Rick's Gabfest with Gertrude
Written by Rick Archer, March 2006
Chapter Three: THE EIGHTIES, PART
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!
"A while back you said there were two answers to my question about how you
the effectiveness of your studio at creating relationships?"
"Thank you for reminding me, Gertrude.
have made a discovery about the ability of dance to create 'relationships' discovery
on two different occasions. Previously I mentioned how amazed I was the first time I
actually added up the number of couples that had met through
the studio at the end of a single year (1999).
But I wasn't completely amazed. I have known the dance
studio is a veritable marriage factory for a long time.
I simply had never quite grasped the extent until the
first time at the numbers in 1999.
I have known that dancing was pure magic at creating
relationships from the very beginning.
To illustrate my point, I need to tell how the SSQQ Social Program
Yes, Slow Dance leads to Romance. That is an accurate
slogan. Dancing is the premier social skill of all
time for touching the hearts of men and women alike.
That is Cupid's Job.
But first you have fill the dance floor with plenty of
people for Cupid to work with. Someone has to throw
a party! I discovered that as part of my
'ancillary role as Cupid's assistant' it is my job to throw
the party and make sure lots of people PARTICIPATE.
I discovered this lesson the very first night I ever took my
I have never forgotten that lesson
and have used it time and again in my quest to make SSQQ a
special place. Nor have I forgotten that my students
appreciate having me organize social events like
parties or get-togethers.
"So tell me the story!"
SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance Magic began one night in August 1977.
I decided to take the
Class I ever taught out dancing as a
Sad to say, before the
night started, these students barely knew each other.
That summer I had taught 8 one-hour line
dance classes. Line Dancing meant no one had ever actually 'touched'
each other. For that matter, line dance classes didn't allow
for a lot of verbal interaction either. In fact when I
taught I had my back to my students and there wasn't any
mirror. Half the time they couldn't even see my face
while I was demonstrating patterns with my back to them.
No one knew anyone.
No one had to suggest I take my class out dancing. It
just seemed like the natural thing to do on the last night.
So after class we all got in our cars and took a ten-minute
drive from the Braeswood Jewish Community Center over to a
Disco called the Rubaiyat (later the Bullwhip) on the
I almost immediately realized how helpless they felt in this
environment. It was 20 strangers in the night.
Third graders on a trip to zoo have more confidence than
They were scared out of their wits when they entered!
Strangers in a strange land. Figure it out. If
they had had the guts to go out dancing on their own, they
wouldn't have signed up for my class.
No one danced.
Finally I realized it was up to me to
get it started. So I yelled 'Bus
Stop', a popular line dance they all knew.
Shazaam. Those were the Magic words!
popped from their chairs like dance zombies mindlessly
following their leader. They performed
the 'Bus Stop' among the safety of the group with me as
their fearless leader. Such courage on my part!
Hey, this was six months before Saturday Night Fever.
Give them some credit. Even though this was their
first trip to a Disco, they were way ahead of the
SNF avalanche that would set the dance world on fire.
The 'Bus Stop' broke the ice. Now I couldn't drag them off the
floor. Vickie Sue Robinson belted out 'Turn the Beat
Around'. Donna Summer cooed 'Ooh, Love to Love Ya, Baby'.
Gloria Gaynor sang 'I will Survive.' KC and the
Sunshine Band sang 'I'm Your Boogie Man'.
Gee whiz they
had fun!! Oh wow. You don't think my
little bitty heart was going pitter-patter with pride, do
you? I almost had a heart attack with
a drama coach how she feels after the first night of the
school play or a basketball coach after his kids win their first
game or a third grade teacher after the first class spelling bee.
These were my babies! I loved every minute of it.
I soaked up the joy.
This was the moment I knew what I wanted to do for the
rest of my life. And I had a strong hunch this was
what I was meant to do.
At last I had finally ended the confusion of those awful 'what do I want to
do with my life?' years.
I was 27. Watching them dance marked one of the happiest moments of my life. I had just
discovered I was born to be a Dance Teacher.
Now that I knew what my new career was, I decided I better
pay attention. So all evening long I watched carefully as the members of the group
interacted together and created friendships. Not just
boy-girl either, but 'friends'... hey, let's catch a
movie together, let's trade phone numbers.
Afterwards every one of my 20 or so students made a point of
thanking me for organizing the adventure. Several of them
admitted what I already knew. They told me they were too scared to go out by themselves, but going
as a group had made it so much easier.
I learned from the start that it was my role to create these
situations. I was not Cupid per se, but I was
definitely Cupid's assistant. I felt a responsibility to
foster events that allowed people to connect. And
dancing was the perfect vehicle.
This was my social work background kicking in. I had a
huge self-esteem problem from all my years of never
accomplishing anything of note in my job as a child
abuse investigator. So when these people thanked me
at the end of the night, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt
I had found my niche.
I had finally found a place where I could contribute in ways
that people appreciated me.
Since then I have always enjoyed my role as 'playground
director'. Each and every day, I am grateful for the
role I was given in life. I like to get the party started."
THE FIRST GENERATION
did anyone get married that night?
Any other stories
your first adventure?"
"No, sorry to say,
if anyone got married after the trip to the Rubaiyat, I never found out. I was only a substitute teacher
that summer. In the fall, the regular teacher came
back so that was the end of my time with that group.
However this 1977 summer job led to another
teaching job which in turn led to yet another
teaching job. In
November, Saturday Night Fever made
its debut. I was in the
right place at the right time. Soon I was teaching 6
nights a week. This is how my dance career began.
1978 was an incredible
year and so was 1979, but I have no way to illustrate this
period using photos. I deeply regret the fact that I
never took any pictures. Nor was there any Newsletter.
I regret that the first two years of my dance career
including the entire Disco Era are little more than a blur
in my mind.
However, we did have a First Generation, my term for
the 'In-Crowd' back in those days.
You might be surprised to learn I wasn't the leader. Most of
the Group centered around my girlfriend Victoria. Not
only did she teach, Victoria helped developed my business by
organizing all sorts of visits to Discos after class and on
I met Victoria in one of the dance classes I taught. I
had started at the Jewish Community Center in 1977. Now in
1978 I returned
to become the full-time Disco teacher. Victoria took my Disco Line Dance
class in August 1978, .
enjoyed my class. One night she stayed afterwards to talk to
me about 'Disco Partner Dancing' like she had seen in
Saturday Night Fever. That is when
Victoria discovered I taught other classes at Stevens of
Hollywood in addition to my classes here. She said she would like to bring some of
her friends over for a class.
Could I teach a group class
exclusively for Victoria and her friends?
I smiled and
yes. Of course!
Victoria to organize a group of 20 friends to take
lessons at Stevens starting in October 1978.
Victoria had such a good time with her first class, she
talked everyone into taking an Intermediate level.
Then she turned around and organized a second group
of friends who had missed out on the previous try to
take a Beginners class as well.
Victoria brought me a lot of business. At one point I
was teaching three different classes a week of
groups organized by Victoria. Plus she was having fun
in the process. She told me she wanted to get
even more involved. She asked if she could
assist me on one or two other nights in addition to
the nights when her friends were there. Of
course! Why not? This girl was magic!
Over the course of the next few months, I would come
to realize the phenomenal "people skills" of this
woman. Never before and never since has there
been a woman like Victoria. She remains to this day the
most talented and charismatic personality I have come
across in my 30 years as a dance teacher.
The best example of
Victoria's remarkable skills took place at our favorite Disco,
The Pistachio Club.
In December 1978, Victoria organized a dance
party at the Pistachio Club that drew 300 people!
It was an incredible success. People had such
a great time that in January the size of my dance
classes increased by 20%.
1979 was a wild year. Did I forget to mention
Victoria was married? Hmm. To make a long story
short, Victoria and I spent most of this year wrestling
with our conscience. In October of that year,
Victoria and I made the worst mistake of our lives -
she moved in with me. She moved right back out
a week later. Then all hell broke loose.
A story I wrote called
covers the entire story.
First Generation marriages?"
When it comes to
marriages from that time, I don't remember a thing.
The Disco Era is such a blur. If anyone from 1978 or
1979 ever got married, I don't remember a thing about it.
Nevertheless I do have an interesting
story for you. In 2006 I had a very nice experience that is
related to your question.
One night in January 2006, a couple came up to me with
a big smile on their face. I did not know who they
were, but I felt like I knew them. The lady in
particular seemed like someone I had once known.
The gentleman stuck out his hand to greet me while
his pretty wife smiled. He said that I had paired them
up in a dance class about 30 years years ago in 1979.
It was practically love at first sight. They had gone on to
get married the next year.
That's how I met Greg and Susan Broer for 'the second time'.
Greg and Susan said that the
first moment when I had asked them to dance with
each other had carried a lot of sentimental value
for them over the years. I was the person they
gave the credit to for putting them together.
In other words, I was their Matchmaker!
I just stared at them. For
several moments, I really didn't know what to say. I
guess you could say I was flabbergasted. I was
so deeply honored that I was stunned!
Susan and Greg sensed my confusion and
continued. They said they were coming back for
more dance lessons and were really happy to see how
well the studio was doing here in 2006.
At this point I got my power of speech back. I
started to ask some questions. First I asked
them to refresh my memory. Would they mind
sharing some of the details?
Greg and Susan told me I had paired them up because
they were tall, but the truth is I am sure I am
paired them up because they matched each other
perfectly. Even as they stood there talking
with me, they looked like they belonged together.
They had perfect posture and a gracefulness about
them. They seemed so classy together. I
thanked them for taking the time to share such a
neat story with me. I added that I felt very
flattered to know I played such an important part in
Indeed I was tickled pink by
the experience. It is pretty cool to find out you are
given credit for such a neat accomplishment!
I was also pleased to hear their story for another reason.
