mad in pursuit journal


Breathless: the Aerobics Era, 2

(Cont'd from yesterday) Life is made up of moments... and crossroads. Sometimes the crossroads are clear -- a major decision must be made. Sometimes you've been racing along so quickly that you don't see the actual crossroads till you look back from a destination you didn't know you were headed for.

The fact that I was at an athletic club at all was the result of a crossroads moment. 1979... St. Lawrence River... scuba diving... had to be hauled out of the water by the guys because I didn't have the upper body strength to pull myself out of the current. (More...)

Pat Drum AerobicsOnce I was working out, I drifted into an aerobics class. My specific memory is dim, but I do recall the joy of working off stress through rhythms & beats. This was probably early to mid 1980. Pat Drum was in charge of programming and working on expanding her method of choreographed exercise to other locations. She was still referring to her business as the Skinny School.

Friday 5PM classes were especially invigorating -- a great start to the weekend. One Friday Pat wanted everyone to stay and talk about things the club could offer. Could there have been wine? Anyway, I stayed.

Staying after an exercise class to blab is so not me. But that Friday I stayed. Jim and I were still in the feisty years of our relationship -- madly in love but still defiantly on our own. He had "things to do" on Fridays after work and didn't want me showing up for dinner out too early. So I had to have "things to do" also.

PDA Ad 1980Anyway, Pat was planning a rollerskating party. (This story is already legendary between us.) I loved lettering and calligraphy. (More on that...) Did I volunteer to do a flyer or did I just show up on Monday with a doodle? Can't recall. But I had drawn ROLLERSKATING PARTY with skates on all the letters. Pat screamed with delight. I was "her Susan" from then on. She started giving me assignments around her Skinny School immediately and paid me by the hour. I was instantly her go-to gal for all graphic design and layouts.

I had no idea what I was doing. But I delivered. Pat figured I could do anything. The more confident she was, the more skills I got. We were both plunging along unbeaten paths.

I found an ad I did for her (to the right). December 1980. She was still the Skinny School, before she incorporated as Pat Drum Aerobics. But she had "20 convenient locations." And my ad was later chosen for display at the juried "Calligraphy in the Graphic Arts" show at the Master Eagle Gallery in NYC.

Oh, what fun we had! (Continued...)


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