Wayne Nicholson


Memory #1

Mary: You have been calling square dancing over 60 years. Can you describe how you began square dancing and include any memories of early calling in square dance?
Wayne: I have been exposed to square dancing & buck dancing since I was old enough to understand what was going on as my father and two older brothers all were musicians and played for square dances around the area in which we lived.  Some of these dances were held in neighbors houses.  The furniture was moved out of the dining room or living room and the dances were the Appalachian Big Circle dances.  The dances started off in a big circle and then converted to a two couple square with one couple being numbered one or the odd couple and the other couple was number two.  Calls were directed to the odd couple and the odd couples moved on around to a new couple when caller called "Odd Couples Move on Around".

Some times my father and other musicians played for the Saturday Night dances at the Mountain City Playhouse in Mountain City, Ga.  Different dancers would call out the calls from the floor.  This is where I picked up the calls and also learned to buck dance at a very young age.  Can't remember the first time I got in a circle.  It must have been when I was in the first grade and we were living in Dillard, Ga.  We moved from Dillard and lived in the Chechero Community east of Clayton, Ga.  Our neighbors were the Mize family and had 5 kids and all of them played guitars and mandolins.  We got together quite frequently to play music and also to have neighborhood dances at the Chechero School House. 

When I was in the 8th grade I went to a boarding school in Tallulah Falls, Ga.  I had to spend the month of July at the school as students worked on the school farm and campus.  Every Saturday night we got to meet in the recreation hall for a social get together and Marie Thompson from Helen, Ga could play a real mean piano and one of the teachers asked if we wanted to square dance and we got in a big circle and me and my brother started showing them some figures and that is when and where I called my first dance.  July 1946 I was 13 years old and scared to death but we had fun.  I think Marie play Down Yonder for the whole evening.  But it danced good and you had to holler loud to be heard above the piano. 

When school started there was usually time for a square dance on the Saturday night get togethers and I called some of them until I graduated in 1950.  After basic training I found myself stationed in Wichita Falls, Tx and was able to attend some square dances and was introduced to Traditional Square Dancing on Sunday nights at a Methodist Church in down town Wichita Falls.  There were a lot of us airmen in attendance and some of them could call and we kind of learned from each other.  I think the first singing call that I danced to was Just Because and it was walked thru before the music was put on.

Years later when my wife and I got into Modern Western Style Square Dancing one of the first records I bought was Just Because and I still use it to this day.  Must have worn out 2 or 3 of them.  I spent 21 years in the U.S. Air Force and got to dance and call some in a lot of states and overseas.  Teaching and calling in Korea was a great experience.  One class I taught I had to have an interpreter to explain the calls.  I moved around in the service and had the opportunity to call in many areas.  I guess the best memories are the many many friends I have met along my square dancing journey and what they have meant to me.  I love them and I don't think you can find any better people any where in the world than those you meet in the square.  Good memories are still being made each time I pick up the mike or get in a square.