Wild Week, 1996

Photographs by Michael Broschat

The Seattle area had an interesting custom back in the 1990s and earlier, at least when I lived there. Word had it that we owed same custom to Boeing, which gave its workers the week between Christmas and New Years off. Some other Seattle companies followed this custom, including the Paul Allen company for which I worked at that time.

Melissa and I were often enrolled at a local dance school called Living Traditions, and for several years they rented Fort Worden State Park to which any partner dancer in the world with the interest and admission fee could participate in the classes and shenanigans at the fort. The partner dance community is a loose non-structured group of folks from all over the world, and many of them are crazy enough to go to northern Washington State during that possibly cold time of year. I'm not aware that this practice still exists.

The 1996 adventure at Ft Worden tested its participants, mostly in just getting there. The Seattle area had one of its decade-high snowfalls the day that travel to Ft Worden began. But get there they did, including us, and although far from a commited dancer, myself, I really enjoyed the experience, which was of course not just about dancing. There is something about being with a committed group of people that helps you get into the same spirit.

Although Ft Worden was apparently an Army base (during its life comprising the first half of the 20th century), I don't think that where we stayed were enlisted men's barracks. Probably officers, as I don't recall sharing the room with anyone else. Food was provided and prepared by the sponsoring organization, and of course meal times were as much social events as feeding opportunities.