SSQQ 2008 Important Moments

Who When
15. Bruce Hanka and Mara Rivas December 2008
14. Jack Myers and Jo Wilson November 2008
13. Patrick Hayes and Shannon Gingles August 2008
12. Andrew Laham and Pam Conyne August 2008
11. Gary Schweinle and Tracy Kirkland July 2008
10. Glenn Hebert and Marissa Gorzynski June 2008
09. James Requenez and Melissa Wilkes April 2008

08. Robert Therrell and Debra Malinowski 

April 2008
07. Carmen Vito and Nerina Faccini March 2008
06. Jeff Anderson and Lisa Ramey January 2008
05. Manny Angulo and Michelle Crossley January 2008
04. Jim Burrell and Paula Bione January 2008
03. Mack Warren and Amy Giles January 2008
02. Brit Davis and Melisa Melios January 2008
01. Roger Lee and Wendy Zhang January 2008
06. Luis Castillo and Olga Bochareva November 2008
05. Bruce Hanka and Mara Rivas October 2008
04. Andrew Laham and Pam Conyne June 2008
03. Guy Hoover and Patty Pennington June 2008
02. Keith Patterson and Penny Gunderson June 2008
01. Gerry Francis and Amy Adams April 2008

Engagement Pictures

Gerry Francis and Amy Adams

Keith Patterson and Penny Gunderson

Patty Pennington and Guy Hoover

Mara Rivas and Bruce Hanka

Olga Bochareva and Luis Castillo


Wedding Pictures and Stories

All stories written by Rick Archer


December 2008 -  Bruce Hanka and Mara Rivas 


Mara Rivas on Rhapsody 2002

Bruce Hanka on Rhapsody 2002

Mara and Bruce on Hawaii 2007

The last time I checked, One Plus One Equals Two

Bruce Hanka and Mara Rivas are an extra special SSQQ Love Story.  They started off apart and they ended up together. 

Marla and I consider ourselves deeply privileged to have been given a front row seat to watch their Romance begin, deepen, and inevitably move towards marriage.  It was fun to watch.  Yes, Marla and I were there right at the start and followed the progression every step of the way.  By the way, did you know that Marla has started to enjoy matchmaking just as much as I do?  Marla was really rooting for these two to take it all the way to the end zone.

A couple in love; Conquest 2008

This story started out at sea.  Mara Rivas and Bruce Hanka were both aboard our Rhapsody 2002 Cruise sailing all by themselves.  Anyone who has followed the legacy of the many SSQQ romances on our cruises would have bet money they wouldn't be alone for long.  After all, Mara is knockout good-looking and Bruce is clean-cut handsome and that brisk sea air should have done the rest.  Yes, the spark should have happened on that trip, but it didn't.  Cupid even had some help - Mara's friend Joanie kept insisting that Mara pay attention to Bruce.  That's a good-looking man!  And he's single.  Go get him, Mara! 

But Mara kept her distance on that trip.  Well, maybe Mara wasn't ready.  Nevertheless I have a hunch that at some point during that trip Mara at least put Bruce up on her radar board.  We aren't sure what Bruce's side of the story is because he has always been notoriously careful about what he says around me (I wonder why?)  But I guess we can assume Bruce noticed Mara as well.

Although Rhapsody 2002 was the first of many SSQQ cruises for both people, Bruce Hanka had already been a big part of the studio for several years at that point.  In fact, I remember Bruce helping me teach Whip classes during the early 2000s.  It was during one of those classes that Bruce played a very
mean trick on me.  I don't believe I have ever forgiven him.

On the other hand, Mara was a relative newcomer in 2002.  She managed an apartment complex in west Houston.  One of Mara's tenants, Joan Tomlinson, and her boyfriend Max Huff had been taking lessons at SSQQ.  The two of them not only talked Mara into taking dance lessons, they also persuaded Mara into coming on the cruise. 

Although Mara resisted hooking up with Mr. Hanka in 2002, she and Marla really hit it off on that trip. Since then, Mara and Marla have been close friends.  As you can see from the picture, at the 2004 Halloween Party both ladies acknowledged that they were definitely the SSQQ M and M's.  

2004 was a special year indeed for these two ladies.  Mara was a huge help to Marla during our wedding aboard the Rhapsody in 2004.  During all the unusual headaches that accompanied our bizarre "
Oops Wedding", it was Mara who stayed at Marla's side and kept her from completely losing it.  Speaking of "Oops", the similarity in their names has gotten me in trouble many times.  I will reveal my relationship with my beautiful wife Marla has been strained on more than one occasion when I have accidentally referred to her as "Mara".  Those are the occasions when I get to spend quality time with my three dogs while I sleep on the couch.

The 2004 Rhapsody Cruise was the trip where Mara suggested a good use for all those bottles of champagne that were delivered to each cabin.  The bottles were not getting opened because the majority of the guests on that cruise were not couples.  Two women sharing a cabin didn't feel like opening the bottle.  Two men sharing a cabin didn't feel like opening the bottle.  So Mara suggested that we pool all our champagne bottles together before one of our Formal Nights and have a party.  Good idea!   Everyone got drunk on their butts.  You have no idea how big the smiles were for the camera shots that night!   The people who could stand were dancing and hugging while the people who couldn't stand just sat there laughing with stupid grins on their faces.  A good time was had by all.  That party was such a hit that it started a popular tradition on our subsequent trips.

From 2002 through 2005, Bruce and Mara's paths constantly intertwined at the studio.  Independent of each other, they took many of the same dance classes at SSQQ.  Not only did they dance together at many practice nights, they showed up for many of the same parties.  For example, any casual glance through our Halloween pictures shows that Mara and Bruce were at practically every Halloween party during the 2000s.  With so much in common - cruises, dancing, and costumes - during this time, Bruce and Mara became good friends.

Mara wasn't the only one with the cruise bug.  Bruce loved going on Marla's cruises as well.  Well, if at first you don't succeed, try try again.  Mara and Bruce continued to tempt fate by going on one SSQQ cruise after another.  Figuring they had survived the 2002 Trip with their hearts intact, they probably figured they had some sort of romantic immunity.  Wrong; I am sure it was a near miss. 

So now they began to defy the odds.  Oblivious to the romantic danger that accompanies all of our Love Boat Cruises, both Bruce and Mara went on our Jubilee 2003 Cruise, but not together.  They both went on our Rhapsody 2004 Wedding Cruise, but not together.  And they both went on our Rita Rhapsody 2005 Cruise, but not together.  You can dodge one bullet, you can dodge two bullets, but if you keep exposing yourself to danger, someday the Love Bug is going to hit you. 

Obviously these two romantic turtles had a slow start, but eventually that potent SSQQ Love Boat Magic took effect.  And then it happened.  Unbeknownst to anyone in our group, the sparks had begun to fly.  First a simmer, then a boil, then it was time to stir things up and make turtle soup together.  Yum!

