TIMES HAVE CHANGED

Peter, Paul and Mary recorded a song that went something like this:

    Times have changed. All the good times that we had are gone now
     Passed this way. Only mem’ries will remain tomorrow

I can relate. If you are as old as I am you know that time zips by so fast it takes your breath away. If you’re not as old as I am, take my advice: don’t blink. You won’t recognize your world when you open your eyes again.

My grandsons and I tried to relate to each other for a while. Many times they would bring me a song on one of their ever-changing electronic devices: “Listen to this one. I think you’ll like it.” I listened, but alas, it just didn’t do it for me. I told them I kind of liked it, but they could tell I was just trying to be as cool as they hoped I would be. We were so close when they were little, but it too soon became evident we were drifting apart. As PP and M sang:

We thought our dreams would be enough for a while and all the plans that we made             Hey, we had loved, that was all that we had. Now even that don’t seem the same

But, thank goodness, I got over it. I finally stopped trying to see their sweet baby smiles when I behold their grown-up handsome faces. I still don’t like their music. I still marvel at the activities they take part in, the TV shows they watch, their must-have cell phones that text, take pictures, play music, communicate with satellites, their adoration of Dr. Who, the clothes they wear….ah, the clothes they wear! Nowhere are the changes so eye-popping evident than in the apparel they choose for the prom.

The high school in the Ohio town where I live had its prom this weekend. I couldn’t help but think of my own prom at good ol’ East Nashville High in 1954. Wait a minute. Can that really be 60 years ago? Of course “Times Have Changed.” In all that span of time the horse and buggy evolved into the internal combustion engine.

I scrounged around and found some pix of my prom days. Please excuse the quality. All I could do is scan the photos of the queen and her court from my annual. I couldn’t find my own prom picture, but a frantic call to my friend, Corinne, in Nashville, turned up a photo of a picture taken of her at her boyfriend’s 1956 prom. Close enough. Corinne can always be counted on. The woman is disgustingly organized.
1954 prom_1_500

If you should be as old or maybe as southern as I am, you might recognize the bouffant skirts on our dresses.  In addition to making us look like we belonged on top of wedding cakes, they were hideously uncomfortable. We selected wide hoops to wear under or over (I forget which) multiple crinoline petticoats. These monstrosities scratched our legs, driving us to distraction. Even worse, if our mothers made us wear hose, they were hanging in shreds from our legs at the close of the evening.

Sitting down was impossible. If we were about to pass out from the vapors (we were southern ladies, after all) we had to remember to hike up our hoops in the back before we sat. Forgetting to do so forced the front of the hoop to leap up in front of us, sometimes high enough to expose the equally uncomfortable Merry Widow long-line bra and combination waist cincher. It was seriously boned and gouged us unmercifully wherever the bone tips ended.

It is little wonder the girls of today, and probably the girls of long-ago yesterdays got smart and elected to wear much more comfortable and elegant dresses than we wore. There is also a wonderful tendency to aspire to different looks, whereas we elected to wear only pastel tulle and netting in near-identical styles.

PROM_1956_250The boys at East High were also Twinkies. They wore white dinner jackets, tuxedo trousers and black bow ties.  I noticed in Corinne’s photo, her boyfriend had on a standard satin lapel tuxedo. My friend, Dave, sent me a note with pictures about our prom. It’s a more personal viewpoint. I had to scan it and I hope it’s readable. I placed it at the end of this blog.

The boys at our 2014 prom wore tuxedos and their accessories were carefully selected to match their dates’ dresses. It’s become the fashion for a few friends to gather at one of their homes to meet and take photos before leaving for the prom. Many families in our town pay for limousines to make the event even more special. I have included some photos of my grandson and his friends all dressed up in way more comfortable, but equally gorgeous prom outfits than my friends wore.

Daughter Mandy and her boyfriend, Steve, at their 1978 prom. Steve wore a “bamboo tux.” The lime green and blue tuxes of the early 70s were calming down by 1978. Both Mandy’s dress and his tux were inspired by Saturday Night Fever. It was disco time!

Below is grandson Evan and his girlfriend, Ariel, before their 2014 prom. Ariel is so beautiful. I guess we’ll have to wait a few years before this era is named.

 

The before and after prom activities have also changed. After our proms, we went out to dinner in the most expensive restaurant our dates could afford. Because it was a special night our curfews were set up to 1 am. No curfew the rest of the year was that late.

The 2014 activities were very different. After picture-taking, the groups went out to dinner at a nice restaurant, then on to the prom. They danced to a dee jay, whereas we had an orchestra back in the day.  After the prom the modern day celebrants went for a casual meal, then to one of the homes to change into their everyday clothes. Or maybe I have the order mixed – never mind. The rest of the night was spent bowling, or watching a movie or just hanging out until they split up: the girls into their slumber party (if that’s what it’s still called) and the boys into theirs.

group_double_485

I hear a good time was had by all, but because it is so uncool to be very effusive, they said something like, “Yeah, it was okay.” Being an ordinary, usual, everyday grandmother, I had a great time because they were all home safely. So…

      Peace of mind, peace of mind, where’s the happiness we should be having?
      We can’t find all the answers in the good times we had 

Maybe it’s not such a sad song after all. Maybe the message is we shouldn’t seek the happiness in our long-gone good times, but in the good times our kids are having and our own good times now and in the future.

1954 prom_2_600

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6 thoughts on “TIMES HAVE CHANGED

  1. Thanks for the memory. I wonder how we would manage today with all the expense involved in going to a prom. I could barely afford the tux rental and the corsage. That’s why there is no prom photo of me and Marilyn. She doesn’t have much memory about that night either. I think that neither of us had that great of a time. You also brought back memories of John, I miss him. Hard to believe that it’s been 60 years! See you at the reunion? – Civils

    • I’ll be there. It doesn’t seem like 60 years, but I guess that’s the normal reaction. I bet Evan’s tux rental alone ($130) cost more than all three of you guys (Harold, John, and you) paid for yours. The years fly by and costs fly higher. When I wrote the piece, I thought about John as well as Harold being gone. See you in June.

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog on how times have changed. Can’t imagine what the next 50 or 60 years will be like. I know we won’t have to be concerned with that but just a thought. I loved seeing your pictures and I picked you out right away. I always thought you were so beautiful. Styles sure have changed and some for the worse that I have seen of some of my friends children at the prom. Looking forward to next writing!

    • Dot, thank you so much. Indeed, there are some show biz-styles that I don’t see how their wearers didn’t get arrested. One is that sweet little Miley Cyrus!
      Oh, Hannah Montana, what have you done? If I don’t see you in June, I’ll certainly see you at the next family reunion.

  3. I didn’t go to my HS prom. I remember my closest cousin telling me I would regret it. Funny thing is I didn’t until this past year when my own Niece went to prom. It was at that moment that I wondered what mine would have been like and a tinge of regret for not partaking in an important developmental milestone came over me. It didn’t help that I wasn’t asked but that might have been because I was oblivious to social gatherings at my school. My father was an overly strict man. Finally one day before prom, a good friend of mine called to see if I could go with him. His date apparently cancelled. I declined for various reasons. One being, there was no way I’d find a suitable dress in one day but more importantly because I was too proud. I didn’t want to be a “backup” plan. I’ve realized, over my short life, that sometimes its not the grandeur of the night itself that’s special but the memories it creates. A snap in time for you to have in your later years to look back on. To gawk and laugh at the clothes, reminisce about old friends and hopefully take a moment to appreciate how much we’ve grown since then. Muy bonito cuento Mi amiga.

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