Rick's Gabfest with Gertrude
Written by Rick Archer, March 2006
THE LOVE BOAT ERA
Saturday Night Fever Disco Era
1980 - 1984
Urban Cowboy Western Era,
1985 - 1987
201 Nights of Dancing, Tom
1988 - 1997
Studebaker Group, Sharon
Crawford, SSQQ Staff
1998 - 2000
Millennium - The Daryl Armstrong Experience,
Heartbeat, Swing Kids!
"At the end
of the Millennium Comeback story, you mentioned you
had discovered that you could use your love for
writing to promote your studio. Would you expand on
advent of my writing career coincided with two
people who came into my life that would change the course of the
The first person I met was
Gary Richardson (pictured with wife Betty).
Back in early 1997, Gary and Betty Richardson
started taking Western dance classes here at the
studio. Gary wasn't a natural and he wasn't even
sure he liked dancing. Drawing on some natural
tenacity he stuck with it. Pretty soon he started to
get the hang of Twostep and Western Swing and began
to enjoy his classes more.
Due to our similarity in age, Gary and I
struck up a friendship. Once I found out he owned a computer
store, I wound up asking him questions about computers each
time I saw him in class.
As I got to know Gary, our conversations lengthened. He told me of the many things a
computer could do to help me in my business.
I said I had the money to afford a computer but was clueless
at figuring out how to operate one. I had heard this
Windows stuff was very tricky to learn on your own. What was
the point of buying a modern computer if I didn't know how to use
Gary said he would help me get started. Whatever I
needed to learn, he would show me how to do it. That's
encouragement I needed. I took the plunge!! I went
ahead and bought my first computer from Gary in October
However the computer just sat at his store. Rather than pick
up and bring it home, instead I decided I wasn't bringing it
home till I knew how to operate it. So for the entire
month of November 1997, each day I would drive over to the Floppy
Wizard (later renamed
TFW Computers) and hang
out for a couple of hours.
Whenever Gary had a free moment
he would help me himself. If he was busy, he would assign one of his assistants to
help me. And if everyone was busy, Gary would give me
a homework assignment on the computer.
I knew Gary didn't have the time to help everyone
like this, but I think he took pity on me. Plus after all
the needling he took from me learning to whip dance, I think
he enjoyed the paybacks. I wasn't a quick learner, but
I was highly motivated. How to use email, how to use
my Paint program, how to use Word, Excel, and Publisher,
learning to make music CDs and burn them, Windows...
every day I learned something new. Slowly but surely
I developed enough skills to be able to take full advantage
of my new computer.
Finally I figured I was ready. I bravely decided to take my computer home.
First I got out some name tag labels and put one on every cord and
then on every port in the back of the
computer. Plus I took a photograph of the back of the computer to guide me. I was very
worried I would get the keyboard and the mouse and the modem
and the scanner and the printer and the monitor all plugged
into the wrong spot, turn it on, and fry the computer. That is how bad it was.
I had a serious case of computer-phobia.
It didn't do any good. I still screwed up. I hooked
everything up just the way the labels and the picture
suggested I do. Then I turned on the computer. It
didn't do a thing.
Carefully I checked the power cord. Yes, it was plugged into
the wall and into the computer correctly. I put an extension
cord into the outlet to make sure I had electricity.
Yes, there was juice. So I unplugged the computer and
plugged it back in to see if the cord was loose. The
computer still did not turn in.
Somehow I had broken my computer on the way home, probably
when I went over that pothole. Crimson with
frustration, I called Gary at the store.
I told him the damn thing wouldn't turn on!! Yes, it
was plugged in! Yes, it had just worked at the store.
Yes, I had hit the switch in the front. Why wouldn't
it turn on?
That is when Gary explained that there was another on-off switch in
the back that they turn 'off' for safety when transporting
the computer. Try hitting that button. It worked. I am a
moron. Why hadn't I seen that switch before?
A couple weeks later Gary confessed. He had indeed
turned off that switch in back for safety like they always
do, but decided to have to a little fun with by not telling
me. Gary KNEW I would panic and he still did
it! I would have killed him if I didn't need him
like Gary is something I still haven't figured out. Actually
I know exactly why I like Gary... although he is not above
the occasional joke at my expense or an innocent prank, Gary
is one of most generous human beings I have ever met. And
his patience with morons like me is the stuff of legends.
During that first year, I must have called the poor man once
every two days with one problem after the other. I was
the world's biggest titty baby, but not did he ever lose his
patience with me.
After I took my computer home, what I remember best was that Gary would give me help over the
phone whenever I would get stuck at home. Many times Gary
rescued me from the depths of despair with a helpful hint
that went way past the call of duty.
And he saved my butt with the big stuff too like the Happy
99 virus attack, the time my entire computer died and many
other crises as well. No other human being on earth
would have put up with me, but Gary did. My goodness
did I ask some stupid questions!
Since those first days, Gary has
helped SSQQ take full advantage of every technological
development that has come along.
We were the first dance studio in Houston to have a web
We were the first dance studio in Houston to put our
schedule on the Internet and stop using bulk mail.
We were the first dance studio in Houston to have an email
We were the first dance studio to have On-Line Registration.
We were the first dance studio to use computers to play
After Gary helped me overcome my fear of computers, I
discovered I took to computers like a duck to water. I
recognize how indispensable computers are to modern
communication and to modern business. I have
ordered 20 computers since I met Gary.
Gary revolutionized my business.
noticed the SSQQ website is a bit on the vast side.
What is up with that?"
"Thanks to my new computer, I made an
interesting discovery. I found out I had a
knack for writing. I also realized that I enjoyed
One year after I bought my first computer, a woman
named Sylvia Key and a man named David Schroeder
ganged up on me to insist I create a studio web
site. I was set in my ways.
Business is good. Why do I need one? .
'Trust us, you need one', they said. Kicking and
screaming, I finally gave in. The dawn of the
SSQQ web site meant I had to fill my pages with
something interesting enough to give people a reason
for people to come visit it. So I began
to fill up the SSQQ web site with Newsletters,
Halloween pictures, articles and stories.
I was 48 years old and had not written anything of
note longer than the occasional one-page promotional flyer since graduating from college.
But now I couldn't stop. I worked all the time!!
Day and night I wrote articles... just like this
Matchmaker story for example!
My creative frenzy paid big
dividends. People here at the studio loved to
visit my new studio website.
