Rick's Gabfest with Gertrude
Written by Rick Archer, March 2006
"So you had
a Cruise, Heartbeat, Swing Kids and Leather and
What happened to
all that wild and crazy energy after the Millennium??
old joke is that no good deed goes unpunished, but
fortunately this story has a very happy ending.
All the key leaders were rewarded for their Service
with wonderful blessings.
Daryl Armstrong met Joanne. They married in 1998 and
have two children, Austin and Ali.
Ben Liles met Diana. They married in 1999.
They have two children, Cole and Allison.
Susie Allen met Bill Merrill, although she cheated
and used the Internet.
The point is, these people contributed such
tremendous energy during the period that they became
very attractive in the process. Each person
found a terrific life partner in the process.
Nor was it an accident.
The identical thing happened to Tom Easley back
in 1987 when he parlayed the lunacy of the
Look-a-Like era into the successful courtship of his
beautiful wife Margaret.
The lesson is clear - people who contribute and give
leadership to the dance community are rewarded many
times over. If finding a partner is important,
Service to the group is the surest way to accomplish
your goal. "
that pre-Millennium flurry of energy have any effect
on SSQQ Romance in the 2000s?"
lit the place up like a bonfire!"
studio became red hot with marriage fever!
"Although that 'flying under the radar' problem of
the 1990s prevents me from making an accurate
comparison, I would guess the incredible total of 33 SSQQ
marriages in 1998 and 1999 surpassed all the
weddings we had in the previous eight years of the
That energy kept flowing right into the 2000s."
The most remarkable day in studio history was Saturday, November 8,
By a remarkable coincidence,
3 SSQQ Instructors
- Rachel Seff Koenig, Vicki Bernard Smith, and Patricia Or Holmes
all got married on the same day!!
Three lovely SSQQ instructors became three lovely
SSQQ brides on the very same day!!
crazier, these three marriages were just the tip of
the iceberg for 2003 SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance.
2003 was the year we broke our record of 30
marriages and engagements from 2000 with 31.
2003 was quite a year!
If you have been
following the bouncing ball throughout these stories,
I assume you have concluded that finding a husband or a spouse is practically a guaranteed
fringe benefit of a job at SSQQ!
It is a done deal if that is your objective.
No one can escape Cupid's Darts if you hang around here long
No one. It may take a while, but it is inevitable.
List of SSQQ
Instructors Who Married in the 2000s...
and there are more on the way!
George Wallace and Suzy Kish
Kathleen Alexander and Kenneth Parker
Paula Henderson and Carlos da Silva
Mike Fagan and Trisha Bradford
Larry Carlton and Brenda Evetts
Karen Davidson and Dennis Clawsen
Jim Coulter and Ulrike Lange
Tracy King and Jeff Perry
Carol Armand and Arthur Madrid
Ann Bush and Brian White
Vicki Bernard and Johnny Smith
Patricia Or and David Holmes
Rachel Seff and David Koenig
Michelle Wann and Trent Haynes
Michelle Yeiter and Scott Keepers
Joel McCloskey and Ruth Scheyberger
Randy Winfrey and Melissa Gauthier
Sharon Crawford and Bill Shaw
Sharon and Bill Shaw
Arthur and Carol Madrid
Randy and Melissa Winfrey
"The 2000s have been pretty impressive so far.
What do you think about that?"
"I am in
total awe of what is going on around here. In
the 1980s all the students got married. In the 1990s when all the instructors got married. In the 2000s,
students are matching the SSQQ instructors marriage
for marriage! In other words, our marriage
output has doubled over any previous time in the
Look at it this way:
During the 2000s, SSQQ
averaged one marriage for every MONTH of the year!
Even crazier, I think there are more marriages out there
I don't know about!!"
"You are kidding, right?"
"I am not even remotely kidding. In
preparation for this story, I chased down one unreported
SSQQ marriage after
No one has any idea how difficult it is me for to assemble
these names and pictures.
The original name for
the SSQQ Wedding List was 'Heard it Thru the Grapevine' for
the simple reason that most of the wedding couples never
bothered to tell me a thing. If it wasn't for rumor, I
would be in the dark.
Usually it was one of their friends who gave them up!!
I literally heard about half of all SSQQ weddings through
"Let me ask this again. You
believe there are even
marriages out there you don't know about? "
"Oh, goodness gracious yes. Absolutely!!
