Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Growing up in upstate NY, May Day was a big deal because there was the May Pole dances. At the elementary school, we had crepe paper streamers tied to the tether ball pole and we danced around twisting the paper ribbon as we went around. We then got to observe the May Pole dance at the high school which was a big deal. They used the flag pole to tie multicolor ribbons. A girl wearing a fancy dress the same color of her ribbon  would spin around to band music along with about 9 other girls. It impressed me. I wanted to grow up and be one of those pretty girls twirling around the May Pole.

No one ever seemed to ever hear of May Poles here in Michigan. I never saw a May Pole dance again. After a while, I wondered if it weren't a figment of my imagination.

On a Mad Men episode a few seasons ago, they showed a May Pole dance. It was also set in upstate NY though not in the part I lived in, so these things did exist.

Taken by George Banks in 1958. My five year old self is in the crowd somewhere. We lived across from the high school. I remember the pole being taller but the pretty, full dresses are clear in my mind. My house is not visible in this picture. I am surprised that my father did not photograph this but maybe he was at work.

Crowning the May pole queen by the same photographer

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