August 18TH 2004
"When someone blunders, we say that he makes a misstep. Is it then not clear that all the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill our history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill in dancing."
~ Moliere, 1622
We are constantly reminded how lucky we are to live in our beautiful California. The sun shines almost every day, we have the opportunity to go after our dreams, through out dancing we have built a community of friends, and so much more. Having one of our "family" in Iraq has put a human face on this war for all of us. Through the advent of email, his daily life is brought into our home. Each day we think of Augie Freeman and wish him safety.
Last week we reported that he was injured by a bomb explosion. Last night, another email landed on my desk which shook me to my core. His group was attacked, and all survived. It often feels crazy to me to enjoy all this that I lucked in through the happenstance of birth while many places crumble. But then I think that I must enjoy life to the utmost. Well, it's hard to explain. But perhaps you understand what I mean.
Augie wanted to write a letter for this weekly email, and he did so before his unit was attacked a couple days later. I wanted to have that letter first. (The description of the attack is under a new heading for this newsletter "Operation Augie"... it's meant as a place for you to keep up to date with Augie' well-being.) The emails from all of you have affected him deeply. Not only has he received emails from here in Los Angele, but from all around the U.S. and so far from Norway, Germany, England, Switzerland, and Australia:
Thanks to everyone who has had the opportunity to write to me. Your letters have are much appreciated. This place is so far away from home and I miss swing dancing a lot so hearing from all of you really boosts my moral. I also got the DVD's that Rusty had sent to me. Wow, they were really amazing. I was really surprised to so many dancers in one place just to say hello for me. Ladies, that was pretty awesome how you guys were dancing with me on the camera. I just wanted to pull out the CD book and "Shadow dance." lol So far I have only had a chance to dance one night out here. We just keep so busy that I often miss the designated night for swing lessons. Good thing we have two guys out here that can dance otherwise, everyone who participates would be up a creek without a paddle. It was awesome though because there is a female Navy Officer here who knows how to Lindy Hop and she a very good dancer to boot. It was a lot of fun. I helped teach the class last wednesday and we even gave a lindy demonstration. People were in such awe! They loved it. Now, there are Marines, sailors and a few civilians at Camp Fallujah who are addicted. How cool is that? So, I hope I can make it this week's lesson so that I teach again. We have been actively and aggressively patrolling this area for IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices), Weapons Caches, and other kinds of anti-coalition activity. The last couple of days we set out ambushes for anti-mortar and anti-rocket attacks. It's fun sometimes but other times it's really boring. I am a lot more respectful of the road after I was almost killed by an IED last week. I am feeling much better though. I am still taking pain medication for it but I am back in action. I can't really say that it's fun but we are all in good morale here and can't wait to go home. We are very close too. We should be going home sometime in october. So, that's all that's going on so far. I have sent some pictures to Rusty of this place and of the swing classes. I hope that you guys enjoy them. Thank you for caring and I look forward to meeting each and everyone of you when I get back. Take care.
your swing pal,
Augie... just stay safe.
NEW TUESDAY NITE CLASSES BEGIN NEXT WEEK
|Dance Lesson and DJ on the first
Wednesday of each month from 7:30-8:00|
8:00-11:30pm -- Dance! Dance! Dance!
(check our calendar)
This Week's Celebrations
Cheryll Lynn (we know you're in NYC... but we're thinkin' of you!
If it's your birthday this week, just let us know at the Rhythm Club so you can get your birthday dance!
I thought I would just pull three all-nighters last week, what the heck, and now have the complete "Lindy Hop with Rusty & Peter" series on DVD. That's right, all three of the wonderful instructional videos are now also available on DVD. You can get them in class or on the website HERE.
Thursday, 16 September, 2004 - 7pm to 8pm
Little Company of Mary Hospital/Del Webb Center for Education
4201 Torrance Blvd, Torrance
Basic instruction on history and variety of swing dances for the Association (a lay order of the convent) to encourage participation by Association members in the dance program for patients at various LCOM facilities.
Saturday, 25 September, 2004 - 2pm to 3pm
Artesia Christian Home
11614 E. 183rd St., Artesia
One of our favorite places, especially since THEY keep asking for US. Simple program which will hopefully include a sample of ballroom as well as our usual audience and employee participation.
RSVP or questions, contact Jes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-372-4821
As you read above, Augie had another hit this past week, but he came through okay. Here are his emails for you to read.
If you want to email him, click on this address and a composer window will pop up:email@example.com
Here's the latest from him:
Hey there. I am feeling much better. I am heeling up really quickly. Maybe its because I got to dance today. lol I helped teach a class today and it went well. It was awesome. It looked like it was going to be a flop and then so many people showed up. It was hard to handle that many people at one time. Wow, hats off to you rusty for keeping the crowds at bay. It's a tough task. They always want to wander off into space or do their own thing so you gotta keep 'em on their toes. It was a blast though and I got to dance with a Lieutenant who was really good so we showed 'em our stuff. It was cool. I had a blast. Here is a couple of pictures. I will send another couple on another attachment. One is of me with my flak jacket and the sappy plate that stopped the shrapnel when it went through the jacket. The other is of me with one of my students. I hope that you like 'em. Take it easy and I'll talk to you again later.
your swing son,
Wow, tonight was crazy Rusty. It was another night where I should have died but didn't. We got ambushed in the dark. It was scary. We didn't think we were going to make it. We had an IED explode right behind us and then we were shot at from both sides of the road with machine guns at Rockets at range of 50meters or less. I couldn't believe it. I thought we were dead. A rocket hit the back of our truck and we got riddled with bullets but none of us got hit. It was so crazy. It was the first time I didn't think I would make it. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
your swing son,
AUGIE FREEMAN: For those of you who are new to our list, Augie Freeman is a young swing dancer from Lindy By The Sea who is currently serving with the Marines in Fallujah, Iraq. We have basically "adopted" him as our "swing son". Several months ago, we all chipped in and sent over the coolest package to him... but it never arrived. We had cookie, swing t-shirts, baseball caps, cds, books... all sorts of goodies. He was injured while on tour, but is doing great.
If you want to email him, click on this address and a composer window will pop up:
SWING MUSIC.NET: Got a few hundred extra hours? Love swing music? Well, here is the site for you. It' got a live jazz radio show, it's got info on Big Bands, small groups, it's got Swing era photos...a veritable archive for the obsessed (Rusty Frank, Robert Vangor, Gene Hashiguchi...) You can even find vintage radio tubes here! What more could you want!!
* Wondering what the heck a "gate"is? This was a phrase popularized by 1940's comedian, Jerry Colonna, who would holler it out every time he was introduced on the Bob Hope radio program. It was a friendly salutation to a swing cat (dancer or swing music enthusiast).
JOIN THE SWING SHIFT RHYTHM CLUB TODAY!
Swing Shift Rhythm Club (SSRC) is the volunteer arm of our local swing
dance community. Through the SSRC, we visit senior homes, children
hospitals, and entertain and dance at street fairs. The purpose of the
club is to do some good deeds and promote the fun of swing dancing.