Remember the 1990s were the days of flying under the radar?
I would guess a dozen, even two dozen marriages are out
there from the 90s that will probably never be reported to me.
"Okay, those were the 70s, 80s, and
90s. But surely you keep careful track in the 2000s?"
"I wish! But seriously, I have fits keeping track of
Here is a perfect example of 'Grapevine' in action.
Two days ago at the studio someone
asked what year so and so got married. So I went to
Tammy, my Hall Monitor, and asked her to bring up the main
Romance screen on the ssqq website where all the marriages are listed.
As I looked around, Tammy asked why Randy Best and Kim
Gray's wedding wasn't listed for 2003. I stared at her
Tammy said she knew that Randy and Kim had gotten married in August
2003. So I nosed around and discovered I had a listing
for their engagement in February 2003, but no wedding
listing. So I wrote their name on the back of my hand,
got teased several times for my goofy reminder note, then
added them to the list the next morning.
That's how haphazard it usually is.
The main reason I have such a hard time keeping track of the
weddings is due to the huge time disconnect.
First, when people get serious about each other, many of
these people stop taking classes and drop out of sight.
How am I supposed to keep track of the personal lives of
1,200 people a month. Sure I noticed some neat people
don't show up for class the next month, but so many people
take a month off and come back the following month, I don't
pay much attention any more. As they say, 'out of
sight, out of mind.'
Like I said earlier, the point is that a lot of people don't stick around the
studio after they meet. And since most couples take
several years to make up their mind to marry, by that time
the studio has become an afterthought. Any
motivation to report their story to me is long gone by now.
Second, many people mention to their ssqq friends
that they are engaged, but then there is a six-month
break, a one-year break, or longer between the
engagement and the wedding. Perhaps their friend at
ssqq was just a dancing buddy who never had frequent
contact to begin with. During the engagement
to wedding interim, sometimes that link gently fades
I have a lot of engagements listed with no mention
of the weddings further down the road.
Obviously some people change their mind, but over
half of the engagements end up as marriages that go
I think that is what happened in the case of Randy
Best and Kim Gray. But not everyone has a
friend like Tammy to give me an update. Other
engagements just float out there.
For example, I have no desire to embarrass the
couple at right, but currently their name is listed
as a fairly recent engagement. However there
is no follow-up listing of a wedding.
Did they change their mind? Did they get
married? I don't know. Help me out,
Just because someone
drops out of the studio doesn't usually mean
they get married immediately. Last
time I checked, getting married is still
considered serious business, so most people
are smart to take their sweet time.
More commonly they take a year or two to get
to know each other as they slowly make their
move to the altar.
Therefore, unless these people have a friend
at the studio who keeps in touch with them,
a period of one, two, even three years may
pass between their studio days and their
Let's face it, Gertrude, there are twelve
hundred people flying around this place a
month. I personally come in contact
with maybe a quarter of these people.
There are many stories I have no idea about.
The Salsa crowd is a huge mystery to me.
We have Salsa classes with a hundred people
in it. You have this intoxicating,
sensual music and fast, hip-gyrating
dancing. Many of the women are
drop-dead gorgeous. With these kind of
numbers and this kind of sexy dancing, Cupid
is bound to get it going.
But I never hear a word about Salsa
engagements and weddings!! I currently
have ONE Salsa couple - Gonz and Claudia -
whose engagement is on the books.
Salsa has been hot for 7 years and SSQQ has
one couple?? Give me a break.
You aren't going to tell me there are not a
dozen SSQQ Salsa marriages out there flying
under the radar.
This is why I believe the true number of
SSQQ weddings is seriously under-reported."
"How do ever find out about them or do you just give up?"
"I find out about many marriages in some of the most
The SSQQ Newsletter helps dig up some weddings. Since there
are so many people who stay loosely connected to the studio,
something I write about might be read by the right person at
the right time. Here is a good example.
2001 I wrote an article called
which contained tales of the legendary SSQQ
Halloween Party. I told the adventure of the poor lady
who had screamed bloody murder when one of my monsters came
to life in the Haunted House. Terrified, she threw her
entire basket of M&Ms in the air!
