May newsletter. Sherle Frost Morrison and Eric Watson were married April 14, 2001. In spite of her liberated attitudes, higher degree, high powered job, obscene salary and general "inchargeness", Sherle insisted on changing her name to Sherle Watson. Sherle and Eric Watson will be back soon for more lessons.


Paula Henderson Marries Carlos Da Silva

SSQQ Ballroom and Swing instructor Paula Henderson got married to Carlos da Silva recently. Although I am unsure of the date, I believe it was April 14th. I would love to claim this lovely couple as another SSQQ Romance, but they met at their church. Phooey!!  Here is their wedding picture... click here

And here is the story Paula sent me about the wedding: 


Here is the wedding photo you asked for. Being a new bride I would publish the entire album if left to me. 

Many guests came from out of town. Carlos' sister came from Brazil. My mom, brother, two sisters and their families came from Kansas. Some of Carlos' friends came from Denton and Austin. 

We had our rehearsal dinner at Joe's Crab Shack. I strongly recommend it. We had a lot of fun!

The wedding was bit of an untraditional American one. Instead of bride's maids and groom's men, we went with the Brazilian tradition of having witnesses. Their job was to enter like usual but then to sit in the front row and simply witness.

Since we have such great looking kids, we had them standing with us.

These are my four flower girls. Three are nieces and the fourth is our friend from church. Unfortunately the fifth, Cali, could not make it because she got sick. This is one of my favorite parts of our wedding having these little girls following me around. Their big question: "Aunt Paula, can we see what is under your dress?"

Our wonderful reception was at our Church. We served BBQ with a great wait staff thanks to those SSQQ friends. We had a little dancing, great D.J and fabulous dancers from SSQQ as well! Talk to me about doing this in your Baptist Church! Our iced tea toast given by Carlos's son, Guto. Then we were whisked way by our private driver to spend our first night at Red Lion viewing the Galleria. We then spent a few days in Santo Antonio on the river walk. If anyone needs a tip a place to stay I can recommend our bed and breakfast. You just have to agree not to book during our anniversary week next year or any future year either!

We plan to take our extended honeymoon later to Brazil, so I can meet the rest of his family and enjoy my new husband's home country.

Thanks to all my replacements in April for allowing me the time to adjust in my new surroundings. I will back in the "swing" of things in May. See you soon, Mrs. Paula Da Silva.

Former Couch Potatoes Learn the Mashed Potato!!

(Editor's Note: This sweet story was sent in by SSQQ Staff Member Susan Schroeder. Susan designs Newsletters for Corporations while her husband David designs Web Sites. I might add David designed the SSQQ Web Site. They clearly had to fight dearly to overcome the dreaded dance handicap of intelligence. I applaud this disadvantaged couple for their accomplishments!  I might add before they learned to dance they were so bored they did "Bonnie and Clyde" reenactments by robbing local convenience stores just for the thrill of it. SSQQ is proud to rescue yet another couple from a deviant lifestyle and return to them their pride).

Every Friday night and Saturdays (when there isn't anything going on at the studio), David and I go to dance at City Streets on Richmond. We've been "regulars" there about a year and a half now. Most of the music there is TwoStep, Polka, ChaCha, and some Disco/Whip, so we've pretty much got all of the bases covered. We have become friends with the DJ and he will play some really fast Swing music for us. Except for an occasional Shaggie jitterbugger, the fast music usually clears the floor for us and we become the floorshow. I don't mean to brag, but we usually get applause. (It does embarrass me. You see, I have this anxiety that if I ever saw myself on tape I'd probably throw up and/or give up dancing!) David, however, has become quite the ham. (Gee, can you imagine that?) He'll wave back at the cheering, clapping crowd (which embarrasses me even more). People then actually will come over to our table to shake our hands and compliment us. They are so amazed when we tell them we have been taking lessons for just a few years. They especially get a kick when we tell them our first class was called "Two Left Feet." One lady come to us Friday night. All of her friends had already left but she stayed at the club just to watch us dance. She said she had been watching for quite some time and was so entertained by us that she finally had to meet us and shake our hands. Of course, they inevitably ask us where we learned to dance, which is why the cards would come in handy -- nobody ever has a pen and I can't trust them to rely on their memory for this important information. So, if you have no objection, could you print some cards for us?

The hundreds of hours spent at the studio have been a very gratifying experience and you have trained us well. Plus you taught us the Mashed Potato!  We went to studio after studio trying to learn this difficult dance we were unable to master as dance-phobic teenagers, but you showed us the way!  No other studio could ever have helped us make a breakthrough of this magnitude. We're proud to be SSQQ goodwill ambassadors -- spreading inspiration and hope to the two-left-footed masses.

Thank you for rescuing these two former couch potatoes!  Susan Schroeder

(Editor's Note: Okay, I admit it, I threw in the line about the "Mashed Potato". I feel a little ashamed of myself, but I couldn't help it. Many of our readers will be stunned to know I periodically "channel" the ghost of Ogden Nash ("candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker")... my fingers begin to fly across the keyboard and I am powerless to stop it. I tried to erase the line above, but piercing waves of pain penetrated my skull. I have no choice but to leave Susan's lovely letter marred with this inaccuracy "or else". Susan, please accept my regrets.)


