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A lifetime of memories

A trip down memory lane: Dianne Hulme’s autobiographical novel, My Memories Dance, was released in April. The book describes her time growing up in the Northeast and includes stories about Abraham Lincoln High School, the Concord Rolling Skating Rink and the Starlight in Wildwood.

The Home Economics teacher came back into the classroom at Lincoln High to find a thin brunette near an open window.

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What was the girl doing? Why was the window open?

A very young Dianne Hulme knew that, if she opened her mouth, she’d be in trouble.

When the teacher had left the room, Hulme had seen a boy outside having a smoke. She had opened a window and asked the boy to pass the cigarette through a hole in the screen so she could have a drag. She took a lungful and passed the cig back as the teacher returned to the room and started asking questions.

Hulme tried just standing there, but eventually, she had to exhale. Everyone in the classroom was very amused when she did in a puff of smoke, the Mayfair resident said during a Nov. 26 phone interview. Well, except for the teacher, who made Hulme stay after class and wash dishes, making her late for her next class and causing her further grief.

But, now more than four decades later, it’s kinda funny to Hulme, and it’s a scene in her autobiographical novel, My Memories Dance.

The book is not full of laughs.

The novel’s heroine is Sarah Walker, who sees her life as tiresome and tragic until she writes her memoirs and comes to a realization that she had a life that had truly been remarkable.

Sarah’s story is filled with dancing, dancers and plenty of locations Northeast residents will recognize. It’s about trips down the Shore, love, life and survival as Sarah meets famous, or soon to be famous, entertainers.

Hulme, who writes as “D.M. Hulme,” based Sarah’s life on her own. As teenagers, she and her friends went to all the dances they could.

They hit the dances at Lincoln High, the Concord Rolling Skating Rink and the Boulevard Pools in the Northeast, and the Starlight in Wildwood.

But in the 1950s, kids didn’t have to go outside their own living rooms to be at a dance.

“A wonderful thing happened in 1956 when a new television show called American Bandstand started televising from my hometown.

“Along with every other kid in the country, I ran home from school every day so as not to miss a minute of it. I would sit glued to the TV, watching the kids and picking up all the latest dances and dance steps.”

It’s Sarah’s love of dancing that gives her strength and purpose. It’s an affair with a popular deejay, Alex Bentley, that gives her a daughter, whom she raises as she waits for a chance to reconcile with Alex.

Author Hulme is as Northeast as they come. She grew up in East Tacony on Longshore Street at State Road.

“In my teens, I moved to the other side of Torresdale Avenue on Knorr Street when my childhood home was slated to be leveled for the new I-95 highway construction,” she said.

She attended Disston School for eight years. She attended Lincoln, but not for long. She dropped out in 10th grade.

Hulme now lives in Mayfair and cares for her mother. Her daughter, a graphic designer, lives in Center City and worked with her mom on My Memories Dance’s layout and cover design.

Sarah Walker’s story is Hulme’s first book and is self-published through Amazon. A second book is now going through the editing process, and a third, about love and mystery, is in the works.

My Memories Dance was released in April. It’s available in paperback for $11.95 and a Kindle version for $3.95 at Amazon.com

For more information, visit www.mymemoriesdance.com ••

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