Then I published her picture and said how much I regretted
that I had no idea who she was. A few months later I
received this email:
"Hey Rick, Steve Mink and Gayle
Luber, the M&M's from Halloween '99, would like to
announce our marriage on May 19 of this year 2002. It
took me many years to recover from my big scare, but I
think I have finally recovered (just kidding).
We first met at one of the Extravaganzas, then got to
know each other in Judy's Zoot Suit classes on Monday
nights in the summer of 1999. We've been together ever
since. Thanks for all the dance and joy that brought us
Still Swingin' after all these years! Gayle
only did I learn Gayle's name, I had a Swing Kid marriage
From: Gayle L. Mink
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2005 9:08 AM
Subject: SSQQ Halloween stories
Rick, Steve was
reading up on some of your old stories……..the M&M’s
have multiplied since then. Here are pictures from
last year, Halloween 2004. Our little M&M is
Lindsey. She’s sweeter than any plain or peanut M&M.
We still get out and dance every now and then at
parties. Amazing, we still got that swing! We don’t
remember all the fancy zuit suit steps, but the
basics are like riding a bike. Well, easy for me to
say…..Steve leads, I just follow.
"So why don't people tell you more
often like Gayle did?"
"There are several very good reasons.
Sometimes a person's interaction with SSQQ is very
superficial. Two people might meet at a bar and leave
together. Even if this is the start of something special,
the bar may have little importance for the rest of their
This couple at right - Alan and Christine - were Swing Kids.
They took some Swing classes at SSQQ in 1999 at the same
time the M&Ms, Gayle and Steve, did.
After Alan and Christine connected, they left the studio. I don't
recall ever meeting them. When they decided to get
married, I believe they mentioned on their pre-wedding web
site that they had met at the studio.
Someone emailed me a link to their wedding web site.
After clicking in, I read their story and noticed the
SSQQ reference. I also found this neat picture which I
gracefully borrowed to put in the Newsletter. What a
In addition, I emailed my congratulations and invited them
to say more about the wedding for the Newsletter. But
they did not respond. I am sure they were busy.
Sometimes the SSQQ connection is so
weak I probably shouldn't even bother to take credit.
This guy is Ted Peyser. I met him at the Jewish
Community Center playing volleyball. We became friends, so I invited him over to
the studio. He said he didn't know how to dance, so I
told him to take a crash course. On the night of the
party, he skipped the crash course, but showed up for the party
afterwards. Most of the night, he just stood there watching.
noticed Ted was gone. End of story?? No, there is more.
The next week Ted thanked me profusely for inviting him to
my party. He said he had met the greatest girl!! I
raised an eyebrow. Ted continued. He said that
during the John-Paul-Jones where everyone dances with
everyone in a big circle, practically ever person in the
room had gotten out on the floor.
That's when he noticed a pretty girl who like him was just
standing there watching the dancing. Ted may not have
known how to dance, but he was not shy. He went over
and asked her why she wasn't dancing. That's how they
discovered they had something in common - they were the only
two people in the building who didn't know how to dance!!
So Ted had an idea. 'Let's go get a drink!' The
pretty girl smiled at him and said sure. And that's
how Ted met Mary.
A few months later, Ted announced they were engaged. I
just shook my head and grinned at the same time. What
a goofy story.
I remember back to the day when I read my book on how to
meet girls. The book suggested to learn to dance,
learn to cook, or learn to talk to girls. I chose
dance. Ted learned how to talk to girls. I have
yet to meet the guy who took the cooking route, but
the point is that Ted was never shy when it came to women.
one reason I never learn about weddings is like with Alan
and Christine or Ted and Mary, the SSQQ connection isn't
strong enough for them to bother. In Ted's case, I
just happened to know the guy from the Jewish Community
Center. That's the only reason I found out about his
story. And in Alan and Christine's case, I heard it
thru the Grapevine. Someone turned them in!!
And then in M&M Gayle's case, she
just happened to notice my Halloween story and thoughtfully
dropped me an email.
The 3 stories I wrote about are just the tip of the iceberg.
Just the smallest thread kept each one of them from total
anonymity. Surely there are other chance-meeting
stories out there I simply don't know about it.
I believe the numbers are under-reported.
"Do any of these secret marriages ever resurface?"