Steve Ulrich and Cynthia Tuma Announce Engagement!

Last night Monday, April 16, Cynthia Tuma came up to me during Whip Practice Night and hinted that the SSQQ Magic had worked again. She had a very big smile on her face so I had a feeling I knew what was coming next. Sure enough, Cynthia told me she and Steve Ulrich, a gentleman she had met recently in dance class, had decided to get engaged. Later on I spotted them both on the couch sitting kinda "snuggly" together. This brought a smile to my face so I went over to shake Steve's hand. The twosome looked pretty happy together...

My Congratulations to both!! 



Mike Fagan and Trisha Bradford Get Married!!

On Saturday afternoon, April 7, Mike Fagan and Trisha Bradord got married. I was fortunate to be one of grooms, so I got a first-hand view of the ceremony along with my daughter Samantha at the Sunset United Methodist Church. It was a wonderful wedding, but unfortunately I have to go to return the tuxedo I rented right now or it will be late!! 

Ah, I am back from returning the Tux. 

Mike Fagan is my best friend. He is a computer professor at Rice (oops... he is now head of the "Applied Mathematics" Department) who is also a former State Whip Champion. His style of dance has always been so unusual that Mike was the guy "Martian Whip" was named for. A very talented man, he is not only a genius Computer Science researcher at Rice, but a State Whip Champion, a State Bridge Champion, and a champion at Foosball (although I am not sure what level). His only weakness is he has a great deal of trouble working a VCR remote. I believe it is this tragic flaw that allows me to like him because otherwise he would be too perfect for me. 

One thing that aggravates me is that Mike is able to get by on about 4 hours of sleep a night. As a result he frequently comes over to my house and watches Rockets and Comets basketball with me on videotape till the wee hours of the morning. Due to my odd lifestyle, it is no big deal for me to get up at 8 or 9 am the next day, but Mike can still get to the office at 7 or 8 am if he has to. I sure wish I had his ability to get by on so little sleep!  He teases me because unless the game is very exciting, I start to doze sometime around the 3rd quarter, waking up periodically to check the score. If the game is close, I struggle to reawaken so I can cheer my team to victory even though deep down inside I realize the game was over 4 hours ago. It is during these dozes that I hand the remote to Mike. The other night I awoke because Mike was cursing - he couldn't get the new VCR to fast forward through the commercial!!  I regained consciousness long enough to show him how to gently nudge the edge of the rotary dial as opposed to sticking his thumb through the middle of the device. Then I dozed back off to the most peaceful sleep in weeks - I was better than Mike at something. 

I have known Tricia Bradford for about 10 years. She is the youngest of 4 sisters - Jan, Elizabeth, and Louise - who have all taken classes here at the studio over the years. When she came to the big city to join her sisters, they immediately dragged her over to SSQQ. Tricia learned to Whip very fast and is now one of the best dancers in the city as far as I am concerned. My guess is Trish had her eye on Mike for a long time. When Mike became "available" in the late 90s, Trish made a beeline right for him. Mike had the good sense to reciprocate. Trish is good for Mike in that she matches his brain power pretty closely and she teases him back just as much as he teases her. Since Mike beats me regularly in the quick wit department, I applaud anyone who can dish it back!!

The wedding was sweet and simple. I was flattered to be included in the ceremony as one of the groomsmen. This allowed me a close vantage point of the proceedings all day long. The Bradford sisters and Mike's other groomsmen all kept me in stitches with their constant banter. So much teasing!!  

As an example, sister Jan's daughter Melissa was one of the Bridesmaids. Melissa is a recent "summa cum laude" graduate of Texas A&M. In addition to her brains, Melissa is also quite a beauty. All day long Trisha kept talking about putting a bag over niece Melissa's head because at her wedding no one is allowed to be prettier than the bride. It was a great running joke. 

During the ceremony, Trisha's eyes welled up with tears during the vows. Mike smiled and held her steady as she regained her composure. It was a very touching moment. The groomsmen were so proud of him, we nearly knocked him down slapping him in the back too hard as he escorted Trisha past us!  This couple was very easy to love and admire!

If you would like to read some of the anecdotes about Mike Fagan, there is an entire page devoted to the guy who gave SSQQ's Martian Whip its name. Enjoy!  http://ssqq.com/information/advent12.htm


Clive Good Passes Away 

In case you aren't sure who Clive is, here is his Halloween picture http://ssqq.com/information/hall9906.htm  #50) 

From Beth Griffin, 

The SSQQ student who collapsed at Longhorn Tuesday, March 20, 2001 never regained consciousness. His family removed life support last Friday, and he passed away on Thursday, March 29. He was 68 years old. 

Rick Archer's Note: 

Clive Good was a sweet, gentle man who was much liked by his friends at the studio. I did not know him very well since he had the sense not to take any of my classes, but many people have told me what a nice man he was. Clive never had a mean thing to say about anyone and always walked around with the biggest smile on his face. 

In a way, it is good that his last conscious moment on earth was spent with friends as he pursued his favorite hobby, dancing. I guess it is a fitting epitaph that he sort of died with his dance shoes on. 