And the web site proved to be very helpful to my
business as well. It was no coincidence that the
SSQQ Millennium Comeback coincided with the
dawn of the SSQQ
Web Site and the Newsletter.
While it was true
that I had lost much of my enthusiasm for my days as
'Leader of the Pack', I was very pleased to find
new way to contribute. I had been good at
writing papers in college, but that was twenty years
ago. Now I saw that my dormant writing skills could be put to good use in
ways that the studio had never seen before.
Armed with a
computer and a website, I was armed and
dangerous. The computer is mightier than
the sword! Give me a mouse and a keyboard and
I will conquer the world!
It was a marvelous stroke of good fortune that I
acquired my computer skills and my web site just as
the Internet Era was breaking.
ready to rumble!
It wasn't just that The Daryl Armstrong Experience
was making the studio fun again with his antics or
that Heartbeat was winning major dance competitions.
Thanks to the Internet, I was able to use my writing
skills to publicize these events.
Once I published Halloween pictures on my web site
with Daryl as Austin Powers or Joanne and Gillian as
Monica Lewinsky, people could see first-hand just
how much fun we were having here at SSQQ. They
could read and see just how nuts we were.
Not surprisingly, people came out of the woodwork to
join the fun. Attendance went over the top.
The SSQQ Millennium Turnaround saw the studio fill
absolutely to the max. The place became a zoo,
a total madhouse. A whole new Millennium
Daryl supplied the antics, I supplied the publicity.
People loved to visit the web site. Soon SSQQ
had the most popular dance studio web site on the
Internet. We were on our way to becoming the
biggest dance studio in the country. SSQQ was
now a monster.
"Don't I remember that the SSQQ website had
something to do with your second discovery of the
studio's Romantic effectiveness?"
"Absolutely. Practically from the
moment I started writing for the Newsletter in
October 1998, I started receiving one wedding
announcement or engagement after another. For
example, here is one of my earliest stories.
written in January 1999.
SSQQ WEDDING BELLS ARE RINGING
THROUGHOUT THE LAND !
been blessed with three recent weddings. Back
in September 1998, Daryl and JoAnne Armstrong got
married (out in California, I believe). We had a big
party for them here at the studio on October 3.
The next month SSQQ instructor Heidi Collier and
John Moynihan were married on Sunday, October 25 out
in Tahoe, Nevada.
SSQQ's Mary Collins officially tied the knot to Mike
Moore in late November. There is no truth to the
rumor she is changing her middle name to "Tyler".
Mary Tyler Moore, get it?
three engagements to report from last year including
SSQQ staff member Renee Risinger and BJ Downs,
Maureen Murawski & Kirk Swinford, and Wil Coulbourn
and Leanne Blankenship. In January 1999 Ron
Moore and Kathleen Wood announced their engagement.
on your point of view, SSQQ is either a very
friendly place to be or extremely dangerous.
Best wishes to everyone!
website went on line, many people began to respond
to articles and stories I wrote. I began a steady
exchange of email correspondence with a number of
students I had not known previously who also enjoyed
this new invention known as 'email'.
This correspondence provided a unique new way to improve my relationship with my students.
I had always hated the phone - still do - but I
Although I still remained somewhat distant at the studio, I
was more than happy to chat with anyone who cared
via email. As a result of my daily email exchanges,
people began to share the most interesting stories,
pictures, and jokes. Their contributions
helped both the Newsletter and the Website spring to
That led to a very interesting
One day I got this email:
'Oklahoma Ray and
got married last week. Be sure to put it
in your Newsletter.'
That's all it said. Sorry
to say, I don't remember who sent it. All I
remember is another person confirmed the wedding.
He or she said that Oklahoma Ray was a fixture at
the new Tuesday Longhorn event that Ben Liles and
Rachel Seff had helped to create the previous year.
What was important about this email was that it was
sent by someone I didn't know to report the SSQQ
wedding of someone else I didn't know. The
sender didn't even know their last names!!
But it was the first example of someone using email
to turn in two SSQQ Wedding fugitives who were
trying to fly under the radar! The ease with
which Oklahoma Ray and Sandy had been brought to
justice did not escape me.
So I made a joke about it: GUILTY OF SSQQ WEDDING
That made people laugh. It also got
reports of weddings and
engagements started flooding in!!
No more flying under the radar at SSQQ if these
people could help it!
Then disaster hit. In May 1999, I made a serious
mistake when I opened an infected email. I lost the
first four months of Newsletter stories when my hard drive
became infected with the 'Happy 99' virus. That's when
I learned the hard way various lessons in backing up files
and keeping anti-virus programs up to date (these were the
days before Norton updates were automatic).
As I tried to recover from the virus damage to my web site
data, I decided I better reconstruct the weddings and
engagements from memory while I still could. I didn't
have the stories any more, so I simply made a list of
weddings with names and dates. But I didn't have any
dates! Now you know why there are four weddings
listed for 1999 that simply say "early 1999" which
was my euphemism meaning 'before the Happy 99 Virus'.
After I created the Wedding List, for the fun of it, I
printed this little blurb,
'Got a wedding rumor?
Do you suspect someone of being married?
Send your idle lies, dirt, and slander to
No gossip is too insignificant to print!'
That was the birth of the SSQQ Grapevine Wedding List.
It was a good move because all sorts of people I didn't know
would send in more names of people I didn't know.
Email made it so easy to keep me informed. Now people
fought to get credit for being the first person to tell me.
Sometimes I would two, three, even four different people
telling me about so and so. So much for my wedding
fugitives! There was no place to hide anymore.
After I received the notice, I would dutifully add each name
plus whatever comment the sender had added in the monthly
Newsletter, then add any other information I could think of.
However I didn't do any updates to the Wedding List.
In fact, I don't think I even touched the List for the rest
of the year because I forgot about it. The List just
sat there at the bottom of the May 1999 Newsletter with the
names of four wedding couples on it. Out of sight, out
Over the 1999 holidays, I started to combine all the
individual months of Newsletters into one file to put on a
disk in case of another virus emergency. In other
words, I was just doing routine 'backup' work.
That was when I rediscovered the original list hiding at the
bottom of May 1999. Then I began to review the May
1999 Newsletter. Take a look for yourself:
Excerpts from the May 1999 SSQQ Newsletter
Ray Jahn and
Kelly Bennett get married
An email sent to me:
Thanks to SSQQ for playing the role of matchmaker for us. We
met during Sharon Crawfords wonderful western waltz classes in the fall. One thing
led to another and we were married May 28, 1999.