Immediately this very attractive couple became living,
breathing evidence that SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance Magic
had been alive and kicking all the way back in the very
first days of my dance career. In addition, they
mentioned a second couple who had also met at my studio and
had gone on to get married.
How about that!
This story has a second chapter. A month later, a
Houston Chronicle named Tara Dooley contacted me about the
Valentine's Day Matchmaker article in February 2006. I
immediately told Ms. Dooley about Greg and Susan. Sure
enough, their story made the paper. Susan was
very appreciative. She sent me this email:
From: Susan Broer
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 1:53 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: thank you!
What a nice note about the Valentine's article in the
Rick, for you kind thoughts and for putting Greg and me
together in the first place.
I'm not very tall (5'6 back then) but I suppose I was by
far the taller of the two partnerless females that
Whatever your reasons for putting us together, you are
truly Cupid's emissary.
Fondly, Susan Broer
Greg and Susan Broer's story
shows that there were marriages even in the days of the
First SSQQ Generation. Their story is confirmation
that the studio has been helping people connect since its
"Rick, tell me again
what you mean by 'First Generation'?"
Historians find it
easier to explain large stories by
compressing them into 'Eras'. An
SSQQ Generation is my term for an Era in
the studio history.
I have already
apologized for my lack of written and
photographic documentation in 1978, 1979,
and 1980. I didn't own a camera and I
had not yet learned the importance of a
Newsletter. Furthermore I had no idea
that 27 years later I would be writing a
story about the events of the day. Oh
well. The pictures started in 1981.
Generation started in 1981. In
September, 1979, I was told I was no longer
welcome at Stevens of Hollywood. It was time
to find my own place.
Fortunately, I had been taking private dance
lessons from Glen Hunsucker who, by
coincidence, had just moved into a new
location on Bissonnet. He had more room than
he knew what to do with, so he invited me to
sub-lease from him.
My move over to Dance Arts Unlimited
becomes the dividing line between the First
Generation and the Second.
It also became a time when my relationship
to Victoria started to fade into the sunset and
I began to emerge from her shadow. Now
that I was becoming my own man, the start of
Second Generation also marks the time
Matchmaker skills first became
???, Rilla, me,
John Cowen, John Campbell and ??? and ???
one more thing - did I mention I bought a
camera? Here is the
first picture I could find from my new
location. This early 1981 picture includes 7
students from the First Generation
who followed me when I moved from Stevens of
Hollywood to Dance Arts.
The lady holding my arm and her husband next
to Debbie were huge Disco fans.
Although I really liked this couple, it
drives me nuts that I cannot remember their
names. What I do remember is that they
were a huge part of the Disco In-Crowd back
at Stevens. Unfortunately they
discovered they really didn't like Western
much, so they drifted away.
However four of the people - Debbie Oswald,
Rilla Ryan, John Cowen, and John Campbell -
became founding members the new Second
Generation. They were close
friends of mine for many many many years.
we had a permanent home, I found it much easier to
organize parties and events that led to the kind of
socializing that my friend Cupid so cleverly takes
advantage of. Once a month, we had a Saturday
Dance Party at the Dance Arts. These events were
very well-attended. We had not had parties
like this at Stevens.
In addition, our
once-every-two-month trips down the street to the
Winchester Club were
big hits. Crowds of 100 people were
commonplace. And the same people showed up all
the time because this event was so much fun.
At the Winchester Club, our group danced hard, we
drank ourselves silly (Beer Bust Night), and made
total fools of ourselves. I think I may have
gotten drunk once or twice myself. One time I
slid on my butt clear across the floor when I fell
down ("Who Greased the Winchester?").
In the picture on the right, you can see my best
friend Bob Job and Lee Ann dancing the Western
Swing. We had people enter the Talent
Contests, we danced the Cotton-Eyed Joe, and we had
the time of our lives. Winchester Night
was a BIG DEAL. That was the start of our
Second Generation right there.
This was about the time
SSQQ got its name
a very funny story by the way
- and the term "slow slow quick quick" became the
catch-phrase of the day. This amusing event
gave our emerging group an identity and guaranteed
the Winchester's place in SSQQ history forever.
entered the Talent Contest.
Here Caron Ireland wins Talent Night
Margie Saibara, Jim Barrett
Garrison, Debbie Oswald,
Jann Fonteno, Bill Stumph
time, a lady named Jann Fonteno (in red) volunteered
her phone as an organizing device.
All day long... and in the wee hours of the morning
too... people would call her phone number to listen
to her recorded message to learn where "The Group"
was headed that night.
Jann thanked me profusely for giving her the honor
of hosting "The Message" as she called it.
Jann said the improvement in her social life was
exponential. She said anytime she recognized
the voice of a cute guy, she would pick up.
She had some of the best conversations!
I grinned and said she was more than welcome.
After the humorous
incident involving the school teacher with 'Slow Slow Quick
Quick' written all over her chest, Jann decided to start
each message with 'You have reached the Slow Slow Quick
Quick Hotline. Hang on for the latest and greatest
of where the Gang is going tonight!'
Soon it became
slang for a guy to ask a girl, 'wanna go slow slow quick
quick with me tonight?' It was supposed to mean
dancing, but you get the idea, right?
Then Jim Garrison, one of the Waltz Kings, shortened the
phrase to "ssqq". Jann quickly fell into step,
renaming her message to the "SSQQ Hotline". When it
came time to put a name on our door, I didn't have to think
Thanks to the convenience of Jann's 'SSQQ Hotline', people
began to build their entire social lives around the dance
studio. We became a Singles Group without the need to
call it that.
The joint was jumping. SSQQ was on fire!
"You said this was
the period when your Matchmaker skills began to
"Once I got my program established here on Bissonnet
in late 1980, I had more free time open up. I began
to organize a whole series of events and Jann would
publicize them for me. The turnout was great.
A group spirit began to emerge as students would
meet to go out to dance en masse or maybe go to the
movies after class, play volleyball at some park, or
meet at someone's house for Charades.
We had a goofy event known as 'Labeling Parties'.
Back in those days, the mailing list had to go out
by snail mail. It was a huge undertaking
because an address label had to be placed on every
flyer, flyers had to be organized and rubber-banded
by zip code, then bundled in a canvas bag.
People would volunteer their houses for a Labeling
Party. First we would label. It took 30 people
an hour to finish the job. Then we would have a
potluck dinner and play Charades or water volleyball
As you can imagine, this group of people became very
We had the tightest social network imaginable.
We had a blast every time we got together.
People really started to like each other.
That's me in the pool getting my shot stuffed by Tom
Easley. If you look closely, even though I am
getting stuffed, I was smiling! These
were very happy times for me.
It was all
buddy-buddy at first. Then I started to notice
that many of my students in this group were
beginning to pair off and develop dating
relationships. Since I wasn't dating at all
thanks to my complicated relationship with Victoria, I
was in a perfect position to watch.
These new relationships seemed vaguely incestuous.
To this point, everyone had been like brothers and
sisters. It was funny how awkward it was to
break the unspoken barriers. It isn't always
that easy to take things from 'friends' to 'lovers'.
But it was inevitable. The birds and the bees
aren't going to stay locked up forever.
As time went by, more boy-girl friendships began to
develop. First they would date but not call it
a date to the others. Then they would admit they
were dating, but just as 'friends'. Then they
would get a little more serious and go over the
ground rules like whether to be 'platonic' or not,
'see other people or just each other' and all that
Eventually like a fire that simmers for a while,
then bursts into flame, suddenly one day they began
to look at each other in a different way. This
was about the time that platonic stage burned off
like a rocket ship dropping off its first payload.
Now the rocket moved into warp drive. The
bonfire was ablaze! Suddenly the entire group
started to pair off."
"And how much
credit do you give yourself?"
I never have been one to pair people up in hopes
something might happen. That was never my
forte, although as I grow older, I find myself
putting people nose to nose all the times at my
dance parties. But back in those days, I wasn't any
good at literally putting a boy and a girl nose to
nose. My focus has always been more on group
dynamics than on the individual.
I concentrate on creating opportunities for large
groups to interact, you know, Cupid's Playground
Director. If you stock the pond with enough
fish, everybody is bound to catch something.
It was my job to organize parties with lots of
I hate Talk Parties. Not everyone is a born
chit-chatter. I prefer parties where there is
a central activity like a 'volleyball party' or a
'charades party' or of course a 'dance party' where
the chit chat flows out of the central activity.
And it has to be group participation. Some people
love to watch dance competitions, but not me. I
prefer to get people out on the floor. Each
and every person needs to PARTICIPATE!!
Don't be passive. Participate. That's
I have always been a born social worker. I love
organizing these activities.
However back in those days I never in my wildest
dreams anticipated how effective my studio's group
dynamics would be at actually creating
Good grief, that blew my mind right there. So
imagine how I felt when they started getting
MARRIED! Holy smokes! People getting married
because they played volleyball together or danced
As I said, the group activities allowed people to
get to know each other as friends first.
People let down their guard and let the others see
the individual within. The serious
relationships became a marvelous by-product of the
This group, which included lots of students from a
singles group called TGIS at Memorial Drive
Presbyterian Church, became my Second Generation.
This was one of the happiest periods of my life.
The people in this group were my closest friends.
We did everything together.
And while I am at in, let me add one more thing.
1981 marked the year of our very first INCREDIBLE
SSQQ Halloween Party. This was not our first
Halloween Party - we had events in 1978, 1979, and
1980. But the 1981 Party was great fun.
And -thanks to Jim Fogo (SSQQ teeshirt below) -
there were lots of great pictures."
"That's quite a story. Back up a little and tell
again why you call them 'Generations'?"
description of the term 'Generation' would be the In-Crowd
of the day. A Generation is a large group of people
that connect so strongly with the studio that they make it
the main focus of their social life.
