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Last Windrow: Memories of prom night, 1964

I watched last week, with a glimmer of my youth showing, as the young couple - he dressed in a black tuxedo and she in a bright, salmon-colored, long gown - posed in front of the photographer. They giggled to each other excitedly.

I watched last week, with a glimmer of my youth showing, as the young couple - he dressed in a black tuxedo and she in a bright, salmon-colored, long gown - posed in front of the photographer. They giggled to each other excitedly.

It was prom night in our community. A gala event was no doubt planned for the evening. I thought of my first prom at Hinton High School in 1964. It seems a long time ago. It was.

The thought of prom night provided some anxiety for me and my male friends. This was the first really formal thing we had ever done, excepting for lighting candles as some relative's wedding.

Prom night was the induction into some kind of early adulthood. I don't know about my male friends, but I was uneasy in what the night might hold.

As juniors in our high school, it was our responsibility to plan and execute prom night. The seniors were off the hook. Our class was tasked with the job of decorating the high school gymnasium, lining up the banquet, hiring the band and announcing the couples as they paraded under the decorated arch.

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We chose a Chinese theme, hence we had lots of colorful lanterns, oriental flowers and tiki lamps. The girls of the class had the best ideas and we boys pretty much followed instructions from the get-go.

It was an early lesson in how to cooperate with the fairer sex. We young men played it to the hilt.

My comrades and I had sworn an oath not to bring a date to the prom. I'm sure we crushed the hearts of many a young lass when we decided to be wallflowers.

Only a few of my friends caved in and actually asked a girl to the prom. Most of my lady classmates were robbed from us by the seniors. Since we didn't want to roil any waters with the elder class, my friends pretty much clung together.

I purchased a new suit for the prom. There weren't places to rent tuxedos in those rural times, hence the suits we wore were the same as those we would be wearing to church the next day.

I remember selecting a suit, having it altered to my size and picking it up on prom eve afternoon. Somehow I had the feeling a bit was about to be put between my teeth. But, it fit to a tee and I drove home to prepare for the evening.

Our dinner was held at a famous supper club that has since burned down. I was not up on proper table etiquette and I watched the girl on my left before I went for a fork.

There were two forks placed before me and I wondered why. At the farm table one fork did it all, but this was different. There were crystal glasses of water placed in front of us and a salad was delivered to each of us.

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I reasoned the smaller fork was the correct one after seeing the lady seated to my left pick it up and start to dine. I followed her cues all night and came out looking respectable, I think.

I must say that it was hard to recognize some of my female classmates. All dolled up with their hair styled in a way that I never saw in the hallways and with a dab of rouge on their cheeks and bit of mascara on their eyelashes did seem to transform them.

It was impressive and some of my sworn bachelor cohorts started to second guess whether going stag was really the correct way to have approached this affair. But, it was too late. The girls sat on one side of the gym and we sat on the other.

We sat at our table in the gymnasium with a rock and roll band playing. I think our table full of young men with their chins resting on their wrists must have resembled a bunch of immature bachelor loons waiting to mature so that we could get on with propagating the planet.

We sat there through a few tunes until the unattached females at the dance approached our table, grabbed my and my friends' arms and dragged us out on the dance floor.

I'll be forever grateful for their effort! The night turned out to be great thanks to them and no thanks to our anti-social behavior.

As those two young folks stood having their prom pictures taken last week, I thought about that prom night at Hinton High. I was thinking of going catfishing to get out of attending that night, but I'm glad I changed my mind.

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