Ray and Kelly (Bennett) Jahn
I might add, guys, that this Western Waltz
stuff is serious business. Women love to Twostep, but they go nuts when you Waltz with
them. That special rhythm has a hypnotic effect. They are rendered nearly helpless. I
might add, however, that if you can't keep the tempo, they regain their composure. Either
Waltz well or don't bother.
- Sylvia and Jeff are gettin' Hitched
On Saturday, June 26, Sylvia Kay and Jeffrey Tuckar are
getting married. They intend to dress western, but they specifically said no clothes
were necessary. Such an informal twosome!
Renee and BJ get Married!
SSQQ's Renee Risinger married BJ Downs on
April 23. When SSQQ took its Caribbean Cruise last summer, BJ and Renee had recently
become engaged. They were just a joy to be around the entire time. So now they have made
it official ! In an email to me late last week, Renee writes :
Ron and Kathleen get married!
Ron Moore married Kathleen Wood on April 9 in
Paris, France. Yes, that Paris as in Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Seine, the
Bastille, Quasimodo, Esmerelda, gypsies, artists, intellectuals, Left Bank, and lots of
other people and places I have only read about. I am getting sick of the entire studio
popping over to Europe lately. Maybe we don't charge enough. Anyway I guess I am drifting.
What was I writing about ? Raising prices ? Paris ? Oh, Ron and Kathleen !
Mario Ballesteros and Linda Chalk are planning to be married in May. Best wishes!
Letitia Taitte and Jordan Kossack recently announced their engagement. I believe the
wedding is sometime this summer. However at the moment Letitia is concerned about
graduating from her Masters program in Business over at Rice. She will worry about the
other kind of Rice later. I might add both couples met here at the
studio. Congratulations !
you can see for yourself, there were 3 wedding announcements
and 3 engagement announcements in just one month. That
got my attention.
Then I looked at June.... July.... August. I noticed
there were quite a few
marriages and engagements I had forgotten to add to the list
after May 1999. So I went back and began to add the
names to the May 1999 Grapevine Wedding List. One by one,
the list started to grow... and grow... and grow.
Important Moments - 24
Abueg and Rita Brown
Mendoza and Linda Bonnet
12. Oklahoma Ray and
Mario Ballesteros and Linda
10. Ron Moore and Kathleen Wood
||April 9, 1999
09. Renee Risinger and BJ Downs
08. Ray Jahn and Kelly Bennett
||May 28, 1999
07. Sylvia Kay and Jeff Tuckar
||June 26, 1999
06. Bram Weisman and Katsumi
||July 24, 1999
05. Judy Alexander and Clark
04. Ben Liles and Diana Beasley
||October 23, 1999
Meadows and Bryon Thome
||November 20, 1999
Galletti and Michale O'Briain
||December 18, 1999
01. Letitia Clark and Jordan
||December 19, 1999
10. David Meinert and Eileen
09. Brad Arbaugh
and Verladyne Williams
08. Jeff Hieber and
07. Karen Murray
and Dave Bowman
06. Julie Adamis
and Troy Thornton
05. Letty Molina and Patrick
04. George Wallace and Suzy Kish
03. Michael Gabrysch and Shannon Barton
Donnie Jacobs and Kimberly
Ron Moore and Kathleen Wood
I stared at the List in
amazement. I had just discovered that SSQQ had helped create
24 marriages and engagements in one single year.
It was a can't see the forest from the trees
sort of thing. I had never before seen
the big picture. It was a marvelous moment for me.
I couldn't take my eyes off of the computer
screen. Then it hit me.
'Rick, this is why you are here.'
My eyes were wide open.
As I stared at the 1999 list of 24 marriages
and engagements, it was my equivalent to a
Yogi's moment of Enlightenment.
just added a new listing to my job title -
Rick Archer, Dance Teacher, Newsletter
Writer and Matchmaker."
"What happened after your 'Realization'?"
"The very next day was New Year's Eve, 1999.
The New Millennium was about to begin. I
didn't have much time to think much more about the
Wedding Phenomenon because
everyone worried sick about Y2K.
In fact, Y2K was the main
reason I had been doing my backup work just in case
all my computers failed.
As we all know, the entire
Y2K nonsense turned out to be much ado
about nothing, but it was worrisome at the time.
In a sense I am in debt to Y2K because it
was the reason I started looking at the
Wedding numbers in the first place. My
brush with computer virus earlier in the
year had made me very nervous about losing
realized that the world was not going to come to
end, I got to work in 2000. This was one heck
of a wild year for me. Although it was a good year
for the studio financially, it was one of the worst
years of my life.
For starters, 2000 was
without a doubt the busiest year in the history of
the studio. The 'Jump, Jive, and Wail' 90s
Swing Era kept rolling right into Year 2000.
Then early in 2000, Ricky Martin came out with
La Vida Loca'. Suddenly the studio exploded
with Salsa energy.
This was good and this was bad. Two of the
biggest dance crazes in American History had
overlapped. It seemed like the entire city was
either taking Swing lessons, Salsa lessons, or
The good news/bad news was that the studio was
swamped beyond comprehension.
I got a lot of bitter emails
demanding I do something. Here is a good
"There needs to be a
limit to these classes. You can not enroll as
many people as you can to make the most profit
and let your customers fend
for themselves. Please join the rest of the
civilized business world and set aside some
rules to SERVE your customers, and then maybe
you'll make some money at it. I know a hell of
a lot of angry customers who
are furious about how they are being treated.
what about the 4 of
us? We will continue to take dance classes, but
not at SSQQ. Enjoy your profits
of greed, Rick, while
Those emails stung me like a
snake bite. As you can see, I was being accused
of deliberately stuffing classes. That was not
true. Our classes were stuffed because we were
taken by surprise. We had no controls in place because we had never
had this problem before. For over twenty years
our studio had more than enough space to accommodate
anyone who walked in to sign up for a class.
But 2000 was no ordinary year. Our studio was
overwhelmed because of the unprecedented demand.
I reacted by hiring Hall Monitors and developing our
Online Registration system in case I had to enforce
class limits. But the criticism had taken a
rough toll on my spirit. I have always done my
best to please my students. This non-stop
anger hurt me deeply
Maybe you will understand
this constant tension was the main reason I lost my
temper on several occasions that year. Running
the studio was no picnic, believe me. Failure
is never any fun, but I had to learn the hard way
that too much success is pretty
stressful too. I dealt with a never-ending
stream of headaches and problems all year long.