Our love of dancing was the activity that bound us all
together, but so many friendships were created that people
really started to care about the different members of the
group. If someone got sick, everyone would worry about
them, get cards together and visit them in the hospital,
things like that. Birthdays were always a big deal.
It is the same thing as a college dorm or Senior Class in
high school or the guys on the basketball team or the guys
in Semper Fi. People who are thrown together for a
common reason begin to make connections. As time
passes, the group forms an identity.
All coaches, business managers, and military leaders try to
accomplish the "rah rah spirit" in their groups. Some
of the staff meetings at Wal-Mart sound like Revival
Meetings the way they chant and holler. But using
pressure or artificial means can backfire, especially if it
feels phony or forced.
However there was nothing external like a team or a
fraternity or a training program to fuse these people
together. All they shared at the start was an interest
in dance. The fact that SSQQ Generations form of their
own free will is a credit to the studio for giving them the
opportunities that helped bind them together.
In the case of the Second Generation, boy, did they stick
together! Many of the members of this wonderful group
stayed with the studio long after they had taken every dance
class I had to offer. I would estimate over two dozen
people put in five, six, seven years with SSQQ before
finally moving on."
"How do you remember the Second
Generation so well when you are clueless about the
easy - Pictures!
The First Generation was the Disco crowd of 1978 and
1979. They are all gone. No pictures.
Nothing written down. All I have left is what
little I can remember of those days.
Most of those people burned off when Disco died its
early death in Houston thanks to Urban Cowboy.
However I do have a lot of pictures from the
Second Generation (1980-1983) to help jog my
history of the studio has one name after another of
Second Generation people who gave so much of
their heart - John Cowen, Linda Ingalls, Chuck
Clayton, Margie Saibara, Alan Brown, Rilla and
Valerie Ryan, John Varvaro, Diane Stotz, Stan and
Pam Clark, Debbie Oswald, Bob Job, Judy Price, Bill
Sampson, Penny Post, Jim Garrison, Bill Stumph,
Chuck Gray, Risa Beckham, Joanne Neher, Karen
Gilcrease, Michael Miles, Terri Box,
Doug Humme, Bob and V-Ann Noblitt... The list is
endless. It goes on and on and on.
By the end
of 1981, I was alone now because Victoria had returned
to her husband. It took three people to fill
her shoes. Not only did I begin to assert my
leadership, but I got help from two women - Jann
Fonteno and a lady named V-Ann Noblitt.
I hired V-Ann to answer the studio phone during the
day and to be the studio's social director.
V-Ann was phenomenal in her role. She was one
of the warmest human beings I have ever known in my
life. It has taken me 30 years to grow into my
role, but I can say that V-Ann was a natural
Matchmaker from the start!!
Please understand that I have never been alone in my
social work activities. I am certainly not the
only person who tried to contribute. In fact,
I can honestly say that Victoria and V-Ann were so far
superior to me that I literally can say they trained
me. There was so much leadership back in those
days!! If I didn't organize something, someone
However, first and foremost in 1982 was V-Ann
Noblitt. She was only with us for two and a
half years, but she created so many friends that no
story of SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance can possibly be
complete without V-Ann.
Price, Bob Job, V-Ann, Joanne Neher
V-Ann answered the
studio phone and acted as my Social
Coordinator at parties and trips to the
Western clubs. V-Ann was the hostess
with the mostest.
Starting in 1982,
V-Ann became invaluable as a Matchmaker
herself. A born extrovert and
something of a social worker herself, V-Ann
would talk to people on the phone every day
as part of the job.
someone new called up about classes, V-Ann
made sure to invite them to come see her at
Texas the next time our group met.
(Texas was a local Western club that became
our hangout after the Winchester fizzled
When someone new showed
up, V-Ann knew exactly who they were.
She went and greeted them, took them around
and introduced them to the Group, then made
sure to buttonhole a veteran to take the
newcomer for a spin around the floor.
You have no idea how much people appreciated
V-Ann's help. Her warmth and natural
social skills greased the wheels. Our
Group began to grow by leaps and bounds.
The energy was just phenomenal.
Where Victoria deserves credit for helping to
create the First SSQQ Generation, V-Ann
deserves the credit for creating the Second
SSQQ Generation. She was much-loved
and incredibly popular.
Sad to say,
she suddenly resigned in 1984. If forced to
guess, I probably burned her out by relying
on her too much to run the business.
In the picture below, you can see three of
us begging her to stay!!
I don't know the real reason why she
left because she never gave me a straight
answer, but I promise you I hated to see her
go! I loved this kind and gentle
There has never been another V-Ann.
Were she to call me up today and ask for a
job, I would say, "When do you want to
start? How about this afternoon?"
During V-Ann's time at the
studio, the joy flourished. We did all kinds
of wonderful things together. See for
1982 - Why Labeling Parties were
1982 - V-Ann and Rick at a studio
1982 - Ballroom Dancing at Melody
1982 - Sadie Hawkins Balloon Chase!
1982 - Hard at work at a Labeling
1982 - Western Dancing
Charades at my house. Notice
Bob Job sleeping in front.
He claims he was trying to 'intuit' the answer.
The Winning Charades team. I guessed
Bob's intuition worked
after all. Please note yours truly was on the
I don't think any story of the history of SSQQ would
be complete without mentioning Judy
Judy was a big part of the Second and the Third
Generation. Judy's story goes all the way back
to the Winchester Era and the days when I was
learning the secrets of the Western Swing in 1981.
When I moved over to the Bissonnet location in late
1980, I was given two rooms. Obviously I
taught in one of the rooms, but I needed to hire a
second instructor for the other room. The
logical choice was my part-time partner and
girlfriend Victoria. But Victoria could not teach
every night of the week, so Judy Price became the
alternate instructor on many evenings.
Judy had many good qualities. She was pretty,
she was funny, and she was sexy. She
kept her classes laughing all night long with her
antics. She was a good teacher too. Judy
was a very popular instructor indeed.
After Victoria left the studio to patch up her marriage
in 1982, I was suddenly free again. But the
girl I had my eye on - Judy P - was in a relationship.
This forced me to bide my time a while longer.
It wasn't until late in 1982 that Judy and I began
to date. We had a wonderful relationship
that lasted more than a year.
Those were special days at the studio. We had
our Labeling Parties, we played Charades, we had
volleyball parties, we had a Jigsaw Puzzle contest,
we danced the Jitterbug at Blueberry Hill, we danced
the Western Swing at Texas, and we even went
Ballroom Dancing at Al Marks Melody Lane Ballroom.
In particular, Judy loved Halloween. I fed off
her energy. She was instrumental in helping me
make this the biggest event on the calendar each
year. Judy took Halloween seriously. As you
can see in the picture, Judy could be pretty spooky.
Judy was best friends with my beloved assistant
V-Ann Noblitt. Both ladies had the ability to
make me laugh any time I was around them.
Together they were a perfect hostess team at every
event. They were part of many happy times.
Judy helped me become a better dancer. She
played a big part in helping me learn to dance the
Western Swing. This dance appeared out of
nowhere shortly after Urban Cowboy hit
Houston in 1980. It was all trail and error. I
would figure out a pattern, then Judy would help me
figure out how to lead it.
No story about Judy can be complete without a
mention of one of my most embarrassing moments.
Back in those days I was a so-so Ballroom dancer at
best. Most of it had to do with not enough practice.
In 1983 I decided to have a Ballroom Dance Party at
SSQQ. In a moment of shaky judgment, I decided to
also perform at the party. Well aware of my
I was determined not to mess up. Judy and I
practiced a beautiful Waltz routine for 5 months.
That's right : 5 months! Like I said, I didn't
want any mistakes.
Finally the Big Night arrived. Although
Ballroom Dancing was hardly my forte, I am proud to
say Judy and I danced our routine beautifully.
Judy looked stunning. She had bought a beautiful new
gown for the occasion. We Twinkled, we Turned, we
did Promenades, and we did all sorts of
sophisticated patterns. We looked pretty darn
good and received many smiles and much applause. I
could tell from people's expressions that they were
They were impressed, that is, until something went
wrong. The ending move of the routine called
for a gorgeous Lunge and Dip. As we entered this
home stretch, I figured it was a lock. Since
we had practiced this maneuver many times, I wasn't
worried in the least. Tonight however I was in
for a big surprise.
At the end of our routine Judy and I hit the Lunge
position, then twisted our bodies into the Dip. We
held the Dip with perfect control for several
seconds till the waltz music faded. Then we
rose out of the Dip still embraced.
I took Judy's hand and tried to turn her to hit our
finishing pose... but she wouldn't budge!
So I tried again. Again she would not leave my
hips! That is when I realized her cord-like
belt had somehow become intertwined around my belt
buckle during the Lunge. We were completely
stuck. Siamese Twins could not have been any
closer than Judy and I. There we stood locked
together in an extremely intimate position while 100
spectators roared with amusement.
I grimaced. So much for my beautiful Waltz.
Finally two students came out on the floor to rescue
us. They untied Judy and I to the sounds of
After Judy and I went our separate ways in 1984, we
remained friends. Judy continued to teach at
the studio. Judy was a leader at the studio
for seven years.
Judy left the studio in 1987 so that she could begin
to teach on her own. Judy meant what she said
- she has been teaching dance in the Houston area
for over twenty years. Today Judy remains one
of the best known dance teachers in the city.
Maybe someday I will get lucky enough for her to
come teach here again... or at least drop by to
visit at the Halloween Party. I miss her.
SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE: WEDDING BELLS
RING AT THE STUDIO!
Ava King and Doug
That's Chuck Clayton as Best Man beside Doug and who
is that handsome guy on the end? He seems
"Did anyone from that Second Generation get
"Are you kidding? This is when
it all got started. People got married right and left!
