Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

Disco Ducks

on May 21, 2013

I just watched a two-hour episode of UnSung featuring the Disco Era, the music and the artists. It was very interesting. Being underaged, I lived on the outer fringes of this iconic time period. I bought certain music. I spent all the little money I had on the Saturday Night Fever album. $7.99 for a two-album set. I don’t know which of my friends I saw the movie with, but aside from the dancing, it was actually a very deep movie.

We had just graduated from high school and we were “grown.” We were ready to hit the discos! No more of those Saturday night parties at the local boys’ private school! The nightlife awaited! Clotele and I hung out with Karen in high school. The three of us were always seen together. Karen got a car the summer we graduated. That opened up a whole new world of possibilities. We had fake IDs, so that end was taken care of. The only thing was navigating through Dad’s unreasonable curfew laws. That was the only thing my father and I argued about during my teen years. Curfew. I didn’t want to come in on time. So the best thing for me was to go with Karen and Clotele to a disco when Dad and the stepmother went out of town. The stepbrother was placed in authority, but I didn’t care what he had to say.

One thing about disco attire—you had to be dressed. No jeans. I didn’t have anything that was really disco-ish. I bought a blue leotard to wear with my blue skirt.

The three of us were cruisin’ down Lake Shore Drive on our way to Dingbats, one of the premier Chicago discos of the day. We cleared admission. My first disco! Once inside, we headed to the bar. An actual bar! I remember ordering a Sloe Gin Fizz—my first mixed drink! The music was thumping, the lights were low and the whole place was an alternate reality to my 17-year old mind. The bar, how the people were dressed, how they danced. The dance floor was a thousand steps up from the gym.

Now the interesting thing was that nobody was asking me nor Clotele to dance. Karen seemed to be getting her share of attention, but Clotele and I were just sitting there. If we were at one of the high schools, we’d just go grab one of our friends, or just start dancing and soon a boy would come up and join in. But we couldn’t do that here. Not at Dingbats.  We didn’t dare approach these men. Yet, they weren’t approaching us either. We danced a little, but for the most part, we were on the sidelines watching.


As Clotele’s and my adventures under the disco lights continued throughout the months following graduation, we noticed that this was a disturbing trend.  We would go to different places and were still third string. We clearly were not experiencing Saturday Night Fever. The stepsister, in her condescending manner, intimated that it was my hair, my clothes, I looked too young, etc.

Now it turns out that there was an organization on campus that started throwing Friday afternoon dances in the student center. Clotele and I were very interested in going. This party would be one of our first because we both had jobs after school and couldn’t hang around campus much. We stepped into this party and found yet another world. The world of the college party! A world where people knew our names and were glad to see us! There was no shortage of guys wanting to dance with us! Jeans and t-shirts were totally acceptable!  The guys were down to earth. Clotele even got a boyfriend whom she met at one of the parties, a quite handsome young man who could dance his butt off. There was no bar and people strutting around like peacocks. There was no need for a fake ID—all we needed was to show we were students of the university. We were in our element. Here was where we belonged.


3 responses to “Disco Ducks

  1. Ebon Craig Williams says:

    I respect how deftly you have established on going characters, such as Clotele, and how smoothly you introduce new characters. In fact, in addition to your story lines and writing, I think I really appreciate your use of characters. The ones you want us to know about and the ones necessary to move the story along, but otherwise non-fundamental. The ones who get names and descriptions and the ones who are unnamed. Great work! Looking forward to more.

  2. Clotele says:

    Oh yea, this brings back memories. Yes, we all want to be where someone knows your name and notices that you exist. Those university parties were some of the most memorable times. Yes, I met the the “Greatest Dancer” at one of these parties. He became my boyfriend and well that made things even better. Donna and I had arrived and we didn’t have to go far to have a good time. Sometimes happiness is right where you are.

    Thanks for sharing memories

  3. Greg Terrell says:

    Saturday Night Fever (Double Album)……………High School, White 3 Piece Suits (yes I has one), Skating Party’s (single albums were less than $5)!!!! Yes I remember…………Brings back High School Memories!!! Thanks CUZ…..

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