An entire year of dealing with complaining and bitterness
wore me down. For some reason, the Bush-Gore
Insanity over Florida threw me into a huge
depression late in the year. I morbidly
obsessed over all the wrangling. My mood grew
darker and darker.
Plus I had this constant battle with the Swing
organization known as
HSDS that never
seemed to go away. Every week there seemed to
be another dirty tricks incident involving HSDS.
HSDS was in an expansion mode. They saw all
our throngs of Swing students and figured they were
ripe for the picking. HSDS members would
come to the studio and recruit our students during
our SSQQ Swing Practice Night. HSDS operatives
would ask our students to dance, strike up a
conversation, then tell them about outside Swing
events as a ploy to get email addresses.
I wanted to write about these tactics in our
Newsletter, but Judy refused to sanction a
counter-attack. Then in April 2000 she finally
relented. I wrote an angry story in the
Newsletter that certain HSDS members didn't
appreciate. Soon the controversy got even
worse and Judy was furious at me for reopening old
wounds. My constant arguments with
Judy over the problems caused by HSDS put a
huge spike in our relationship.
realized that my marriage to Judy was failing.
Believe it or not, the animosity that arose from the
2000 SSQQ-HSDS Feud
proved to be an insurmountable spike in the coffin
for our marriage. We
called it quits at the very end of the year.
As you can see, the most successful year in studio history
had actually contributed to create one of the worst years
in my personal life. Fortunately from the
ashes of my ruined marriage arose one of the most
important developments in the studio's history."
THE LOVE BOAT ERA BEGINS
"What happened after you separated?"
and I had always been friends. We were able to
part the marriage on very good terms. Despite our
obvious disappointment, we got along pretty
well after the breakup. Judy continued to work at
the studio for three years after the split-up.
But the damage was done. I was lonely, angry,
and bitter. I was miserable that I would only
see my daughter half the time.
my Holiday Breakup, in January 2001 my friend Tom Easley gave me a
call. He invited me to go skiing with the
Look-a-Like Group later that month. Apparently
their annual get-together was coming up and his wife Margaret
didn't want to go, so now he needed a roommate at
the last minute.
I needed to get out of town and nurse my wounds.
How funny that Tom should come to my rescue again.
He had been there after my first marriage fell apart as well.
I spent an entire week being part of a group of 40
people. We had a blast skiing together and hanging
out together. Every day I skied with six
different couples who had met through SSQQ twenty
years ago. I
noted with the quiet satisfaction that my time as
'Leader of the Pack' back in the Eighties had been
largely responsible for helping this wonderful group of
people connect. (Where
the Creatures Meet)
As I watched the chemistry of this dynamic group in
action, I wondered what I could do
to bring back this kind of magic to the modern day
The studio was doing well, but
I was stayed pretty much in the shadows when it came
to getting close to my students. For one
thing, I was still pretty beat up from all the
complaining in 2000. I kept a wall between me
and the students, preferring to function in my
behind-the-scenes role as studio publicist
antics created by my wild and crazy Staff.
Let me add that my wild and crazy Staff members were getting married right and left at the
same time as I was getting unmarried. Daryl
got married, Susie got married, Ben got married,
Rachel got married as well as Karen Davidson, Janet
Wukman, Paula Henderson, Mike Fagan, Larry Carlton,
Tracy King and Kathleen Alexander over a two year
That's the way life is sometimes, a revolving door."
"Now that you were single
again, what did you do?
"During that ski trip, I decided the studio needed an adventure.
It was February 2001 now, so it was
obviously too late in the year to plan a ski trip. What
else could we do? I thought back to the
Jamaica Cruise of 1998. I nodded to myself.
It was time to try another cruise. I called
Alan Fox and arranged the second SSQQ Cruise Trip
for August 2001.
The 1998 Trip had drawn 30 people, but I had barely
lifted a finger. What would happen if I tried
a little? I didn't have a very good time on
that trip, but maybe now that I was single things
would go better. I certainly had extra time on
my hands. So I started to seriously promote
the Trip. I came out of my shell and started
to talk to people on a personal basis. I looked
people in the eye and them how much fun it was going to
be. Even though there was no money in it for
me, I realized I was having fun persuading people to
join the party.
Something clicked. One person after
another signed on. Each time someone joined, I
would add their name to a list I kept on the
studio's Internet web site. My Newsletter
became a powerful tool in promoting this trip.
Some people told me they used to check the Internet
List on almost a daily basis to see who else was
going. The 'Buzz' about this trip was
overwhelming. I had really connected with this
idea. The studio sizzled with excitement.
Sure enough, just like the good old days, the
moment I was single again, the studio started to
snap crackle and pop. Despite my own personal
darkness, I took pride in the energy I was creating.
If anything, it was good therapy to be connected to
my studio again. I used the success of the
cruise trip as a way to get my own spirits back up
again. To my surprise, I was recovering from
my second divorce a lot faster than I had my first
divorce to Pat fifteen years earlier. It
helped that Judy and I had parted friends.
As the months went by, the
total climbed and climbed. 2 joined one
day. 3 joined the next. 40 people signed
on by April. Then we were up to 70 in May.
I shook my head in amazement as the
number kept climbing. 80, 90. In the final week
before the trip, we finally crossed the magic One
Hundred threshold. 101 people signed on
for the trip. Amazing.
I smiled. It was fun to be the Leader
of the Pack again. 'Welcome back', I said to myself.
But I frowned too. As always, I was far more
effective at raising the energy level at the studio
when I was single. But did I always have to be
lonely for the studio to thrive? There
had to be a middle ground somewhere. But
"I heard you met someone
special on the 2001 Cruise?"
"Yes, I met my wife Marla on the 2001 Cruise. Actually I knew Marla before the Trip. She was a dance student.
She always took my breath away. I would watch her carefully every time she walked by because she
was so pretty.
But whenever I tried to
learn more about what her story was, Marla would always mention her
boyfriend of 6 years. She wasn't giving me an opening.
This frustrated me because I didn't sense
any real commitment to the guy. One time right in the middle of a
conversation I got up and walked away with Marla
staring at me in confusion. She mentioned
something about him and I didn't want to hear it.
I had just gotten my divorce from Judy Archer
in May 2001. I was still in my "Never Fall in
Love Again" mode. I was pretty cynical about
life in general and positive I wasn't ready for
another relationship. Nevertheless, each
week when it was time for Marla's class, I would
keep an eye on the door till she arrived."