As I said earlier, people within the Group stayed friends
for about a year, then slowly but surely they started to
pair off. Once a few people broke ranks and began to
date, that set off a tidal wave of dating.
We were pretty incestuous for a while - many people dated
two or three members of the group before finally settling on
the right person. I will spare you the details, but
there were touchy feelings. Let's just say it was just
like a small college where people played musical boyfriend -
girlfriend for a period there. Ding! Time to
rotate! Who's Next?
After a year of Dating Frenzy, 1983 was about the year the
weddings started. I think the first ones to get
married from within the group were Pam Silverblatt and Stan
Clark (see their picture below.) I knew these guys
really well. Pam's father was my doctor and Stan sold
me all my audio equipment.
Another couple I remember well was Doug Humme and Ava King
(pictured above). I was one of Doug's best men in the
wedding. Doug Humme and his best friend Chuck
Clayton (one of Doug's Best Men) were members of the TGIS
Young Singles Club.
Both guys started lessons with me in 1981 and immediately
became charter members of the Winchester Era. Chuck,
Doug and I were good friends. Further down the road, Doug
met the lovely Ava King at the studio and married a year
later. I have lost track of this couple, but I heard
they had children and are doing well.
I knew Liz Bashaw and John Varvaro well too. Liz
Bashaw was (in my opinion) the prettiest girl at the studio
and John Varvaro played Bridge with me every Sunday.
Oran Russell and Gloria Wright were another gorgeous couple.
Here, I have an idea. Let me dig up one of the old
Picture Posters we used to have hanging at the studio.
Hmm. Okay, here we go.
Here are some of the weddings from the Second Generation:
Doug Humme and Ava King
Bob Job and Louise
Stan Clark and Pam Silverblatt.
Donna David and John Campbell.
Julia Olkin and Juan Meza.
- Fred Piser
and Mary Shiflet.
John Varvaro and Liz Bashaw.
Bill Stumph and Diane Huber
and moved to San Diego.
Tom Meinecke got married to
someone from TGIS and dance class.
Oran Russell and Gloria Wright
Jean Butler and Paul Gillette
- Chuck and Laurie Gray.
Keith Hinkle and Judy
Sandy MacRae and
Pam Thomas and
Michael Miles and Terri Box
Gary Krzywicki and
and Linda Wade
Yung Wallace and
have one more thing to say - many of these people were my best
friends. My work and my personal life were one and the
same. I was their leader... yes... but I was also part of the
group. I was proud to witness the results of the
close-knit group I had weaved together with lots of help
from people like Judy Price and V-Ann Noblitt.
This was the Era when I began to notice that SSQQ was
something of a marriage factory. On the surface, maybe
the marriages listed above doesn't seem that many, but
you have to understand that the studio was about one-tenth
the size it is today (and of course those numbers are
So even though our wedding numbers were
small relative to the modern era in the 2000s, our tight-knit group
still managed to produce a phenomenal number of
This was SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance Magic at its
Liz Bashaw, John
Keith Hinkle and
Linda Scherer and Gary Krzywicki
From: Linda Krzywicki
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 3:05 PM
Over the past several weeks, I've been reading with
interest your various stories, including those on
SSQQ was very
important to our relationship. Back in the
Eighties, my husband Gary and I met at Whip classes
and probably were acquainted for about a year before
we talked at an SSQQ Valentine's party. A few weeks
later during Whip class, he mentioned that his
brother's fire station was going to Eddie's
ballroom. I replied that my Sunday school class was
going there on the same night.
Then Rick said rotate. We
separated. Since there were many people in the class, it
was a while before we could resume our conversation. Gary
was thinking, drat, am I going to have to find someone else
to go with me? And I'm wondering, was he going to ask me to
go with him. We got things cleared up when we got back
week or so later we had what I call our pre- first date.
While we both went to the St. Patrick's Day Party
separately, we spent the whole night dancing together.
Saturday we went to Eddie's ballroom and danced all night
till the band stopped. It was a great first date. Neither
of us dated anyone else and we spent every weekend together.
year or so later, Gary proposed on a SSQQ trip (put together
by Judy Price) to the Cayman Islands. We were scuba
diving. I'd hoped he'd propose during the trip but days
rolled by. Finally at the end of one boat dive, he motioned
me to the sandy bottom beneath the boat, knelt and pulled
out a ring (a small gold heart).
we got on the boat, we noticed the crew in turmoil. An
older man and his wife had run out of oxygen during their
dive. He was blue. They scrambled to radio in an emergency
and get all the divers on board. We sat quietly watching
the drama unfold around us. As we sped toward the beach and
the waiting ambulance, I'm wondering if Gary just asked me
to marry him, and he's wondering if I said yes. Again we
got things cleared up, but we didn't tell anyone on the
trip. We waited until the after trip picture party and let
someone discover it from reading a "dive log" in our picture
continued to take a few classes, but planning the wedding
took up a lot of time. Friday nights were spent going to
different restaurants to pick a place for the rehearsal
dinner. Dance classes became fewer and farther apart
twenty years later, we're back at SSQQ taking lessons
again. I wish we hadn't waited so long to come back.
Thank you Rick for having such a wonderful dance
Here is a
picture I am proud of: 3 SSQQ Couples side by side.
Terri & Michael Miles, Donna & John Campbell, Pam & Stan
Jean Butler, Paul
Bill Stumph, Diane Huber
Victoria and Sandy MacRae
Julia and Juan Olkin
Louise and Bob
Bob the mad wizard
Bob Job and Joy Schodorf
Aubrey Passafuma, Louise Campodonico,
and Robert Job
"So whatever happened to
all these people?"
"Of the fifteen couples I listed
above, I have lost track of every single one of
them. Twenty years is a long time.
If they live in Houston, they never come by the
studio. I think it would be nice if some of
them would stop by to check in from time to time.
In a way, their disappearance is somewhat
disconcerting. It is crazy to be so close to
so many people and have them leave.
Have you ever had a best
friend who completely disappeared from your life?
It happened to me. My buddy Bob Job was
transferred by Shell to the Netherlands with his
lovely wife Louise sometime in the late Eighties.
That is when I completely lost track of him.
Every now and then there would be a rumor that Bob
had been in town, etc, but I never knew how to get
in touch with him.
Bob Job has a big place in SSQQ history. He is
best remembered in SSQQ lore as the guy who helped
me decipher the secrets of Western Swing back in
Urban Cowboy had
sparked an unprecedented amount of interest in
Western dancing here in Houston in July 1980.
Thanks to Urban Cowboy, Disco had died an
instant death here in Houston. Left with nothing
better to do, most Disco guys had turned in their
polyester dance shirts for boots and rolled with the
tide. However, boredom set in very quickly.
Twostep and Polka were pretty easy dances to learn
compared to what they had been doing to Donna Summer
music. Pretty soon, all those ex-Disco guys
started finding ways to double turn girls to a
That's when a new dance sprouted up before our very
eyes. It had no name, but it was definitely an
improvement on Twostep. Bob and I called it
"Disco on the Run" and we made a bet which of us was
going to figure it out first.
Truth be told, I never figured the secret out.
Fortunately, a guy named Herb Fried, who was a
friend of Bob's, showed me the secret one day and
put me out of my misery. That's all the help I
needed. From that point on, I worked furiously
to put together a system of dance patterns that I
could use to teach this new dance.
With Bob's help, we cooked up the Pretzel, the Rope,
the Wild West Shuffle, the Y-Pattern, the Lariat,
and the Dishrag. Do those names sound
familiar? Those names go all the way back to
1981 when Bob and I put the finishing touches on the
new dance. However, we had one more problem.
We decided 'Disco on the Run' was not a very catchy
name. it probably wasn't very marketable. So
we decided to call it Western Swing. 25 years
later, the name still sticks.
History of Western Swing.
No story about Bob is complete
without a mention of the role he played in the
wildest Halloween Party in studio history - the
infamous 1981 Halloween Party from Hell. Bob
single-handedly wasted over 50 people by getting
them drunk as a skunk.
Dressed as the Mad Wizard with a cloak and a
conical Magician's hat, Bob certainly looked the
part as he hovered over his Witch's Cauldron
carefully stirring his strange brew. Adding to the
magic was the smoke that emanated from the Cauldron.
Bob had added dry ice to give his work the
eerie appearance of mixing a Wizard's Potion. The
illusion was very impressive!
Bob's Magic Punch was the place to go if you didn't
bring your own stuff and wished to become chemically
altered. There was a long line as many of us availed
ourselves of the delicious punch. Yum
Yum Yum rhymes with Rum! It tasted great!
What we didn't know was that Bob had spiked the
Punch liberally with Ever Clear.
This is a good story that just happens to have a
wild surprise ending. When you get the chance,
definitely go read the story about the
Halloween Party from Hell.
My guess is that Bob and
Louise met in 1983. My memory is no longer
100% reliable, but it is my recollection that they
had a stormy off-and-on relationship. I
believe Louise was reluctant about commitment.
They broke up several times only to eventually get
back together. I believe they went together
six years before finally getting married in the late
One day around 1989, Bob
contacted me to say that his company Shell was
transferring him overseas to Holland. He and Louise
would be gone for at least a year, possibly longer.
At some point in the Nineties Bob and Louise did
return to Houston, but I don't recall ever seriously
connecting again. It was aggravating to me
because people kept seeing Bob and Louise out
dancing, but I had no idea how to contact them.
The longer I went without seeing Bob, the more
frustrated I got. Finally I found a way to
deal with my frustration - I would write about Bob!
First came the story about the
History of Western Swing. Then came the story
about the Halloween Party from Hell. Then came
a story the Winchester Club. And the final
touch came when I wrote about Bob and Louise in the
original Matchmaker story (2006).
You know what? I secretly hoped Bob would run
across one of these stories and get in touch with
me. And guess what? One day it worked!
