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I Want To Dance With Somebody

That song makes everyone want to dance!

My cousin Julia dancing with my dog Blaise.

Growing up in a small coal mining town in western Pennsylvania there was never much to do so music was very important. One thing I can vividly remember are the weekly dances at an area church hall. I think that was the highlight of the week back in the early eighties. To be honest, I hated those dances! I went for a few years but finally I couldn’t pretend that I enjoyed them anymore so I mustered up enough nerve to tell my best friend I wasn’t going anymore. I was afraid that she would be mad at me and although I don’t think she was mad, our friendship did sort of fizzle out after I stopped going. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like to dance but I got bored going to the same place week after week. Considering how I felt about these dances it is sort of funny I am writing about a song called I Want to Dance with Somebody.

My all time favorite black female singer is Whitney Houston. However, Diana Ross is definitely a close second. I was fortunate to see both of them perform in concert. Whitney Houston became popular about the time I graduated from high school. I don’t think there was a song she recorded that I didn’t like. But the song I Want to Dance with Somebody has a special place in my heart. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and she was a fun, active person. Every time this song would play my grandmother would start singing and dancing. She was probably in her mid-70’s at the time. I would even catch her singing it when the song wasn’t playing! I am so lucky to have such a wonderful memory thanks to this catchy, fun song.

I followed Whitney Houston throughout her career and was so sad when she died at such an early age. Not only was she a great singer but her music was fun and I think it appealed to people of all ages. After all, I was about 18 and my grandmother was in her 70’s and we both loved Whitney’s music. Another interesting connection for me is her name Whitney. Whitney was not a common name in my community when she first became popular. My sister was pregnant around the time Whitney’s first album was released. She decided on the name Whitney if the baby was a girl. Unfortunately, I was the only family member who liked the name. My sister didn’t care though, it was always her attitude that if she was having the baby, she was naming the baby! Well the baby was a girl and I think it is safe to say that my niece was named after Whitney Houston. A funny side note is that my grandmother had trouble pronouncing the name Whitney and for a few years she called my niece Wendy! You have to understand how many women in my grandmother’s family were named Mary so this was new to her.

I will never forget seeing Whitney Houston in concert in Pittsburgh with my college friends. It was such a wonderful experience. It was so much fun because much of her music was upbeat. That’s one reason I enjoyed her music so much, it would help you forget your problems. I went to college, graduate school and law school. Being from such a small town I had to travel a distance to school but I went home pretty much every weekend. I don’t know what I would have done without Whitney’s music to listen to driving back and forth. Especially law school because I was driving six hours every weekend. Whitney’s music kept me awake for that drive!

I still listen to Whitney’s music today. When I think of my college years she is a big part of my memories. I can still remember waiting to watch the American Music Awards one year. It was on a Monday night so I was at college and I shared an apartment with five other girls which usually meant there were at least 20 people in our apartment. Most nights I was at the library studying but for this one might I wanted to watch television because Whitney Houston was performing on this awards show. I don’t know how I got so lucky but when I went home that Monday night nobody else was home. Not one single person! I was thrilled to watch Whitney perform and I can’t remember the details but I’m sure she won many awards.

The more I write this story the more I realize what a big role Whitney Houston and her music played in my life. I still have the poster of her that was hanging on my bedroom wall at my family home. Thank you Whitney for all the wonderful memories. I am sure my grandmother found you up in Heaven when she arrived because you would be the ultimate person to dance with!

80s music
Margie Anderson
Margie Anderson
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Margie Anderson

I live in Northern Cambria, PA. I graduated from Indiana University of PA with my BS in Accouting and my MBA and from Widener Law School in Harrisburg, PA with my JD. I worked for the Attorney General’s Office until my retirement.

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