Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tootsie Dean

There was a time when I went by another name. A time when I swore I would never, EVer marry anyone with the last name of White. A time when the Dean Girls were known for swimming and soccer and family and friends and Dari Mart. A time when everyone I knew called me Tootsie, save for my Grandmother who never would and for some reason spelled my given name Angelia. (Incidentally, one of Nate's grandmothers does this, too. It must be a generational thing.)

Marriage. Babies. Military. Life moved on, and somewhere in the mix I became Angela White. A glorious name that I have grown to fully love and embrace. Angela: God's messenger. God's messenger of Grace. Really, it's my life's story.

Yesterday some memories came flooding back. You know how you get lost somewhere on memory lane, looking at scenes frozen in time? Then your face breaks into a smile because the nostalgia is so sweet. Tootsie Dean.

I was a freshman. I remember standing at the dance. I can't exactly recall WHICH dance, but it was after football season. It could have even been the last dance of the year. I had that yearning every girl does at the dance: to dance, amazingly enough. Yes, we went out and danced to fast songs in a group, clustered closely, looking around to make sure our moves were okay. But it was the slow dance we longed for. Someone to notice us... and ask. To be rescued from that wall or chair we were keeping company. All the jerky older guys cruised for "fresh meat." You knew who they were. I guess it was kind of flattering to be noticed by them, but they were just THAT type. You might dance if they asked, but...

When he walked over I thought he couldn't possibly be looking at me. When he asked I think I may have stuttered a "sure." It all happened so fast. He was my friend's big brother. A senior. The good guy. The guy people respected. One of the ones they looked up to. Tom Irwin. And he asked me to dance.

Fast forward nearly two decades later. I'm sure Tom, wherever he is, would think long and hard and STILL not recall those few minutes. But for me I'll never forget the flutter in my freshman heart when the important guy saw me... and asked me to dance. The respected guy. The good guy. Being by him, I felt important. I felt respected. When he confidently led me out on the dance floor his actions reminded me (even if I soon forgot) that the good guys are worth waiting for. Maybe he was only doing his sister a favor, maybe it was a dare, maybe he was bored as all get out and I was the only one left on the side... but my heart soared. I felt noticed. Seen.

So, thanks Tom Irwin for the dance. It meant more to that little girl than you could have ever known at the time. And after dances with other guys through those unsure years, yours is one of the ones I remember most.
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Jenn Dassatti said...

I so love your blogs and I completely know that feeling. Memories can be so vivid and sometimes overwhelming. Most of my memories hit me when I hear a specific song or smell something. And its funny how no one will remember it the way you did. By the way. This is Jenn Morgan...I got married!! My new blog address is

Summer said...

Thanks so much for sharing! You encouraged me and at the same time lead me down my memory lane.

*emmy said...

Aaaah, memories. I still remember that one guy: Todd St.Onge, who I swore was the love of my life, and the only boy I never got. The one that got away. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to him. He's probaly some fat, ugly dude now, but back then he was the silly guy, the class clown that everyone loved. I loved the way would make me laugh and how he carried my drum sticks for me all day, and always managed to returned them to me by 6th period band.

Good times.


You will always be Tootsie to me...I remember those dances too. The giant tiger in the middle of the basketball court/dance floor! I was probably at your house with your sis while you were getting ready. Good memories!

Emma Sometimes said...

I'm with Jenn, it's music that takes me back to the place and time.

:) Good memories.

Ratzlaff Reflections said...

Love ya, Tootsie Dean! Always will!