On Halloween Day 2006 (nice timing!), Bob sent me
the email below."
Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 2:37
Halloween message for Rick Archer from Bob
As usual around this time of year, I
fondly recall your 'Halloween Party from
Louise and I are
now safely ensconced in our log home atop a
mountain northwest of Ft. Collins, Colorado.
After we'd been here a couple of weeks, the
dancers found us. I guess the Archer
two-step we do still catches as much
attention as it did 25 years ago when you
and I practiced your new moves late at night
in the Sears'
If you ever get nostalgic about Ft. Collins,
please come by for a visit. We've got a
comfortable guest suite and some beautiful
sunrises and sunsets to show you. (I
might even let you win a game of chess.)
Bob sent pictures of his beautiful house. To
read more about Bob and Louise,
"Other than Bob and
Louise, does anyone else ever check in?"
"Well, by a very strange coincidence,
recently I did manage to connect to another
friend from the good old days.
Besides Bob, Chuck Gray was my other chess
buddy back then. Chuck was by far the
most aggressive player I have ever met,
constantly sacrificing one piece after
another to further his attack. I
remember winning more games than I lost, but
I never had any fun because Chuck always
made me play defense. Yuck!
Chuck remained a bachelor during the flurry
of marriages in 1982-1984.
around 1984, he met a pretty brunette at the
studio named Laurie. A couple years
later, Chuck was headed down the marriage aisle
I lost sight of him at that point.
I knew Chuck was a therapist back in those
early days, but I didn't know much about his
work. Imagine how surprised I was to
learn that Chuck was a cousin of John
Men are from Mars,
Women are from Venus (1992).
The mid-90s was about the time I realized Chuck
had become a
famous therapist in his own right here in
Houston. I laughed because my last
memory of Chuck was playing chess and
volleyball plus dodging women during our goofy
balloon chase events. He was a
regular guy then, but now he was famous. Wow!
In 2000, Chuck
Gray indirectly played a big part in a new Chapter of my
I met my wife
the 2001 SSQQ Cruise. During our
conversations on that cruise, I discovered Chuck
had recently played a major role in Marla's
You see, back in 2000, Marla
had been going more than slightly crazy
trying to figure out what to make of her
boyfriend's stories. She
suspected her boyfriend of 5 years had been
misleading her, but wasn't sure. Marla
was very confused.
Have you ever heard of
the movie Gaslight? This story
tells how a man systematically drives his wife
mad with lies and strange events that make
At this point, Marla had listened to so many stories, she
didn't know what to believe any more.
Her gut told her one thing, but she had no
One day Marla noticed an ad on relationships
put in the paper by Chuck Gray. The ad
mentioned Mars and Venus and how hard it was
for men and women to understand each other.
Marla thought to herself, 'That's for sure!'
So Marla went to Chuck for some advice.
He helped immediately. Chuck helped Marla figure out what was
really going on and help her regain trust in her
instincts. Things started to make
sense again. Soon Marla was
able to let go of a lot of anger. As
Marla began to calm down, interestingly she
also began to lose weight. Best
of all, she began to get her confidence
Marla saw Chuck for
about six months. Along the way, Chuck gave Marla two
interesting pieces of advice.
As she regained her confidence, Marla
discovered she was itching to throw the
boyfriend overboard. To her surprise,
Chuck advised Marla NOT to break up with her
boyfriend just yet. Chuck's first
piece of advice was that since she had
some unfinished business with the man, Marla should not behave impulsively.
It was better that she find out what the
truth was on some key issues before moving
on. So Marla stayed in the
Chuck and Laurie Gray then
Chuck and Laurie Gray now
The second piece of
advice was particularly interesting.
One day in November 2000 as they were
wrapping things up, Marla mentioned to Chuck how
much fun she had been having taking dance
classes at SSQQ. She had met a couple
cute guys and was thinking of going out with
them. Chuck warned Marla to be
careful. He said that she was still
very vulnerable. Chuck went on to add that
SSQQ had many predatory men. Until
Marla learned how to protect herself from
further deceitfulness, she was walking
wounded and could easily end up picking the
wrong guy and getting hurt again.
Heeding Chuck's advice for the second time, Marla remained
with her boyfriend and avoided dating anyone
from the studio for another 10 months.
However Marla did decide to exert some
independence. She signed up to take
August 2001 SSQQ cruise... by herself.
When I met Marla on that cruise, it was love
at first sight for both of us. As we
shared stories, Chuck's name came up almost
immediately. You can imagine how both
of our jaws dropped with surprise when we
discovered we both knew him.
I had to smile - my old chess buddy had been
a huge help to this lovely woman. As I
listened to Marla talk about her
conversations, I found myself nodding with
approval at what Chuck had said every step
of the way. I was proud of him!
Marla and I were inseparable from the moment
we connected. We were married in 2004.
We kept expecting to run into Chuck one day
so we could thank him together.
Finally one day in November 2006 I told
Marla enough was enough. Why not just
email him? Here is what Chuck had to
From: Dr C Gray
Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2007
Subject: Chuck & Laurie Gray
Congratulation and best wishes, Rick
Thank you for your thoughtfulness in
giving me the update. It is indeed a
I am extremely pleased to read of
the happiness of both of you. Keep
it up! Based upon the extensive
report on the SSQQ website, it
appears you had a wedding cruise you
will not readily forget. I was also
pleased to see some other familiar
faces from the past.
Congratulations also on the website.
Rick, you've always had a talent for
combining art and prose. I am
Laurie and I have been happily
married for almost 20 years now.
Although we had already known each
other for a few years, I first asked
Laurie out after an SSQQ party.
Rick, you have my eternal thanks. We
live in Sugar Land and have two
delightful daughters, 13 y.o. Cheryl
and 7 y.o. Valerie. Both are so
smart, sweet, sociable, and
attractive that they both please and
Laurie devotes her time to taking
great care of all of us,
volunteering for things like being a
Girl Scout cookie Mom, and helping
out at my expanding clinic. For the
past few months she's been getting
much more than she bargained for at
the clinic with a fulltime
administrator out 90% of the time
with a back injury. Laurie has
coordinated everything masterfully
as we seek a temporary replacement
who may become permanent.
The clinic still sends clients to
SSQQ, and we still get positive
reports. Thanks for being there.
Hey Rick, give Marla a big hug for
really is a small world after all, now isn't
Ingalls, John Elitsky, Donna David
Do see V-Ann trying to poke into the picture?
"Besides your friends
Chuck and Bob, what do you suppose happened to the rest
of the Second Generation?"
interesting question. Let me think for a moment. The married people left. For example, Michael
and Terri Miles, Stan and Pam Clark, Doug and Ava Humme all
moved on to start families. But the rest of the
people stayed on to became the Founding Fathers of the Third
There were two events that separate the Second Generation
from the Third Generation. The first event was the
Going-Away Party for Phyllis Goldberg.
Phyllis Goldberg was a very popular lady at the studio.
In fact, Phyllis was so popular we actually had to have two
going-away parties for her - one party attended by her
fiancÚ Dave and one without her fiancÚ Dave.
Yes, that's Phyllis being attacked with whip cream by Tom
Easley and yours truly during a Surfside Beach organized by
Tom. Several other men also helped. Uh no, jealous Dave was not at that particular
party, I assure you.
Dave lived in Florida. He flew up for Phyllis' second
Going Away Party. I think the group picture below was taken at a
Texas Tumbleweed. I don't remember the details, but
Dave was suspicious of all of the men the moment he met our
group. Perhaps details of the Beach Trip had filtered
down to him in Florida, but if Phyllis had a brain, I doubt
Truth be told, I don't remember a single indiscretion on
Phyllis' part the entire time I knew her. But I do
remember a lot of guys had a big crush on Phyllis because
she was warm, pretty, out-going, and sexy too. We did
not like losing her to some guy from Florida, believe me,
and Dave didn't make things any better by running his Alpha
Male number at the Texas Tumbleweed.
As I have said, the Second Generation was where the SSQQ
Marriage Factory first began to crank 'em out.
There are 10 people in the picture below who met their
spouses at SSQQ. And as you might imagine, there were
MANY love affairs in this group as well that were also
significant even if they didn't end in marriage.
What a phenomenal group of people. They were my best
1984 - Phyllis Goldberg's Goodbye Party.
The Second Generation becomes the Third Generation
Louise Campodonico, Jim Ponder, Jean Butler, Bob
Job, Tom Easley, ???, Phyllis Goldberg, Craig Mason,
Margie Saibara, ???, Claudette (black hair),
???, Chuck Clayton at far right holding the dollar
Second Row: Rick Archer
being attacked by balloons, Aubrey Passafuma, Pam
Silverblatt, Katherine Hipps, ???, Risa Beckham,
Carol Gafford, Phyllis Goldberg's fiancÚ Dave in
red, Tony, John Elitzky, and Judy Price reaching for
the dollar bill (Chuck always knew how to excite
Bottom Row: Mark
Olsen, Donna Repka, Stan Clark, Phyllis
Rosenbaum, John Campbell and Donna David.
"What was the
second event marking the transition?"
was I got married to a woman named Pat in November
1984. It was doomed from the start.
Before the wedding, all sorts of things were going
wrong in our relationship. I had a bad feeling
about this adventure.
One of my favorite movies is "The
Man Who Would Be King" with Sean Connery and Michael Caine. Through a goofy chain of events,
Connery becomes King of an isolated fictitious
country known as Kafiristan. The priests of
the valley think he is the divine reincarnation of
Alexander the Great.
One day Connery spots the
most beautiful woman he has ever seen and decides to
marry her. He's the King. He can do whatever
he wants, right? Wrong!
The priests say forget about it. A Divine King
may not marry a mortal.
Connery defies the
priests and orders the girl to marry him anyway.