"If she had a boyfriend,
how did you connect on the Cruise?"
"One day Marla phoned to say she was going
to Miami. She wanted some salsa lessons for her boyfriend and
herself. She said she hoped I would teach the lesson.
I thought to myself, 'Are you nuts?'
There was no way I was going to do teach that lesson.
I referred Marla to another instructor. I wasn't about
to sit there for an hour being jealous. I knew I had a
crush on her. Why beat my head against the wall?
You see, one month earlier Marla had signed up for
our cruise without the boyfriend. I had noted this move with great
interest. Like I said, she talked 'double',
but acted 'single'. I figured my instincts were
right and she was using the cruise trip as a way to hit the
But now this Miami phone call changed everything.
I had been
hoping Marla was hanging on by a thread to this guy,
yet her trip with him to Florida put a real damper on my
realized that Marla's plan to take her honey Salsa dancing
Miami trip with was coming just one week before the cruise.
That trip had a distinct romantic sound to it.
My instincts kept telling me that Marla was not as committed as she
said she was, but now it
seemed like that boyfriend was a lot more in the picture than
my gut feeling indicated.
I was so confused!!
Was it all
just wishful thinking on my part?
I was confused, but I wasn't giving up. I was
still pretty sure my hunch was right. Marla said
she was committed, but she didn't act committed.
Besides, what kind of boyfriend in his right mind
would let a woman who looked like Marla take a
singles cruise by herself? I wasn't the only guy
watching her!! Marla turned heads. What was this
So I underlined
Marla's name on the guest list.
During the cruise, I definitely
intended to corner Marla and probe the strength of that relationship.
If ever there was a Big Bad Wolf ready to pounce on an
unsuspecting Little Red Riding Hood,
that would be me. All's fair in love and war,
When the cruise started, I didn't have
long to wait. At midnight
on the first
night on the cruise I saw Marla standing in the door
of the Disco. Her body language suggested she was
getting ready to exit. No way I was going to let her
leave! This was my chance. I moved swiftly
across the room to ask Marla to
encouraged that Marla
seemed pleased to see me. She smiled and agreed to
dance. First she handed me her cabin key and
asked if I would keep it for her since she didn't
have any pockets. It was a simple request, but
for some reason I took it as a good sign. I
took it to mean that she trusted me.
We danced freestyle for starters. At one time
I was a good freestyle dancer, but for some reason
the rap music they played didn't seem to mesh with
my moves. I was surprised to feel a bit
self-conscious on the dance floor.
Then we decided to take a rest. We went over
to sit at the bar and I ordered two margaritas.
That's when I began the Interview, although
cautiously of course. Didn't want to seem too
some more, then we came to the bar for a second
round of margaritas. We began to talk some more. I was definitely
enjoying myself. In fact, I didn't want it to
end. That's when I suggested we take the conversation up on the deck.
Marla didn't blink. She smiled her approval,
so up the stairs we went.
Oh my goodness, it was a
indeed a dark and stormy night out
Hurricane Chantal was in Caribbean at the same time
as our cruise. We were obviously feeling some
of its power. There was no rain, but
huge, dark ominous rain clouds in the sky. The
eerie moon kept appearing and disappearing as the
clouds sped by in the strong wind. The temperature
was cool and there were large waves crashing against
We were alone on deck talking the
night away. It was exciting to have a
hurricane in the distance! The night was
perfect for romance. As I watched the moon play hide
and seek in the dark skies above, I could feel myself falling in love right
there on the spot.
I was stunned at this turn of events. I had just gotten divorced
three months ago. I never
wanted to risk getting hurt again in my life and I was scared out of my wits. But Marla was
irresistible. I really liked her!
I don't know what I was scared about. As it turned
out, trusting my feelings with Marla was the smartest thing I ever did in my life.
Marla and I
have never been apart since."
"What happened to the boyfriend?"
"Hmm. It turned out my
instincts were correct all along. Marla was unhappy in
that relationship; she just didn't want to admit
that her six-year relationship had hit a dead-end. They had been going through
the motions for a long time. The relationship was going
nowhere. She felt like he was taking her for
granted and they were spending less and less time
together. Suffice it to say he
was no longer on the trip after the first night.
She threw him overboard.
However our new relationship got off to a rough
First Marla had to break the
news as gently as she could when we returned home.
That was very tough for her since no one ever wants to hurt
a friend. He wasn't very happy about this turn of
events, but I have to hand it to him because the man was a
complete gentleman to Marla during this painful period of
"How did 9/11 affect the
"Sad to say,
immediately after our August 2001 Cruise ended, there was a tragedy lurking around
the corner. 9/11 hit just two weeks after
our group came back to Houston.
The nation was devastated.
I was devastated. We were all
devastated. Every American was suddenly aware
our lives might never be the same again. We
were at war.
This horrible moment marked the end of the
SSQQ Millennium Generation. 9/11 stopped this
amazing period in the studio's history dead in its tracks. The studio came
to a grinding halt. The whole place resembled
a ghost town for several months as we numbly tried
to make sense of it all.
Nor did I care that my business was off. I was far more worried about
the human race than I was about selling dance
"How did you get
the studio going
we figured out that this horrible attack was an isolated
incident, the attitude was life must go on. Sure, a
lot of our enthusiasm was gone, but we couldn't let the
terrorists ruin our lives. It was time to pick up pieces and
get on with things.
At the start of 2002, things were starting to get back to
normal although dance classes were at best half the size of
the previous year. Marla suggested we schedule another
cruise and try to cheer up. I nodded in agreement.
However Carnival Cruise Line wasn't very cooperative.
They had short-changed us on the previous trip due to Hurricane
Chantal. We had paid for two ports, but only visited
one. And we certainly didn't enjoy the port they stuck
us with either.
But Carnival didn't feel any need to compensate
us with even a token discount. Our cruise members were
so angry at Carnival that Marla suggested perhaps we
should try Royal Caribbean, Carnival's main competitor,
After I talked to the local representative and told him I
had a group of 100 people, Royal Caribbean was more than
happy to give us a discount to lure our business away from
I was worried though. 9/11 still had all of us
rattled, this new trip was 7 days instead of 5 days, and it
was a lot more expensive. Would people respond to this
Thank goodness my fears turned out to be unfounded. The
response was excellent. Despite all the problems with
9/11 and a much steeper price, we got 87 people for our 2002
trip. I didn't know it at the time, but this trip was
Chapter Two in the SSQQ Love Boat Era.
