A Tale of Two Proms, Forty One Years Apart (Part I)

I have a treat for you – not one but two prom stories. One from my youth and a current one from my sister Bonnie about my niece Rosie and her very recent prom. I know there is that old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” but I am here to tell you, in the case of Prom Night THAT JUST IS NOT TRUE. I am pretty sure no teen of today would trade their prom for what we experienced in 1969.

I attended a very small high school – only 76 people in my class and we did not have a traditional prom. We had what was called “The Sophomore-Senior Farewell” which really only meant the sophomores had to do all the work in putting on the prom for the juniors and seniors. The sophomores were allowed to attend, but first they had to pull it all together.

Here is how it went – you found yourself a date, you went shopping at the local mall for a dress (none of this going to Chicago or NYC for a dress or having one custom-made like they do now). In my day “custom” meant you sewed it yourself in Home Ec class. But that is beside the point. You told the boy what color your dress was, even if he didn’t ask, so you could make him aware he needed to buy you a corsage and you hoped and prayed that he (or his mom) came up with something nice, not a gigantic thing of carnations that went up to your elbow. We all wanted a “nosegay.” They cost a little more and they were all the rage. I was lucky enough to have a good date who bought me a daisy and yellow rose nosegay when I was a sophomore and I spent the entire day of the dance opening the refrigerator so I could stare at it!

Your date did not wear a tux, just a sport coat and tie and he arrived at your house in whatever vehicle he could borrow. LIMOS were unheard of in Lorain, OH. If there were any, they were used for funerals only. Your mom took your photo, you met your friends and went to dinner in town, (usually at Perkins or Big Boy) where you were very conscious not to order anything pricey in case the boy didn’t have enough money.

You went to the dance. You had a choice – slow dance or fast dance, nothing “dirty” about it. Then, you went home unless you had a really good date who took you out to eat again at Big Boy. NO AFTERPARTY, NO COED SLEEPOVERS, NO BRUNCHES –
just back home to bed where you could dream about the evening.

I have some very good memories like dancing the last dance to “A Summer Place”-“where it may rain or storm, but I’m safe and warm” – And that’s how it was!

Read later this week for a special story about my niece’s fabulous 2010 prom!

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