Archive | 11:59 PM

Dance Moves and My Uncle Erick

17 Oct

This week’s photo challenge was like a time machine.

It brought me back to the late 80s and the times with my Uncle Erick. He was more than just my uncle, he was like a brother and there are a few things that often remind me of him. First and foremost Trojan Football. He was the first of the family to attend college, USC on a full scholarship. So needless to say that the entire Guat Clan became Trojan fans as soon as he stepped on campus.

Second? Holidays like Easter and Halloween. He went all out and was full of spirit. “Eggstravaganzas”  and awesome brunches for Easter, as well as trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, and pumpkin seed toasting on Halloween. He was the awesome brother I never had.

Uncle Erick … very proud of his daughter’s pumpkin carving skills … although he helped too.


The third memory booster? Movies. 80s Movies. So when I came across Big for this week’s photo challenge the memories came flooding.

It wasn’t so much the famous piano scene that got me, it was the song that Josh Baskins sings to his best friend.

The down down baby, down down the roller coaster. Sweet sweet baby, sweet sweet don’t let me go. Shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rock …

Yeah. There’s a point in the song where Tom Hanks and his friend sort of “dance” to the lyrics, show a little panash, a little flavor, a little personality.

Oooohh Shalida, walking down the street, ten times a week. I meant it. I said it. I stole my mama’s credit.

Yeah…the “Oooooh Shalida” part. My uncle would bust out his dance moves and put his own flare into the song. We’d have our little routine. He had mad skills on the dance floor and when I mean mad skills, I don’t mean like Soul Train/American Bandstand moves. I mean more like he danced and felt the music and sometimes he’d feel it a little bit too much and end up creating his own Solid Gold dancer moves.

Yesterday’s post made me remember the dance contest. He told me about the time he participated in a high school dance contest. It was pretty funny at the time because I remember him being an ESL student — an English as a Second Language student. And in the 70s, school dances were all about disco, not cumbias.

However, I do remember some of the polyester and bell-bottoms hanging in the closet. But even if he had the polyester and Bee Gees look going on I wasn’t sure my uncle could pull it off.

However he seemed pretty confident. He told me how he walked into the gym, strutted in there with confidence, even though none of his friends had ever seen him dance.

He watched Saturday Night Fever. He was good.

He got on the floor, did his classic spin moves, and feel-the-music-in-my-bones expressions. He was battling with every ounce of Guatemalaness in him. He battled in those bell-bottoms. He grooved to the Bee Gees, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Diana Ross, Cool & The Gang, Chic, Gloria Gaynor and more. There was plenty of spinning and head jiving going on.

All of this contributed to his glittery crystal ball trophy. I so wish I could have found that picture.

Ahhhhhh my Uncle Erick. He passed away over six years ago from cancer. I miss him. So does his daughter. But I often share these stories with her so that she can just imagine him, his 70s dance moves, and his crystal ball trophy. Although I think she vividly recalls the dance moves, because before he passed away they won the 5th grade father-daughter dance contest. She was pretty proud of that.