In retrospect, it was inevitable.  They had so much in common that it was just a matter of time.  It was probably the 2005 Rhapsody Cruise that pushed them over the edge.  My hunch is both people are careful with their hearts.  But in the end, they had spent so much time cruising together, sooner or later they had to bump into each other with their guard down! 

Sure enough, during the Christmas Holidays of 2005, Bruce and Mara became more than friends.  As I mentioned, Marla and I had front row seats.  Mara Rivas was a guest for dinner at our house on Christmas evening 2005.  As everyone sat down for dinner, Mara could hardly sit still.  While the rest of our guests could barely wait for the wonderful meal that Marla had prepared, I couldn't help but notice her best friend Mara was clearly preoccupied.  Her body was there, but her mind was someplace else. I asked Marla what the story was, but Marla didn't know either. She knew Mara had 'big plans' for later in the evening, but the details were a big secret.  Mara was clearly up to something, but what could it be?

Two days later, Mara and Marla had lunch.  That's when Mara spilled the beans.  She and Bruce were officially an item! 

Bruce and Mara have never been apart since.  By the time the 2006 Rhapsody Cruise rolled around, they weren't cruising solo any longer.  For our wonderful 2007 Hawaii Cruise, they were together.  And the same goes for the 2008 Conquest Cruise. In fact, the picture on the left was taken during our 2008 Conquest Cruise.  Don't they look great together?

Mara and Bruce did have an odd twist in their three year courtship - in Summer 2008 Bruce bought Mara a house before buying her a ring.  Interesting.  Inwardly I groaned because it reminded me of an old joke. "I'm so sick of getting divorced, from now on I'm just going to find a woman, skip the ring and give her a house instead."  Of course I had the sense not to tell them that joke since neither of them think I am very funny to begin with.  Keeping my thoughts to myself, it seemed like their romance was still moving at the speed of turtle. 

I was wrong.  To my surprise, the house thing seemed to get the ball rolling.  Everything fell into place at once.  During a trip to New York in October 2008, Bruce proposed.  Rumor has it that Mara would have preferred this moment somewhat sooner, but that's none of my business.  We all know both of these guys are kind of slow to the punch.  They should have got it going on the 2002 Rhapsody Cruise when they had the chance!  

But now that they had gotten around to it, things happened fast.  Incredibly, after three years of slow poking, they were tired of wasting time.  After their October engagement announcement, a couple weeks later they threw a house warming party.  Then two short months later, Bruce and Mara had their wedding on Saturday, December 27.  Surely somewhere in the background, At Last had to be playing on the jukebox.  Wham Bam Shazaam!  And just like that, it was House, Ring, Hear Etta Sing.

Bruce and Mara had their wedding ceremony in their new home.  It was a small wedding limited to family.  Afterwards they had their reception in their home as well.  Marla and I enjoyed spending a wonderful night with Bruce and Mara as well as with friends from the studio including Steve Gabino,
Vivian Gustafson, Kurt and Jean Wind, Phyllis Porter, Patty Harrison, Senor Smile Joe Lachner, Milt Oglesby, and Dee Medina plus everyone I forgot.  

Although I am sure Mara and Bruce would rather I didn't say anything, I believe they were a little bit embarrassed to have their family meet our SSQQ group.  You see, they put us all in a room at the very back of the house complete with a dinner table just for us.  Then they closed the door "so we could eat in privacy".  Furthermore, rather than let us roam around and mingle with the other guests, they periodically sent a nice young man from Ninfa's Catering into the room with orders to refill our margarita glasses.  They figured that would keep us occupied.  And they were right!  Tequila had its usual effect.

Oh did we talk!  With a nice assist from Margaritaville, we had the most entertaining conversation all night long!  We talked about Bruce and Mara (of course), we talked about how Phyllis came to be so famous on our cruise trips, we talked about how Kurt and Jean were high school sweethearts, we talked about the Scarlet Woman from the 2006 Cruise, we talked about Steve's decision to go bald for a while even though he had plenty of hair, and we talked about Milt's days as a musician in the military band.  We talked way into the night.  We had just the best time! 

Meanwhile Bruce and Mara took turns unlocking the door and popping in to say hi to us.  One of our favorite conversations revolved around how Bruce likes to use his beautiful daughters to play tricks on people.  During Halloween 2002, Bruce invited his daughter Kristin to come with him as his 'date'.  She was about 21 at the time.  Dressed in a skin tight
Catwoman outfit, Kristin was way more than merely hot.  She was supernova good-looking.  We just kept staring at the two of them wondering what the story could be. Every man at the party was astounded that a middle-aged guy like Bruce could come up with a babe like Kristin as his date.  Was she a paid escort?   Meanwhile Bruce knew full well the effect his daughter was having, but he wasn't talking.  Bruce was having too much fun, so he kept his cards close.  It wasn't till late in the night that Bruce confessed this beautiful young lady was really his daughter!  

As you can tell from these stories, our new power couple enjoys having a joke or two at other people's expense.  Sure enough, all night long Bruce and Mara's ploy worked to perfection.  We were so drunk we couldn't really move if we wanted to.  So we just sat contentedly in our seats for hours on end and yapped away.  Then late in the night when all the important guests had left, Bruce and Mara unlocked the door to allow us to spend time with them while they opened wedding gifts. 

Hmm.  First they didn't invite us to the wedding.  Then they hid us in the back.  It was so bad we had to ask permission to go to the restroom!  We may have been drunk, but we got the message - you know, Bruce and Mara met through the studio so we were the people you feel obligated to invite.  We understood loud and clear that dancers have about as much social status as gypsies, tramps and thieves, maybe even less.  God forbid the Dance Cult be turned loose on the respectable guests. 

So why were we even invited?  Good question.  Then we saw Mara open a present.  Some of the most beautiful crystal appeared before our eyes!  Wow. That was a spectacular gift!  Even the Magi would be hard-pressed to match the caliber of this loot.  As we watched the magnitude of the gifts that Mara unwrapped, now we knew!  We were probably the only people they knew who still had jobs and could afford decent presents.

So what if we were the riffraff?   We didn't care.  Even though Bruce and Mara were clearly embarrassed to let their family know they had friends like 'us', we loved them so much that we really didn't mind a bit.  We were so happy to share this special moment with our new SSQQ Wedding Couple!

And did I mention how beautiful Mara looked that night?  She was stunning. 

So now it is time for Mara and Bruce to cruise off into the sunset together.  Oh, one more thing before I forget.  I have a little piece of advice for Bruce... if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, don't ever call her "Marla".


