Junior Prom

Striking a pose on the piano bench in our living room.

As Junior Class Vice President, I was in charge of planning the 1987 Junior/Senior Prom. At least I should get a date to the junior prom that I was planning for 800+ of my closest friends. Right? I secured a fancy hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago. I personally chose the menu and supervised the decorations. I had a date, he was my best friend’s date’s weird best friend, but it didn’t matter—I had a date! My dress was everything a prom dress in 1987 should be. It had a pink satin strapless bodice with a larger than life sequin bow sewn right across my less than ample chest. The bottom half was tea length with layers of lace upon even more layers of tulle. I got not only my shoes, but my purse dyed to match at Baker’s. Contacts in, hair the appropriate volume for the times—I was a vision in my own eyes. My mom was home and able to see me off and be part of the pictures with my date and some friends. She watched with a big grin and I knew she was happy I had a date. I think she was proud of all of the planning that I had done to make it an incredible night for my classmates. We didn’t communicate much at this point. Everyone in my family was just moving forward each day, doing their own thing. I left for that dance full of hope for memories to be made.

Pictures before the dance on my driveway.

One major problem for the night that I perfectly planned and properly primped for: our 1987-Billy-Idol-dance-jumping-fist-pumping-prom was placed in a ballroom directly above a convention of blind bowlers. These bowlers didn’t know what to do as they experienced over a thousand prom-goers above their heads. The hotel management came to me and put me on the stage after unplugging our band to quell the revelers and implore them to stop jumping as they danced. Mind you, the only dance move suburban Chicago teens had back then was jumping up and down. My classmates responded. More jumping, loud screaming. I can only imagine the state of the bowlers below.

The Senior Class President came to the rescue, calmed the crowd, and the evening commenced with me hiding under a table from my now extremely intoxicated date who was walking around the ballroom, smoking a cigar, and yelling my name. The one bright spot of the night was when a brown-haired cutie named John Hughes (yes, for that love of all things 80’s his actual name was John Hughes) asked me to slow dance with him to Lady in Red. It was a magical moment and then I dove back under a table to avoid my date.

Memories were indeed made. The fun I had at my junior prom sustained me for a short time as my mom’s health continued to decline. Senior year was ahead and I was ready for it.

Always good to get a hug from a friend.


6 thoughts on “Junior Prom

  1. Oh gosh, what a night that was. I recall a scene in the bathroom where one girl with barf down her back – was being reassured by many she looked wonderful. Upon leaving the bathroom seeing someone being shelled out with a literal paper bag over their head. Only the tip of the iceberg for that crazy night.

  2. Once again, your wonderful writing style enables us to picture this unforgettable evening! I am picturing you and the joy you felt as you posed for prom pictures – knowing how happy this made your dear Mom – and then feeling your anxiety as you hid under that table – avoiding your date! You bring both laughter and tears, my friend!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts after reading, I appreciate you! I remember sitting under that table, with the long tablecloths that hit the floor and laughing so hard once I was completely covered and ‘safe’. I enjoyed my friends shoes until I could safely come out!

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