Sandrift Recreation Center is a magical place. I can feel it as I walk toward the door.
You see, I am retracing my steps. Once upon a time (in the last century), teenagers gathered there on hot summer Thursday and Saturday nights. My personal Shangri-La featured a snack counter with ice cold Cokes, a sunken dance floor and music so loud that it vibrated through your body. I loved to dance barefoot on the cold terrazzo floors, a pure joy rush until they switched on the overhead lights at midnight.
How do I know for sure that the place is magic? One night almost 40 years ago I fell in love–at first sight–with a boy there. He is my husband now.
Last Thursday night I lugged my size-16 self back to this sacred spot for a Zumba class taught by my friend and co-worker Debbie. Sandrift is a community center now for seniors and little kids. They’ve raised the sunken dance floor and traded the snack counter for a vending machine.
Hey baby, the Dancing Queen was back in the house! The lively Zumba music began, and I stepped into action. Whoa! My body instantly stiffened and I struggled to move. Every movement took such effort. My knees decided early on that they were not going to cooperate, not even with a sloppy sidestep. But I kept going. Zumba I must!
We were 50 minutes into the 55-minute class when I finally loosened up a bit. For a moment, the old joy rush returned (even though I was wearing shoes). Thanks to the magic spell of the place or my daily baby aspirin, I did not keel over.
I’d put my money on the magic spell theory.