His heart attack was very painful for people to see. There were a lot of people moved to deep remorse at the sight of this once energetic, vibrant man struck down in what seemed to be the prime of his life by a silent killer inside his body. It is of course a shame that the best efforts of medically-trained fellow dancers at the club combined with the paramedics could not undo the savage effects of a major heart attack. 

Clive was also very careful about his language. While you and I might call a well-curved backside a "butt", Mr. Good was indeed Good - correcting someone's language in a nice way, he asked to call it a "bum". With this shyness in mind, I am not sure how Clive feels about the only picture we have to remember him by. On our web site we have a picture of him dressed in his underwear (his Halloween costume), but I am told he always had a twinkle in his eye. Clive, wherever you are, it may be an odd way to remember you by, but we will always look at your photo and sense that you were having fun. Rest in peace. 

Email from Candi Angulo: 

Last night at the Longhorn (03-20-01), one of current SSQQ patrons by the name of Clive Good had a heart attack.  It was very unsettling for those of us that have gotten to know him and had the opportunity to go around the dance floor with him.  He is currently in ICU at Northwest Memorial (610 and Ella).

Please keep Clive in your thoughts and your prayers through this difficult time for him and his family.

And this from Gary Richardson:

A gentleman by the name of Clive (I think that is the way it may be spelled) had a traumatic episode at the Longhorn Tuesday evening.   Around 7:00 we were eating and he was sitting two tables to our left when he started shaking and then fell out of his chair to the floor (food and all).  Several people tried to help him (administering CPR, mouth to mouth, etc.).  They worked on him until paramedics (about six of them arrived and gave him about eight electrical shocks (whatever they are called), oxygen, shots, etc.   He never regained consciousness.   He finally got a pulse and they took him away in the ambulance to Northwest Hospital (if they didn't have to drive by).

Rachel said that he is a very nice man in her Sunday Ghost town class.   He is around 72 years old.   I heard his wife passed away a couple of years ago.   It was really tense for about half an hour as they stopped all music and turned on the lights.

We do not know his status after he left.   It didn't look good....

(Editor's Note: Apparently Clive did survive the heart attack, but just barely. It was a massive heart attack that left many people frightened and deeply distressed. Although Clive is listed in "critical but stable condition" as of Wednesday morning, witnesses gave him limited chance of success based on his continued failure to respond to treatment at the scene. On the bright side, many trained medical people from the dance community including Diane McCumber made sure his heart continued to work using CPR until the paramedics could arrive. Without them, he would have had no chance at all. 


Good News - Rachel gets her PHD!!

Rachel Seff, aka the Seff Group for her multiple personalities, informs us via email: 

I am proud to announce that I successfully defended my dissertation this afternoon, March 21.

My degree is a doctorate in educational leadership, with a focus in research and quantitative statistics within higher education from the University of Houston.

Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, May 12, 2001, at 9:00 am for all who are interested.  Details to follow.

(Editor's Note: Rachel requests that we change her nickname from the "Seff Group" to "Dr. Rachel" after her idol, Dr. Ruth, the noted sex consultant. All teasing aside, Rachel is to be commended for her wonderful accomplishment. She is a very talented lady indeed!)



Bruce Boulanger and Margaret Williams Get Married!!

On Saturday afternoon, March 10, Bruce Boulanger and Margaret Williams got married. I was fortunate to be invited to watch the ceremony along with my daughter Samantha. It was held in a lovely chapel that is part of Second Baptist Church. The ceremony was simple and sweet. I especially enjoyed watching Margaret's father walking down the aisle with Margaret since obviously I look forward to a similar experience someday. Margaret of course looked lovely and Bruce was as tall and handsome as ever. 

The only other two members of the SSQQ community I noticed were Katrina Burger and Jeannie Franklin. If there were more, please forgive me as I just barely got there in time. 

It seems that Sam and I parked our car ten minutes early, but Second Baptist is so huge it took us the entire ten minutes to find our way around the place. It didn't help that just as we walked in the door we spotted another wedding congregation. I assumed this was Bruce and Margaret's wedding, so I just stood there trying to recognize someone until finally it dawned on me this was not the right one. Then to confuse matters more, I saw yet another wedding starting to form in yet another area. Second Baptist apparently has four different churches. Goodness gracious!

Bruce and Margaret indeed met at SSQQ. My fondest memory is watching them sit on the couch during the Break and sometimes during Friday night Practice Night quietly holding hands together. I almost never saw them talking. They just held hands and smiled a lot!  

That image will never fade. This is a very special couple!  Congratulations! 


I Nearly Burn My House Down

This is a true story. I live in an old house in the Heights. Although I love my house, I could live without the water heater in the kitchen. It is so ugly, I have always hidden it with a decorative screen. Little did I know how much danger I was in...

Two weeks ago I stood in my kitchen chatting with the lady who cleans my house. As I spoke with her, I smelled smoke. Turning around, I saw flames down at my feet beginning to burn their way up the decorative Chinese/Japanese-style screen that I use to hide the water heater. 

I could have just put the fire out, but thought the screen was ruined anyway and putting it out would make a big mess on the floor with the ashes and water. I asked my friend to open the back door. However I was amazed at how fast the fire spread up the screen. The lady opened the door just an instant before I would have had to let go of the screen to avoid being burned. Instead I was able to toss it out the back door where it burned itself out harmlessly on the concrete. 

