Monday, April 27, 2015

Prom 1988 Versus 2015 By C.P. Stringham

Not one to pass up the chance for a good laugh, Syd
turns discarded Caution tape into a great photo prop!
For this week’s (last week’s since I’m a week late) Broads of a Feather blog post, I knew I wanted to write about my daughter’s prom which was held on April 25th. So it's okay that I'm so late! 
Sydney decided to get the most out of her senior year of high school by participating in all the activities she had passed up on in previous years. I guess better late then never. I reminded her that once she missed out on school opportunities like this she wouldn’t get a second chance. She’s an old soul in many ways. She loves discussing politics and social causes. Prefers being around an older crowd for that reason. Even likes older men. When I say older, I’m talking Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, and John McMartin older. Syd doesn’t have a father complex, she has a grandfather complex. Whatever. I don’t have the extra money for a therapist to figure it out. She’s happy, so I’m happy. Who cares if my future son-in-law is as old as my father? Hopefully he’s loaded and good to her.

BFFSK: Sydney and Lesley in their kindergarten
class photo.
Sydney is a sharp dresser, but frugal. She loves shopping at secondhand clothing shops and The Sally (teen speak for the Salvation Army). She's also the lucky hand-me-down recipient for my career girl friends. Her closet consists of name brands like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, and Liz Claiborne. She loves dressing like a business professional every day for school. In fact, she’s only worn jeans once this past year. She dresses so nice, underclassmen sometimes mistake her for a substitute teacher. She’s also gone on field trips where she’s been mistaken as a teacher. So it came as no surprise when she decided to find her formal gowns in a similar fashion. While her homecoming and winter ball dresses came from The Sally, her prom dress came from Becca’s Closet. Becca’s Closet is a school-operated program where students can pick out from a wide variety of generously donated formal items at no cost. The program is managed by Interact Club (Rotary) and Syd has served as secretary for the past two years. During the two weeks leading up to each formal event, students can use their PM advisory period to “shop” Becca’s Closet. Syd took great pride in helping her fellow students find the perfect dress. She and her BFFSK (Best Friend Forever Since Kindergarten), Lesley, even made cleaning and organizing all of the donated items their first task before winter ball because it was left in complete disarray last year. While into the task, Syd came upon a gown she fell in love with. She tried talking other students into it because she found it to be so amazing. No luck. She went back and forth over it. She already had a gown at home from The Sally for prom, but there was something about this gown she loved. All it took was trying it on and then it came home with her. She had my mother attach the optional straps that came with it for her since strapless isn’t her thing. As the months passed by, a pair of shoes and a wrap were donated to Becca’s Closet that perfectly matched her dress. In the end, Syd spent $20.00 on a pair of black opera gloves for her prom look. Everything else was free.  

At the park for pictures: Alexandria and Shayley form a heart for Lesley and Sydney; the BFFSK all dolled up.
She made arrangements with her friend, Alexandria, to have her hair and makeup done at her house. She wanted her hair styled like Lorelei Gilmore had hers for the dance marathon episode. No fancy up-do for her. I was sort of bummed she wasn’t getting ready at home. It felt like I was being “prom-blocked.” Really. I was sad I wouldn’t get to see her to take pictures before she left. I even pouted. Syd gave in and we made arrangements so I had enough notice to follow them in to town to take some shots at a park before they went out to dinner. Happy mom. Syd invited Alexandria out to dinner with them as a thank you for her hair and makeup. She looked like a million bucks and proved that spending an insane amount of money on prom isn’t necessary. 

Top to bottom/Left to Right: Lesley and Sydney during dinner; a selfie with Alexandria and Shayley; Sydney with her prom court bouquet posing with Paisha and Lesley; their masquerade theme.  
As the evening went on, Lesley and I texted each other back and forth. Like me, Lesley isn’t in to dances and all the socializing that comes with it. As a fellow reading introvert, she finds being social to be just as exhausting as I do. Lesley filled me in about their night and even included selfies and two videos. The videos were to prove she was dancing! At 9:30, the girls let me know that they were ready to call it a night. I picked them up from school at 10:00 to find Sydney carrying a small bouquet of flowers. As she got into the SUV, her face split into a huge smile and she informed me she was voted to prom court—something she never considered a possibility. It totally made her night! Mine, too!
Taking a time machine to 1988 with my blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy (who had a Bieber hairdo before Bieber). 

When your child reaches their senior year, nostalgia creeps in when you realize how quickly the years have passed. It was only natural that Sydney’s prom made me remember elements of my own prom. I graduated in 1988 from a high school that merged the following year with our town rivals. (Goodbye, SRU Tigers! <sniff>) Our prom theme was Never Say Goodbye and it was held at the Sayre Elks Club. My husband and I are high school sweethearts so he was my date. He went on his own to get his tux and my mom made my gown since she is highly skilled in all things domestic goddess. She’s made wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses numerous times in the past. Her cooking skills are incredible and she is an equally talented artist. She’s more Martha Stewart than Martha Stewart!
My best friends in 11th and 12th grade were Tiffani and Deb—the minister’s daughter and the butcher’s daughter. We were inseparable our senior year and had lots of great times together (I could tell some stories!). Tiffani’s dad was reluctant to let her attend prom at first and we had to help her talk him into it. Almost like a scene out of Footloose! But not quite because Pastor Craig gave in to our urging without a fight. He saw how important it was to us. Tiff was their oldest out of three daughters. This was new territory for them.
Left to Right: Tiffani with her date, Don, and Deb with her date, Beanie.
The day of prom came and we helped our class advisors, Mr. Stivason and Miss Russell, decorate the hall that morning. Later, we borrowed my future brother-in-law’s car and Marty spent the afternoon washing, waxing, and vacuuming it. He took me to dinner at the Cedar Inn in Elmira for Saturday prime rib. Our first solo formal dinner as a couple.
I was co-editor of our yearbook. It was a big honor for a senior. It was my third year belonging to the club and I took it very seriously. Yearbook sort of gave you an open reason for wandering the school without a hall pass since we were always doing something whether working on drumming up advertising revenue, looking for photo opportunities, doing artwork for layouts, or interviewing faculty members. Most teachers didn’t bother asking to see our pass—except for Mrs. Wolf because she was a stickler. On prom night, I found myself hanging out with our former principal, Mrs. Patrician, and her husband who were our honored guests as well as other teachers who were serving as chaperones. Lots of Bon Jovi played that night and slow dancing.

After the prom, one of my friend’s parents permitted a party with booze provided everyone’s keys were confiscated and each of our parents signed off on it. This is something I’ve been totally upfront about with my daughter. We have no secrets. Not everyone will agree with our parenting style, but I believe that teens who feel comfortable talking about things with their parents are more respectful and responsible. And so far, our daughter hasn’t disappointed us. In fact, she’s proved to be a remarkable young lady with a wonderful reputation. She’s graduating from high school with honors and received some hefty merit scholarships to each of the five colleges she applied to. I don’t know how many times we’ve had her teachers tell us how lucky we are, in this day and age, to have such a responsible, respectful, level-headed teen. She may not have the highest GPA, but she cares. Her former algebra teacher told me he would love to have a classroom full of Sydneys to teach. Another teacher told me he could count on her to run errands and not have to worry about her wasting time or getting into trouble. If she was given a task, it was done properly the first time. We have truly been blessed with her. She talks to me about everything and I am so thankful for the relationship we have. My husband and I know we can count on her to make good decisions while still being a kid. 
At any rate, getting back to my prom night, the party was great. Responsible drinking. No one left the party trashed and we had a safe environment. Only one of us got wasted. Nope. It wasn’t me. The pastor’s daughter was blowing chunks by 3AM! My husband didn’t drink that night. Instead, he was assigned the role of babysitter. So, as Tiffani vomited, he was stuck with the task of holding her hair back for her as the rest of us laughed and complained about the smell. Always the devoted preacher’s daughter, between barfing, Tiff mumbled, “Marty, please make sure I’m up in time to go to church in the morning. I promised my dad I wouldn’t miss church.” Marty told her he would make sure she was up in time. Throughout the rest of the night, we could hear Tiff talking as Marty sat up watching TV to pass the time. He sat in the armchair and Tiff was sprawled on the sofa with her head in a wastepaper basket which gave her voice an echo effect. The rest of us were in the neighboring room either sleeping on their sleeper sofa or on the floor. As morning neared, Tiff’s puking began to subside and we heard her say, “Marty, am I going to die?” to which he replied, “No, Tiff, you’re not going to die.” “Good because I have to go to church.” Tiff fell asleep soon after and didn’t make it to church that morning. And Marty tried to wake her at 7AM. She was out cold—with her head in the garbage. Tiff never could hold her liquor. 


  1. Carol, I turned 7 the night of your prom.

    1. Talk about slapping me in the face!!! Too funny! (CPS)