Things didn’t go exactly as originally planned on our Mexico trip. (This is something we were used to, however.) We never made it to Mexico City or Guadalajara. But we did make it to Mazatlan (where we appeared at a resort and on the local TV network.) We traveled by bus in Arizona – a non-air-conditioned school bus – and by train in Mexico.
When we were in Tucson Mr. Henderson discovered that our Mexico connections had disconnected. We were supposed to go to Guadalajara but that fell through, seemingly at the last minute. In Nogales I remember going to the train station and waiting there for hours. We had no idea where we were bound for or when we would be leaving. But we were together so it really wasn’t all that bad. Because we lived together night and day for two weeks we got close, real close. Actually, we had already been through so much together and we already were close, but the tour cemented our relationships.
It was during the tour that The Twister’s Club was formed. The Twister’s Club was a “men-only” organization (back then you could do that). Being a girl myself, I wasn’t privileged to know all the secret details of this exclusive group, but I remember that whenever someone called out “TWIST!”, the guys would stop whatever they were doing and all twist like crazy. It was quite a sight to behold. The Twister’s handshake was the standard greeting among members (the boys). There was also something about John Wayne (I think he was the revered hero and role-model for the club).
Naturally, the guys all assumed that the girls were extremely envious and secretly longed to be a part of this exclusive club. Once in a great while, on very special occasions, the guys would deign to allow us females to be a part of this group. On those occasions we were allowed to practice the handshake or to “twist” in public spectacle as they did. Wow. It was heady.
Many of the events of the tour have faded in my memory, but one picture is so clear. We arrived back in Camarillo, in the parking lot of the high school, late one night. No one wanted to be the first to end the experience we had just had, so we just stayed in our seats on the bus, in silence. Then someone started singing “Softly, As I Leave You” and we all joined in. I remember it as beautiful, and possibly the best we had ever sounded.
I don’t think there was a dry eye in the group. There was silence, then a lot of sniffing…Then someone yelled, “TWIST!” and we all laughed and piled off the bus and TWISTED in the parking lot! Even girls were allowed to be honorary members of the “Twister’s Club” this time.