November 2008 -  Jack Myers and Jo Wilson

From: Charley Denton
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 11:19 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Jo and Jack got married this last Saturday

Hi Rick....just got this letter from Jo

Hi Charley,

I don't get to see everyone very often with not dancing quiet as much but Jack's recovery is coming along great and he's starting back to dance some, so hopefully we'll be attending more gatherings before long. In the meantime we wanted to let the group know we got married this past Saturday, November 29th. Just a quiet simple ceremony with family.

Hope to see everyone soon.

Jo & Jack


Rick Archer's Note: Jo Anne Wilson has been a dance assistant now for both me and my wife Marla for well over a year.  Jack and Jo announced their engagement a year ago.  They both joined us for this year's Summer Dance Cruise.  I guess that trip worked some magic because just a few months later they tied the knot.



August 2008 -  Andrew Laham and Pam Conyne

 RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: Pam and Andrew were married on August 2nd

-----Original Message-----
From: andrew laham
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:46 AM
To: 'Rick Archer'
Subject: congratulations!

Hi Rick!   Its been an overwhelming past year or so with no rest for the weary.

Pam was very patient with me keeping up with her and parenting duties on top of a crazy work regimen. My daughter just graduated from high school, so there was (and continues to be) a lot of effort on getting prepped for college. At the same time that I was so wrapped up in parent duties, Pam was taking a post doctoral certification that required a lot of report writing and powerpoint presentations. And of course my duties with orchestra parents association and continuing the major structural renovations to my house that I have been in progress on for 2 and a half years.

Anyway, we are going to take a nice honeymoon and family building trip.

Then when we get back, its off to college for my daughter, and back to school for my son. Pam "retired" at the end of this past school year, however she has been hired back on a contract basis 3 days a week. So everyone will be occupied... except for me!  I am going to take a long hiatus, finish the house repairs, recover from stress and exhaustion, and then check off some items from my "bucket list". Were hoping that we might be able to start dancing again on a regular basis later this year.

We'll send some pic's when we get them!   -Andrew

July 2008 -  Gary Schweinle and Tracy Kirkland

On Saturday, July 12th, Gary and Tracy made it official before a crowd of 150 guests. 

Gary and Tracy have been an integral part of SSQQ for many years now.  They are an incredibly popular couple for many, many reasons.

What made the wedding so special was the incredible number of people past and present from SSQQ.  The entire guest list read like 'who's who' here at the studio.  And there were many more people from the studio who were invited but never even got their invitation (a source of great frustration to the Bride and Groom, I might add).

It was indeed quite an SSQQ Family Affair.  Counting Mr. and Mrs. Hat, there were ten couples in attendance who met their spouse or spouse-to-be at SSQQ.  There were six more couples who met their Significant Others at the studio.  

In addition, there several others in attendance who aren't talking yet who were there as well!  (and you know who you are).   In other words, the famous SSQQ Reputation for Slow Dance and Romance Magic was clearly on display!

Have I ever told the story how Gary and Tracy got engaged?  Gary intended to pop the question on the 2006 SSQQ New England cruise.  Gary had the ring in his pocket as they went to the airport.  Did he ever gulp when he and Tracy got to the security checkpoint at the airport - he could not get that ring through without the metal detector going off!   Thinking quick, somehow Gary managed to slip the ring onto Tracy's key chain.  He then put her keys back in her pocketbook which then went through the metal detector.  And that's where the ring stayed until it was time for Gary to make his move!  Tracy was absolutely flabbergasted to discover her engagement ring had sat in her purse for several days without her ever knowing!

SSQQ Guests at Gary and Tracy's Wedding (note: List is not yet complete)

1. MG and Gay Anseman
Gary and Cheryl Davis
3. Heather, Valarie, Kimberly and Amanda Schweinle
4. Dee Medina and Mike Friedberg
5. Marlane Kayfres and Jim Colby
6. Peggy McElroy
7. Wayne Corbitt and Linda Fleischer
8. Sue Brown and Neil Jones
9. Aisha Currie and Greg May
10. Andy Regnier
11. Marcia Thomas
Fran Zandstra and Gus Donnell
13. Phyllis Porter (aka Trouble)
14. Diana Kennedy
15. Betsy Petersen
16. Patty Harrison and Joe Lachner
17. Nick Giara and Pat Wright
18. Pat and Jess Carnes
Jerry and Vicki Latour
20. Pat and Kent Mahaffey
21. Nancy and John Reese
22. Carmen Wilhite
23. Leroy Ginzel
24. Louis and Gloria Romero
25. George Sargeant (Mr. Handsome)
Keith and Betty Baker
27. Joy Al-Jazwali
28. Robert Friske and Amanda Hodges
Bill and Barbara Moore
30. Susan Allen

31. Tim and Bryan Crist
32. Judy and Bill Collins
Penny Gunderson and Keith Patterson
34. Nina Rutiaga and Ed Sanchez
35. Susan Burdette, Andy Bach, Mary Cioffi, Sherry Thornton
36. Cyndi Kellermeyer and Ed Davis
37. Caitlin Prescott
Linda and Bill Holden
39. Guy Breland
40. Julie Wolf
41. Mike Ruland
42. Bob Ham
43. Sandy and Larry McLeod
44. Michael Wolf
45. Wendy and Jim Felker
Rick and Marla Archer
47. Steve Gabino
48. Martin and Michelle Houk
49. Jeanne Tobin and Casey Jones
50. Judy Walsh
51. Phillip Liggett
52. Tom Berwick
53. Larry and Debra Hill
54. Nancy Schweinle
55. John Safros and Jenny DeLaFuente
56. Randa Wynn
57. Penney Warren and Tim Bailey
58. Leslie Schweinle
Manny and Michelle Angulo
60. Gary and Betty Richardson

It is no surprise that Gary and Tracy's Guest List was so huge.  They have made so many friends here at the studio over the years.

For example, every Sunday Gary and Tracy help their friend MG Anseman teach his western class here at the studio along with Gary and Cheryl Davis (another SSQQ couple). 

The role of a Volunteer is important.  While the instructor shows students what to do, it is the Volunteers who give personal instruction as people rotate through the circle. Over the years, Gary and Tracy have helped so many people get their confidence.  Many of the people in the audience actually met Gary and Tracy in dance class.

Gary and Tracy are annual fixtures on the SSQQ Halloween Best Costume list.  They always wear fabulous outfits.

Furthermore Gary and Tracy are a big part of every SSQQ Cruise Trip.  In addition to two solo trips by Gary, together Gary and Tracy have been on seven SSQQ trips.  That is quite an accomplishment!  Nor do they keep a low profile.  I can attest the noisiest and happiest table on every trip is the one that Tracy and Gary are at!

Over the years, Gary has told me several times that he enjoys helping at SSQQ because the studio once helped him and his lovely daughter Kim through a very tough time in their lives.  I don't feel comfortable going into details, but suffice it to say that both Dad and Daughter were still in a lot of pain when they walked through our doors in 2002.

