‘Is it hard having to go back to school?” we asked our 12-year-old daughter after a two-week break of particularly delightful indolence. “It’s not so bad,” she replied. “What is bad,” she added, “is dance class. It’s hell.” She was referring to the unit of her daily gym class devoted to learning popular dances, like swing and cha-cha-dances which require not only enduring a partner but actually having to touch said partner, which, in her case-could it get any worse?-is a boy.

Funny, isn’t it? What is hell for her is heaven for us. We can’t wait until we set off with our husband on Thursday, Jan. 11, to our first Swing and Ballroom class from 8 to 9 p.m. at Dole Center, sponsored by the Park District of Oak Park (oakparkparks.com). We plan to touch our partner almost continuously as we carom gleefully from wall to wall in a fit of joyous hysteria, which will no doubt embarrass our husband, but he knew what he was in for when he married us.

Another idea for dispelling your own winter hysteria, should you, like us, be prone to sulky fits when it gets cold and inhospitable: Volunteering. Why? Say it with us: “Because the best way to cure misery is to focus on helping others.” You have plenty of opportunities. Both Catholic Charities (329-4027) and Literacy Volunteers of Western Cook County (848-8499) need people to teach children and adults to read. The West Cook YMCA is looking for volunteers for its Community Action Team for Healthier Kids (434-0202). And let’s not forget those who, God forbid, are desperately in need of more information on Frank Lloyd Wright. You can come to their aid by calling the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust at 848-1976.

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