My mother clogged when she was a young girl growing up in the “Mountain Crick” community in western S.C., but had to quit when she became a young woman. Clogging caused too much embarrassing bouncing for a Baptist father to tolerate. She taught me how to square dance though, and I was enthralled by the clogging I saw at various bluegrass festivals. It looked like so-o-o much fun. When I was a grad student in Chapel Hill in 1974, I read an ad in the DTH—“if you want to learn how to clog, call Donna Schlatter .” Learning how to clog sounded like a lot more fun than finishing a master’s in library science, so I called and then showed up one night at Carroll Hall. The next thing I knew I was on stage dancing with Trent Van Blaricom, pretending like I knew what I was doing. But such fun it was…

I danced with the Apple Chill Cloggers from 1974 until 1984, and was unofficial Clogger Mama for part of that time. We were so busy having fun and playing and working hard, that I never quite realized how many incredible memories we were making at the time. Dancing at bluegrass conventions and every fresh fruit and vegetable festival in the Carolinas and Virginia—throw in some fish too. The first trip to Ireland that was inspired by a library book on international folk festivals. Swapping visits between the Netherlands and N.C. with Dansgroep Hupsakee. Trying to teach Jesse Helms how to make a left turn in D.C. The womanless wedding skit to honor Ron and Dawn’s wedding—it’s tacky dress, ya’ll! And, the parties, oh my, the parties!! I think one of my last official performances was the second time around at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. At that point, I had little Charlie in my life, and being a real mama was top priority.

In the midst of my rhapsodizing about memories of the Cloggers’ good times, I forgot the best part, of course the friends—both the friends we became and the friends we met. It was absolutely terrific to see so many old friends coming back to dance at Apple Chill Fair in April 2005. We proved we could still dance and still party, though I do appreciate Ivan and the musicians’ taking Old Joe Clark down a notch or two. Hope we can keep the reunions and the good times going.

Steve and I have remained in Chapel Hill all these years. He’s still a psychologist, but is also developing his skill as an artist in preparation for becoming Grandpa Moses in retirement. You can see his work at Somerhill Gallery in Chapel Hill. We have two sons, Charlie and Alex. Whenever 23-year-old Charlie starts getting uppity, I show him photos of the Cloggers’ baby shower to remind him of his inelegant roots. I work at Carolina now, where I’m the GrantSource Librarian for the university, teaching faculty and staff how to find grant funding. Even my occupation has been influenced by my years with the Cloggers! Not to mention my love of travel. One of our favorite family activities is traveling, and we like to do home exchanges with other families. Since I don’t yet have any digital photos, I thought I’d share our family home exchange web site though it’s a bit dated.

And last, a word of thanks to the new generation of Apple Chill Cloggers for keeping a good thing going and for helping us alumni keep in touch. My phone number is the same as always and click here to send me email. I would love to hear from and to see Clogger friends, old and new.

Susan Gramling