Monday, May 11, 2009

A Tale of Two Proms

I was listening to the radio (oh, she must be one of those right wingers, if she's listening TO THE RADIO), and one of the talk show hosts mentioned that a young man in Ohio was prohibited from attending his high school graduation because he attended a prom DANCE at another school. You see, he goes to a Christian school that has asked all of its students to forgo dancing. Look. I'm not going to make too much of that part. What it did, though, was bring up memories of proms and my experiences compared to that of my husband. You see, I'm German and Czech and from South Texas  and my husband is I-talian and from New York City. NEW YORK CITY? Now, that's a combo plan, wouldn't you say? Let's talk about proms in south Texas in the 1960's. Or, specifically mine in 1969. In my hometown, while in HS, you actually attended two proms. The juniors "hosted" the prom for the seniors (so, I was a junior in 1969) and then my own, as a senior (again, hosted by the juniors.) The year I was a junior, I remember the theme was Gone With the Wind. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. How politically incorrect is that? And looking back, how politically incorrect was that? But, it was 1969. It was also the time of the hairpiece. Not for men. For women. You took this false piece of hair to your stylist and they "styled" it for you. I had long hair and we tied it up in a knot and the stylist had made this hairpiece into lovely, cascading curls. Since we were in the land of Tara, I had it done "southern belle style". It cascaded half way down my back. At about 2am, it was cascading out the window of my boyfriend's car. But, let's progress. Proms in the 1960's in rural Texas.  Read more...
The prom dinner was held in the school cafeteria and the junior class boys were the waiters. I'm sure we had fried chicken or stew or something along those lines. The prom dance was in the school auditorium and we had decorated it as a beautiful southern mansion. Well, we did what we could for our budget, around $200. We had a live band. I think the worst gig in the world has got to be the school prom. Anyway, we had a huge mesh basket filled with helium balloons over the basketball court just waiting to be dropped on the dancers. Then everybody could leave to do what they really wanted to do...and that was to partee! So, we dropped the balloons at 10pm and left the band to play to itself. And where did we go? To a bond fire in a cow pasture and a keg o' beer. Yep. You are reading this correctly. Prom dresses, tuxes, cascading hair, cow poop, blazing fire and cold brew. I guess I got home at 5am. I think. Alive. I think.

My husband...Mr. New York City. Born and raised on Mulberry Street  in the heart of little Italy. While I grew up on a ranch, he grew up taking showers on his stoop. While I was rounding up cattle, he was playing stick ball in the streets. While I was riding around in a new GTO, he was picking his date up and getting on the subway. While I was in a prom dress and in the middle of a cow pasture, he was in a carriage with his date taking a ride around central park. Where was his prom held? The hoity toity Waldorf Astoria. Silver Corridor Fancy shmancy sit down dinner with real waiters and white dinner jackets. We had the whole countryside to go park. Where could he go? I'm sure he tried to sneak in a prolonged kiss while on the carriage ride. But my husband had gone to Catholic elementary school, Catholic middle and high schools. He wasn't supposed to make out because it was a sin! And prolonged kissing? I'm sure that would have brought about a few hail Mary's and Our Father's after going to confession.

Flash forward to 1989 and my husband and I are at a formal dinner in black tie attire. Seated at our table was the terrific Texas Ranger's pitcher, Nolan Ryan, and his lovely wife, Ruth. We had two other couples seated at our table. We were doing the small talk thing when I asked the dumbest question of Nolan. I asked him, "So, where are you and Ruth from"? I guess I was the only one at the table to not know they were born and raised in Alvin, Texas. He politely says, "Alvin, Texas". He then asks me where I'm from and low and behold, we had common acquaintances. He knew my hometown was on the smallish size (900 residents)and very rural. He then asks my husband where he was from and my husband says, "New York City". Nolan looks at us and says, "HOW in the WORLD did you two meet?" I guess there is truth to that old adage that opposites attract. I just had to go and marry a guy from north of the Mason Dixon line... I'll save for later my husband's first experience with my father's cattle pens...

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