I looked under the water heater for an explanation. I immediately suspected the source of the problem was a 5-year old build-up of cat hair, dog hair, human hair, and lint from the nearby dryer that had collected under the water heater. I also saw a "burn pattern" that led straight from the water heater to the screen. My guess is some of the lint managed to build up under the water heater to the level of the pilot light, which ignited the debris. The flames then followed the lint to jump the 5-inch gap between the water heater and the Japanese screen. 

If I hadn't caught the problem when I did, the screen would likely have fallen in the only direction possible on top of a kitchen rug. Quite likely, the burning rug would have provided sufficient heat for the wooden kitchen table or chairs on top of it to catch on fire. From there a wooden staircase next to the table was a good candidate for catching on fire.

If I had been in another room, there could have been major damage since the fire was spreading so fast. Even more frightening, if I hadn't been home, I honestly believe the house would have burned down. An entire lifetime of books, artwork, computer files, videotapes, writings, clothes, furniture…. Everything….would have gone up in smoke. I was definitely lucky to be in the right place at the right time. 

Can you believe how easy it is for danger to lurk right beside you and yet you would never even guess it is there?  Rest assured we cleaned thoroughly under the water heater afterwards. And no screen will ever replace the one I lost. I look at that water heater carefully every time I pass as a silent reminder of my near-miss at disaster.


Jennifer and Andy Erich Get Married!!

Email sent by Jennifer: 

Hi Rick,

I just thought I'd turn ourselves in for the SSQQ grapevine. Andy and I just got back from our honeymoon in Hawaii. By the way- we wore those same honeymoon outfits in Hawaii as on page 8 of your Halloween 2000 pics. We fit right in! We also did a few dance steps on the beach for some very impressed beach bums. I don't think anyone in Hawaii knows how to whip. Maybe you should open a branch of classes out there!

Anyway- we got married on November 11 in Iowa. We danced our first dance to Lonestar's "Amazed" (the one you helped us with a little). We did wonderfully! Everyone at the reception was so impressed. Then the DJ played a few swing and whip songs for us to show off our moves. While everyone danced free style around us, we got to cut a rug with our slick moves! Our videographer took footage of the whole thing. He told us that he has taped 100's of weddings, but he has never seen great dancing like what we did! I can't wait to see how we did on the finished video.

Thanks again for being such a great instructor. If you recall we started with you back in beginning swing and followed you all the way through to Lunar Whip last month. Thanks for all your help. Don't take any crap from loud mouthed, unappreciative students. You have really given us a valuable skill and a strong common interest that we will share our entire lives. We'll be back in the studio to start either Zoot Suit or Martian in January.

See you soon, have a great holiday!

Jennifer and Andy Erich

(Rick's Note: Can you imagine a sweeter letter?  I am sure my heart would have pounded with pride as I watched this lovely couple sail across the dance floor at the wedding. Would you like to see Andy and Jennifer on their honeymoon?  click here. How about their matching Halloween picture?  It is #070. http://ssqq.com/information/hall9908.htm  Enjoy!!)



Kathleen Alexander and Kenneth Parker get Married! 

On Saturday, February 10th, SSQQ teacher Kathleen Alexander married the wonderful gentleman she met here at SSQQ back in 1999, Mr. Kenneth Parker. They were married in a small chapel in Galveston where I believe Kenneth's father was found as an orphan (I will fill in the details as I understand them better). 

Kathleen and Kenneth got engaged last year on Valentine's Day. They married almost one year to the day later. 

I am very fond of Kathleen. She has been helping me teach my Wednesday Country-Western classes for over a year and a half. I can easily say that Kathleen is a marvelous person. Not only is Kathleen very beautiful, she is extremely smart, and she is one of the warmest, most graceful people I have ever met. Although I do not know Kenneth as well, Kathleen says he is even nicer than she is. What a lovely couple!!

Kathleen has three grown daughters. One is up at A&M, one I believe is a high senior, and the third is a sophomore in HS. When the preacher asked who was giving Kathleen away, in perfect harmony all three girls enthusiastically said, "We do!!"  Apparently the three young ladies like Kenneth just as much as their Mom does, although Kathleen did point out the girls were getting a better TV in the deal so she was a little concerned about their sincerity. ;-)  

I would like to add that this is a very happy moment for me as well just to see the smile on Kathleen's face when she told me about the wedding. Congratulations to both! 

To take a look at two lovely wedding pictures, click here!


Rachel Seff gets Published! 

Rachel Seff, known to insiders as "The Seff Group" for her multiple personalities, gave me a complimentary copy of her brand-new book last Fall. I was of course immediately jealous because I would like to write a book too. However writing a book is the easy part; getting it published is even more amazing. Well, Rachel has accomplished both!  Here is an email she sent to me last week. 

Hi Rick, guess what! The book I co-authored, "60 Minutes to Success: The Ultimate Guide to Power Lunching" is actually selling quite well.

So much so that I have been asked to participate in a few business etiquette/career consulting programs around the Houston area.

