Baby boomer echoes

by Terese Zaverl

Hey! Prom time is right around the corner.<BR><BR>Boomers remember that as one of the major events of the year. And I’m sure Boomer parents won’t forget the expenses and worries about where are those kids going after the big event. <BR><BR>I believe Boomer gals were under the impression someone would ask us to the prom. So Boomer guys were under a lot of pressure unless they already hooked up with a steady. <BR><BR>The waiting game began a month or so before this major event. Would some guy ask you? What kind of dress would you pick? All that stuff. And if you were a junior in high school, your class was in charge of putting on the whole deal. Getting involved in the whole process, like decorating and arranging the food, chaperones, etc. might give you the chance to participate. Being a class officer just about guaranteed entrance to the function.<BR><BR>Proms today are high scale. The gals purchase dresses in the $500 category and couples ride around in rented stretch limos. Prom dresses went from covering you from head to toe to something just below the butt held up by some flimsy spaghetti strap. And one should go to the tanning booth weeks before to look appropriate in that attire. <BR><BR>Girls today have no problem asking a guy for a date - something unheard of in our time.<BR><BR>Well, a lot of things have changed concerning the prom. And I guess every generation goes through that scene differently. The memories of that special night will remain.<BR><BR>What about those of us who wanted to attend but didn’t get asked? <BR><BR>I forgot about proms until I received a meaningful Christmas card from a teacher and mentor, Nadine Marsnik. Enclosed was something I wrote back in 1973 in one of her classes at VCC. I guess the prom and not attending was still on my mind. I’ll share it with you:<BR><BR>Closing my locker door with one hand and picking books off the floor with the other, overheard the cluster around Nancy’s locker oohing and aahing because Jim asked Mary to the prom. Only April 11 and 42 couples were going. According to the group around the locker, at least 40 more would register in the next 18 days. <BR><BR> I walked upstairs, shifting my books from arm to arm, with my eyes focused on the stairwell poster. It read: <BR><BR>“The Class of 1972 presents “Come Touch the Sun” Prom, April 30 - Grand March 8 p.m., Memorial High School Gym.” Although I’d seen this sign everyday for the past two weeks I read it daily like a creed.<BR><BR>I unconsciously made dog-eared corners on a page of my English book. An identical poster was taped to the blackboard. “Who would ask me? What would I say? What would I wear?” <BR><BR>I had never been asked out before - but if I did have the chance I could see me groping for words, blushing or making a wrong impression. <BR><BR>I spent the next 18 days in much the same way.<BR><BR>Eighteen days passed and I was getting ready. I slapped on a pair of jeans. While dressing, I caught a glimpse of my yellow formal preserved in cellophane from my cousin’s wedding last summer. Something beautiful after losing pounds of ugly fat. I slammed the closet door shut. <BR><BR>The clock read 7:30 p.m. I left to get a good seat in the gym - someplace old ladies or other girls’ mothers wouldn’t be. They’d surely say; “Didn’t you get asked?” <BR><BR>The music began at 8 p.m. sharp. “Come Touch the Sun” was a beautiful song and I hummed along. <BR><BR>Lucy and Don led the march. I craned my neck around a taller person’s shoulders - what I saw was a pretty girl in a blurry apricot dress.<BR><BR>Written by me 31 years ago. I barely remembered the text when I received it but the feelings of not being able to attend the prom never left. <BR><BR>It was a big deal in most people’s life and, of course, a once in a lifetime thing. Maybe I’ll make it as a chaperone someday and I can dance with my dog!