From the desk of the editor

Who taught you to dance?

Was it your mom or dad? An older brother or sister? Maybe you learned with a friend or enrolled in ballet or tap or one of the fun organized dance classes at an early age. Maybe you taught yourself. Maybe you never learned and that’s OK, too.

Who taught me to dance?

That’s easy.

Molly Ringwald. She was one of my first best friends, after all.

I wasn’t quite old enough to feel the angst of young Samantha Baker as she longed for Jake Ryan in “Sixteen Candles” — I was 5 when the movie was released. “That’s why they call them crushes,” her father, played by Parkersburg native Paul Dooley, told her. “If they were easy, they’d call them something else.” But, oh how I burned through my VHS copies.

I’m sure I didn’t see “Sixteen Candles” until I was 8 or 9, but I was hooked. Like Samantha, I loved Jake Ryan, and like most girls in the ‘80s, I loved Molly Ringwald. She showed us that “plain” sophomores could land the most popular senior in school. Then in “Pretty in Pink” — although I still question the ending — she taught us that smart, kind girls from the wrong side of the tracks are just as good, if not better, than anyone.

And in “The Breakfast Club,“ we learned that a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess (Molly) and a criminal can somehow become friends, if just for one day, because they are just people, after all.  

Molly, I’ll just call her that since we’ve been friends for so long, has many other credits under her belt including the recent ABC Family show “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” in which she played a mom. A MOM!

Yep, she’s grown up, but that happens. “The Breakfast Club” was released Feb. 15, 1985, after all. Which brings me to my point. And I know you’re wondering why I’m I’m rattling on about Molly Ringwald. Well, she’s coming.

Molly Ringwald is coming.

She’ll be in Huntington Feb. 21 as the Marshall Artist Series presents a special 30th anniversary screening of The “Breakfast Club” at the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center. She’ll talk to the audience and answer questions during a Q&A after the movie. I have assembled a group of ‘80s loving friends to attend, of course.

I wonder if we’ll actually get to speak with her personally or just ask questions during the Q&A format? If I raise my hand to ask a question, will a question even come out? Surely I won’t tell her how long we’ve been friends or show her the invitation to my first ‘80s party. The one with my head superimposed on her “Sixteen Candles” body. Maybe I’ll just ask her what it’s like to be such a cultural icon. To be adored by so many generations. My nieces even love her! Does she like her own movies? Which is her favorite? Where is Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) hiding these days? Is he really making furniture in Amish Country? So many questions.

Mostly though, I think I want to thank her for just being Molly. I want to thank her for making my favorite movies. Movies I still quote in my every day life. Movies that make me laugh and cry and remember how I felt when I was first watched them. Movies of which I will never tire.

But should I tell her watching her brilliant ‘80s dancing is where I got my fancy moves?

As long as I don’t show her, I think it might be OK.

~ Michelle James, editor, WV South

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