A few months ago Piper Dane had mentioned proms and something about the possibility of a collaboration writing about them (basing this on memory, a quick glance at her archives did not ring a bell for any particular entry -- hey Piper, please start posting again) which brought back memories of my high school proms. Friday night was my daughter's senior prom (and we've not heard anything new since then about the bomb scare at her school) which again made me recall my own experiences.
The Junior Prom and the Senior Prom at my school were not formal dances (that meant the male wore a suit and tie instead of a tuxedo); in fact, attendance was open to the entire school population and I used to say it was really a fund-raiser for the class. The Commencement Dance, however, was our equivalent of a true formal Senior Prom.
The Commencement Dance took place at the end of the school year, just before graduation. Guys wore white dinner jackets; girls wore the usual prom dresses, got their hair done up special, etc. My girl friend and I went with another couple (I did not have a car... and our family car was a VW Beetle)... Our first stop was at Eleven Main, a cocktail lounge... we were attempting to be sophisticated so we had to have cocktails just like the grownups did (well, at least in movies... in real life, my father was more Ballentine Ale in front of the television set)... this being New York State back in ancient times, the legal drinking age was 18 and I was 18. The other couple was also 18 or close enough... we were obviously a group of seniors on our way to our graduation dance and nobody was going to worry if an 18th birthday fell in April or August. Of course my date was only 16, but none of us were asked for proof of age.
Our next stop was at a classmate's house. Her parents were quite well-off, owning the leading jewelery store in the area, and classmates had been invited to stop by on our way to the dance. There were a number of adults gathered on the patio and lawn that seemed to sweep on forever. This was June, nearing the longest day of the year, so it was still light, but there were torches on poles here and there about the lawn. I remember nothing about the adults there (but teenagers rarely do take much notice of adults), all I can see are my classmates, the guys in their white dinner jackets, the girls in their gowns... it was like a scene from a movie... "This," I thought to myself "is how the rich live." And when, a few years later, I came to read The Great Gatsby I immediately recalled this scene.
The dance itself was at a country club... what was (and probably still is, for all I know) the leading country club in the area... Our 20th, 25th, and 30th reunions were also held there... Reunion number 40 coming up next year (what a frightening thought!)... After the dance it seemed as if almost everyone there went to the same night club for more dancing (along with a bit of drinking... well, quite a bit for a few... I wonder about those whose prom memories include throwing up...)
If I recall correctly, the night club closed at one a.m. and I was back home after the prom probably around two in the morning... no all night parties continuing until breakfast, although certainly some may have done so.
I can also remember attending another senior prom... when I was in college and dating a girl who was a senior in high school... after the prom... well, after the prom and then after a party at someone's house... we were parked at a beach with another couple, drinking and making out in a car... then getting out of the car and wandering about the beach in the moonlight, barefoot in the sand... the night fading... opening a bottle of champagne and passing it around to drink directly from the bottle, the champagne bubbling and fizzing up out of the bottle... still night but the stars are fading... talking about going skinny-dipping, daring each other, the other couple is quite drunk, they loudly proclaim their willingness to undress but make no move... my girlfriend turns her back to me and asks me to unfasten the back of her gown... she removes her gown... a major task... and then she is still clad in the grotesque girdles (hell, they were damn near corsets) that for some reason even quite trim girls wore under fancy dress-up outfits in those days... and then somehow we all managed to get undressed... it took long enough that the whole process was being to drain of spontenaity just as the stars were draining from the sky... so we splashed into the water... or, rather, my girl friend and I did so... the other couple was not with us... then we heard the sounds of her throwing up (in fact, I think her heaving got to him because at some point we thought we heard the sounds of two people losing it)... but we ignored that intruding bit of reality to enjoy the sensous pleasures of our youth and our naked bodies and the water and the fresh early morning breezes and the gradually growing pre-dawn light.
[Note for those who worry: my girl friend was the driver of the car and she was quite capable of safe drivinge as she had only had two drinks hours earlier at the party plus a mouthful or two of champagne at the beach, it was just the other couple that was intoxicated.]
My previous entry was written something like two a.m. and so I dated it it June 10th; right now it's past midnight and thus is June 11th. Last night I was up because I had to pick Sean up from work and then wait for Jennifer's phone call to say they had safely reached her friend's house. She got home somewhere between ten and eleven in the morning and kept nodding off to sleep during the day and finally went to bed about eight p.m. After I posted my previous entry I checked out a few journals and then went to bed but despite being desparately tired, I could not fall asleep at first and then, when I finally did fall asleep, it was a restless and fitful sleep where I kept waking up. Spent most of the day doing yard work... spent most of the evening trying to stay awake waiting for Sean to phone for a ride home from work. That has just happened... I've gone and picked him up and now I'm about to click on Save and then go add the appropriate links to my index and journal pages... and then go to bed... I've got lots more chores to do in the morning.