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We were lucky as teen-agers growing up in Richmond in the 1950s and 60s because we had Teen Town.
The women’s club was located at the intersection of North Thornton and Buchanan Street. Every Friday night it was open for dancing on the second floor and table tennis on the first floor.
It was open from 9 p.m. to midnight. We fell right into the beginning of the rock ‘n’ roll era and we took advantage of it. We had stacks of 45 rpm records to choose from.
Our magic formula was to play a fast song and then a slow song, then a fast song, then a slow song etc.
Mr. Bondurant, the shop teacher, and his wife were the chaperones. I think that it cost a dime to get in.
What can be told now is, thanks to the statute of limitations on breaking and entering, does not apply today. At least, I think so. I will mention no names because some of the guilty parties still live in Richmond and I would hate for some of those 70-year-old men to go to jail.
What we would do before Teen Town closed up is to unlock a secret window. Then on Saturday nights when there wasn’t much going on in town, we would slip down there and open the window, climb in and turn on the lights. We would then get on the phone and start calling kids and telling them that Teen Town was open.
Pretty soon the place would be packed. Sooner or later one of the ladies from the club would show up and ask us who had let us in. Of course, we all played dumb and innocent, which wasn’t too hard. They never made us leave. I guess they figured it was better for us to be dancing than running the streets.
I can honestly say that we all behaved. I never saw any drugs or vandalism in all the years that I went there. Sometimes, there was a little beer drunk in the cars parked outside, but no trouble.
Everyone behaved and had a good time doing the jitterbug.
– Bob “Rabbit” Smith
RHS Class of ‘57