"Many couples are gone permanently. Whether I
ever learn about them or not is usually a function of how
much time they put in at the studio before they made their
In particular, a 'love at first sight' romance like Ted and
Mary or Alan and Christine is usually the kind I never hear
about since both couples were virtual newcomers to the
In the case of Alan and Christine, the Renaissance couple,
just a random mention about the studio on the Internet was
the only way I ever learned of them. Although I don't know
the real facts, I don't think they would mind if I made some
educated guesses about their story. There was
something about their web site writeup that gave me the
impression they had a whirlwind romance.
This is not a bad thing, mind you. I think it is
perfectly okay to fall in love quickly. My point is
that in the case of an immediate attraction, it is far more
likely for the couple to make a quick exit from the studio.
I am guessing they met fairly soon after they began to take
lessons, maybe Beginning Swing class or perhaps
Intermediate. I am guessing they began to date
seriously right from the start. At this point the
dance lessons quickly lost their importance so they didn't
come back. This
means the love of dancing never had time to really settle
in nor give them time to develop any sentimental attachment
to the studio.
Since it is unlikely a couple that didn't stick around very
long will ever return, I will probably never know a thing.
On the other hand, people come out of
the woodwork all the time to report weddings I had no
inkling about. It all depends on how much they enjoyed
the studio while they were here. Here is how it
A couple really enjoy their dance
lessons, but at some point put the lessons aside when they
meet because their priorities change. They leave the
studio so quietly we don't know they are gone and continue their courtship outside the
studio. Down the road, one thing leads to another and
they eventually get married and get on with the next chapter
in their lives. The studio becomes a remote afterthought.
time goes by, the couple notices a sentimental attachment to
revisit the place where their romance first began to
Many couples indeed
return, especially for special events like the Halloween
Party or the New Year's Eve Party, or to simply take a
refresher dance class.
And this is a good thing or else I would have no idea about
This scenario fits the story of Greg and
Susan Broer, my dance couple from 1979. I am fairly sure
they didn't stick around the studio too much longer after
the Disco class I introduced them in ended.
They left the dance scene and
continued their courtship till they married the next year in
1980. It just so happens they came back to the dance
studio 26 years later and were kind enough to share their
neat story with me.
By the way, do the names of Don and Susan Brownlee ring a
bell. Greg and Susan told me these were two friends of
theirs who also met at SSQQ at the time and went on to get
married. SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance has existed from
the start of the studio. I just wasn't paying close
Another couple whose story is closely parallel to Greg and
Susan's tale is Hart and Linda Brupbacher. They
dropped by the studio in November 2005 to take some more
knew them because they had been in some of my advanced Whip
classes at one point. But I had a nagging feeling like
I hadn't seen them for a while.
How long had it been? That's when they laughed and
said they hadn't been at the studio since 2002. They
explained they met at the studio and left to get married!
My mouth dropped open. I did not realize this.
Another SSQQ couple appears out of nowhere!!!
The next day I added their name to the list of 2002 SSQQ
Weddings. A couple months later they came to the
studio to take another class. This time I was ready for them
- 'Would you mind if I took your picture??'
They smiled and graciously consented. What a great
Furthermore the exact same thing happened with yet a third
couple. In August 2005 I was greeted by another
smiling couple. They introduced themselves as Mitchael
and Brenda Page. They informed me they had met at the
studio and had gotten married in 2004. This was news
I thought to myself, 'Holy smokes, how many other couples are out
So I took a step back and took another
look. I recognized Brenda very well. She was a
great dancer who had taken many lessons in 2002
and 2003. In fact she had made it as far as several
Ghost Town and Death Valley Western classes. The more
I thought about it, I realized I had probably been her
teacher for many of those classes which explained why I
remembered her so well.
And I recognized Mitchael too. He had taken quite a
few Western classes himself, but I didn't recall the two in
the same class because they had started a year apart.
So I asked them how they had met. They explained that
they had met at SSQQ Practice Night where all the Western
classes mix together. Brenda dropped back so she could
take one or two classes with Mitchael, but not long after, they dropped out of the studio scene as they
grew more serious.
They got married in April 2004.
The next week I brought my camera to snap their picture but
didn't see them again. I felt so aggravated to have
missed that chance!
They said they came back because they missed the place... a
In the space of four months, I ran into three
different couples who had met at the studio, then quietly
dropped out of sight to pursue their pursue their romance.
Fortunately for me, all three couples decided to come back a
couple years further down the road (or 26 years for Greg and
Susan) and check back in. That is how I came to
understand that whether I eventually learn of the marriage
or not usually depends on what stage of their SSQQ dance
career the couple made their connection.