All book signings are free and open to the public. Each will consist of a 20 minute program on business etiquette followed by book signings by yours truly. (That means they want you to buy the book, too. It retails for an easy $9.95).

Saturday, March 10, 2001. 2:00 pm - The West Alabama Bookstop located at 2922 S. Shepherd

Saturday, April 28, 2001 - 2:00 pm - The Barnes & Noble Superstore located at Highway 6.

Hope you can make it! - Rachel

Actually my daughter Sam and I visit the Book Stop store on West Alabama and Shepherd all the time. I think I might just drop in and harass Rachel to help deal with my bitterness. ;-)  It doesn't help that Rachel tries to soothe my feelings by promising to tell of her days as a starving dance instructor whenever she is on "Rosie" or "Oprah" or "Debra"...


John Kenyon and Jeanne Anne Chapman Get Engaged!

An email sent to me from John Kenyon recently:

Hi Rick, 

You may remember my fiancée Jeanne Anne Chapman and myself.  We're both redheads, I'm English and we have been to a couple of classes at your studio in Salsa with Maureen. In fact that is how we met and now we are getting married on March 10th!  We have of course booked a Latin band for the evening!


So What Terrible Thing Happened to Rick on his Ski Trip? 

I went skiing the final week in January. It was the first time I had been skiing since 1996. There were about 40 people on the trip. It turned out 25 of them had taken lessons at SSQQ at some point in their lives. People kept saying "hi" to me throughout the first day and I kept saying "hi" right back, then I would turn to someone and ask who that person was!  How embarrassing. 

My friend Tom Easley had called to invite me along as his roommate. He had taken his family skiing over  Christmas. Since Tom had done the "Daddy" thing by helping his two small children Tommie and Ashley improve their skiing, now he wanted to ski hard and ski fast. He also wanted to look better than somebody on the slopes, so he had me in mind. 

Tom and I go way back. He and his long-time friend Carol Gafford used to teach at SSQQ. In fact Tom met his wife Margaret here at the studio around 1986. Tom used to organize Beach Trips every Spring and met Margaret during a private lesson she was taking with me. Tom invited her down to visit the Beach Trip. One thing led to another and now they've been married for nearly 15 years!  My, how time flies!

Also along on the trip were Ted Jones and Margie Saibara who teach the Twilight Zone Whip class here at the studio. They have been close friends with Tom just as long as I have. The four of us hung out together a lot on the trip.

In fact this trip was a homecoming of sorts for me. I ran into a lot of old friends I had simply not seen for a long time. You see, I used to organize ski trips for the studio back in the 80s. Many of the people on this year's trip went on my trips and got to know each other. Then when I got tired of organizing them, a dance student here at the studio named Burt Eschenfelder took over and ran the annual trip for about 5 years. Then he too got tired of it - organizing ski trips is a lot of hard work!  Charlie and Beverly Roberts, who also met here at the studio and later got married, decided to take over for Burt. They have been running the annual trip for about 10 years. Their experience shows. This trip was extremely well-organized! 

Tom and Charlie weren't the only guys on the trip who met their wives at SSQQ. Also along on the trip was Gary Kryzwicki who met his wife Linda here. Doug and Sharon Hollingsworth were on the trip along with their close friends Irving and Sharon Carter. Take a guess where these four people all met...

Other old friends I ran into included Ken Schmetter, Michele Collins, Dan Taft, Tom Edens, and Jim Ponder. All five of these people were a big part of the studio back in the mid-80s. In fact this whole week was sort of an SSQQ version of the "Big Chill". About half the people on the trip all met each other through the studio back in the mid 80s. They danced together, partied together, went on Beach trips together, and went skiing together. Now 15 years later they still keep in close touch. During the year the group does things together like visit each other's birthday parties. 

Groups of close friends develop at SSQQ all the time. Today the studio is so big we have Western groups, Whip groups, Swing groups, and Salsa groups. But this particular group was the only "group" we had back in the mid-80s. They were my second generation "In-Crowd". These were the people I called my friends back in the 80s. We all did many things together. However as they tired of the single life and started to pair off, one by one they all left the studio. It broke my heart to see them go. They were my pals!!  However, dancing for most people is just a phase in their lives and I had to learn to accept that. Eventually I too got married, had a daughter, and drifted away. Nevertheless you can imagine how nice it was to reminisce during the week about all the good times we had together. 

I also enjoyed my skiing. As I was fond of saying on the trip, I am not a bad skier for a Texan. Considering this was my first ski trip in five years, I thought I skied pretty well. I was able to keep up with the group and not hold too many people back. That made me feel good. 

One thing that didn't feel good was my first day of the trip. Back in the 1995, I bought myself a brand new pair of expensive skis. I used them for one week, then stored them in a ski bag in my closet, and didn't see them again for five years. So naturally I brought them along with me for my trip this year, lugging them all the way to Lake Tahoe, California, from Houston. A boy and his skis. Ah, how touching!

So here it is the first day of the trip, everyone is strapping on their skis and getting in the lift line. They all called for me to hurry up and join them. I clicked one ski onto my ski boots just fine, but the second ski refused to snap. Finally I leaned over to see what was the problem and realized the binding was broken. Thank you very much, United Airlines.

