Prom. One word. So many different meanings. For some it implies the end of the school year, for others, the end of their high school days. To parents it signifies that their children are growing up and that they will be leaving home soon.
This past weekend, several children in our neighborhood went to the Prom. Looking up and down the street, you could see the girls in their gowns, the guys in their tuxedos, and the parents standing out snapping photo after photo.
Sitting on the porch, you can watch as the young men awkwardly try to pin the corsage on their date’s gown, and even blush when they have to do it in front of the girl’s parents. The girls are just as awkward. For many of them, it is their first time going to a fancy formal, and they don’t know what the protocol actually is.
The really lucky children in our neighborhood went to Prom in a limousine. One young couple went in a horse drawn carriage. When I went, we were lucky to get our parents car. My, how things have changed.
And along with the change in transportation, the Prom has evolved as well. Years ago, Prom meant getting out of school on a Friday afternoon, going to get your hair and nails done, working to get your makeup just right, and getting it all done before your date arrived at the house.
For the guys, it meant getting out of school at noon, going home and cleaning the car, picking up the flowers, and napping. Or at least that’s what my brother did.
Now, our children’s prom is on Saturday. Gone is the all night dance and dinner—leaving the house for a six o’clock promenade into the hall, and staying up all night, being locked in until the following morning. There is no more going to Denny’s or Eat N Park after the doors open in your gown and tuxedo, with dead corsages and boutonnieres, hair that is messed up. and tired but happy couples giggling and talking so fast that the servers can’t understand them.
Times have changed. The Cinderella license means that the young driver needs to be home before eleven. You either need to have a ride to stay to eleven, or you will be forced to leave at ten thirty so that you will be home in time.
So many other things have changed as well. When my daughter went to the Prom, someone called in a bomb threat. The entire hall had to be evacuated and the attendees were robbed of what should have been one of the most memorable evenings of their young lives. That didn’t stop my daughter and her friends. They evacuated the hall and played soccer on the grounds while they waited to be let back inside.
They caught the person that called in the bomb threat. He thought he ruined Prom for everyone. It turned out that he just gave them something more memorable. And we were very fortunate that there really wasn’t a bomb, and that no one was hurt.
They say they changes are to make the Prom safer for all involved. I’m not convinced. I believe we try too hard to make rules that we think are in the children’s best interest that we take away the fun that was meant to be had.
For all of you that are going to Prom, have fun. For those of us that went to the Prom, I hope that you treasure your memories. Remember, be careful. Don’t drink and drive.
As Prom season comes around, there are several things that we can use in our writing. From parental anxiety to child excitement. I know what I would do. How about you?