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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The day I joined the Teensters

Back in 1960, when dinosaurs roamed northeastern New Jersey, I was busily growing up, pretty much twelve years old and desperate to be cool. Yes, my friends, girls could long to be cool too, and I sure did.

One afternoon in gym class, the announcement was made: the seventh graders were to be the guests of the eighth graders at a dance, during non-school hours, in the elementary-school all-purpose room. And, oh yeah, said dance was sponsored by the Teensters.

Sweet Jesus.

I'd read the New York Post my Dad brought home from work every night. I'd seen the headlines. "Teamster Boss This" and "Unexplained Murder That". And here they were, embarassingly naive Norwood Public School officials who obviously didn't work in New York, clearly had never even seen the New York Post, and were actually letting these mob guys sponsor a dance for kids!

I was thrilled to the bone. The dance itself turned out to be pretty tame, no tommy gun checkstands or shifty-eyed chaperones in pinstriped suits, but nevertheless the glow lasted right up to the point when I pointed out my earlier fears to my mom the next day, and she laughed and said the name is Teensters, not Teamsters! Ha ha!