To this day, Gary continues to express his gratitude to the people who were kind to him and kind to his daughter during that tough time.  And the kindness made a difference!  Slowly but surely the dancing and camaraderie started the healing process.  Gary and Kim would drive all the way from Baytown several nights a week, but they always went home happier for the experience. 

Today Kim is a beautiful young woman who is not only a gifted and graceful dance champion several times over, but preparing to graduate with a degree in nursing.  Gary could not be more proud of her! 

And Gary cheered up as well.  He was the life of the party until a special lady named Tracy came into his life.  That's when Gary began to settle down a bit and move into his current role as one of the finest leaders this studio has ever seen... and Tracy was right there beside him.

It is important for me to say this without seeming to boast - there is a Community at SSQQ that literally looks out for one another.  We are not a church group and we are not a singles group.  Our group has no official title or stated goals.  But we are a definitely a group of people who have grown unusually close to each other over the years.  We have become a Family of Friends, no question about it.

And it is true that many of the people here do a quiet form of social work that is absolutely wonderful.  Gary and Tracy and Kimberly have not only benefitted from this warmth, they have turned around and returned the favor by helping others here at the studio many times over. 

We are so fortunate to have this wonderful couple share their lives with us.   I guess you can say I am definitely taking my hat off to my friends Mr. and Mrs. Hat!


June 2008 -  Glenn Hebert and Marissa Gorzynski

Glenn and Marissa's Wedding
Story written by Rick Archer

Marissa Gorzynski married Glenn Hebert on June 8, 2008.

I had the pleasure of walking Marissa down the aisle.  It was a great honor for me to be included in my step-daughter's amazing wedding.

Marissa is my wife Marla's only child.  Marla raised Marissa single-handedly since her daughter was seven.  It was Mom and Marissa against the world for 18 years. 

Although I have known Marissa since 2001 when I first met her mother, she left for her Freshman year at Texas State University almost immediately.

My first real chance to get to know Marissa was at my wedding ceremony back in September 2004.  She was kind to me and thanked me profusely for marrying her mother.  She said she was especially glad she didn't have to worry any more when her mother grew old because Marla had me now.  I think Marissa was only half-kidding.

I have only really gotten to know Marissa in the last three years since she graduated from college.  In this time I have been perpetually amazed at the powerful relationship between Marla and Marissa.  I have never seen two closer people in my life.  Although they play mother-daughter roles occasionally, most of the time they are each other's best friends.  Their relationship has been delightful to watch.

Marissa is a very talented young lady.  I don't have to tell you how pretty she is.  The picture handles that end of it nicely.  Did I mention she graduated Summa Cum Laude from college?  Marissa is one of the hardest working, most conscientious people I have ever known.  She gets it from her mother.   Marla did quite a job raising her daughter.

Marissa met Glenn Hebert in her Junior year at Texas State.  They took a Marketing class together.  Thanks to assigned seating, they sat next to each other with practically no one else remotely nearby to talk to.  As Glenn put it, only a dance class could have put them any closer together.  Their stories vary as to who made the first move, but it didn't take long before they started dating.

After college, Marissa began to work for Enterprise.  Glenn had four more months of school.  After he graduated, she suggested Glenn consider applying at Enterprise as well.  Glenn was hired on the spot and began a phenomenal rise up the company's ladder.  This young man was so good with people that he was being promoted about as fast as humanly possible from one position to another.

Figuring he had enough job security now to make his next move, in April of 2007 Glenn proposed to Marissa on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.  It didn't take Marissa very long to say yes.  She knew she had met the finest young man imaginable!

Meanwhile Marissa was getting excellent reviews at Enterprise, but realized her heart wasn't in this line of business.  Going to night school, Marissa obtained a teacher's degree in 2007.  During the 2007-2008 school year, Marissa taught First Grade at Andre Elementary in the Cy-Fair School District.  Not to be outdone by her fast-tracking fiancé, Marissa received excellent reviews for her first year as a teacher.  This time she had found her niche.

Throughout Marissa's first year of teaching, her side project was working with Marla to prepare the most wonderful wedding I have ever attended.  I swear these two women put as much energy into preparation as Eisenhower's staff did for D-Day.  The planning was extensive and meticulous.  Now I know why boys don't get involved in this sort of stuff; we don't have anywhere near enough natural ability.  These two women working together were nothing short of incredible!

I can easily say their hard work paid off sensationally.  Marissa and Glenn's wedding was absolutely wonderful.  It was the best wedding I have ever been to, although my 2004 Wedding with Marla was a very close second. 

I have to compliment Glenn and Marissa for being a wonderful host and hostess.  Despite the pressure, throughout the day both of them were unfailingly kind and thoughtful towards other people.  No Bridezilla performance from this couple!

Marissa was even nice enough to let Marla and I perform a Waltz at their reception.  I asked permission because I wanted Marla's brothers from California to see what a wonderful a dancer their beautiful sister had become since her move to Texas back in 1991.  Sad to say, I was off-beat for half the song.  Fortunately none of them appeared to notice so don't any of you tell them!


I have three funny stories to tell, all of which deal with mischief and all of which will probably get me into trouble.  I'm not going to let that stop me though. 

At the end of March 2008, Glenn, Marissa, Marla, and I drove over to the house of Glenn's parents for Marissa's wedding shower.  Marla and I had never previously met Glenn's parents, Glenn Sr and Paulette Hebert.  Apparently they had heard I had an unusual sense of humor, so they were prepared for me.  As we sat in their dining room, Glenn Sr talked about life on the bayou. 

First he said it wasn't true that he was going to throw any road kill in with the crawfish boil later that afternoon.  Then he confirmed that he knew several Louisiana people who had gotten married in camouflage outfits and Desert Storm gear.  But he said those stories about children being born with web feet after Hurricane Katrina were simply not true.  Just about then one of the little kids came waddling into the dining room dressed in a bathing suit and wearing giant web swimming fins.  He slowly walked past me and grinned.  Someone had set me up.

You don't suppose Glenn's family was testing me a little, do you?  

Later on Glenn Jr and Glenn Sr took me out for a round of golf while Marissa had her shower.  I have never played golf in my life.  That's the honest truth.  On my very first tee shot, I smashed the ball 200 yards.  It was the best tee shot of the group.  Tiger Woods! They all looked at me like I had been sandbagging them.  But that was the ONLY good shot I made all day.  It was downhill from that point on.  After watching me, the teasing started.  Oh, what fun!

Despite the teasing I grew to like Glenn's family a lot.  They were very kind to Marla and me during our visit. 

On the way home, Marla and Glenn started to talk about how fat they both were.  One thing led to another and they decided to challenge each other to see who could lose the most weight.  The one who lost the least amount of weight would have to sing "I'm a Little Teapot" at the Rehearsal Dinner.  They both laughed and shook on it.  The next hour of the trip was spent exchanging trash talk on who was going to win and lose.  These guys were really serious.