Based on Greg and Susan's story which dates back to 1979, my
guess is this flying under the radar thing has been going on at SSQQ for
thirty years. I bet there is a whole iceberg of
marriages out there I am completely clueless about.
there any way you can track them down?"
"No, not unless the
Grapevine turns them in. Heck, I can't even get the
modern-era people to tell me what's going on!"
do you mean?"
"You might be surprised
to find out I took the time to track down six different
weddings in preparation for this article! Instead of
sitting back and waiting for the news to filter in like I
used to do, I actually started doing some detective work!!
For example, I
heard through the grapevine that my friend Shirley
G. had gotten married to her boyfriend Tim. I
knew they were engaged, but I had lost sight of
them. Does that sound familiar??
Shirley is a terrific volleyball player. She had
been a key part of my
2002 Mud Volleyball
SSQQ Super Bowl team. I first met Tim and
Shirley on our 2003 Jubilee Cruise. I saw them at the 2004 Halloween Party then again at the
Feb 2005 Ezra Charles Swing Party. But I had not seen them since.
But someone, I have forgotten who, said they thought
Shirley was married. So I asked my friend Gary
Richardson to ask her at Wild West. Sure
enough, I was right! My Grapevine tip
had paid off.
Then there was Jeff and Sally.
They had actually just begun dating when they went
on the 2005 Alaska Cruise in July. I knew they
had a great time, but I had not seen them since the
Does that sound
Then one day in February 2006 a lady named Heidi
took a private wedding dance lesson from my wife
Marla. Heidi mentioned that a co-worker named
Jeff Gray had recently gotten married. Heidi
said Jeff was the reason she had heard of Marla
because he had referred her.
So Marla came back to the house and said, 'Guess
what? Jeff and Sally recently got married!'
As usual, I heard it through the grapevine.
Just one week ago, a lady
named BK emailed me to ask if I had heard
anything more about John and Becky. I had
announced their engagement in April 2005, but had
not seen them since.
Does that sound
So I looked up their email address. With that
kind of time gap, I had to be careful. So I sent two
different emails politely asking how they were
I got a return email from John. Before I
opened the email, I crossed my fingers. It was good
news! They got married in January 2006.
A smile crossed my face as I emailed back to tell
them to send me a better picture or I would use
their Halloween picture! Obviously they
weren't intimidated, so now I have to follow through
on my blackmail threat.
Larry and Cathy
Leising are a big exception to my 'Marriage is the
Death of Dance' axiom.
One day in my January 2006
right in the middle of my Adv Western Swing class, I noticed a wedding ring on
Cathy's finger as I danced with her. Very
pretty ring, I might add.
Confused, I looked up at Cathy
and asked her what the story was. I had not
even realized they were engaged!! Which was
stupid of me since they went on our recent Rita
Rhapsody 2005 cruise as
a married couple. I don't know why I was so
disconnected about their story. They were
hiding in plain sight!
Cathy looked over at Larry and they both got a
sheepish look on their face.
They said they had been
married since July 2004, but hadn't gotten around to
'Haven't gotten around to telling me! You're
taking my dance class for crying out loud! How
hard would it be to tell me?'
Larry and Cathy turned a couple shades of red and we all had a
They turned out to be pretty good sports after my
discovery. They sent me some nice details
about their wedding plus several great pictures
which I included in my Newsletter.
What makes Larry and Cathy an exception is that they
have continued to take many dance lessons since
their wedding, especially Ballroom Dancing.
Cathy mentioned they enjoy Ballroom Dancing on the
cruises, so they want to continue to improve at
their favorite hobby together.
I guess one difference is the stage of life people
are at when they get married. The younger you
are, the more likely you are to move on to have kids
or develop careers. But a
lot of 'Baby Boomers' have grown children and
established careers. In this situation, people enjoy either sticking
around after the wedding or coming back to the
studio a few months later.
In Larry and
Cathy's case, I am glad they did! They are a
very nice couple.
Larry and Cathy's story is
very similar to what happened with another couple,
Linda and Bill Malin.
