The following was submitted to the GeneseeSun.com for publication by Mary Lester on behalf of Bonnie Sykes of Honeoye. The opinions and attitudes expressed herein should not be misinterpreted as those of the GeneseeSun.com.
In a time when turning on the news brings one nothing but dread and sadness, it is indeed heartwarming to take part in an event that puts smiles on the faces of those in attendance. Such was the case on Saturday, April 16 at the Hemlock School square-dancing event. It was encouraging to walk into the old gymnasium and be greeted by close to one hundred and fifty people from all over. Everyone was waiting for the cuer (round dance caller) to begin the calls when first he made the announcement, “how many people here do not know how to square dance?” Almost all hands went up and I just had to smile! So many people had turned out to take part in something they knew very little about. They had come, however, to share in the entertainment, enjoy an evening of fun, meet new individuals, and support a worthy cause; saving a piece of local history; an eighty-seven year old school.
The circle was formed, instructions were given and the anxiety level on people’s faces drained away. Everyone was laughing, having fun and enjoying the moment. For a couple of hours to come the stresses of the day would be put on hold and what is really important in life would happen. People would be living a few moments to their fullest. They would be “taking time to smell the roses,” as my mom used to say. I read somewhere that by preserving historic structures we are able to share the very environment and spaces of past generations. This preservation allows us a tangible conservation of our own cultural identity. No doubt many elementary students, even some of those dancing, had themselves taken part in this very gym in square-dancing classes, in a time period in their lives when it was certain that if little boys touched little girls they would get “cooties.” Gosh, how times have changed!
If walls could talk I believe they would speak about the huge success of the evening. Comments would be made about the excellent musicians and caller who volunteered their time and energy to make this event such a hit. They would commend the Town Board of Livonia for keeping this historic building open and ask that they reconsider closing June 1. They would remind us all that preserving our history is not a luxury, but a powerful way to sustain and even better our future.
*Another dance is scheduled at the Jack Evans Community Center for May 13th, 7:00-10:00 P.M. We hope you will join us for another great evening; admission is free.