Marla started going back to the gym.  For the next ten weeks, she dieted furiously and exercised furiously.  She was such a fanatic, I would wake up in the middle of the night and catch her reading diet books at 3 am.  I was impressed.  This woman really was determined to beat her son-in-law!  All in all, Marla lost somewhere in the vicinity of thirteen pounds.  She looked great.

Meanwhile Glenn seemed to be losing weight at a similar clip.  Each week went by and they always seemed to be tied.  Marissa acted as the go-between, reporting back and forth from one camp to the other every single pound that was gained or lost.  Such drama!

This tight competition was marvelous motivation for Marla.  Frankly speaking, I think Marla lost at least four pounds just from the exercise of talking about weight loss on a near constant basis (psst - don't tell her I said that!)

Every time the four of us met for dinner, the first, middle and last topic of conversation was the big contest.  On and on and on this went on a daily basis.  Now mind you I didn't care who won or who lost.  I was happy to note that both people were obviously going to be big winners simply from the progress they were making. 

But I was getting a little tired of hearing about it.  At this point, I just wanted to see someone sing.  I didn't care who it was as long as I could get a decent spectacle out of it!

Two nights before the Rehearsal Dinner, we invited Glenn's family from Louisiana and Marla's family from California to go out to eat as one big group.  There were 14 of us.  That night was when Marla announced how much she had lost.  Glenn announced he had lost the exact same amount.  They decided to call it a draw.  That meant neither person had to sing the following night.

I was appalled!  What, no spectacle?  I could not possibly have been more disappointed.  After all that yapping back and forth, I deserved a public spectacle!  This felt like a fix.  They were trying to cheat me out of something I been looking forward to for ten weeks.

I called them on it, but neither person would budge.  I was mad!   I wanted to hear someone sing, doggone it! 

That's when Marissa said, "Gee Rick, why don't you sing instead?"  That actually shut me up (which is what it was intended to do).  But it also got me to thinking.

The following night Glenn and Marissa threw a party for family and friends.  It was quite a bash.  Glenn played bartender and got everyone drunk as a skunk on margaritas and blue hawaiians.  Marla's brother Neil said it was the first time he had been drunk in years.  Fortunately he didn't sing.  We weren't quite as lucky with Marla's other brother Larry.  Larry not only played the guitar, he sang as well.  When Larry started up with "The House of the Rising Sun", I secretly considered calling the police. 

Then out of nowhere Marla and Glenn connected in the middle of the room.  They immediately brought up their favorite topic.  Marla defiantly proclaimed that she had lost another pound.  Amazingly, Glenn countered that he had lost another pound too!  I was astonished.  After all the food I saw those two put down the night before, there was NO WAY they both lost a pound.  Something was fishy here.

Now quite frankly I think I have heard every mother-in-law joke in the book.  Here's a few from my collection.

  • Two men were in a pub. One says to his mate, "My MIL is an angel."
    His friend replies, "You're lucky. Mine is still alive."
  • I bought my MIL a chair for Christmas, but she wouldn't plug it in.
  • Behind every successful man stands a devoted wife and a surprised mother-in-law.
  • "My Mother-In-Law was bitten by a dog yesterday."
    "How is she now?"
    "She's fine, but the dog died."
  • My mother-in-law is a well balanced person. She's got a chip on both shoulders.
  • Last week my wife and I went car shopping. The salesman asked if I wanted a car with an Airbag.
    I said, "No thanks. I already have a Mother-in-law."
  • Q: What's the difference between outlaws and in-laws?
    A: Outlaws are Wanted!!

These jokes sum up the stereotype, but when it comes to Glenn and Marla, I cannot imagine two people getting along better than they do.  They always have fun together. 

That is when it hit me in a blinding flash - Glenn was deliberately doing whatever it took to keep from embarrassing Marla!   He was such a gentleman that he would not let her lose this contest and be forced to sing!

Although I instantly admired him for his graciousness, as you all know I have an evil side that would not be denied.

The following night was the Rehearsal Dinner.  At the appropriate time, I took the floor.  I began to tell everyone the story of Glenn and Marla's wager.  I could see the worried look on both of their faces.  This could get ugly.  What was Rick up to now?

First I told the audience about the wager. Then I told everyone how hard the two of them worked.  Then I told the audience that I believed Glenn had rigged the outcome to avoid embarrassing his future mother-in-law.  Noticing the guilty look on the young man's face, I knew I was right.

Then I explained how I was sick and tired of all this talk.   What about me?  I deserved to hear the stupid song.  Someone had to sing.  After all, I had rights too! 

So I reached in my pocket and pulled out a dozen sheets of paper with the lyrics to "I'm a Little Teapot".  As I passed the sheets around, I asked the audience if they would mind helping me serenade Glenn and Marla. 

To wonderful peels out laughter, we sang the song.  And to their credit, Marla and Glenn sang right along, laughing and smiling at each other the whole time.

By the way, Marla adores Glenn.  Bet you couldn't tell.


Just minutes before the procession was about to begin,  I was standing out in the hallway with Glenn, the four groomsmen, the maid of honor and the four bridesmaids plus several other people who had come in late.  We were all a little nervous.  The Big Moment was just about to begin.

Marla and Marissa were safely hidden from sight back in a secret room. They were ready to join me once this group had begun their procession down the aisle.  The plan was for me to go get them once this Hallway cleared and prepare for our own final trip down the aisle.  Things were positive, but I could feel the tension.

Looking out the window, I saw my friends Tom and Jo Tucker running furiously up the sidewalk.  They were obviously desperate to make the wedding on time. 

Oh, shame on them.  Late as usual!

Taking pity on Tom and Jo, I opened the Hallway door so they could enter inconspicuously.  Now they were mixed with the same group I was in. 

Jo immediately got busy and began to hug everyone she knew.  But Tom spotted Glenn and did a double-take.  What a coincidence - just the man Tom wanted to see!   An evil grin crossed his face.  Tom had a very sneaky agenda!

Tom dug in his pocket for his car keys.  He pulled his keys out and jangled them for effect.  Then right in front of the whole group, he thrust the keys into Glenn's hand. 

Tom put his arm around Glenn's shoulders and said, "Son, this is your last chance!  Here are the keys and that's my car parked right there in front. You can't miss it"  Tom paused to make sure Glenn saw the car. 

"It's not too late.  If you go now, you can make your getaway!  I'll hold them off for you.  Now run!!!"

Every person in the hallway gasped!  It was just seconds before the ceremony and this evil terrible man had come out of nowhere to tempt this young man with freedom! 

Fortunately Glenn was super-cool about it.  Glenn said, "Nah, Mr. Tom, you can keep your keys.  I found the right girl for me and I really do want to get married!"

And with that, every one of us let out a huge sigh of relief.  Once I started breathing again, that's when I told Tom I was going to report him to Marla later on... and that's when Tom began to turn as white as Casper the Ghost!