We were entering the most exciting phase of the dance
studio's history yet."
"How did the
Cruise turn out?"
"Gee whiz, this
was a wonderful trip. I learned so many
important lessons on this trip.
This was the first
trip Gary Richardson and his wife Betty came on.
Gary's incredible gift for
photography resulted in many
great pictures from the trip. He
took picture after picture and I
used those pictures to document our trip.
was also my chance to pay him back for his On-Off
Switch trick a few years back. I got him pretty good
for wearing blacks socks on the trip. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.
Gary and I
became good teammates.
I learned first-hand how much people miss 'glamor'
in their lives. Seeing how much fun our group
had thrilling the audiences at the Captain's
Reception with their marvelous dancing was
definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.
In addition, I was astounded at the number of serious
romances that developed out of this trip. Six
couples from our group eventually married, including
two romances that developed right in front of my
eyes in the same way that Marla and I had connected
the previous year.
"Are you saying other people connect on your
"Absolutely. All the legends are true. Women
lose their inhibitions at sea and throw caution to the wind
like Marla did. Men fool around and fall
in love. It happened to me and it has happened to many other couples... all of whom would MURDER
ME if I gave up names.
My unofficial count now has 24 SSQQ
couples directly related to our cruises. They
aren't all married, but they are together and moving
in that direction slowly but surely.
One of the precious features of an SSQQ Cruise is that
love can follow a couple to shore.
the first cruise we took in 1998, we had a very
small group of 30 that included two single men and ten single
women. With that ratio, the only way for the birds and the bees
to take place was for the women to look outside the group.
Three ladies indeed hooked up with men outside the
ladies fell deeply in love with a guy from a
different city. When we got back to shore, the
guy went one way, she went the other. This
lady was a friend of mine so I watched her
wasn't the same for a long time. She seemed to brood over her lost love
for a long time. She had let down
her guard and now she ached badly.
trip, future SSQQ ocean
flings did not have to end when the trip ended.
A cruise romance gives two people an enormous amount
of time to get to know one another. Depending on
their need for sleep, they can go 24/7
learning everything there is to know about the other
person. Seven days is a long time to explore.
I am not simply talking about cabin
gymnastics. They can talk, they can
dance, they can swim, they can sight see on shore, they can
see how their new friend interacts with others, how
he or she treats the cruise staff, how they are with
money, how they behave in the hot tub with other hot
bodies around, are they a potential womanizer, you
You can acquire a wealth of
information on a cruise that would take two months
to learn onshore. Based my own experience with
Marla, by the time they step off
the ship, a new couple might feel like they have known each other
forever. Try using email or a dating service
to equal that. It isn't going to happen.
People need direct contact!
And it definitely is important to see what their
friend REALLY looks like in a bathing suit!"
"How did the
Cruise turn out?"
than 2002 for sure. Mixed results.
Marla discovered that the Carnival Jubilee was
ridiculously under-priced for a prime July 4th
The combination of a date when everyone could get
off from work plus the low rate was too much to
resist. We smashed the previous attendance
with 144 people. That was awesome.
The ocean's affect on SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance
was also incredible. There were 3
married couples on the trip that had previously met
at SSQQ. There were 4 couples aboard that
already knew each other and later got married.
Then there were 3
engagements that resulted from this trip. (One
couple soon married, one couple broke up, one couple
I don't know the result of). And I counted
three more couples that are still together three
years later... maybe someday they too will tie the
knot. That makes a dozen couples that
connected through SSQQ related to this trip.
That is an impressive total.
The 2003 trip was significant for another reason.
Marla was an experienced traveler before I even met
Now that it was obvious that Marla and I were headed to the
marriage altar, I thought she might enjoy a job as a
part-time travel agent. The studio had not
made a dime from our 3 previous trips. Why not
take advantage of her talent? Marla liked my
idea. She had
been thinking the exact same thing. 2003
'training wheels' trip. Under
the watchful eye of another travel agent, Marla
organized the trip and handled the bookings."
"How did the
2004 Mardi Gras
Cruise turn out?"
"This is still my
all-time favorite cruise. What a pity we
haven't been able to repeat it.
The Mardi Gras Cruise was the
first cruise organized entirely by Marla.
By our usual standards, we did not have a large
group. I think our total was 39. But
that number turned out to be perfect for this
particular trip. As we entered the jungle of
Mardi Gras, our group stuck together just like a
safari venturing into the wild jungle.
We had such an adventure together that we became
close friends! Usually I am the Leader of the
Pack, but this time I was completely off my Turf.
I let a native Louisiana boy, MG Anseman, take the lead
and he was terrific.
Our group stopped at St. Charles Street to watch the
amazing floats, collect beads, and sample the local
Margaritas. After two hours, we were heavily
beaded and quite drunk.
Then our trip took us to Bourbon Street for the most
crowd I have ever scene. There were naked breasts
everywhere. Some were painted, others were
There were throngs, there were wild-looking people,
there was trash and litter, there were drunks
singing at the top of their lungs, there were people
passed out the sidewalk, and there was a constant
hail of beads and confetti thrown from the
Our group discovered a blues bar. We went
partly for sanctuary and partly to hear the music. We
finished a great afternoon with two hours of the
dancing I have ever experienced! The music was
sensational and the Mardi Gras atmosphere was
This trip had several 'Firsts' including the first hot-tub stuffing
marathons, the first bloody sand volleyball match at
Chankanaab Beach in Cozumel, and the first Jigsaw
No marriages to date, but several couples are
looking pretty tight these days.
"What was the story on
2004 Rhapsody Wedding Cruise?
"Since Marla and
I had met on an SSQQ Cruise, we decided that getting
married on an SSQQ Cruise would bring our
relationship full circle. 125 people joined us for
Despite the fact that everything that could go wrong
did go wrong for Marla and me, this eventually turned into a
marvelous trip for both of us. The Rhapsody
Staff took a shine to us and made Marla feel like
visiting royalty. We were even invited to
dinner with the Captain!
As far as Slow Dance and Romance goes, Marla and I
obviously were the focus, but we were not alone.
couples on this trip got married within the
next year plus one new romance developed. It
was a great trip for everyone.
"I heard there were
serious sparks on the
2005 Alaska Cruise?
"This trip to
Alaska had tremendous magic to it.
We took over 70 people to
view the stunning Alaska vistas. Every day we gazed
in awe at the huge skyscraper mountains, pristine
untouched forests everywhere the eye could gaze,
magnificent glaciers just 800 yards away from the
bow of our ship, and at rivers, waterfalls, and
islands so beautiful they looked like they belonged
in a travel magazine!