They have been engaged for quite a while. When Bill
and Linda took a cruise to Alaska with us last
July 2005, I politely asked if they had
set a date yet. Nope, not yet. So when their close
friends Eric and Michelle announced their engagement
on the same trip, I teased Bill and Linda that Eric
and Michelle would probably be married before they
Linda furrowed her brow and said that would not
happen. I took note of the look in her eye
and filed it away. So when I saw them at the studio
one night in November 2005, I asked if they were married
'Yes,' Linda said, 'as a matter of fact, we got
married last month.'
Bill, who was sitting next to Linda, just kind of rolled his
guess is that Linda and Bill are a deeply private couple.
No one enjoys being a number or a statistic, especially
about something so deeply personal as a marriage. I am
sure that has something to do with some people's reluctance to let me
"Do you feel
like you are invading their privacy?"
"Sometimes I do feel like that. I have mixed feelings. Part of the problem is that I
don't know a lot of these people on a personal basis.
I am like a high school principal running a school with a
thousand students. It is difficult to know how people
I barely know will react to my desire to share a very
with the larger community.
On the other hand, since people are obviously so slow to
share their stories, I have decided I don't have any choice
but to be more assertive about asking for details. And
it is a good thing I did or many of the many neat stories I
have documented in my article would never have seen the
light of day.
The vast majority say they don't mind if I
tell the world. It wasn't a priority for them, but when they
realize I am genuinely happy for them, they surprise me by
offering extra parts to the story I had no idea about.
I am glad I decided to take more chances. So far the
rewards have been marvelous!
For example, as I was writing this story, it dawned on me
there was one very special couple I had not heard from in
In October 2005, Aubrey Smith had approached me about giving
him and his fiancée Billye private Foxtrot lessons for their
upcoming wedding dance. They wanted to look the best
they possibly could out on the floor.
knew they had gotten married over Thanksgiving Weekend the
following month, but now it was February 2006 and I had not
heard a word from them. Does that sound familiar?
day I lost my patience and emailed to ask for a
Boy, was I surprised! Aubrey Smith sent me twelve
stunning pictures of their dancing at the wedding.
His new bride Billye looked absolutely radiant as
she danced in his arms!!
The pictures were so pretty that I actually started
to cry. I mean, who wouldn't be proud to
help a couple as nice as these people shine at their
wedding? I was genuinely happy for them!
On the other hand, if I hadn't been nosy and pushed
things along, the community would not have had this
great story to read about their
But on the other
hand, I emailed another couple for the same reason the same
day and never heard back from them.
In conclusion, I win some, I lose some. I
will respect a couple's privacy if they ask me to.
out ten couples don't seem to mind at all. Most of
them said they were
just busy getting on with things and contacting the studio hadn't really
crossed their minds. Some of them appreciated me
My point is, unlike the old days where I didn't pay much
attention, one reason our numbers have increased in the
Modern Era is because
these days I just say what the heck and go chase them down."
"How precise are you with your statistics?"
do you mean by that?"
you define who is an 'SSQQ Wedding couple'?"
is a good question, Gertrude.
Sometimes it is a judgment call. Who gets to
officially claim a wedding couple isn't always cut
When it comes to SSQQ
Marriages, quite frankly some marriages I count are
When it came time to post Bryan Spivey and Lisa Palmer's
that was easy. They have been a huge part of the studio for many
Another no-brainer in the opposite direction was Cyndy Richardson.
In 2005, my friends Gary and Betty Richardson
watched proudly as their daughter Cyndy got married.
I knew Cyndy well since she had taken several dance classes here and
to several of our parties.
But since Cyndy and her fiancé Mike had neither met here
nor taken any dance lessons here together, it
would be wrong to add their name.
Nevertheless, I printed the pictures and story of
their wedding on my 2005 Wedding Page.
why I had included their pictures on the SSQQ 2005 Wedding Page. I
explained to the person that I published their story in the Newsletter because I know how
many people like Gary and his wife Betty. Then I pointed out I did
not include their
names on my list of 2005 SSQQ Wedding Couples.
calmed down. They thought I was inflating my statistics.
If a couple
meets at SSQQ, they are still automatically an 'SSQQ
couple' even if I never see them again. Sort
of like being born in the USA makes you a US
Citizen. That's an easy one.
example, take the case of Alan and Christine
mentioned earlier in this article. They met at the
studio taking Swing classes in 2000. They
quickly hit it off and the dance classes soon became
a distant memory.
