Remembering Debbie Dolen

Over the last several years, we have spent countless hours researching the history of baton twirling and gathering up stories. Along the way we’ve noticed that men are often the first to share the most historic majorette and baton twirling photos of women. These rare and iconic pictures are of mother, taken before he was born, when she was “young and in her natural prime.”

Debbie Dolen (1960-2013)

Steven shared these photos of his beautiful mother Debbie Dolen on Facebook recently. (Everything Twirling) We are sharing them here with his permission. Debbie passed away in 2013, when she was 53. Steven was 25.

His post reminds us of the 2016 article by David Ferguson (The Guardian), “We don’t ‘lose’ our mothers – the reality is more violent than that.” Here is an excerpt:

“‘I’m so sorry you’ve lost your mother,’ sounds like they might have left her at the mall…It doesn’t even begin to convey what I understand about losing your mother, that even if her death came peacefully after a long struggle, it still feels like a wrenching severance, an amputation…’She will always be with you,’ say the well-meaning, but if that’s true, I want to know why I still feel so miserably alone. Why can’t I talk to her or smell the sweet, clean scent of her hair when I hug her one last time…”

Lucky to Have Been Loved That Much…

The article closes with this: “There’s nothing good that comes out of the death of someone you love, but I have learned this: the magnitude and bottomlessness of the pain you feel is a testament to the love you shared. And while I don’t ever expect to arrive at a point in life where I’m alright with the fact that my mother is gone, I know that I am so, so lucky to have loved and been loved that much by anyone.” 💕

We restored some of the photos. Here are two of Debbie’s younger sister Noreen, who was also a twirler. She passed away in 2005.

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