Tom wasn't the only person who was scared to death of Marla's wrath.  Sometimes stuff goes on at weddings that most people would never actually think about. 

This final story is something my beautiful stepdaughter will conceivably murder me for telling, but I can't help myself.  I am about to give you the inside scoop on the problems of being a beautiful bride wearing a beautiful bridal gown.

It was late.  The wonderful wedding reception had just ended.  It was time for people to go home.  And it was time for our beautiful couple to make their escape and begin their lives together.  After surviving the onslaught of bubbles, they got in their car and drove off to their hotel.

Or so I thought. 

Meanwhile I surveyed the scene.  There were many wonderful wedding gifts that needed to be put in my car. Marla and I would take them home for safe keeping while Glenn and Marissa enjoyed their Maui Honeymoon.

In addition we needed to take home flowers and other decorations as well as all the gifts.  There was work to do.

Actually I wasn't that tired.  I was in such a good mood that I enjoyed being able to help wrap things up.  But I did have one problem - I was wearing my expensive felt-lined Capezio ballroom dance shoes. 

I surely didn't want to ruin my shoes traipsing back and forth on the rough cement with all those gifts.  I remembered I had come in basketball shoes and changed shoes when I got to Ashton Gardens.  I had then given Marla the box to put next to her purse in the Secret Changing Room. 

So I walked over to the Secret Changing Room.  The door was locked.  There was no one in sight.  How was I supposed to load all those gifts in these dance shoes? 

As I stood there in the dark Hallway all alone, Marissa walked in wearing her lovely wedding gown.  I was surprised to see her.  "What are you doing here?" I asked.

Marissa explained that she and Glenn had pretended to leave only to make a U-Turn and sneak back.  As we stood in the hallway, this made no sense so I asked why they came back.  Marissa gave me that tolerant smile of hers and explained, "I can't stand being in this dress one minute longer!  I have got to get out of this dress and put on something more comfortable!"

Okay, that made some sense, but not much.  My ignorance of bride behavior was showing.  Finally I got the nerve up to ask, "Well, why couldn't you change in your hotel room?"

"Because Glenn doesn't understand my dress!   The only person who can possibly get me out of this dress and not damage it is Mom."

Marissa unlocked the door to the Secret Changing Room.  That's when I saw my opportunity to grab my basketball shoes.  I carefully asked permission to enter.

Marissa replied, "Sure, come on in."

The moment I entered the room, I distinctly remember regretting asking to come in.  The room was barely lit, the Hallway was totally dark and there wasn't another soul in the building. 

I had absolutely no business being in here alone with the bride.  Marissa and I were pretty good friends, but this was definitely pushing it.  I felt very inappropriate.

But Marissa seemed totally unconcerned.  I decided to ignore my fears of Marla the Attila Monster and get on with it.  I would be in and out of the room in two minutes.

First I had to take my contacts off and put my glasses on.  I was right in the middle of fiddling with my contacts when Marissa turned to me and said, "Rick, I need a favor.  I need for you to undo this knot in the back of my dress."

I was stunned.  I didn't have any business being in this room in the first place and I sure didn't have any business putting my hands on this young woman's wedding dress!

I told Marissa as politely as I could that I didn't think this was a very good idea.  Why didn't I just go find Marla?

"No, Rick, you need to help me now!"  Marissa looked very unhappy. 

I refused to budge.  This looked exactly like the kind of situation that surely would backfire on me. 

Sensing my reluctance, Marissa grew insistent. "Rick, you have to help me.  I have not gone to the bathroom in six hours and if you don't help me get out of this dress this instant there is going to be a terrible accident!  This is an emergency! Now please untie that knot. I can do the rest."

I saw her point.  With that I sprang into action.  That knot was seriously tight.  I got down on my knees, but that didn't work.  I realized I couldn't see up close with my contacts on.  So I finished taking my contacts off.  Now I had to press my nose to the knot to be able to see what I was doing.  

There I was down on the floor on my knees with my nose pressed right into the small of Marissa's back and my hands fiddling with her dress.  Guess who walked in? Ohmygosh.  I froze in terror.


"Mom, leave him alone, he's trying to get me out of my dress!" 

That confused Marla enough that now she froze too.  At that exact moment the knot became untangled.  Marissa screamed with happiness.  She turned around, gave me a grateful hug, then quickly disappeared.  

Marla was still confused as to what was going on here.  I took one look at Marla's face and decided to leave the room before she could come to the wrong conclusion.

I was afraid as long as I stayed in that room, no jury would ever convict her for whatever she did to me that night.

Glenn and Marissa's Wedding
Story written by Samantha Archer, Rick's daughter


If you had asked me four years ago how many people were in my family, I'd have said three: my Mom, my Dad, and myself.  While I'm not including the dogs, I'm completely serious.  

As clans go, we were small.

For the first thirteen years of my life, my family tree did not consist of sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.  

Most of my friends had sisters and brothers they were close with, aunts and uncles they liked to tell stories about, and cousins they enjoyed spending their summers with.  

But with me, it had always been just Mom and Dad.  We didn't have a family tree; we had a family triangle.

Sam, Rick, Marissa, Glenn, Marla

Don't get me wrong - my parents have done an excellent job of raising me as an only child.  

I go to one of the best (and most expensive) schools in the city, I took ballet, tap, and jazz classes for eight years, and I've never had to share my room.  Plus I think I have every Disney video ever released. 

I can attribute part of the fact that I experienced so many things as a kid because I was the only one.

But there was always something missing.  

You have to be an 'Only Child' to understand the vast gap created by the absence of a sibling.  Instead of having someone to play a board game with while it's raining, you have to resort to a book or the TV.  There isn't anyone to keep you entertained in the middle of a miserable event that goes on forever. You're much more prone to have an invisible friend.

Basically, you get lonely sometimes.

That said, you can imagine the shock I was given the day my Dad married my stepmom. That was day I inherited three pairs of aunts and uncles, cousins I can't even begin to count, and a sister. Granted, Marissa was twenty-one at the time and graduating from college.  Definitely not someone I would have around to play a board game with.

But that day I was given something I had been missing. Brothers and sisters are so great because they have to put up with you unconditionally. I know from experience that best friends come and go. But siblings are always there.

My Dad and Marla started dating the same week Marissa left for her freshman year of college.  Needless to say, I never got the chance to get to know her very well right off the bat.  But as the years passed, we gradually bonded over the fact that both our parents are nuts to begin with and they're even crazier when they are together.  During their periodic outbreaks of insanity, Marissa and I learned to cling together for reassurance.  I now had a sister.

I don't remember the first time I met Glenn, but it was probably at Marissa's college graduation. Somewhere down the road the handshakes he would give me turned into hugs.  That's when he began to feel like family.

