THE GRAND SQUARES 

OF PRINCE WILLIAM, VA





GRAND SQUARES OF PRINCE WILLIAM AT PWC FAIR IN 2008.

Yes, we are still dancing after nearly 25 years. We dance mostly Mainstream with announced Plus tips. I now have the luxury of two up and coming callers to assist me. Ron Dean and Dale Chase and their Taws.   Some evenings we only get a solid square plus a couple extra but on January 29, we held a WASCA Theme dance and welcomed a nice contingent of folks from WASCA and we danced the evening with 4 squares.  You never know what to expect with our group, but we always have fun.   Come and join us any Saturday night at the Woodbridge Senior Center, which has been our home for over 15 years!

The Grand Squares of Prince William had its beginning in the mid 1980's by Walt and Jean Peterman while dancing with church friends at First United Presbyterian Church in Dale City. Organizational plans began in 1987 and with the graduating class of 1988, the group decided upon the name. With encouragement from his fellow dancers; Norman Tennant, one of the founding Members designed the badge which depicts the movements in a Grand Square. Norman and his lovely wife Barbara had become good dancers but for health reasons had to drop out of square dancing and on May 31, 1998 Norman's life was snuffed out by Pancreatic Cancer. (See Tribute to Norman) The club was initially organized as a Mainstream Club. They now dance Mainstream and Plus, from 7:30 to 9:30 P.M. every Saturday (click on SQUARE DANCE CALLER, below for further information). Walt occasionally breaks up the square dancing with a variety of lines and contra as well as mixers, and there are often easy rounds with a guest cuer. Our numbers are small, but we always have a lot of fun.




TRIBUTE TO NORMAN TENNANT

Although we became acquainted at church, Norm, as I called him, was not a church goer. Something had transpired in his life. We didn't talk about it. Nevertheless, he didn't lack for good christian values. He loved his family and he loved children. His wife Barbara and daughter Jean attended church regularly. Norm seldom missed a "Men's Breakfast" at our church and loved to show-off and talk about his newest knives he had added to his collection. He was one of the early members of a square dance group called the Grand Squares and he was the designer of our club badge. I have always worn my badge proudly, perhaps from some selfish pride in knowing that I helped get the group started, that I have been the club caller from its inception and that I taught Norm to Square Dance. The badge now has new meaning to me, a remembrance of a good friend. I shall cherish it the rest of my life and as I look at it, I will once again be reminded of Norm. We shared a lot in common, Norm and I. He was a simple man. We grew up as depression babies (I am only slightly older than he) in the midwest. He grew up in Michigan and I grew up in Ohio. We often shared childhood experiences which were so much alike that we could have grown up together. One of the things was the love of knives. You see when we were youngsters every boy carried a pocket knife. We used it for everything from cutting strings on burlap bags, to paring and pealing apples, or skinning a rabbit for Sunday dinner, or playing "Mumbly Peg", or just whittling. Although I never got into the collection of knives, I still find myself lost without one. Mine are well worn and have broken blades, but they still might come in handy for cutting a string or something. We grew up to respect our knives and guns and knew that the gun was used only for target practice or killing wild game for a meal. It was never, ever to be pointed at another human being. The knife was a trusted friend to do those things a boy had to do with his knife. Although I knew Norm had experienced some medical problems, he never dwelt on them and he was in good spirits the last time we shared breakfast together a few months before his death. His death came as a shock to me as I am sure it did to others. I will miss his company at our men's breakfasts. Farewell good friend. I promise you that each time I call a Grand Square, it will be for you and I hope you look down and savor every beat of the music and every step of the Grand Square. Norman was a writer. A sort of modern Will Rogers or Mark Twain, but more like Andy Rooney. I don't think Norm ever published a book, but his wit was enjoyed by everyone who read his editorials in the local Potomac News. He even wrote a tribute to this old gravel voiced square dance caller one time. He may have been in search of a bigger story and got caught with a deadline, I don't know; but, he always gave credit where credit was due. His stories were the truth as he saw it.


NORMAN H. TENNANT FEBRUARY 17, 1931-MAY 31, 1998

His business card read "Norman H. Tennant - Renaissance Man - Reader, Writer, Listener, Thinker, Whittler, Cutler, Doodler, Tinker.

~Slayer of Small Dragons~"

In a poem to his daughters he once wrote the following poem:
"And even if the time should come to be
When memory's all we share
You need a hand, just think of me
And somehow, I'll be there."


Expressions of sympathy and memorials may be made in Norman's name to:
Hospice of Northern Virginia
13168 Centerpointe Way
Suites 201 & 202
Woodbridge, VA 22193


COPYRIGHT: Information on these pages is available for non-commercial use only and may not be reproduced in any format for profit. Walter R. Peterman


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Last updated; 09:55 AM 01/31/2011