Pre Prom…Yes Virginia, There is Such a Thing – Part Deux

After seeing the floats in the staging area I couldn’t wait to see them en route to the prom topped off with the finishing touches, the young men and women of the class of 2012.   The parade started at 5:00 pm and as a part of the video crew, Christian needed to be there at 4:45.  Based on the size of the crowd at the Pre Prom tour I wanted to get there early.

“Did you get my text?” I asked.

Christian responded, “Four is way too early, it only takes ten minutes to get there. I think we should leave at 4:30.”

I reached up to straighten his tie, “Let’s compromise on 4:15.  There were a ton of people there earlier and I want to be able to get a parking spot and a good seat.  One lady told me that she and her husband put their chairs out before 9:00 am this morning and they are in the second row.”

At 4:25 pm I pulled into one of the last spots available in the parking lot.

Temporary bleachers, soccer mom chairs, and people were packed under the trees along the side of the parking lot facing the school entrance.  The walkway under the “Noodle” (the wavy awning that stretches from the door to the sidewalk) had been transformed with a red carpet and was guarded by life size super hero cutouts.

Every inch of sidewalk between the school and the caution tape was covered with a variety of outdoor folding chairs. The road between the campuses was lined with people.  I found myself wishing that I had been smart enough to bring a chair or even better that I knew the people under the bright blue pop up canopy. The chair carrier bag I borrowed from one of the girls next to me didn’t offer much of a cushion between me and the parking lot but at least I was able to sit and keep my skirt from getting dirty.

Students pulling wagons weaved their way through the crowd shouting, “Pretzels! One dollar!  Water!  Two bottles for a dollar!”

At 5:00 on the dot the string of cars and floats were ready to go and the gentleman coordinating traffic motioned the first vehicle to proceed. I snapped pictures like crazy trying to capture each and every moment of color and creativity from the convertible decorated with balloons to the fire trucks and floats.

There were police cars and pace cars, golf carts and semis.  The cars vehicles pulling the floats and transporting the seniors were so shiny and clean that you could see the reflections of the crowd as though we were looking at a fun house mirror.  Everyone was into it, many of the floats had ‘live’ props ranging from Willie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas to Tinkerbell casting candy out to the children along the way.  Although if I had to judge enjoyment based on the pouty lips of the small princess on one of the Where the Wild Things Are float, not everyone thought it was a fun idea.

Some of my favorites included the tractor (that reminded me of my Grandparents farm) pulling a space ship from which we got short glimpse of the Prom goers when one of them would open the door for a breath of fresh air.  The Toy Story Float took five frames to capture, I laughed out loud at the “Joker” driving the Batman and Robin truck.  I fell in love with the horse-drawn carriage and my heart melted as Jasmine kissed her prince.

One group of kids got the dance started early with a DJ in the back of the truck and dance moves happening on the float.  There were many smiles and happy waves and only a few bored beauties along the way.

I cheered and clapped when confetti and bubbles were released and danced through the air.  One of the funniest things might have been when the entire crowd, including me, gasped and then laughed when we realized that the sun disappeared because of the blimp and not a UFO.

The drivers of the wooden framed car, modern SUV’s, limos, and boats stopped in front of the noodle and the ladies and gentleman of the night descended from their floats and walked along the Red Carpet under the Noodle to enjoy the prom and a very special night in their life.

Next year expect a report from ‘behind the scenes.’

Pre Prom…Yes Virginia, There is Such a Thing

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.