Friday, November 20, 2009

My Golden Dancers

Uplift Yourself and Go Forth

By Elita Sohmer Clayman
My mother had six siblings, two sisters and four brothers. Her sister Ruth and her brother George were born blind. The two blind children went to the Maryland School for the Blind and then on to regular high schools where they excelled. They were like one of the first handicapped children to go to a sighted school as it was called.
They both had wonderful jobs and married spouses who had their sight. My aunt Ruth learned to cook, keep a clean home, and she was a fantastic knitter. She knitted all her dresses and many coats and they were of different yarn colors and were full of intricate knitting patterns. People who met her could not believe that a sightless lady could knit like that. George was a medical secretary for the well known doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The respected doctors always requested that George do their transcription.These two relatives of mine did not let their disabilities take away from their lives. They did volunteer work for organizations and were loved by their relatives and friends and their spouses. My brother and I adored Uncle George and we saw him often since he lived in Baltimore. Aunt Ruth lived in New York City where she went to the Broadway plays every month. She sat there and loved to go to the theater. She saw Richard Burton live in a Broadway play and wrote him a note how she adored him and could not see him. He wrote her back how proud he was she enjoyed the play.
Many seniors who go dancing cannot dance the way they did when perhaps they were younger. Some still go and sit there and maybe dance once or twice during the afternoon or evening. They still enjoy being there and socializing; getting out is a big thing in their day. One lady I know could not dance at all because of some orthopedic problems. She would come with her husband and he would dance with some other ladies and she sat there smiling and happy just to be in that environment.
An acquaintance of mine used to get up every morning and make a list of the doctors she was going to that day. One day it would be the podiatrist (that was ok because she did do some ballroom dancing and needed her feet to be in good shape.) The next day it was the dermatologist because she had a sore on her back. The next day it would be the internist because she had some aches and pains. The next day it was the orthopedic doctor because her knees hurt. She made the rounds of all the doctors.
She got to know the secretaries at these doctor’s offices very well and made sure she kept in good speaking friendships with them so she could call and insert herself into an appointment when she wanted it. One day she woke up and said to herself, no doctors today. Today I will go and do some ballroom dancing. I will take a lesson, I will look at a pair of new ballroom dance shoes, and I will practice with my husband in the family room. I will not go to a doctor this week.
That was quite a new method of living for her. No doctors, no secretaries, no driving to various offices. The only driving she did that week was for her dancing activities. She got excellent exercise; her mind did not think about illness and you KNOW WHAT? She felt physically good all that week. She decided she would frequent the doctor offices only when and if she really needed it. She would not go there to be reassured that everything was ok when in her heart she knew it was fine.
Ballroom dancing is like a good drug. It stimulates your mind; it exercises your feet, arms and neck. It enhances your good thoughts and it raises your esteem in your own mind. You are not sick, you need no doctors today, and you can and are surviving at this senior passage of time. Ballroom dancing is a stimulant that is good for your soul and keeps your mind active. Even if you go and sometimes sit out some or all dances, just going takes good courage. You are special and you do not need a medical person to tell you that everything is FINE. You know yourself that you are a good person and if you are feeling well enough to go out and dance or do dance activities, you are a golden senior, not a senile senior. That is the best gift you can give to yourself.
Keep on Dancing


Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

Interesting article. I read them every month. I look forward to them. They inspire me to go and take some dance lessons and I shall cut down on something else this Christmas and give myself the gift of learning to ballroom dance finally in my lifetime of 50 years.

I shall have to nudge the husband a bit, but I think he may be ready after the first of the year.

Thank you for encouraging us kind of becoming seniors that we can dance and start dancing even at age 50 and older.

Janetta and Elliott from Wisconsin

Anonymous said...

Great article. I have been reading them since last year October 2008.

They keep me focused on becoming a good dancer, than a great dancer and maybe even a competition dancer.

My husband Zack and I dance every week here in our state. He does not want me to give our names, he still does not tell people (YET) that he ballroom dances, but someday he will be proud of it. Actually he is really proud now but will not admit it to anyone, even me.He loves your articles because we are now seniors.

Zack and Estelle

Anonymous said...

Dear Elita,
You are a golden senior and dancer yourself. We appreciate your articles. We attend Fred Astaire in our hometown and take lessons too.

We find they have nice and knowledgeable teachers who seem to care about our progress.

We told our teacher that we read one of your articles on the site and that is how we started to take lessons there last November 2008.

So we thank you for commenting and encouraging us to finally at age 63 me and 69 husband to do this dance activity.

May God bless you and your family with good health and good dancing for a long time.

Andrea and Mark H. from USA

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article and I read your articles too on the site too from Alabama.

Both good stories on life and as it has to do with ballroom dancing.

Bravo to your spirit being a senior and still super.

Annette and Warren

Anonymous said...

Elita and Fred Astaire

Fred would be proud of you to read your delightful encouraging articles every other week or so. I love them. Keep on dancing and promoting this wonderful sport, hobby, fun event in our lives. My husband #one loved to dance with me and now dances with his second wife and I dance weekly at a FA studio every weekwith my second husband.. Melanie and Patrick from New York

Anonymous said...

Eleanorea says to Elita

Encouraging articles every couple of weeks helped me to decide to go to my local studio and learn to dance. I even got hubby to tag along and when he saw there were lots of men his age there, he is learning too.

Thank you Elita S. Clayman for your words. Words are powerful and as Ralph Waldo Emerson said " Settle for more, the world belongs to the enthusiastics." I am now one of them thanks to your words. May God bless you in this holiday season of Christmas and Hanukkah.

Anonymous said...

Thank you editor Catherine Brill for adding for over a year now the column by Elita S.Clayman.

Her writing proves not only is she a good ballroom dancer, she ties life into all her stories on dance.

Dancing and life are tied together everytime we go out on that solid wood floor and strut our stuff.

Our stuff is made up of divine feelings towards dance.

Thank you Elita and Catherine.

Etty and Herb Smythe of parts northeast USA

Anonymous said...

I have read all the comments on this and other articles. These stories and encouragement pieces certainly give a certain shine to ballroom dancing.

Thank you for these things that inspire us dancers to continue on this sport or hobby or delightful moments.

Cicely and Diem of Maine

Anonymous said...

Ballroom dancing is like a good drug. It livens our mind and our spirit and gives us nice thoughts prior to going to the studio to dance or take lessons.

You Mrs. Elita S.Clayman are like the pharmacist dispensing these good and powerful drugs.

Anatoly and Yalena originally from Russia and now USA happy citizens.