A Brief History Of A Long Square Dance Career
Ed and Shirley Claflin live in Gothenburg, Nebraska, and have lived in the same home located at 1925 Avenue C, since 1965. They were married in June of 1957, and have two daughters. Michelle Courtney and her husband Mike, live in Lincoln. Melissa Walker, her husband Terry, their daughter Courtnee and son Levi, live in Gothenburg. Ed served two years in the Army from 1957 to 1959. After leaving the service, he worked 22 years for Lepp and Osterloh as a diesel mechanic. He retired in 1997. Since that time he has been a driver for Pony Express Chevrolet in Gothenburg. Shirley began driving as a substitute rural mail carrier in 1983, and has been a full time rural mail carrier since 1990. Ed has served on the Honor Guard for 50 years, and he and Shirley are members of the American Lutheran Church of Gothenburg. Ed's hobbies include camping, woodworking, crafts, and cooking, in addition to calling square dances.
They began square dancing in 1966, but had to drop out for a year. They began again, and graduated with a square dance class in 1968. The class was taught by Jess and Nell Miller of North Platte. Ed began calling in 1970. He and Shirley attended a caller's college under the instruction of Dick and Ardy Jones from New York. Funds for the school were provided by the National Square Dance Convention which was held in Omaha, Nebraska in 1968. This was a real gift for a number of callers who may not have been able to afford to attend a school without scholarship money.
Ed and Shirley teach and call both the Mainstream and Plus programs, and they cue square dance rounds, as well. He has called at numerous State Conventions and several National conventions. Ed has been a member of CALLERLAB, the International Callers Association, since 1976. He helped to organize the Western Area Federation, the Nebraska State Square and Round Dance Association, and the Nebraska State Callers and Cuers Association. Ed and Shirley have always been dedicated to square dancing and attended some of the early International Legacy Leadership meetings. Along with Dick and Jan Brown and Paul and Darlene Goodman, they helped to organize the Prairie Conclave which is the only leadership seminar of its kind still in existence. This is an accomplishment of which they are both very proud.
Ed and Shirley are charter members of the Camp N Dancers 073, and the upcoming president of that organization. Ed calls for four clubs in his local area, and is a guest regular guest caller in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and South Dakota. Ed loves to introduce square dancing to students in the schools. For the last several years, he has taught students in the Valentine area, in conjunction with the Valentine square dance club. He has also taught camp dancers in conjunction with the Old West Days in Gothenburg.
Ed and Shirley believe that many times their square dance friends are almost closer than family. In fact, square dancers are a family. He likes to promote square and round dancing as good family entertainment, and an economical recreation for all ages. It is a great way to slow down and smell the flowers. The friends they have made throughout the square dance activity are priceless to them and their family.