Sunday, June 12, 2016

REMINISCING: It's Prom Season, and You Look Wonderful Tonight

You know what time of year it is? That’s right -- it’s prom season. It that time where taffeta and pastels rear their ugly heads, and limousines are booked months in advance. I always used to say that more condoms were sold in the days leading up to prom than at any other time of the year. I have facts to prove that. It’s just conjecture. And it sure didn’t happen for my prom. Just saying. Actually, most of the area schools probably already had their prom, so maybe this is old news already.

Wendy and I before the Roy-Hart Prom
I quite clearly remember the night of my senior prom at Lockport. It was June 6, 1992. How do I remember that? Don’t hate me, girls, but it wasn’t because of the magical night that I had. (It was magical, as you’ll see in just a few paragraphs.) No, it was because I was torn on whether to go to the prom, or not. You see, it was the same night that the Grateful Dead were playing a concert just down the road at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park. There was a discussion of going to the concert instead, but it really didn’t go very far.

I got to go to two proms my senior year. Let me assure you that it wasn’t because I was some kind of ladies man. My girlfriend went to a different school. Yes, Rich Dodge, she is a real person. So, we went together to her prom at Roy-Hart and we went together to the Lockport prom. Her shindig was the first one. Mine was a week or two later.

I think we asked each other to our respective proms while sitting in the car in my parents’ driveway after an afternoon date. I was on my way to work, and apparently on my way to the prom. With both mothers being seamstresses, there was a pretty good chance that Wendy’s dress would be homemade. Of course, it was, and it was wonderful. She wore it for both dances. She was (still is) beautiful.

Me, Wendy, and Matt before the Lockport
Prom. How appropriate that there is
a police car cruising by.
We didn’t get a limo for either prom. In fact, I’ve never ridden in a limo. Ever. Instead I got to drive my mom’s car. That was a treat. I’ve never been able to really drive my parents’ vehicles. Even today, in my forties, I don’t drive their vehicles. So, it was definitely a treat. It helped, too, that it a few weeks I would be buying that car from her. Maybe it made it easier for her to let me drive it.

Wendy’s prom was the first time I ever stayed out all night. And, boy, was my dad not happy. I think we got our wires crossed. I thought for sure I was good to go for staying out. He was unaware, and I got in huge trouble. Of course, by the time my prom came around, we didn’t stay out all night, but we pushed it to the limits.

At Wendy’s prom, I knew a few of the people she went to school with. I didn’t know many, but there were enough that I didn’t feel too uncomfortable. Besides, I had Wendy to dance with, which made up for the fact that I didn’t know a lot of people. The dance was at the Best Western in Lockport, but we went out to Barker with some friends after the prom. It was a fun night despite the trouble that it brought for me.

Lockport’s prom was a wonderful tonight. Actually, that was the theme song -- “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. It took place at the hotel on Millersport Highway near University at Buffalo. Honestly, I was considering bypassing the hotel, keep driving to Orchard Park, and hope for a miracle. We would have been the best dressed people at the concert.


Matt "pins" on Aaron's corsage.
We had a fairly large group of friends who all went together. Included in that group was Wendy’s cousin, Jason, who I knew before I ever met her. It’s a small world. He went with his girlfriend, Cris, who was one of my neighbors. One of my best friends, Matt, went stag with our buddy, Aaron. They joked leading up to the prom that they were dating, although if you ask Aaron today, he has no idea what we’re talking about. Sorry, Aaron, I have a photo of Matt pinning on your flowers.

One of the most memorable moments of the prom itself was the Great Mattini. Not exactly enamoured with the entertainment that we had, Matt decided that he was going to do his own magic tricks. Granted, it may have only been stacking some of the decorations from our table and neighboring tables into towers of glitter, but he did it with just enough sweat to make it seem like his life was in danger.


The Great Mattini performs with his assistant, Steve.
After the dance, we took a trip to Niagara Falls. It was a quick trip. Wendy wasn’t exactly comfortable around the waters, and the mist wasn’t good for any of our clothing or hair. We may have gotten a quick bite to eat while we were there, but we went back to Lockport to my friend, Jim’s house. There were kids everywhere when we got there. His parents somehow slept upstairs while we all took over the first floor and basement. We watched “Navy Seals.” Or at least parts of it. It was late and I was dozing a bit.

I didn’t stay out all night after the dance. I learned my lesson the week before. We got back to my house around 3 or 4 in the morning. I set Wendy up on the couch in the living room, while I slept in the basement. I’m not so sure how well that went over, but no one really said anything. We were going to Letchworth in the morning with some friends, so it was just easier for her to stay at the house.

The Letchworth trip on Sunday morning was planned for quite awhile. It wasn’t my idea, but it was a good one. After a beautiful Saturday, Sunday was dark, dreary, and very wet. Wendy and I picked up our friend, Jim (another Jim, not the same Jim from the houseparty), and headed down to the park. We were supposed to meet a bunch of people from the night before, but it ended up only being me, Wendy and Jim. Everyone else got turned off by the rain. The three of us had a great time, even if it was wet. Of course, I gave the rest of the guys a bit of a hard time when we got back to school on Monday. They weren’t sugar. They weren’t going to melt.

Well, this edition of “Reminiscing” may be a bit more boring than my usual fare, but I had a lot of fun thinking back and seeing some of the photos. I find it hard to believe that it’s been twenty-four years since the prom. Aside from graduation, it was the last time that all of the group was together at one place at the same time. Sometimes, I miss those days. I don’t miss the awkwardness of that time, but I miss the camaraderie. Those were some good times.

Next Week: Graduation. It’s that time of the year!

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