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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Prom in the limo lane


Dances have come and gone in the two years I've spent learning teen 101. I took them to a parent’s house for pictures, a parent would get the group to the restaurant, to the school, and I would pick up mine from school. I required a written itinerary and the phone numbers of parents and dates involved.

Actually meeting parents for more than “Hello, nice to finally meet you,” never seems to work out. I’m not too spry, and tend to hang to the outside of a group of milling youngsters and/or parents. Emily has a boyfriend and I've barely said “Hello” to a parent. That was scheduled for the last dance. 

I went to the door with Emily, it opened, a tiny yapping dog bolted into the yard and water splashed over the foyer floor.“It’s chaos,” moaned the woman who opened the door. Emily disappeared inside, young children in the foyer laughed uproariously, other children set out after the dog.  

“Welcome to chaos,” the woman said again. Having no intention of stepping in and slipping on dog pee, I assured her the evening would be fine and we could meet some other time. I retraced my steps, and learned later from Emily, the young pranksters had dropped water balloons from the landing. I took care to keep an eye on the dog and pursuers as I left.

Now it’s Hamilton’s prom this weekend. In Cleveland, Ohio, about forty miles up the interstate, as the limo travels. A hotel ballroom. This is insane. A mere two generations from my prom, ratcheted from the gymnasium to a hotel ballroom in the next county.

Some of the excess, of course, is the affluence of the school district we are attached to. A century old boundary line lumps a few hundred township students into a city district of several thousand children, whose families’ incomes are double. I believe, from twenty five years of observing the city, the affluence is transient, moving on at the next promotion, or just plain new money. Old money must have more sense.

Hamilton provided the obligatory itinerary and the list of phone numbers. I believe he spent much of his birthday money on his share of the limo, prom tickets, corsage for his date. He eschewed a tuxedo and opted for a bow tie to go with his new suit. To match his date’s dress, I hear. There is a cadre of parents to schlep children to the restaurant, the limo pick up and discharge point, the after prom affair, clothes changing stations, etc.

I've met Hamilton’s date, a nice girl. All Emily and Hamilton’s group are pleasant youngsters. The other night his date’s mother called me, wanting to arrange an evening with Hamilton and me. I was so confused I probably sounded confusing.  Hamilton is leaving so soon after graduation I couldn't understand needing to start a relationship now. I even intimated as much.

It seems that although the two have enjoyed going to movies and supper, Hamilton and mama have not met. How can that be? Well, the young lady drives her own automobile, and has met Hamilton at the venues his grandma has driven him to and retrieved him from. My other hard and fast rule, teenagers do not drive other teenagers.

The mama struggled to make a date for all of us, then some of us, and I struggled to both comprehend, and to let her know I would not be in town for the next five days. Aunt Janice or Uncle Tom will be dropping him off at the first address on the prom itinerary. I will be in Indianapolis, at the Broad Ripple Art Fair, helping Linda and feeding ducks.

I believe Hamilton has a supper engagement with his date’s family one night this week. He’ll pass scrutiny; he’s a personable young man. Mama will be satisfied. The dance will be lovely and I’ll hear all about it next Monday.


30 comments:

  1. God only knows what goes on with this generation..I love your ending with the bow ties and will be glad to get on the bus for indianapolis tomorrow. we will talk and laugh it out.

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  2. You are the most sensible grandma I know.
    I remember learning much later about several of my older daughter's boyfriends, It seems that casual schoolyard boyfriends don't rate a home mention.
    Once she'd left school, all boyfriends were brought home to meet the family.

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  3. Wow! What an evening that will be. Our senior prom was in the gym... decorated with tissue paper flowers and the such. I hope you'll have some photos of the "decked out" couple.

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  4. There was a prom baby created a couple of years ago in this small town. Gulp.

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  5. No proms when I was growing up...I went to an all girls school...we had 'no booze,cigs or fellas' parties.
    I'm happy that we've not had children,to go through all of this,I'd be a fish out of water.
    Jane x

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  6. Sounds like quite the affair. I'm sure there will be a Part 2 to the story

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  7. I don't remember my HS prom, I have a pic of me in a sharkskin suit with a narrow black tie, that's it. A 'tradition' of sorts, unethical but pervasive in Seattle was the girl getting a gown at Nordstroms, and returning it the next day. I suggested it to a patient of mine, the founder of the store, he said that it was just cost of doing business, and it was a planned stratagy.
    Good luck with it all.

