Americana: The Prom

Photo courtesy of Flickr, uploaded by Tobyotter

Photo courtesy of Flickr, uploaded by Tobyotter

Such a big night in the life of the teenager. For us, it was a senior prom, so we had to wait till the very end of our high school experience to enjoy it. Well, some girls went earlier with older boys, but never mind that.

I took a girl named Pat Hand. No, really, that was her name. (Pat, where are you now?) I wore a yellow double-breasted tux with a ruffled shirt. I thought I was the stuff. Today that seems hopelessly corny, but it’s easy to make fun in retrospect.

Our prom was away from the high school, and we were the first class allowed that privilege. A group of us went to dinner before the prom and again after it. Not sure why we felt that was necessary, but it was part of making the night special.  This was before the era of limousines and renting hotel rooms, and I’m actually glad about that. We did stay out all night, in a chaperoned environment, and when the sun came up you felt like you had conquered the night.

Now, when I go out to dinner in the spring and a group of kids in formal wear arrives, I think it’s so cute. But for us, all those years ago, it was a rite of passage, something we’d waited for all our young lives. It was the prom.

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