This was the trip where I first
began to realize there really was something to this
'Love Boat' stuff. We had an engagement
announced on the first day of trip, but that turned
out to trigger a veritable romantic avalanche.
Immediately after the trip ended, four couples in
four months made trips down the wedding aisle.
Not one of these weddings was even hinted at during
the trip. In other words, our Love Boat trip
moved people quickly in the right direction.
Including 4 other couples on the trip that had met
previously at SSQQ and 2 couples that "connected" on
this trip, we had 11 Slow Dance and Romance couples
on one trip.
Do you think there something to this SSQQ "Love
Boat" stuff or am I just making it up?
"So the Love Boat
slogan is not
necessarily a 'Myth'?"
"It doesn't matter
whether you are Single or Double. It doesn't
matter if you are young or old.
Cruise Trips are valuable for romance
on all levels.
Sure, the singles are the ones who are
out there making total fools of themselves and having a blast in
the process. Their antics are the stuff of good
stories back home. But important things are happening
with the well-behaved people on the trip as well.
Many singles who are 'couples' take cruises as a part of
their courtship. I see a large number of people who take cruises together to see what
it's like to be alone for seven days with another person.
In situations like this, there is always powerful
movement. Two couples on the Alaska trip had
barely begun to date before this trip only to head
straight for the altar when they got back to
Houston. Two other couples could not wait to hit the Exit Door
on their return. Whatever direction
you are headed, the cruise will accelerate it for
Think about it. The summer we went to
Alaska, one couple got engaged on the trip. Four more
couples got married within four months after the cruise. In
other words, five couples made huge decisions during
that cruise! You can't tell me this was
coincidence. I think the cruise experience was so
powerful it accelerated their progress towards
Another group that doesn't get much publicity are
the couples who take the cruises to fall even more
deeply in love. I cannot tell you how much
Marla and I appreciate the quiet SSQQ couples who
have made a half dozen trips with us.
Our quiet couples never misbehave. They get very little
publicity. However on each trip, you will
always see them holding hands. You will see them
making new friends at dinner time. They smile a lot.
They are always on the dance floor. They Foxtrot.
They Waltz. They Cha Cha. They are elegant in
their dress and they carry themselves with grace and
I may only hear two words from them the whole trip -
they always say 'thank you' when the trip is over.
And of course they pay us the highest compliment of
all - they take another trip with us. Marla
and I have eight words for them - 'You are welcome.
And thank you very much!'
The term 'Love Boat' is just as important to my
silent couples as it is to the couples who are busy falling in love."
2005 Rita Rhapsody
was a rough trip. What went wrong?"
course everyone remembers that Hurricane
Rita barely missed hitting Houston and caused the
biggest traffic jam in the history of our planet.
In terms of sheer terror, it shook us all to our
core even though our area was eventually spared.
It was a close call.
By coincidence, our trip was scheduled to leave
Galveston the day after the storm actually touched
land about 100 miles to east on the Texas-Louisiana
border. For safety purposes, our ship stayed
out at sea for four more days to let Galveston get
its port going again.
Unfortunately our trip was cut in half down to a
three-day trip. This trip was shaping up to be the
most exciting cruise in the studio's history, but now
it was little better than a quick float out
to sea and back. After such a buildup,
every single one of us felt deeply disappointed.
Many of us were too weary from the stress of Rita to even care
The majority of us would rather have
postponed the trip. But Marla
knew how unrealistic this sentiment was. She had
seen how hard people had worked to get this time
free from their jobs. If we postponed the
cruise, this would cost many of these
people their trip entirely.
Despite these obstacles and others, Marla held our
trip together. Out of the original hundred people
scheduled to sail, 85 people went with us.
That was quite an accomplishment! By
comparison, another group of 300 'Beaders' from
Dallas threw in the towel and canceled even though
Dallas wasn't even affected. Marla put this
trip on her back and carried us out to sea herself.
She rescued this trip single-handedly and paid a
heavy price in
SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance suffered from the
abbreviated trip. Just about the time people
began to shake their post-Rita blues, we were back
in Houston again. The sense of what could have
been lingered in the back of everyone's mind.
We felt cheated."
"Three days. That didn't
leave much time for romance, did it?
But sometimes even just a 'taste' has a benefit. In
some ways, this
trip gave the members to our cruise group a Preview!
Judging from the fever at which many of our guests
have been attacking their dance lessons ever since
their return, they intend to make our next
Rhapsody trip their coming out party
(Side Note: we bounced back to
Rhapsody Reloaded 2006
trip our most successful
cruise to date.)
One positive effect of the yearly SSQQ cruises is
the dedication people put into their dancing before
the cruise takes place for several reasons.
First they fully intend to be able to enjoy their
hobby to the fullest. Second, if a cute guy or
cute girl within the group (or outside the group for
that matter) asks them to dance, they definitely
don't want to sit the song out or feel clumsy.
Beyond the obvious birds and bees stuff, the people
in our group genuinely enjoy seeing how much the
other passengers appreciate
their dancing. Here in Houston, some of our
newer students take a back seat to
the hundreds of advanced dancers that populate the
studio or the Wild West dance floors. But
aboard the Rhapsody or whatever ship we sail on,
every member of our trip become Dance Gods and Goddesses.
first-timers are stunned to discover they are better
dancers than practically anyone on board the ship
when it comes to partner dancing. They give
themselves a secret pat on the back for a job well
surprised to find that cruises are one place where
Ballroom dancing still lives! I remember a
number of our guests were forced to sit during the
Captain's Reception. Their Western dancing and
Salsa dancing didn't help them much when a Swing
like 'In the Mood' or a
Foxtrot like 'I Get a Kick out of You' was played.
They were definitely taking notes. I was
amused to spot a bunch of them in a Ballroom class
after the Rita Rhapsody trip.
Once they learned how
important Ballroom Dancing is on cruises, back on
shore men who
typically wear boots and blue jeans or shorts and
Hawaiian shirts quietly show up for Foxtrot, Swing,
and Cha Cha classes to prepare for their trip.
Around the studio, they
are total bums, but they know deep down inside they can clean
up when they have to.