Their personal connection to SSQQ was fleeting, but
as they said on their wedding web site, they met
here at the studio.
They count. Case closed.
Sometimes the claim is pretty strong while at other
times the claim is debatable. Take for example
the story of John Otts and Cynthia Hall. They
did not meet at SSQQ nor did they ever take a dance
class from us... on shore. But they did take a
dance class at sea!
I first met John and Cynthia
on our 2005 Rhapsody cruise. Unfortunately
that cruise was shortened by Hurricane Rita down to
three days. There were a lot of new people on
that trip, so I barely learned their names before
the trip was over. I had wanted to ask them
how they heard about the trip since they were not
dance students, but I really never got the chance to
talk to them.
I was pleased when I saw they
were coming on the 2006 cruise as well. When I
saw John and Cynthia, they were beaming. They
were going to get married on the cruise, but decided
it would be too complicated. Instead they had just
gotten married a couple days ago so they could
celebrate their honeymoon on the 2006 SSQQ Rhapsody
In this case, the studio can only take partial
credit. But they are so happy in this picture
taken on the cruise, how can I bear not to claim
Like John and Cynthia's
story, the quibbling starts when a couple meets elsewhere, but
participates a great deal at SSQQ during their courtship. I
freely admit I 'adopt' couples. I tell them they belong to SSQQ!
Our next story is a perfect example.
This lovely couple is
Jason Kapplinger and Tammy Kidwiler.
Their wedding is in April 2007.
From: Tamara Kidwiler
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 6:36 AM
Rick, Jason and I met at Tumbleweed Texas
dancing on April 2, 2005!! Jason had already
taken dance lessons. He impressed me from the
first night I met him. As a pilot, he was soon
to be leaving for training in Salt Lake City. I
was still in physician assistant school and
studying a tremendous amount.
We knew that we had found someone special and
made time for each other!
continued to grow through deaths in the family,
Jason's move to Chicago with Skywest airline, PA
graduation, a vacation to Jason's grandparents'
farm in South Dakota, and then our engagement in
Prague, Czech Republic.
I am 50% Czechoslovakian, and I had always
wanted to trace back my heritage. We had planned
a trip there in April 2006. Jason surprised me
by a romantic proposal on Charles Bridge!! The
country was beautiful and we highly recommend
this vacation site to everyone.
During our engagement, Jason and I began taking
dance lessons. I was taught by my father to
dance at an early age, but never professional
dance. Our experience at SSQQ has been terrific!
Our wedding is planned for April 21, 2007 and
since it is fast approaching, many details are
awaiting completion. We are taking a break from
dance lessons for now.
We will be back soon-- we promise!
I first met Jason in the
Fall of 2004 in one of the Western classes I taught. I
remember Jason for two reasons - he was easily the best male dancer
in the class and he was also unusually quiet. Due to his quiet
nature, I did not know him very well.
Then in the Summer of 2006, Jason showed up in one of my classes
with Tammy. I could not help but think what a perfect couple
they made together! Plus they were perfectly matched - Tammy
was quiet too!
And then they disappeared for a while only to return a few months
later in my Western Waltz class in January 2007. One night in
February, as I was dancing with Tammy, an odd thought crossed my
mind - What a lovely woman! Jason should ask her to marry him!
It is none of my business to interfere with something this
important, so I kept my mouth shut. However the next week, my
assistant told me how happy she was to learn that Jason and Tammy
were taking the Waltz class to prepare for their wedding dance.
As I recalled my thought from the previous week, my mouth dropped
open. Why was I always the last person to find out?
So as I danced with Tammy that night, I told her how pleased I was
at the good news. I said I had just found out. So Tammy
lifted her right hand and showed me her lovely ring. She had
been wearing it for the past seven weeks during dance class.
Duh. I am so stupid sometimes, but at least I mean well.
Okay, now you know the facts. Do I have the right to count
Jason and Tammy as an SSQQ couple?
I say yes. Although Jason did not meet Tammy at the studio, he
definitely learned to dance here. Then he met Tammy through
dancing - Tammy made a point that Jason used his dance skills to
impress her. And, after they met, Jason and Tammy made the
dance studio part of their courtship. So I think the studio
should be given some credit.
That said, I admit that in situations like this, another institution might also have a
legitimate claim as well. The Texas Tumbleweed has a good
claim as well. In that case, I will be happy to share
credit just like football players share 'quarterback sacks' or
hockey players share assists.
