Another “I was there” story by Auldtwa the Ancient

Back in the late ‘60’s, I was a fledgling high school teacher at a school in the Bay Area. As a newbie, I got the bottom of the barrel when it came to extra-curricular assignments: the PTA Dance Committee. This mostly consisted of showing up at the dances and looking stern at all the kids trying to sneak out for a toke.

The second year I had this duty, the kids on the committee decided that they would like to substitute a concert with a local band for one of the dances. “Fine, you organize it,” we said. And they found a local band and booked it for later in the school year.

Comes the concert. The Vice-Principal takes us chaperones aside and warns us to be looking for cigarette smoking in the gym. We think, Yeah, sure, that’s the last of our worries.

And at the gates: swarms, hiving swarms of people, because the local band the kids had picked was none other than Santana, who had hit the big time with their album of the same name and the single, “Evil Ways” in between booking and performance.

Cigarettes be damned! The gym became full, over-full, overflowing. WAY over the fire-department limit. How could this be? There were a limited number of tickets. Turns out the kids, heady with the success of it all, were taking tickets back from the door collectors and re-selling them.

My husband and I were manning one of the doors. People poured through. We tried to close the doors to keep the FD from closing the whole thing down. Just then a band of Hell’s Angels types appeared, grabbed the door, and broke the lock. One of them was about 8 feet tall, or so it seemed to my 5’2” self.

Something snapped in me. The 8-footer shouldered his way past me. I jumped (literally), grabbed him by the greasy collar of his vest, and swung him around. Zoom, out the door he stumbled, his friends gathered around him in wonder.

We closed the door, and I learned a valuable lesson in the concept of momentum. We spent the rest of the evening peacefully breathing in the secondary smoke of--could it have been?—unquenchable cigarettes.

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