Well, immediately the omens turn ugly. Crops
fail, birds fall dead out of the sky, locusts appear
out of nowhere. Obviously this is one marriage
that should not happen. The forbidden marriage
was Connery's downfall in the movie.
I also had bad omens leading up
to the wedding, but I ignored them. Stupid me.
The marriage was a disaster. The marriage
lasted barely more than a year. We divorced
early in 1986.
At the end of the marriage, I hit
rock bottom. Here is the story.
I met Pat in April of 1984. Yes, she was a
dance student, but I barely knew her.
We met by accident one night when I passed her on
the sidewalk of a Disco. I was leaving, Pat
was arriving. Pat recognized me and
stopped to say hello.
I had not recognized her as she approached on the
sidewalk. In her makeup and dance clothes,
Pat's appearance was dramatically different from the
shy girl I had seen once or twice back at SSQQ.
Tonight Pat was a knockout, the kind of woman who
takes your breath away. As you might imagine,
I stopped in my tracks. We chatted for a
moment. I asked her if she wanted some company
in the disco. She replied that she would enjoy
that. So I did a U-Turn and followed her right
back into the club.
That started a whirlwind romance.
Two months later Pat accepted my offer to come live
with me. I had never actually lived with a
woman before, so this was a pretty big step for me.
I was certain that I wanted to marry her, but maybe
it would be wise to get to know each other better.
So we moved all her furniture and possessions into
the house. The next day I came home to find
Pat on the couch crying.
She explained to me that she was going to have to
move back out. She had spoken to her parents
about her decision to move in with me and they did
not approve. They told her to move right back
out and she had promised them she would.
I raised an eyebrow. Pat was a grown woman who
had finished college and had already been married
once previously. She had never seemed like
Daddy's girl to me. What was with this sudden
obedience to her parent's will?
We talked it over for an hour. Pat mentioned
that if we were engaged, things might be more
acceptable to her parents. Now I raised my
eyebrow for a second time. This was a very
I had two thoughts cross my mind. The first
thought was that I intended to marry this woman
eventually when I invited her to come live with me.
So getting engaged was not something I was opposed
The second thought was that I had discovered there
was a dark side to Pat. Her previous husband
had been unfaithful. Ordinarily I would
respect her privacy and not even say such a thing,
but since infidelity became the dominant issue that
caused our relationship to fail, it must be
Pat's first marriage had left her with
emotional scars on this issue. I was deeply
sympathetic. It was my hope that as Pat grew more
secure in our relationship, her fears would subside.
But I had no assurance. That was why I wanted
to spend time with her and learn more. However
Pat's suggestion had effectively fast-forwarded my
On the surface, Pat
would fit into my life perfectly.
Pat was a graceful, natural dancer.
She had been on the drill team in high
school and picked up dances like the Whip
and Western Swing effortlessly. We
matched perfectly for height. When we
danced together, we looked terrific.
Pat showed tremendous interest in the
studio. An elementary school teacher
by day, she looked forward to becoming a
part-time dance teacher as well.
Best of all, Pat was becoming popular at the
studio. She acquired one new
girlfriend after another. I had not
seen a group of friends comparable to hers
since the days when Victoria ruled the studio.
On the surface, Pat would be a perfect wife
as I mulled over Pat's proposal, I decided to
accept. But I knew full well that I was taking
a big chance due to her demons. We were moving
things along much too fast. I believed things
would work out, but there were no guarantees.
In addition I also felt manipulated. My gut said she
was using a sneaky ploy on me and I didn't like it
But since I intended to marry her anyway, it was
something I could overlook. I was willing to
accept the added risk of
moving forward my timetable
However, since we were doing things on her terms, I
told myself that I would refuse to feel guilty if
things went wrong. In other words, I knew I
was taking a big chance. If things didn't work
out, I would not hate myself for heading to the Exit
Now does this story sound like a good omen to you?
No, of course not. With 20-20 hindsight,
obviously a long courtship would have prevented the
mistake we were about to make. We would have
discovered we were totally incompatible ahead of
thanks to Pat's clever let's-get-engaged maneuver, we
didn't have that luxury.
We were engaged two months after we met.
later we were married. Seventeen months later it would
This is my
long-time friend Carol Gafford.
Carol was one of my
guests at the wedding.
Carol got married to another friend of mine,
Rick Mullet, in November 2006
marriage to Pat, most of the Second Generation stuck
around to merge with my newer dance students to form
the Third Generation group.
Unfortunately a few people decided to move on.
Remember those bad omens I mentioned? The most
serious bad omen was the loss of V-Ann Noblitt.
One week after my wedding, my wonderful friend V-Ann
To this day, I still don't know
exactly why she left. I only know I regret
losing her. If forced to guess,
V-Ann burned out having to run the studio almost
single-handedly while I ignored everything to pursue
From the moment of our wedding, Pat and I started to
argue. We fought constantly. We argued
morning, day, and night. In my opinion, our
arguments were always about nothing.
Pat and I were two of the most
clean cut people on the planet. We
didn't cheat on each other, we didn't have money
problems, and there was no domestic violence.
We didn't have gambling problems, health problems,
alcohol, drugs, pornography, whatever.
Nevertheless we found things to quarrel about,
mostly over women at the studio.
We developed a mutual case of mental illness the
moment we were married. We were rarely happy.
was a relationship in
which one person was
always right, and the other
I do not recall initiating the
fights. Pat would bring something up and we
would discuss it. I soon discovered there was
no such thing as compromise. It was give in or
keep arguing. Since the arguments were always
about things that didn't matter, in the beginning, I
would deliberately back down and agree to do things
Pat's way in exchange for harmony. However my
capitulations did not end the arguments. Pat
would simply find something else to worry about.
Soon I found myself disgusted with being the one who
gave in all the time. I decided if it didn't
do any good to give in, at least my self-esteem
would improve if I stood up for myself. I decided
if she couldn't love me, at least she would learn to
respect me. Now the quarrels became epic
From my point of view, the main problem was that, in
my opinion, Pat
had a case of the green eyes. Like I mentioned
earlier, in Pat's
defense, Pat had been
treated horribly by her womanizing husband in her
With these demons haunting her, Pat was determined
this wasn't going to happen again. She watched
my every move with careful vigilance. Pat
suspected me of chasing various women at the studio
or she suspected various women of chasing me.
Either way it was my fault.
At first I did everything in my power to reassure
her that nothing was wrong. Like Pat, I had
been cheated on back by my girlfriend in graduate school and still
carried my own share of demons from the experience.
So I was no stranger to the pain of infidelity.
Furthermore I understood clearly
how sensitive she was on this issue.
Consequently I was extremely careful to avoid doing
anything that might upset Pat. But once I
discovered that there was no end to her distrust
despite my kid glove treatment, I rebelled at the
I did not
appreciate getting chewed out on a regular basis for
something I didn't do. I did not chase women,
but her insecurity led her to believe that I might
which justified her non-stop vigilance.
She justified her constant surveillance and
questioning by saying an ounce of prevention would
prevent future problems.
constant scrutiny crippled my effectiveness at the
studio. I treaded hot coals whenever she was
around. I quickly became paralyzed with fear
if she caught me even smiling at a female dance
student in the middle of dance class.
Pam and Stan Clark
This attractive couple met at my studio. They were
one of the first marriages credited to SSQQ
assume that Pat had her reasons for
believing these things, but for my part let
me say this: As God is my witness, I never
went near a single woman. Not
one time. Nevertheless I
took constant heat on the issue and I hated
After six months of these never-ending
arguments, I was fed up. Although I
understood the underlying demons that caused
her to behave in this way, I couldn't take
it any more. I began to fight back
against her tongue lashings.
Now all hell broke loose. Pat was
astonished that I was standing up to her toe
to toe. She had not realized that I
had been giving in up till now just to keep
peace in the family. Unfortunately,
Pat just fought even harder.
A good example of our struggles was the 'Honey'
incident. One night at the studio a female student
had tripped and fallen. As I helped her off
the floor, she was in tears
over her inability to keep from losing her balance
while double turning.
She was scared to
sympathized with the lady and tried to reassure her.
"Honey, it's okay. Calm down. Lots of women have the
same problem with their turns. Let's see if we can
figure out what the problem is."
Pat overheard the conversation. She didn't
like what I said one bit, but decided to save it for
later. That night Pat began a three-day fight
over my use of the word "honey".
"That was an inappropriate word, Rick! You
were encouraging her. Where I come from, that is a
word of affection. You were leading her on,
giving her the wrong idea that you were
interested in her."
"No, Pat, I wasn't leading her on. I was
calming her down. There is a big difference.
If I were to use the word over and over again, you
might have a point, but in this situation the
one-time use of the word 'honey' was a term of
warmth and compassion for someone who was
struggling. I meant nothing by it, you have my
word, so help me God."
This is a picture
of my parents. My wedding day was the first and
they saw each other in 30 years.
In my opinion, that would be enough for an ordinary
woman to give me the benefit of the doubt.
Pat didn't agree with my explanation. Pat
thought I was wrong.
But I didn't think I was wrong.
Nor was I going to back down, even though I thought
this was the stupidest reason for a fight yet.
So we proceeded to argue day and night for three days over
'Honey'. Round and round, over and over again.
relentless in her determination to convince me that what I had said
was wrong. This kind of language was never to
be repeated again.
Meanwhile I was equally determined to stand up for
myself. I told her in my mind I knew I had done
nothing wrong. However I did apologize for the
use of the word 'honey' in the sense that I was
sorry it had offended her. I also said I would
do my best not to use the term again.
would think that would end the argument, right?
Well, it didn't. Pat intended to make me
see that my behavior was unacceptable and I should
be ashamed I had said 'honey' in the first place. The
By my own
standards of what sort of behavior was right and
wrong, I had not acted inappropriately.