So I rented some skis that day and took my broken ski to be repaired that night at a ski shop. The young man (17? 18?) tried to fix them, but finally gave up and said I needed new bindings. Fine, how much is a binding?  Well, $100 for two bindings. But I only needed one... Uh oh, they don't sell single bindings. You don't sell one shoe and bindings work the same way. Then I asked how much the skis were worth...Oh, $30 maybe. I was so disgusted. I told the guy to euthanize my skis and to rent me another pair for the week. This really pissed me off!  Brand new skis...

Tom Easley was along with me. Over in the corner I see him laughing pretty hard at my irritation over the broken skis after using them just one time in my life. Thanks, Tom. I am not in a very good mood at this point. 

So the young man says he needs to get some information from me to outfit these skis. First of all, how old am I? 

This irritates me. Actually I am so grumpy just about anything would irritate me, but this really irks me. What does the ski care whether I am 30 or 50?  Or do they do have AARP settings for older people?  This reminds me that I haven't thought jokes about aging have been funny for some time. Hmmph. 

So I lie about my age and Tom tells the guy the right answer, adding some stupid wisecrack. Thanks, Tom. 

Now the young man asks me my height. Apparently believing he can no longer trust me, he actually makes me stand against the wall to measure me. He says it is for my own protection. These statistics are computerized and all settings are based on a precise logarithmic ratio determined by the sophisticated software the ski shop uses. I can't believe the level of California-speak BS this kid is rattling off. Before he was a young man, but now that he is pushing me around, I have decided he is really just a smart-ass kid, probably a snow boarder. Now the Kid asks for my weight. I tell him 208. I worked hard to lose weight before the trip and actually knocked off 6 pounds ahead of time. I was quite proud of myself for this accomplishment. But the Kid doesn't buy it. Up on the scales, Mr. Archer. 

I am aghast that the first reading pegs me at 225. The Kid looks at me in disgust. Can't trust anyone over 40, he concludes. I start to complain bitterly. I am NOT 225 lbs, I insist irately!  Finally the Kid rolls his eyes and decides to give me a second chance. He comes over and carefully re-calibrates the scale until he is convinced it is balanced. He tells me to get on again. Now I have ballooned to 235 lbs!!

I am crimson with frustration. I am exasperated!  First my skis break while my friends tell me to hurry up, then they can't be fixed because they are nearly worthless, and now I am standing on the worst scale I have ever seen!  I am fit to be tied. With great precision the Kid types 235 lbs into the computer, then has the gall to stop what he is doing and look me in the eye. With the serious expression doctors reserve for explaining a deadly disease, the Kid says, "Mr. Archer, you need to take the measurements seriously. If we don't measure you precisely, you could get hurt if we give you the wrong skis or the wrong settings. Furthermore I believe your weight gain is the likely reason for the binding failure on your skis!"  

I am apoplectic. I start coughing violently. I don't even know where to begin putting this kid in his place. Doesn't he realize I haven't even skied on these stupid skis since my weight gain? And furthermore, I haven't gained one damn pound!!  In fact, I lost six pounds. All these angry thoughts race through my head when out of the corner of my eye I notice Tom rolling on the floor laughing his head off. He thinks this is the funniest damn thing he has ever seen. 

Now I suddenly grow suspicious. Tom is having way too much fun. So I ask him, "Tom, why do you think this is so damn funny?"

Tom tells me to get back on the scale. It immediately stabilizes at 210... that is until Tom puts his foot on the scale behind me and sends me up to 240. He cannot stop laughing. Showing how easy it was to fool me makes him laugh even harder. 

Now I see the Kid is having a difficult time suppressing a huge grin. When he sees me looking at him, his expression quickly changes as his guilt catches up with him. He apologizes for what he said to me about the bindings. He said that as I had my back turned to fiddle with the scales, Tom whispered what to say to him. At the Kid's confession, Tom nearly busts a gut. He is laughing so hard he has to sit down because a convulsion or a seizure is clearly a real possibility. Enormous apple-sized tears roll out of his eyes...

Tom doesn't know it, but I strongly considered murdering him in his sleep that night. ;-)

Other than this sordid moment, it was a fun trip. 

(PS - Don't feel sorry for me. I had it coming. Payback are Hell and I clearly deserved one for what I did to Tom 15 years ago. Tom was the victim of the best practical joke I ever pulled, the infamous Tom Easley Look-a-Like night back in 1986. If you would like to read about this great trick and other anecdotes about this one-of-a-kind guy, please visit our web site area known as "Adventures of a Dance Teacher". I think you will be very amused!  Click Here to read more about Tom Easley. 

I also wrote at great length about the "Big Chill" group in my story titled "Where the Creatures Meet". If you would like to read more about the movers and shakers of early SSQQ, Click Here).


Marty Macy and Franki Fowler get Married! 

An email sent to me from Marty Macy recently:

Just wanted to give you an update on a couple of your students.  Franki (Fowler) and I were married on December 30th at Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire.  We look forward to seeing you next month at SSQQ.  Have a great day..............Marty & Franki Macy

An here is another email sent to me from the Lovely Bride!