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  8. Hari OM
    ...and hopefully we will too!! YAM xx

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  9. ...and, privately, you'll wipe your brow with a big WHEW that you got off the hook for that dinner and didn't have to sit there an act like you cared. I'm so glad you had a genuine excuse and didn't have to dig deep and tell them, "I'm, uh, afraid, I, er, have to...walk around...here...and over there...that night."

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  10. I remember when my son went on his first prom date. It was fun for all of us and I enjoyed standing back and watching. Personally, I wouldn't want to meet his date's mom. There's a time for that if things ever get serious.

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  11. I've never cared much for formal affairs. I enjoyed the informal dances and local band "concerts". It's too easy to go over budget (if there even is a budget) on this stuff. I do hope he has fun.

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  12. Very cool, Joanne. I must be honest in saying I have never been a fan of formal affairs.

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  13. I like your way of having them give you numbers, addresses, etc., especially with key events like this. That sounds like one fancy prom; it sure has changed over the years. It is hard too when it crosses economic lines and not everyone might be able to afford to go, especially go all out with limo, etc. Gone are the days when you felt lucky to borrow your parents' cars.

    I hope Hamilton has a great time! Enjoy your trip!

    betty

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  14. Proms can sure be fancy-schmancy. I'm glad The Hurricane's school held their prom at the school -- no limos, dinner served during prom. I knew a woman who bought her daughter a dress every single time she went to a dance. They had their minds made up that the girl couldn't wear the same dress twice. The Hurricane had one dress. She wore it to two proms and a Winter Ball. She attended one dance before we bought the dress. I borrowed a dress for her from a young colleague at work, who very kindly offered her high school wardrobe of dresses. Ah, these are happy memories. I'm so glad I always knew where The Hurricane was. She couldn't leave campus without special permission and someone to accompany her.

    Love,
    Janie

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  15. Your "dates" and schedules exhaust me. I am about your age and I would never be able to keep your itinerary, I need to get into a better exercise regime in order to keep up with you -- barbara

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  16. For what it's worth, our school proms are still held in the gymnasium, and it's not all just pairs of kids either - groups of kids go together if they have no date, so everyone can go if they want. The dresses for the girls, however, can get out of hand. That's really unfortunate for those who can't afford it or don't want to waste so much money. On the other hand, there seem to be plenty of girls who just wear a regular dress and have just as much fun.

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  17. How times have changed. Here in CA, the event is held in a large ball room in some hotel, food is catered, parents have to cough up lots of $$$. AND I have been told that some parents also rent a room in the hotel for the couple to enjoy for the night.

    Where are the days of crepe paper and garden arches?

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  18. never a dull moment in your life, I'd be stark raving mad with all the activity and chaos

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  19. How exciting for the teenagers! It reminds me of when I went to high school proms, too.

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  20. Your card arrived, Joanne - thank you so much! I tried to find a contact for you, but it seems you are even more secretive than me. Oh well, I am going to do a complete separate post about it.

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  21. I think it is appropriate to meet the girlfriend's family when they announce their engagement. A dance does not qualify for a "Meet The Focker's get together.

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  22. Dear Joanne,
    you have a full dance-fan of dates! Here in Berlin we were shock-frosted for two cold weeks - now they promise us 26°C for Monday, so our spirits might rise again :-)

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  23. My prom was in a ballroom somewhere downtown back in 1968. a couple of weeks ago scores of kids in their prom attire descended on the gazebo in the square for their prom photos.

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  24. uggg the prom nightmare!! It was bad enough with my girl now my boy is going to prom's and dances and I am going insane!!

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  25. I think it's great that Hamilton's date's parents are wanting to make sure their daughter is doing OK as far as date choices. Then again, we didn't meet our kids' prom dates' parents and my mom never met my date's parents either. So... whatever... You're wonderful, Joanne.

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  26. The teens here have been having huge graduation affairs for a few decades now. All have them at major hotels requiring limos, fancy dress and lots of money expenditure. I personally don't like the way things have gone as I'd love to see the teens wait until they graduate from university to spend this kind of money but these days even big parties are held for "graduation" from kindergarten. Such a waste but of course for the teens, they mostly love it. Whatever my feelings, I say a hearty "congratulations" to the graduates that have worked hard and have plans for more positive growth. Well done to Hamiliton. He has worked hard and you have been a wonderful support.

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