I knew in my heart that I was not making a play for
this woman and I resented Pat's lack of trust. Furthermore she had not accepted my attempt to make
peace. So now we went to war.
I saw this as a battle that would allow me to win
the right to conduct my dance classes as I saw
I told her if Pat didn't ease up, she
would not be welcome in my classroom ever again.
She didn't appreciate that threat at all.
Neither side ever gave in. In chess terms, we
had a stalemate. In human terms, same thing.
Our marriage was being strangled
to death by exactly this kind of madness. I
was sick with foreboding. This fight was
another very bad omen.
My friends Roger
Ebel and Mary Wright
THE PICTURE OF A NAKED
Another great fight revolved around a
picture of a naked woman in a magazine.
The picture on the left shows the magazine in
question. The magazine was not mine. I
believe one of 4 people - Jim Fogo, Fogo's
girlfriend Mary, Bob Arnold, or Roger Ebel - had
brought the magazine.
The picture in question was more "Freak
Playboy. The woman in the picture had breasts so
large they went down to her knees. I admit the
picture interested me, but it was more curiosity
than anything else.
It was a 'joke', something to roll your eyes at.
Why make a fuss over it? But Pat didn't
think it was a joke. When Pat found that this
magazine had been making the rounds of the studio,
she confronted me & asked if I had seen it.
"Yes, Pat, I saw it. Not only that, someone
took my picture looking at it."
Pat said, "I have a problem with you openly lusting
at this pornography in front of other students.
It is disrespectful to me and it lowers other
people's opinions of you. It makes it obvious
that you enjoy looking at pornography."
Those were fighting words, especially when Pat added
she did not believe me when I said I did not bring
the magazine. This incident started another
long argument. There had to be more to
life than fighting over this!
Over time, I grew more and more bitter over these
stupid fights about nothing. A dance teacher
must be allowed to socialize. And I was old
enough to look at a picture of a naked woman without
having to ask Pat's permission.
In the end, her unfounded fears about infidelity
were crippling me. I was tired of
being punished for the evils of the previous guy.
I had done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment
and I was sick of the abuse.
THE FINAL BLOW
By the time
the marriage ended in April 1986, I was a complete
basket case. The constant fights had taken
their toll. My self-esteem was in the gutter and I
was depressed out of my mind.
In the end, the final blow was a "Final Blow".
afternoon, I was humiliated in front of my closest
friends when Pat decided to slap me in the face
three times in the middle of a dance class.
The third slap left blood streaming across my face.
This bitter fight involved a collage of our wedding
pictures that hung at the studio. Back in the
early days of the studio, we had a long hallway at
This hallway ran perhaps 100 feet till you got to
the reception area.
pictures of my students
on the wall of this hallway.
resulted in a poster of say 30 pictures. One
poster might be pictures from a Halloween Party,
another might be from a trip to the Winchester Club,
and a third a ski trip. You get the idea.
I would hang each collage on the wall just like a
third-grade teacher might put up pictures of her own
kids. I estimate at this point that I had 20
different frames in view along the hallway.
I am a born
teacher. That is my calling. I was just
as proud of my own adult students as a Third Grade teacher
might be of her kids. Not only that, many of my
students in those days were also close friends of
mine. The studio was my life. Judging by
the pictures I have included in this Matchmaker
article, I ask that you believe me when I say my
pictures have always been important to me.
was in November 1984.
moved out of my house in April 1986. She left
without telling me, but truth be told, I was greatly
Shortly after Pat moved out, one morning Pat came
early to the studio. She knew I would be there to
participate in the afternoon Whip Society dance
class. Pat intercepted me in the parking lot
as I got out of the car. She obviously had
been waiting for me. The moment I saw her
face, I groaned.
Sure enough, it was another fight. Pat
explained to me that she was upset about our wedding
pictures hanging on the studio walls. Pat
bitterly resented the pictures on the wall that
showed her and I displaying 'affection' towards each
other (this wedding picture on the right was one of
the pictures that Pat objected to.) She
said our marriage had been a sham, a charade. Now that
our divorce was imminent, I had no right to display
these disgraceful pictures.
I could see that Pat
was clearly worked up on this issue. She demanded that
I open up the frames, rip out the offensive pictures and
tear them up so no human being would ever be reminded of the
falsehood of our marriage.
I did not know what brought on this mood; I hadn't seen or
talked to her
in several days. However I immediately resented her
tone of voice and her demanding approach. I thought she was completely
out of line. So I said no.
I told Pat these pictures were important
to me. I added that I paid rent and that it
was my studio, not hers. Those pictures were property of
the studio. I added she had no right to tell
me how to run my studio.
Pat disagreed. She wanted her pictures removed
so soon no one would remember our shameful marriage.
Pat and I
walked side by side toward the studio. I refused
again to take the pictures of our wedding off the
studio wall. I told her those pictures of us
were part of studio history. Many of my friends were
in those pictures she wanted removed.
I said I was sorry our marriage had failed, but that
I was not ashamed of marrying Pat. Nor was I
ashamed of the pictures in the least. In fact,
I said, I took great pride in every picture that
hung on the wall.
friends Debbie Crittendon and Alan Brown
My friends Joanne
Neher and Robert Neighbors
I told Pat
that the pictures were part of my career, not hers.
I insisted that she had no right to interfere.
Pat didn't like my
answer one bit. She reiterated that the pictures
offended her deeply. She demanded again that I take
them down if I had even the slightest respect for her
You have just been given an accurate snapshot of how our
marriage was conducted. Pat would get unhappy about
something and chew me out. I usually disagreed with
her. Like I said, early in the relationship I had
backed down a couple times to appease her, but learned that
got me nowhere.
We never had a harmonious resolution
to a single fight. If she didn't get her way, Pat
would just push harder. The woman was relentless.
But you know what? I was just as powerful as
she was. Once I decided to stand toe to toe
with her and fight back, that was when we entered
the next stage of the relationship.
arguments became so ferocious that we both realized
we needed to part before things became violent.
Oddly enough, not one soul had any idea how hard we
fought. This was our own private dirty secret.
At the studio, Pat was a charming woman. It
was only behind closed doors that she began to
And what ended the arguments? Who knows?
Probably another argument. Something new would come up
that irritated Pat more and we would switch to arguing about
the new topic.
You know how they say that as time goes by, you start to
remember the good things more than the bad. Wrong.
Twenty years later, this is my only enduring memory of
our marriage: One argument after another.
I can't even remember where we took our honeymoon. All
I can remember were the fights. And today's
fight was no different than all the rest.
No, this was not
This was my close friend Carole Holmes
My friends Debbie
Crittendon, Keith Hinkle & Judy Hoffman
this wedding picture issue, I was twice as determined
not to back down to her. Since Pat never
understand the meaning of the term 'compromise', we
proceed to argue... and argue... and argue... all
the way down the sidewalk in very loud voices.
Once we entered the studio, Pat had to behave.
In conjunction with my friends, I had formed a group
called "Whip Society." I was the guest
teacher that day. All of our friends - the
whole gang - were there.
After an hour of class, we took a Break. I
went next door to get some coffee, then came back to
class to sit on a captain's stool in a corner. The
music was playing and a dozen couples were
As I sipped my coffee, Pat came over to confront me
"Rick, why don't
you ever listen to me? Didn't you hear me the first
time? I am past discussion. I told you to take
the damn pictures down! Now!"
Those were fighting
words. From my captain's chair, we were pretty much
eye to eye so I continued to sit. I glared back at her
in defiance. "No, Pat, I will not take the pictures
down. You can berate me as much as you want, but this is MY
Pat raised her
voice. "I told you to take the pictures down NOW!"
At this point, I lost my temper. Without thinking, I
stood up and reflexively started to throw the coffee at her. Fortunately
I regained self-control in time to stop the motion.
However, a little bit of coffee
did slop over the side of the cup and spill to the floor at
Let me be clear that Pat was not hit by the coffee spill.
I estimate ten drops of coffee fell harmlessly to the floor
at her feet. I imagine one of her shoes had a couple
drops of coffee on it. Although she escaped harm, Pat
knew that I had nearly lost control.
at me. "You threw that coffee at me!"
"No, I did not throw the coffee at you. I wanted to
throw coffee at you, but I stopped. If I
really wanted to throw that coffee at you, you would
be soaking wet now."
Pat grew livid. I could see the hate.
Her posture was reminiscent of a panther tensing
seconds before attack. Pat was poised to
the only one who was angry.
I was angry too. The disgust over an endless 18-month series of
stupid arguments just like this one had robbed me of all
"Do you want to hit me, Pat? Okay, here I am. Go
ahead and take a swing."
That's all the encouragement she needed. With an open
hand, Pat slapped the absolute crap out of me.
My head turned sideways with the blow and I was
stunned senseless for a moment. But I regained
my balance and grinned at her in defiance.
"Did you like that? Do you want hit me again?"
Everyone in the room stopped dancing. The
music had prevented anyone from realizing Pat and I were
locked in a confrontation, but they knew it now. The
group stared at us in frozen horror.
I am not sure if anyone saw Pat hit me the first time, but they definitely
heard it. Plus they could see the red welt where she
had hit me.
I had been angry before, but now I
was livid. Pat was angry. I was angry. Pat
was staring fire at me and I glared right back at her.
to hit me again? Be my guest. Hit me. Go for
Pat pulled her hand back, wound up, then slapped
me again with all her force. My face was
turned by the force of the second blow, but I again stood my
My face was burning, but I stood
defiant. I told her she could hit me as many
times as she wanted, but I still wasn't going to take
those pictures down.