But it wasn't until he took Marla out to lunch to ask for her blessing that it hit me - if he and Marissa got married, I would have a brother.  Well, make that brother-in-law.  

But still the mere idea of having something close to a brother made me giddier than a schoolgirl (which I was).

For two weeks my entire family (including Marissa!) waited for him to pop the question.   It was as if we were all pressed up against the door listening in - any longer and we would've broken the door down.

My Dad and my stepmom were ecstatic to make him their son-in-law, my Aunt Roz and Uncle Larry were happy to make him their nephew-in-law, and I was excited for him to become my brother-in-law. My entire family loved Glenn. All we had to do was wait (this is not something we're very good at).  Pop the question already!  Get it over with!

Finally the day came when Marissa called Marla and told her mother that Glenn had finally proposed. AT LAST!  They were finally engaged.  Now all we had to do was plan the wedding - and then actually go through with it.

Fast-Forward to Wedding Day

The day started with me breaking a glass bowl outside my bedroom. It had been perched on a very badly placed wooden stand.  As I frantically I tried to pick up the million pieces, I started to sweat at the idea of my stepmother, the mother of the bride, finding out that I had shattered glass directly in front of my father's office. What if Dad cut his bare feet?  But I was frantic to get ready. Clean up the glass or get a move on?  I looked at the time. Marla had warned me several times over the past few days that I would need to be ready at 8:00 am sharp.  

It was now 8:02.
 Marla would be here any minute!

What should I do? The issue was that in less than 12 hours, my Dad would have to walk down the aisle. My overly active imagination visualized the phone call my Dad would place to my stepmother to say he could not walk down the aisle with Marla and Marissa all because he stepped on broken glass with his bare feet all because my makeup came before my cleanup.  I bloody well better do something! 

Was this an omen?  Was this the beginning of a day of disasters?  I'm not sure how many of you are aware of how Archer family weddings tend to go, but Dad and Marla set a dangerous precedent four years ago. This was not something we ever wanted to repeat.

Just then Dad came in instead of Marla. In lieu of trying to pick up hundreds of little pieces of glass myself, I quietly told my Dad what had happened. He took it a lot better than I had imagined. I joked that I wouldn't want him to be immobilized for later that day.

"I would've hobbled down the aisle anyway," he told me. I smiled.  Seconds later Marla and I left the house as he attempted to start up a vacuum.  I heard him cursing in the background. Mechanical things are not his strength.

With the first crisis of the day averted, Marla and I drove to the hotel Marissa had arranged to use for our hair and makeup. The clock read 8:30.  It was at this point in time when I realized my first duty as a bridesmaid: I would have to spend the next eight hours in a hotel room comforting a nervous bride.

But as the day went on, it became apparent that it wasn't Marissa who was nervous, it was her husband to-be.  Glenn called her at two-hour intervals throughout the day. As Marissa calmly got her hair and makeup done, Glenn and Marla had several conversations about how Marissa was "unavailable," and that "yes, Marla could give her a message."

Until three o' clock rolled around, the female bridal party sat in the hotel room watching Dirty Dancing and laughing at each other as we got our hair done. Marissa's bridesmaids were: Carly (maid of honor), Tawana, Dandy (Marissa's stepsister), Melissa Hebert (Glenn's sister), and myself.  At 3 pm, we all got into our dresses and headed off to Ashton Gardens, the place where the ceremony was being held.

It wasn't until we actually arrived at the chapel that the reality of the entire experience sunk in.  

I think it was seeing the chapel in all its decorated splendor that made Marissa realize that this was really it.  After a year of planning, the wedding was finally happening.

The chapel was chosen, the flowers were arranged, the photographer and videographer were hired, the food was being prepared, the dress was picked out, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen were all ready to go - all Marissa and Glenn had to do was seal the deal.

The rest of the afternoon went by swiftly.  It was fun to see all the guests arrive and collect hugs.  Before I knew it, I was being summoned to begin the countdown.

I think my favorite part of the ceremony was the look on Glenn's face as Marissa was escorted down the aisle by Marla and my Dad.

We all knew that Glenn and Marissa were in love - but nothing could be as telling as the look on the groom's face as his bride walks down the aisle.

I didn't cry, and I knew I wouldn't, but I was happy.  I was happy because the moment that Glenn and Marissa were finally united, there would be more family on the horizon. And in my opinion, the more the merrier.

You might describe Glenn and Marissa's wedding as one of those "you had to be there" experiences.  It was perfect.  Everything went so flawlessly that there aren't any interesting stories to tell about everyone screwing up

As I have alluded, Marla and Rick's 2004 wedding had one mishap after another
(Rick and Marla's Oops Wedding)

Neither Marissa nor I will ever forget the look on poor Marla's face as she stood there for 45 minutes wondering where Dad had gotten to.  She had no idea Dad went to search for his missing mother on the cruise ship. After what Marissa saw Marla go through at her mother's wedding, I think she was determined to make sure my Dad was kept on his best behavior today
.  Good move, Marissa. 

Now that Dad was neutralized, this Wedding nearly came off without a flaw.  The only Oops moment today was a mispronunciation.  As Glenn and Marissa entered the reception as husband and wife, they were pronounced "Mr. and Mrs. Her Bert." If you know the Heberts, this is an insult to their heritage. It's pronounced 'a-bear', not 'her-bert'. But other than the DJ faux pas, everything went smoothly.

There was lots of food, lots of drinking, lots of dancing, and most of all, lots of love. One might think me cheesy for writing it that way, but it's as honest as I can get.

The reception hall was filled with Archers, Heberts, Weinsteins, and lots of other people that weren't lawfully related to us.  But it didn't matter. That night we were all one family.  And that's really all I could ever ask for.


April 2008 -  James Requenez and Melissa Wilkes

-----Original Message-----
From: Crystal Davenport
Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2008 10:47 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: wedding announcement

Hi Rick,
Sorry it has taken me so long to get you these pics.  These are the friends I told you about that met in your Dance classes.  Their names are James Requenez and Melissa (Wilkes) Requenez. 

Melissa joined your dance classes to get away from the stresses of Medical School and met James there in 2004. 

They were just married April 5th 2008, and now live in Denver, Colorado.  She is in Residency for psychiatry and he works as a computer programmer.  They are very happy together and have your class to thank for it!

April 2008 -  Bob Therrell and Debra Malinowski 

Bob Therrell and Debra Malinowski were married on Saturday, March 29  (I think).  Last week I was at the studio and someone told me "Bob and Debra got married over the weekend".   And that's how a lot of weddings around here get announced!

I didn't have my camera handy, so I took it to Whip class on Monday, April 7, and asked if I could take their picture.  Thank goodness they said yes. 

Bob and Debra are supremely graceful dancers.  They have a secret - they practice!  You might see them practicing all night long at the studio.  Bob and Debra are experts at Western Swing and East Coast Swing and well on their way to mastering West Coast Swing as well. 

