Before she was seven, Katie picked out her wedding dress from the J.C. Penney catalog, announced that she was going to marry Michael Jordan and buy the house across the street so she could live next to me forever.
I’m fairly certain that if we had lived in the Pennsbury school district of Bucks County PA, instead of Nebraska, her choices would have started with a senior prom dress and theme for her float rather than a wedding dress and a house.
The Senior Prom at Pennsbury High School even has a Wikipedia page dedicated to the extravagant event. After four years of hearing about it coupled with the fact that Christian was attending the prom as a video technician I thought I might go see what it was all about.
One of the women in my Artists group, whose youngest son is a senior, is very active in the months of preparation for the event. One morning during our open studio session Melinda showed us pictures of previous years murals and creations. The deal was cinched, I had to see it first-hand.
My plans for Saturday morning were precise. I would check out the decorations, head for the gym for a swim and back home in plenty of time to get some chores out of the way before the parade. I arrived at 1 pm, an hour after the school opened for tours and two hours before it was over. I planned on being there for thirty minutes tops. We waited under the cloudless sky and it occurred to me that I should have applied sunscreen. I thought it was a little sad that there were more conversations happening on cell phones than among the people in line, but nonetheless it was a festive and friendly atmosphere.
Twenty minutes later I caught a glimpse of the red carpet protected by super heroes while I bought a soft pretzel and some water. I snuck back in line and stood in front of a floor to ceiling mural of Dorothy’s Ruby Red slippers on the Yellow Brick Road. I’m a sucker for the Wizard of Oz and even if nothing else resonated with me, it was worth the wait.
Every inch of every wall including the restrooms was decked out in murals, paper mache, animated doo dads, and lights. The school was transformed into a world where somehow Lord of the Rings made sense across the hall from the Power Rangers. My personal favorite was the image from the Princess Bride accompanied by one of my all-time favorite movie quotes in beautiful lettering in silver paint.
From the Princess Bride, “That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying ‘As you wish,’ what he meant was, ‘I love you.’ And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.”
I couldn’t help but notice the pile of pizza boxes forgotten on a shelf under the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; a small but obvious sign of the many people who worked tirelessly to put everything together. I left in a daze and I was determined to get to the gym. I took a detour past the West Campus and found myself sidetracked by the ship from Peter Pan parked on the street and just ahead of it was the house from UP, complete with balloons.
I would have rear ended the woman in front of me if it hadn’t been for the officer directing traffic.
“Ma’am, she’s backing up,” he said.
Distracted by the Where the Wild things Are float I responded, “Huh?”
“Ma’am, stop your car. Please, and then you can get out and look.”
I regained my senses, parked the car, grabbed my camera, and said, “Thank you!”
The parking lot was a wonderland of creativity; there were tractors and flatbeds, boats and semis decorated mostly in movie themes and almost all with words about the future and fulfilling dreams, which made me smile. I imagined the banter and perhaps the squabbles that occurred around the dinner table as the floats were planned and designed.
These floats would deliver the seniors of 2012 to their Senior Prom in a long time tradition which is deserving of another post and a whole new set of pictures.
And for the record, I did make it to the gym.