I stood there letting her hit me for a specific
reason - I had seen an opening. Everyone has a
public persona and a private persona. Pat's
public persona was soft-spoken, sweet Southern girl
charm. But in private she
wasn't happy unless we were arguing about something. I was secretly
thrilled! My friends had just witnessed the
woman I dealt with in private. A new side of
Pat - the REAL
Pat in my opinion - had just made her public debut.
Everyone felt sorry for her in the divorce.
Maybe it was time for everyone in the group to see
exactly what kind of a person this woman REALLY
So I yelled, "C'mon, Pat, you want some more of me? Come and
Pat was more than happy to oblige. She slapped the
crap out of me for a third time. This time, however, her wedding ring had
gotten twisted on her finger. Now her wedding ring raked
the side of my face and left a deep gash. Blood
immediately ran down my cheek from a five-inch cut.
Why she was still wearing her wedding ring was beyond me,
but the symbolism was fascinating.
seemed to shock people into action. They saw I
was going to keep standing there and let Pat hit me
just as long as Pat wanted to keep swinging.
They also realized Pat was not going to stop hitting
me unless they intervened.
So two men came up behind Pat, put their hands on
her shoulder, and gently pulled the woman outside to
another room. Pat didn't put up any
resistance. She was shaking. She knew
she was out of control.
Meanwhile I sat back down on the Captain's chair -
by coincidence a birthday gift from Pat six month's
earlier. She had struck me three times even
though I had never raised a hand in self-defense.
There I sat with blood running down my face.
Little drops fell to the floor to join the coffee
that started this slapping incident in the first
With my bruised and bloodied face, I
looked like Rocky Balboa after one of his prize
fights in the movies. I had taken quite a
I was not blameless, I expected the world to finally
understand that Pat was an incredibly angry woman. She
had been completely out of control. But it didn't work
out that way. To my amazement, the incident totally
backfired on me.
I had deeply
underestimated Pat. After the beating, Pat taught me a
serious lesson in spin control that I will never forget.
Pat got on the
phone to explain her side of the story to every man and
woman who would listen.
Pat passed the word to her girlfriends
about how hurt she was at my refusal to take down the
pictures. Then her girlfriends spread the word.
Rick so insensitive? Why couldn't Rick see how
much pain Pat was in over the pictures? Those
pictures hurt her terribly!
Then Pat told everyone how I had egged her on to hit
me, which of course was true, but somehow in the
retelling of the story it turns out that the coffee
had hit her. Drenched with coffee, no wonder
Pat was so furious! When I taunted her, that
pushed her over the edge.
Meanwhile I didn't say a word to anyone. I thought
what had happened was self-evident enough that it
didn't require my testimony. Non-violence had
worked wonders for Ghandi and ML King, why not me?
I assumed it was apparent to everyone that a
powerful woman had struck a defenseless man with
savage blows three times and cut his face open.
Pat had made a fool of herself, right?
Imagine my shock when I discovered I was
getting the blame.
My friends Margie
Saibara and John Varvaro
missing something here?
Have you ever heard
of learning things the hard way? That has always been
my style, sad to say. I would have to add this event
turned out to be one of the hardest lessons I have ever been
forced to learn 'the hard way'.
I discovered the prevailing public sentiment was that the
incident was my fault. As it was told to me,
because I had provoked her first with my insensitivity, then
by hitting her with coffee, and then with my taunts, I had
practically forced her to hit me! Why had I been so
mean to her? Her blows were only a reflection of her
desperation over how badly I had treated her.
How badly I had treated her? Are you people out of
I didn't move out of the house without a word. I didn't raise the
picture issue to begin with. Nor did I ever raise a
hand, curse her or threaten her. Nor did I hit her with the
coffee. I simply refused to take the pictures down
which I believe was my right. When she didn't
get her way, Pat decided to take her anger out on me
But these minor points were lost in translation.
David-Campbell. Not my friend.
out letting the woman bash the crap out of me had
done no good. The humiliation of being
battered senseless in front of my friends was now
compounded by the humiliation of being licked in the
court of public opinion by her lies. I found
myself spiraling into a deep, dark depression.
Several women in the group sided with Pat.
Donna Campbell (pictured) didn't even see what
happened, but sprang to her defense nevertheless.
Donna spread the word to anyone who would listen
that I was responsible for the incident. I had
asked for it and I got what I deserved.
When I heard what Donna had said, I felt betrayed.
I was astonished - and hurt - that women like Donna
and others in the group had rushed to defend Pat and
help spin the story in her favor. Thank you
for your support, Donna.
Beware the wrath of a woman scorned. In the
end, even though Pat had belted me three times
without my laying a hand on her or cursing her in
any way, the
incident was labeled my fault. Yeah, that's
what happened. Pat's hand was up in the air and Rick
bashed his face against her hand 3 times!
Shame on him!
I felt like this incident made
me look like a complete fool. My pride was deeply
wounded by the embarrassment. Meanwhile it took my
face weeks to heal. Every night that I went to the
studio, the bruises and cuts came along with me as a scarlet
reminder of my shame.
I would notice students in dance class staring at me.
I supposed they had a right to wonder what the heck had
happened. After all, one side of my face was totally black and
I guessed I could have used a few PR people on my team, but
not one person that I can remember bothered to call.
Not one person.
These people had
been my friends for years, but no one offered to help.
Donna David had met her husband John Campbell at my
studio and had taken dozens of classes, but obviously none
of this stopped her from
working the phones in Pat's favor. With friend's like
these, who needs enemies?
My friends Risa
Beckham and Jim Ponder
alone; she was just the most vicious.
I was astonished - and deeply hurt - at the number
of women who rushed to defend Pat and help spin the
story in her favor.
A woman had belted a man 3 times over some pictures.
The man did not threaten her, did not raise a hand
to attack or to defend, did not call her names, nor
did he curse her in any way. Nevertheless the
incident was labeled his fault. Everyone felt
sorry for Pat. Poor Pat. Look what Poor
had to deal with. Rick asked to be hit.
Pat didn't want to hit him. All Rick had to do was take down some pictures.
Poor Pat? The irony was astounding. This
woman had beaten the crap out of me and magically
turned the event around to make me look like a
complete fool. Pat wasn't 'poor' anything.
Pat emerged from the smoke a complete victor.
Meanwhile it took my face weeks to heal.
I felt like a complete fool that I had not mounted
any kind of defense.
Soon my shame
turned into depression. What a loser.
was quick. Two months maybe. Each night was an
ordeal. Every night I was barely able to go to
the studio and teach. I felt so
It was the Final Blow. I could not understand
why I had been left out there to dry by my friends.
I felt abandoned. I felt like a leper, an ugly
"Did you ever take down
the Wedding Pictures?"
"Funny you should ask. Yes,
actually I did take down the Wedding Pictures, but not for
the reason you might think. I figured at some
point either Pat or one her girlfriends would take the
pictures down themselves and destroy the collage. Then
I would lose the pictures forever. So I took the
pictures down to protect them.
Interestingly, this action also became part of the spin.
'Rick realized his mistake and took down the pictures.
Too bad he didn't come to his senses sooner...'
I have published most of the original pictures as part of
this story. As you can see, most of the pictures were
not about Pat, but rather my own family and friends.
Was I right to insist on leaving the pictures up? Or
did Pat have a right to demand that they come down?
I suppose the readers of this story can decide who was
pretend that Pat were to read this article some day.
What would you say to her?"
"I would tell
Pat that she should be ashamed of herself for
turning my own friends against me, for speaking ill
of me behind my back. We had our problems, but
I never did anything cruel to deserve what she did
Pat had a right to be disappointed. But she
did not have a reason to take revenge. I never
deliberately did anything to hurt her.
I would ask
her what particular satisfaction the revenge gave
end our marriage with dignity, it was more valuable
to her to humiliate me and damage my reputation as a
decent man. Pat shamed me before every person
I cared about.
I would say
that even though twenty years have passed, I
still think Pat was wrong about the
pictures. The people in those pictures were my
parents and my friends. These pictures were
important to me.
Furthermore, like it or not, our marriage was a part
of studio history.
For a brief time, Pat was a
big part of my life and my studio. She had no
right to order me to sweep our marriage under the
rug. It's my life too; I have the right to
tell my story and the story of my studio.
I will say
one other thing - I would tell Pat she taught me a valuable lesson
about defending your reputation.
article stands as evidence that I have learned to
speak up in the court of public opinion. In
this regard, I am in her debt."
"What do you
suppose Pat would say to you?"
nature has changed, the Pat I knew would undoubtedly
dislike and disagree with everything that I have
Unfortunately for Pat, I am no longer a fool.
I have told my side of the story and I stand by
every word I have written as the absolute truth of
Now that I have finally come forward and told my side, I
would love to hear Pat's side of it. She could
tell her side of the 'Honey' incident, she could
tell her side of the pornographic picture incident,
and she could add some more details to the Triple
Pat can write me any time she wants. Looking
back, she won the battle twenty years ago. But
it was easy then - I didn't fight back. Let's
see how her tale would fly this time. And she
can get all her friends to write in too. Maybe
Donna David has some more to say. She had a
big mouth then; let's see if she still does today.
By the way, there were at least 20 people there that
day of the Final Blow, at least six of whom are
still in my life. If anyone doubts my version,
ask them. Tom Easley, Margaret Easley, Carol
Gafford, Mike Fagan, Ted Jones, Margie Saibara.
If anyone else would like to comment, please do.
As long as you see no rebuttal in
this space, that lends credence to my version.
If I have printed lies, then surely let someone speak up
and challenge my story.
In the meantime, don't hold your breath waiting for
a challenge. As God is my witness, I have told the truth
of what really happened that fateful day and in that
(Rick Archer's Note: In 2007, I published a second
version of this story as part of my series on
The second version focused on the reasons why the
completely backfired on me.)
Our next story covers how
Rick Archer reacted to his divorce and humiliation
by embarking on a wild adventure.
The Eighties, Part Two