You have my word that for every couple on our list, SSQQ can claim
either complete credit or partial credit. In fact, sometimes
the studio actually deserves more credit than I realize!
The biggest problem is that I usually don't know the details of
people's courtships. So for the purposes of this article, I
actually chased down a couple of 'suspicious couples' and asked them
some direct questions.
and George Keiller are a neat couple. They have
taken many classes plus they went on the 2005 Alaska
Cruise and the 2006 New England Cruise. The other day I wondered
if Risa and George met at SSQQ. So I decided
to be nosy and email them to ask them how
and I met doing Scottish Country Dancing.
However, SCD is not real prevalent, and early in
our courtship we decided to take some dance
lessons at SSQQ. I believe we started with
a Swing class and then went on take almost
The studio has been big in our relationship and
it certainly helped it to develop into the love
we share. It also helped us develop skills
(however small) so we could share this common
interest some more. I proposed to Risa on a
dance floor - a very upscale Ballroom in Mexico.
No question though, you've had a good effect on
a lot of people! George"
I have never added
George and Risa's marriage to the SSQQ Wedding List, but you
know what, now that I know more about their story, I would
be honored to list them as an official SSQQ Wedding.
I think George is hinting we have a claim to partial credit,
don't you? The next time I see them, I will ask permission!
Joel McCleskey and Ruth
Schaubarger first took our 'Two Left Feet' class
together in the summer of 2002. Both of them
eventually ended up in my Western classes and Whip
classes. Ruth was an excellent dancer while Joel
was unbelievably gifted. I went to the trouble
of telling my friend Anita just how good I thought
Joel was. Acting on my suggestion, Anita
recruited him to compete with her in Country-Western
Joel is now a three-time World UCDWC Dance Champion.
He married Ruth in January 2005, just a couple days
after he won the first Championship.
Even though they did not meet SSQQ, I claim them as an
official SSQQ Wedding couple.
They were a big part of this studio for 3
years before they got married and no one else can have them!
Wil Uecker and Karen Fess have
been taking dance classes together practically
non-stop for a year now. When I decided to
check, I was astonished to see that Wil had taken
over 20 classes in less than a year.
Holy Cow! It might be time to give this guy a
free class, what do you think??
Then I took at Karen's list. She is close to 40
classes. Wow! Karen started in 2004, Wil in
2005. They have clearly put in their floor
When they announced their engagement in February
2006, I had assumed they had met in an SSQQ dance
class. So I asked which class they met in.
That is when they told me they met through match.com.
I stared at them blankly. I could have sworn
that SSQQ had brought them together.
Karen broke the ice by saying
that after they met on the Internet, she had
suggested to Wil that they take dance classes
together. Wil enjoyed the classes so much that
he told Karen he would like to continue. SSQQ became
a big part of their courtship.
So I said, 'match.com or not, You belong to SSQQ!
You are on the list!'
Karen grinned at me.
Then she replied, 'We don't mind being on the list.
Otherwise we wouldn't have told you. The fact
of the matter is our fun at learning to dance
together and taking classes together has brought us
Karen narrowly missed a big hug. Wil might
shudder to know he was at risk too.
I am sure when I offer them that free class maybe
they will forget all about match.com even more.
What do you think?
As I interviewed several couples for this
story, I learned there are many couples who met
elsewhere that have used the studio as a big part
of their courtship. One woman offered to
share her story with me, but only on
condition that I kept her name anonymous.
I said of course I would respect her wishes,
she happily spilled the beans.
This lady said she
went out dancing with a group from SSQQ.
During the evening, she spotted an
interesting man sitting at the bar. So
she went over to talk to him and, in her
words, picked him up. So in this
sense, SSQQ indirectly assisted her man
After they started dating, she insisted he
come over to SSQQ to take dance lessons.
If he didn't know how to dance or try to
learn, she said she would dump him on the
spot. She said their experiences
taking lessons together was one the things
that sold her on this guy.
In her words, 'I used the studio to
deal'. Then she added with a smile, as
far as she was concerned, I can add her
marriage to the list anytime I want to.
She blew a kiss at me, then went and grabbed
her honey. True story. And
that's where I will leave it."
In our next Chapter, we discuss the
powerful effects that the SSQQ
Cruise Trips have had on SSQQ