Ellen and I

Some of my first recollections of Ellen Mangus were of this spindly 7th grader that the Kiski varsity volleyball coach Colleen Herbeck was allowing to practice with the team.  I remember finding it interesting, because I was doing the same thing with the wrestling team.  Back then, before title IX, only football, basketball, and track were Jr High sports.  There was nothing for girls to do athletically, so Ellen also came out for boys track as a high jumper.  I remember, because she was pretty good.
I had known Ellen for a long time, her brothers and mine were the same age, and hung out together.  Vandergrift is a pretty small town, and our families knew each other.  My dad and mom owned Bucci Furniture, Ellen's dad was the local milkman, and her mom a teller at the bank.  Ellen was a really neat kid, but I never considered dating her, so while we were in the same "traffic jam" we hadn't collided.
Its not that there was much "traffic" in my dating intersection! 
The girl I really wanted to go out with was a lovely 6 foot tall majorette named Tina Canile.  Tina and I had become good friends, and I hadn't yet learned you can't date all the girls you're friends with.  Tina was way too nice to just outwardly reject me, so she deftly steered me towards Ellen.  I was sceptical.  Ellen already had a date to the prom, so I ask another friend(who may have been in on this...)Brenda Galo.
I wanted to have a good time at my Senior Prom, but I was a terrible dancer.  Ellen agreed to meet me at a dance at the Bari Club, where she would help me.
 Ellen was so nice, so much fun, but she still hasn't taught me to dance!  When her date ditched her at the prom, Brenda kicked me in her direction.(Thanks Brenda and Tina)  A door opened, and I walked into my very first important collision, at my Senior Prom 1978.