Friday, April 19, 2013


With FREEZE warnings for tonight on my Weather-bug,  my first thoughts turned to the little juniors and seniors here who are preparing for PROM today.  Brr!  Kids are so resilient really, especially when they really want to do something.  This year's theme is the 50's, which is always a big hit with the teachers and parents, too.  Our gym teacher today is blasting dance music as Coach teaches the kids some smooth moves for tomorrow night's bash...

I consider my own Proms in 1971 and 1972.  My grandmother made both dresses from the same pattern, but with her exquisite skill, nobody could have discovered that.  One dress blue, the other lavendar, and both of that filmy nylon/polyester with a lining and tiny flowers flocked...  It was the glorious days of vintage.... before it was vintage.  We had the Grand March down the front staircase of our school, which followed a banquet served by the sophomores in our own school cafeteria.  During Prom we had a game room and a Tea Room for refreshments, and then we took a caravan of farm trucks filled with hay on a long hayride that ended at the Drive-In for a movie.  Finally, back at the school, breakfast served by the Ag boys, I think, set us free.

My junior year I helped decorate for our theme Around the World in 80 Days. I was in charge of the Tea Room (China themed, of course).  It was my first brush with a budget, and I recall socking way too much of my total cash into twenty AWESOME torch TIKI candles that looked like elephant legs for each table.  Then I made my own rice paper by dipping regular typing paper into some kind of art oil and smudging it...  I recall nothing else except the horror at finding that some low life had helped herself/himself to the candles before the doors ever opened to the Prom.  I also recall the sponsor, who was a beloved Home Ec teacher to others; she made me carry tubs of ice and punch during Prom in my new dress.  My date and I spent very little time at the dance because that teacher didn't like me very well (probably the elephant leg candles?  or perchance the drippy paper on her classroom windows) and she sent for me every 20 minutes.  I thought she could have carried the punch and let me dance.  I still think she should have...   I didn't like her right back, and many years later when the community mourned her early death from cancer, I had to soften my cold, hard heart in order to feel the least bit sorry...  I remember that when I'm so "darned" mean to my kids some times.  Old teen grudges die hard.

The Senior Prom, decorated by the class below us, was Gone With the Wind, but I remember it as a rainy, cold mess...  We watched the movie in the theater downtown, and I think it was some John Wayne western with Roman Gabriel, the football player.  The junior movie at the Drive-In had been Anne of 1,000 Days, and I adored that movie...  Considering it was the 70's and a hayride, I'm fairly sure not many dates were actually hanging on every word of Anne Boleyn's speech like I did...  My poor date...  Prom was possibly too much about the theme and the dress and the movie and too little about the date.  I had a very nice boyfriend who bought me beautiful flowers. (and carried punch).

I work hard at not being cynical about today's teens.  Prom is still exciting to  most of them, but a school normally spends a few thousand dollars on it.  Unbelievable.  Kids sometimes expect a lot and don't appreciate what is GIVEN them...  Prom, however, is always special to those who decorate.

My son and his friends created a huge, white tiger glowing with tons of white glitter, lighting up one whole side of the gymnasium for his junior Prom...  Gorgeous!  I loved his Proms and his pretty dates and friends all spiffed in tuxedos.  What joy! Sponsoring and decorating through these 37 years, off and on, has been one of the highlights of the year.  Once recently I held a party downtown at my shop, which was opposite the Grand Old Black Diamond building which burned this Christmas..  Once a Lodge Hall with ornately carved ceilings  it was perfect as a backdrop to several Proms.. That party was cool because people brought their own Prom photos and we could watch kids come and go in their tuxes and fancy dresses...   This year Prom is back in the transformed cafeteria.

I'd love to hear about your recollections of your Proms in High School...  your dresses, the theme...  your dates...  Comment if you can.

1 comment:

NanaDiana said...

Gayla- It was fun to read about your memories of your prom. I was only ever allowed to go to one prom. My people did not believe in dances so it was hard to convince them to let me go. So, I went but was not allowed to dance.
I helped with all the decorations. We made thousands of those tissue paper carnations. Remember those? lol Our theme was "A Night Under The Stars" and we hung stars all over the gym and a big paper mache moon. xo Diana