All they need is a reason. Secretly I think
our guys enjoy looking good once in a while. I know
I do. I treat the Rhapsody Crown and Anchor dances
like I do the Halloween Party - wear a costume and
come in disguise! It definitely takes a while
to recognize me.
myself, I had to get used to it, but lately I have
begun to look forward to these opportunities to
dress up and dance. It is fun to be
sophisticated once in a while! I can't see
being Cary Grant every night of the week, but two or
three times a trip I think it is terrific to a
transform into a sharp-dressed man. Nor do I think I
Believe it or not, I think a
lot of people from our group enjoy the glamour of the cruise.
Certainly the women don't need any encouragement in the
glamour department. When it comes to glamour,
the women are on board before the ship even leaves
Every cruise becomes a
fashion opportunity that cannot be passed up.
Unlike airplane trips, our ladies can take as many clothes
as they want. And their reward comes when Gary is right
there to take their picture dressed in their
beautiful gowns. All they have to do is stand still and smile!
Women love to be elegant. They are definitely
beautiful on these occasions.
our guys have begun to figure this out. Lo and behold, one night aboard the cruise, these
barbarians are magically transformed into studs as
they trot out in their ties and tuxes. The
women scream with delight as the men go through
their 'aw shucks' routines. They won't admit it, but
like the women, they too cannot WAIT for
Gary Richardson to take the picture to show the
world back home just how damn good looking they
"Do you have any
advice for someone who is looking to meet
someone at SSQQ?"
many lessons that can be drawn from our
stories, but the overriding theme above all
others is that the SSQQ Playground will work
for anyone as long as you PARTICIPATE.
SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance Magic is
available to everyone. But don't
sit around and wait for it to happen.
Focus on the Journey, not just the Goal.
Some people waited years to find the right
person. Make it fun every step of the
If you are interested in dancing, then make
it one of your hobbies and put some energy
into getting good at it. Organize your
free time around dance activities.
Get out there and dance at every
opportunity. Not only is dancing
healthy for you, some of the brightest, most
active people in the world absolutely love
There are several direct ways
to make it happen.
1) Take a dance
class. Become a good dancer. Some
people meet the love of their life in the first
class they take, but the vast majority of our
marriages started as friendships and developed over
time. Most of these friendships
developed in dance class.
2) Practice Night. Since the
'Turf' is built around social dancing, the better
the dancer you are, the more confident you will be
in every social situation involving the studio or
dancing as your dance skills improve.
Therefore, when your class is over, don't head to
the Exit Door... head to the dance floor.
Practice Night at SSQQ is FREE to anyone taking a
dance class that month. Get out there and
dance. Ask someone to dance. Accept all
offers. Learn names. Smile. Get to
3) Friday and Saturday Night Parties.
A great number of the single people come to our
weekly Friday Night dance and our Saturday night
parties. This is 'Where the Creatures Meet'.
Because people don't have to get up and go to work
the next day, they dance hard and are looking for
adventure. Do NOT miss the Halloween Party.
4) Become a Volunteer. Our
instructors are hired directly from the ranks of our
Volunteers. Anyone in a leadership role at the
studio sees their profile improve immediately.
5) Read the SSQQ Newsletter.
Figure out what's going on, read about the
celebrities, look for ways to contribute.
6) Take the Cruise. Modern-Era
SSQQ celebrities are either Staff, great dancers, or
participants in one of the yearly cruises. You
get your name and your picture published for all the
world to see. And if you misbehave enough,
maybe you will make it to the fabled 'Usual Suspect'
team of all-star troublemakers and be lucky enough
to have me write terrible things about you.
7) Become a phenomenal dancer. In
a program organized around dancing, the best dancers
attract every eye in the room. Men like the
Waltz Kings became the
boys in demand for a reason -
women love to dance and these men made it fun for
If you are good at Western or West Coast Swing,
consider dance competition. Currently the
dance studio has several men involved in training
people to compete. Consider asking them to
form a dance team. Some of the best times the
studio has ever seen revolved around the Swing Kids
and Heartbeat in the late Nineties.
8) Contribute. Join a Group.
Plan an Adventure. Not everyone can become
a great dancer, but everyone can organize activities
and plan adventures.
The history of the studio romances shows time and
again that every person who has ever become a
mischief leader or a great dancer has been rewarded
many times over.
Some people organize Hill Country Tours with stops
at famous Honky Tonks like Gruene Hall. Others
throw parties in their home. Others organize
Margarita Trips. Others rent a couple beach
houses down at Surfside for the weekend.
Others organize visits to Dickens on the Strand.
Others organize weekend trips to San Antonio.
Others organize Rodeo activities. Others
organize ski trips.
Don't look to other people to
get the party started. Get it started
yourself. The leaders always get the biggest
"Any other advice to offer?"
"Yes, as a matter
of fact I do. Find ways to CONTRIBUTE.
Time and again throughout the
history of SSQQ, people started here as individuals
and stayed with it. As they began to make
friends, they realized they were starting to become
a member of a 'Group'.
There are always many small groups operating
at SSQQ. These groups usually form as a bunch of
people in a particular class who realize they like each
other. They start to do things as a 'group'
Their activities might be
small scale at first. Catch a movie or play
cards or meet for dinner and head to a
As groups form, they create energy that draw
other people to them. Other groups bounce into
them and sometimes the groups merge. When
enough people join the group, they become a
A Generation often takes years to form and sometimes
we don't even have a 'Generation'. The first
half of the Nineties passed without any particular
group identity. I had burned out from fifteen
years of Leadership, but there was no one at the
time to step in.
History has shown that the groups can only go as far
as the leadership will take them. Now that you
have read our story, you see that the SSQQ history
book has listed the famous leaders like myself, Tom
Easley, Daryl Armstrong, Bob Job, Jim Smith, Diane
Head, Sharon Crawford and Susie Merrill.
Every one of these leaders (except Susie) married
someone they met
through the studio.
Unfortunately the history book has also shown that each one
of these people 'burned out' along the way. No
one can be 'Leader of the Pack' forever.
Inevitably the Leader must be a person who is Single.
We all know that once a Leader becomes a Double, their
days in the sun become numbered.
And since SSQQ leaders get 'Doubled' at an amazing
rate, new leaders must always be found. And
those leaders must find key people who will contribute
and help them create an activity list.
You may be the squirrel that finds the acorn or the
raccoon that finds the walnut or the bird that
gathers twigs for the nest. It doesn't matter
what you do.
It always starts by creating fun. Find
dance and organize activities to have fun.
If you find a way to contribute, the energy will
come back to you many times over."
In our final Chapter, we discuss the
possible directions that the Cruise Trips
and SSQQ will head in the future.