Dear Rick,

After about 10 years of dancing in the arms of many a wonderful gentleman at SSQQ, I finally got caught by one of them. Marty Macy and I tied the knot 1-30-2000 at Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire. It was a family affair, with 3 flower girls, my neice who was adopted from China 5 years ago, my new neice who is half Taiwanese (sp?) and my 12 year old neice, and my nephew served as ring bearer. Nobody cried (not the girls anyway). My long-time buddy and dance partner Steven Pirsch stood up for me as groomsman (I was very honored), and brought a few dancing friends, and several more attended as guests. Then off to the Westin for dining and dancing. I can truly say it was one of the most joyous days of my life, although I hardly remember it (and it was a sober wedding!!!

Franki Fowler Macy

(Editor's note: I have known Franki for a long time. In fact, I have known her so long I used to call her "Frankie Goes to Hollywood". That song came out in, what, 1985?  She's a sweetie!  I am very happy for her as well as for Marty. To take a look at this lovely couple at their wedding, click here)


Eric Watson and Sherle Frost Morrison Announce Engagement!

Recently Eric Watson, aka Mr. Name Tag, wrote to proudly announce his engagement to Sherle Frost Morrison. For those of you who may not know Eric by name, he is the gentleman who is known for the very interesting name tags he wears to dance class. 

I have to say I have always been mesmerized by these tags. Here is one of Eric's favorites: 

"Unlike other males, I don't only want one thing.
Do you also have a washer, dryer and a computer?"

Once in a while, when I am teaching a class that Eric is in, I will suddenly notice his name tag. Consumed with curiosity, I am unable to continue to teach until I have read Eric's current message. Some of the messages are very funny!

Despite my personal enjoyment of Eric's name tag messages, I was still pretty shocked to find out that the name tags actually played a part in Eric's courtship of the lovely Ms. Morrison. I will let Eric tell the story...

Email from Eric Watson to Rick Archer: 

Engagement Announcement : Eric Watson and Sherle Frost Morrison

Guess what? My name tags finally worked!

Wedding sometime next year because of the IRS marriage penalty and depending on completion of the Chevron - Texaco merger.  Aren’t those romantic reasons to pick a wedding date??

After some prodding from me, Eric agreed to share the inside scoop on the Romance. Here is the Name Tag story as written by Eric: 

I had been using the name tags for years to the tune of about one new one per week. I devised several dozen name tags, some funny, some anecdotal. Some bombed, but most were well received. It eventually got to the point that people would get upset if I didn't have on a name tag.

I first met Sherle at SSQQ when I went to the Sunday, 8/6/00, practice dance and asked her to dance and made a mental note that she was pretty and very intelligent. My tag that night read, 

If you want to practice, I'm safe." 

(Sherle has told me since then that she thought I was sort of goofy for wearing the name tag, but since she was new to SSQQ she wasn't making value judgments yet about the people she was meeting.)

The next Friday, her daughter, Gwen, was visiting from college and they came together for a lesson. I guess it was sort of a Mother/daughter bonding thing. At break I reintroduced myself. Gwen took one look at my name tag (I drive a small car because I have nothing to prove) and said "Look, Mom, he has a sense of humor. That's more than I can say about you." I took that as a positive comment - for me.

They were chatting about going to Longhorn the next night, Saturday. I offered to meet them there and asked Sherle to call me if they definitely decided to go. (It has always been a mystery to me if women prefer a man to be assertive and ask for their phone numbers, or if they would rather take the guy's number and call if they are interested. I have generally opted to not put the woman on the spot and accordingly gave Sherle my business card.) My impression was that she would call, but I became less cocky as Saturday wore on and there was no message. Finally, after 6 PM, Sherle did call and left a message saying they would be at the Longhorn. The rest is history. I found out later that Gwen had "bugged" her mother all day about calling. Apparently, Gwen was convinced that someone with a sense of humor would be good for her mother. She was right, of course.

(Editor's note: I have to hand it to Eric. Like Sherle's first impression, I thought the names tags were a little goofy, but at the same time I admit I always enjoyed them. I am glad to see his cleverness paid off. His sense of humor was always very amusing. After reading what it said, I would roll my eyes and move on, but I always had to grin too.

Eric has reminded me that a sense of humor is still one of nature's great turn-ons. Nice work, Eric!  And Congratulations to both of you!)  


Alan Hall and Christine Braunger get Married! 

Here is an interesting story. SSQQ Staffer Melanie Jones sent me to a web site announcing Christine Braunger's upcoming marriage to Alan Hall. Melanie knows Alan through acting (they have been in plays together). 

Apparently Alan and Christine got engaged in August of 2000 and tied the knot on New Year's Eve. I thought it was a great picture (see for yourself), but I wondered why Melanie had sent me on this wild goose chase. Then suddenly I saw those 4 magic letters: SSQQ. Hmm. Now I decided to read a little more! 

The article said that

Christine alternated between despair and curiosity until one evening Alan asked her to attend the Alley Theater's production of "Travesties." They been together ever since.

What made this story especially interesting to me is that it backed up my theory from the "Slow Dance and Romance" article that the numbers of people who get engaged and married through SSQQ is probably higher

SSQQ is quite frankly the easiest place in Houston to have fun and simultaneously meet a wide variety of very attractive, very intelligent people in an unguarded way. For example, were Alan and Christine to see one another at the Renaissance Festival where he worked, one of them would have had to make a very aggressive move to get the other's interest and phone number in a very short period of time. My guess is that at SSQQ, both Alan and Christine were able to get to know each other over a period of time and let things develop naturally over a period of time. 

