Looking back on proms past


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter


'Memories are made of this!" "Dancing Under the Stars!" "Twilight Time!" Remember those cutesy names for proms? Many of them came from actual song titles or phrases from the tune of the times. Of course you do, even though some of those memories may be slightly dim or better left forgotten.

Prom time crept into my mind when I recently attended a fashion show which featured prom dresses. I assure you my reason for being there was not to select a frock to wear but to support the Riverside-Brookfield High School Patrons Council.

Remember prom time? Would you have a date or wouldn't you? If you were asked, would it be the one you wanted to spend this important evening with? If not, you told everyone your folks were making you go out of town, so you couldn't go, and you stayed in the house with the lights out on the night of prom. I have a "steady" now and we never went to a prom together. Do you think it's too late? Would he be able to stay awake long enough to dance the night away? I'd like to think so. But I won't test it.

So, prom today is much different from prom then. Today they go to hotel ballrooms or banquet halls. Back then we went to the school gym. Face it, even after rolls of crepe paper, balloons and dimming the lights there is only so much atmosphere a decorations committee can create in the gym.

In my case, attending Nazareth Academy (I mean this with all due respect and reverence), it also meant the omnipresence of the Good Sisters who floated around the gym floor checking the distance between the entwined dancing couples.

I somehow think a "distance" of 12 inches was acceptable?"in their minds, not ours. Many a couple may have received the tap on the shoulder and "the look" indicating a need for more appropriate dancing distance.

Prom dresses have come a long way. The number of crinolines we wore to "poof out" the skirts on our dresses prevented a dancing partner from getting too close, much to the pleasure of the nuns. Our dresses were expected to be modest and lovely (just like us) and were screened before the dance to see if they met acceptable standards.

As always, there were those daring young ladies who thought they would avoid Sister's keen eye with a dress revealing more than a shoulder blade. Pity those young ladies for whom a novena would probably be started immediately following the last dance, but they could return the shawl put on their shoulders the following Monday or get a detention.

The guys didn't get off easy when it came to their attire. They looked very GQ of the day with flashy tuxedos, ruffled shirts and cummerbunds to match their date's dresses. The shiny rented shoes they wore were uncomfortable, which was only fair since the dyed-to-match shoes we had just purchased were killing our feet.

Other memorable moments included deciding how we would wear our hair?"up or down? Guys didn't get a fresh hair cut, because it would be noticeable at the back of their necks with the tell-tale white line that had yet to be touched by the sun. Then there were the flowers. Wearing a strapless dress caused a problem since it wasn't always clear where to pin it and who should pin it on. Wrist corsages were a safe bet. Pinning on a boutonniere was tricky also. Those pins were hard to push through the stems and no one wanted a spot of blood on a white tuxedo.

Limos are the way to go to the prom today, but my senior prom date had an uncle in the funeral business, so we were ahead of the times and went in a limo.

After prom usually meant going to a night club or a restaurant in a hotel featuring "prom special" menus and most of the time our destinations were downtown. We were quite sophisticated or so we thought.

Prom memories are fun. Who can remember being nothing less than beautiful or handsome? And yes, I did give my date a kiss goodnight, in case you were wondering.

Love the Landmark?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Riverside Brookfield Landmark and RBLandmark.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect