We tend to think of seasons as changes in the weather and holiday celebrations because those are evergreen and constant. However certain stages of life include a season of proms and graduations.
My youngest son, Christian, is a high school senior and will be graduating in a few weeks so I knew that I’d be experiencing his graduation, but was doubtful that this spring would include prom activities outside of taking pictures at the school and the parade.
In Yardley, PA, the Pennsbury Senior Prom is a big deal and a community event. Last year was the first time I witnessed it. The day starts with parents staking out their territory in front of the school and creating rows and rows of labeled lawn-chairs along the drive. The school opens at noon to the public and people line up along the length of the building waiting to see this year’s prom decorations.
It’s an all ages event, everyone from young children who dream about the day they’ll build a float and attend the prom to couples who graduated more than 50 years ago eagerly anticipate the day.
This year’s theme was “Through the Decades” and it seemed like every square inch of the school had been decorated. We were greeted by flappers and gangsters from the Roaring Twenties.
The gold rush era was complete with cowboys and a river made of clear blue strips of cellophane, nuggets of fool’s gold, and a miner’s pan. The cafeteria was transformed from the place that students inhale their lunch between classes to the time of sock hops and ducktails.
I left the 1950′s and entered a trip down memory lane. The walls were lined with posters that depicted the T.V. shows I grew up with. My particular favorites were “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Bewitched.”
It was fun to hear the parents around me reminiscing about the shows and their memories. It made me think about how Saturday mornings were the only time you could hang out with your favorite families like the Jetson’s and the Flinstone’s.
The florescent lights were covered with pink and green crepe paper and created a psychedelic lighting effect that was perfect for setting for the Beatle’s and the Yellow Submarine.
This year the boy’s restroom was command central for NASA and was complete with control panels and a splash down. (which made me laugh out loud).
I would have included a picture of the splash down, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to crop out the portions of the facilities that aren’t very attractive.
I ran out of time and didn’t get to see all of the decorations this year, but I’m certain they were amazing and each decade was represented in style. By the time I made it out of the 1960′s it was time to pick up a corsage and gather for the traditional pre-prom picture taking extravaganza.
Christian doesn’t care much for dancing and until a few months ago had only a marginal interest in going to prom. A certain lovely young lady brought about a complete change of heart.
The parent’s took charge and lined the kids up for the time-honored tradition; too many adults with too many cameras making a group of teenagers temporarily cross-eyed as they try to figure out which camera they should look at.
The parents and kids head to the school separately. After few phone calls I met my friends Paul and Mary at the beginning of the parade.
“What float are you seeing now?” I asked.
“The Winnebago that’s decorated like the Mystery Machine just passed us and two firetrucks are coming up next,” replied Mary.
“Hmmmm, I see a Cinderella horse and carriage and a couple of classic cars.”
Sometimes I’m not sure what we did before cell phones. The spectators hid under umbrellas and wondered how the kids were going to keep dry under the cold and drippy skies. Last year I got sunburned, this year I could barely stay dry and warm.
It made my heart smile to see Christian and his friends on their float singing along with the soundtrack he created, music through the decades.
Everyone was surprised when the was over and it was only 6:15 pm, normally it lasts until 7 or 8. My guess is that some of the kids bailed because of the weather and there seemed to be more floats with twenty or more kids this year. The biggest one was a tribute to the Olympics, complete with bleacher seating for somewhere between 50 and 60.
I met Paul and Mary at a local eatery for a bite to eat, lots of laughs, and the perfect end to the day.
Next up another prom followed shortly by graduation. Where did the time go?
I know I’m not alone when I say “It seems like yesterday…”.