Yet at the same time, their interest in each other precluded getting much further into their dance career, so I never heard about the romance till Melanie was gracious enough to share their story with me. 

Congratulations to both!  I must say they are a very attractive couple in their Renaissance attire!


Steve Dent and Sharon Roth get Married/ SSQQ hits 30! 

An Email sent in by Sharon Roth at New Year's: 

Hi Rick, 

I always enjoy your newsletter. Thanks.

We are a little late in our announcement, but your message about 'dance and romance' reminded me to tell you that Steve Dent and I (Sharon Roth) also became engaged last year. We met at SSQQ in 1998 and plan to be married in April this year.   So you can change the 29 to an even 30 for the Y2K stats!

Thanks for running such a great place.  I keep recommending it to everyone I meet.

Happy New Year!


(Editor's Note: Americans love round numbers. Thanks to Sharon's note, we do indeed hit an even 30 for the year 2000. As I have many times, I find this number amazing. Thank you, Sharon, for relaying this happy news!)


SSQQ 2001 Important Moments

Who What When
16. Jim and Jane Malik got married October 27, 2001
15. Karen Davidson and Dennis Clawsen got married September 29, 2001
14. Harsha Mokashi and Kelly Baehr got married August 18, 2001
13. Mark Billingsley and Cindy Hansen got married September 1, 2001
12. Tony Catalano and Karen Day got married July 21, 2001 
11. Bill Moore and Barbara Herndon got married June 10, 2001
10. Sharon Schafer and Don Blakey got married May 26, 2001
09. Gary Bezemek and Elizabeth Monzingo got married April, 2001
08. Eric Watson and Sherle Frost Morrison got married April 14, 2001
00. Paula Henderson and Carlos da Silva got married April 14, 2001
07. Mike Fagan and Trisha Bradford got married April 7, 2001
06. Larry Carlton and Brenda Evetts got married March, 2001
05. Bruce Boulanger and Margaret Williams got married March 10, 2001
04. Jennifer and Andy Erich got married November, 2000
03. Kathleen Alexander and Kenneth Parker got married February 10, 2001
02. Alan Hall and Christine Braunger got married New Year's Eve, 2000
01. Marty Macy and Frankie Fowler got married December 30, 2000
06. Betty Biddy and Ken McElvain announced engagement October, 2001
05. Rafael Perez and Megan Ann Christenson announced engagement September, 2001
04. Donna Julien and Ken Adair announced engagement September, 2001
03. Douglas Saadeh and Jaime Potter  announced engagement August, 2001
02. Steve Ulrich and Cynthia Tuma announced engagement April, 2001
01. John Kenyon and Jeanne Anne Chapman announced engagement February, 2001
Kudos for Kiddos!!

01. Clive Good

passed away March 30, 2001
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Not Everything you Read on the Internet or hear about in your Email is True !

I have heard that the Internet is riddled with lies and inaccuracies. For example, the truth is I tell all sorts of fibs in this Grapevine Column. So I lie a lot !!  Big deal. It is okay if I lie, but I hate it when someone pulls one over on me. Since I have a bad habit of saving everything, I occasionally have a chance to go back and compare notes. You might be amused to see what I have learned !  Click here

Einstein's Puzzle : Donna submits a Brain Teaser  !

Donna Ruth submitted a brain teaser that claims to have been created by none other than Albert Einstein himself. Oh sure. And it carries the caption that Albert felt that 98% of all humanity didn't have the smarts to lick this problem. Well, that's the kind of challenge that gets my blood boiling !   Anything  that proves I am smarter than the next guy is right up my alley. Well, five hours later and about half a dead tree in paper, yes, I got the correct answer, but I was humbled to the point where I doubt I am as smart of I hoped I was.

Shaken that I barely managed to stumble into the elite 2%, I must say the logic test is a worthy one. If you too desire to see if you belong in the upper 2% of the world's brain jocks, then go for it !  Click Here for Albert Einstein's Puzzle !

Riddle of the Sphinx or Why I hate Amanda !

Amanda Keiser submits this brain teaser :

What is greater than God, more evil than the Devil, poor people have it, rich people
need it...... and if you eat it you will die. What is it ??

(Amanda adds that 80% of a class of Stanford students got this wrong, and 80% of 4th graders got it right. I think she just added this to make me feel more stupid. It worked. I am so stupid that not only did I not have a clue what the answer was, I assumed I was as smart as a Stanford student because I got it wrong just like they did. Amanda then pointed out that just because I got it wrong doesn't mean I am as smart as a Stanford student because their wrong answers were smarter than my wrong answers. Anyhow, if you want the answer, see at the bottom of the page)


Now I bet you were hoping the answer to Amanda's stupid brain teaser was down here. Nope. You obviously don't know how I operate !  I ain't telling you nothing until you email me with some gossip if you want the answer. No gossip, no answer, no nothing. You don't have any gossip ? Well, for crying out loud, don't let that stop you ! Just make some up ! That's how I do it...

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