I cannot remember a couple I know less about.  Even though Debra has taken 40 classes over the years and Bob is around 30 classes, there is a real air of mystery about Bob and Debra.  You see, they are quiet people.  They are also nearly inseparable.  This means I can't sneak in and get the inside scoop on their story.  It isn't that they are "private", but they don't go around tooting their horn either.

As you can see, Debra is a Susan Sarandon lookalike. Bob and Debra are so attractive together.  In addition, they are one of the most perfectly matched couples I have ever seen.   When I watch them on the floor, they look like they could be brother and sister.  Make a point to watch them dance some night - Bob and Debra are so good! 

January 2008 -  Mack Warren and Amy Giles

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
To: amy giles
Sent: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 10:43 am
Subject: Mack and Amy Warren

Hi Amy!

Any details you want to add for the newsletter? Where did you go for your honeymoon?

By the way, Have I ever told you how pretty you are?


-----Original Message-----
From: amy giles
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:31 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Re: Mack and Amy Warren

Rick.... you flirt! Yes, you have!

Here's the picture you requested. It's fun and casual and I think captures how very truly happy we are together.

We were married January 5th in a very small but beautiful ceremony in Baytown. The next day, we boarded the Voyager of the Seas for a 7-day cruise with 6 other couples who dance. On the first day, we were concerned that there were no decent dance floors.... we have been spoiled on the Rhapsody. But then, we found out that they put a wooden floor over the ice rink for dancing on Country & Western night! Mack and I took the floor early before the band got there and did all our favorite moves. We didn't realize we had an audience until we heard their applause! What fun!

We've been dancing happily together now for almost 4 years and will for the rest of our lives together... thanks to SSQQ. We met in Beginning Western Swing and started dating when Vicky Harris (an early classmate and now great friend) starting pushing us towards each other. We have on many occasions and will again recommend SSQQ as a fun, safe place to learn the right way to dance, to make good friends and... to find true romance.



Rick Archer's Note: Mack and Amy have been a big part of the studio for many years now.   Both came to the studio full of heartache, so to watch them meet and grow fond of each other was a real pleasure.

Mack and Amy went on the infamous Rhapsody 2005 Cruise, the one that was cut in half by Hurricane Rita.  I could see how much in love they were and I bugged them both about when they were going to get married. 

Normally I don't interfere like that, but these guys were so happy I couldn't figure out what they were waiting for.

I am so glad they finally sealed the deal!

January 2008 -  Manny Angulo and Michelle Crossley

-----Original Message-----
From: Leroy Ginzel
Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 12:22 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: manny and michelle


I saw Manny Angulo & Michelle Crossley at a Super Bowl party last night. I asked Manny when the big day was coming. He said the it WAS

Yesterday, ( Saturday) with only close family invited.


January 2008 -  Brit Davis and Melisa Melios

Congratulations to Brit Davis and Melisa Melios who were married in January.

Brit and Melisa took three Western classes last summer at SSQQ, then switched over to private lessons with Jack Benard and Linda Cook to get ready for their wedding dance.

Here is a letter sent to Linda:

"Jack and Linda, Thanks to no small effort on both of your parts, our wedding dance went beautifully!!  

Everyone was super impressed with our twirling and twostepping... oh wait, I mean polka-ing (is that a word?) ;-)

Thanks, and see you soon. Brit & Melisa"

Judging from the pictures, their first dance was quite a hit!

January 2008 -  Jeff Anderson and Lisa Ramey


-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Anderson
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 2:30 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Jeff and Lisa

Hi Rick, Lisa and I had an awesome wedding. I have pasted the link and info below. If there’s some you’d like copies of I’ll be glad to send them. We got the rights to the photos so we can copy and send them to anyone.

Wedding Picture Info:

Our Ballroom was totally beautiful as I’m sure you’ll see. Our first dance was the Foxtrot and during the Father Daughter Dance, I cut in (at the father’s request) and Lisa and I two stepped to My Wish by Lonestar. She still spins pretty!

Our honeymoon was in Jackson Hole, WY. Lisa had never seen snow so we decided to go there. It was beautiful and we had a great time. We went on a 20 mile dogsled ride, a 90 mile snowmobile ride, tubing, sleigh riding, etc. etc. The weather was cold and beautiful. Usually about 0 degrees. But we dressed warm and it was fine. Lisa’s ready to go again. It was so fun seeing snow through the eyes of someone who’s never seen it before!


January 2008 -  Jim Burrell and Paula Bione

January 2008 -  Roger Lee and Wendy Zhang

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Lee
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 1:50 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Wendy Zhang Weds

Hi Rick,  Wendy and I married on New Year's Eve, 2007.

We met in Sharon Crawford's advanced western waltz class in July 2001. The first night, when we rotated partners and I got Wendy, I knew I would like to dance with her more than just about anyone. But, I never thought we would go out together. How things change.

In late August 2006, Wendy and I went ring shopping. Wendy told the jewelers what she wanted and we went to have a Chinese lunch while they created and sized the ring.

At about the same time, JetBlue ran an ad announcing their new service out of Hobby airport. The airline said that you could fly anywhere in their system, roundtrip, for the price of a barrel of oil - at that time about $72. I bought tickets for Labor Day weekend to Niagara Falls. Wendy called this trip our "proposal-moon."

As for a honeymoon, well, we just keep procrastinating. But we have some ideas.

Thanks to you and your studio for our happy marriage.

Best, Roger and Wendy

Rick Archer's Note:  Roger and Wendy announced their engagement in September 2006.

Wendy told me she knew Roger for three years before they ever went out together.   By the time they began seeing each other, they had already been friends for quite a while.

It was their mutual love of Waltz that cemented the bond between them.  As Roger pointed out in his email letter, they met in Sharon (Crawford) Shaw's Waltz class seven years ago.  Since then, the two of them have put in many hours on the dance floor perfecting their Waltz together. 

Indeed, Roger and Wendy are so smooth on the dance floor, they have become arguably SSQQ's premier Waltz couple.  Not since the days of John Jones, the gentleman who helped popularize Waltz here at the studio, have I seen a couple demonstrate this kind of ability.  Roger and Wendy are really a treat to watch.  I know because I love to watch them myself all the time!  I definitely admire their accomplishment.

I was kind of surprised to find out it took Wendy and Roger two months to get around to tell me they had gotten married.  After all, I see both of them practically every Sunday and Friday each week.   Once the cat was out of the bag, Wendy pulled me aside.  Never at a loss for words, Wendy said she deeply appreciated my dance studio for helping to create her marriage.  Wendy made it clear that she knew Roger was a good man because "no man on earth can fake being nice for seven years!"   We both smiled.   That is one of the advantages of meeting people here at the studio - you get to know people first as friends.  That's a really good place to start. 

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