Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our prom night

This will seem silly to some of you, but those of a certain generation might understand and enjoy this. A group of my high school classmates (McBurney School in New York City '68) were trying to remember why we chose not to have a senior prom. This email sequence all started when our class president recently sent out some notes trying to find a common date for an informal reunion, and he expressed some frustration in pinning it down. As you see, it is an amusing mix of adolescent memories and serious times, which oddly brings our small group close again. (There were only 72 in the class, 28 of whom were sharing this email thread). Here's the flow of email (with most names omitted):

Sounds like we are trying to plan a prom all over again.

Er, we never did have a prom, as I recall!

We did not have a prom, but I got asked to Dalton's prom by Linda G and we more than made up for the lack of McB's prom. It's funny, I can't remember her name, but sure remember what she did!

(From me) I went to the Franklin prom with Sally B. Dinner at the Waldorf; carriage ride in Central Park; Chuck Berry at the Village Gate; Middle Eastern folk music at Cafe Feenjon in the Village; walk up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick's where they were setting up the TV lights for Bobby Kennedy's funeral; then breakfast up on the West Side somewhere. Great memories.

I went to the Marymount prom at the Plaza with Carol B. She lived on 55th and 5th. I was visiting her on a June evening. The motorcade came down Fifth Avenue to bring Senator Kennedy's body to St. Patrick's.

I don’t remember going to a prom. I don’t know which is sadder, that I didn’t go to a prom or that I can’t remember if I did. Paul, however, I do remember Sally B, too.

Well the number of us who went/did not go to a prom would certainly be an interesting trivia question to get answered by all of us. I remember: I did not go to one, but what I did that night is lost in time.

My recollection is that we voted as a class to forgo having a prom, but now I wonder if that was merely my own vote, followed by indifference as to whether the rest of the class did or did not decide to have prom. At any rate, I went, as did Mike B, to Franklin's prom, which I will allow was at the Waldorf, because Paul Levy says it was, but I don't remember running into him there, and all I remember of the night was (1) Mike and I and our dates and two other Franklin couples went to hear Martha and the Vandellas at the Copa afterward, and (2) I and my date, Joan F. later wound up in Atlantic Beach, where her folks had a summer house, and that in the morning we drove back to the city and met up later with some of the folks from the prom at some East 70's burger place to round out a 48 hour day. Also remember I didn't get lucky that night, and that very soon after that night Joan broke my heart.

(From Tom) The Class of 1968 created a Prom Committee, on which I served. My old class book shows that Nathan A and Jimmy K were also on that committee. The Committee voted that in 1968 because of the Viet Nam War there would be no prom. It was specifically considered and rejected. The discussion centered around the desire to take a position that rejected the status quo, and that in so doing, reject the war. It was determined that the prom represented the status quo, and in that light, it was determined that our class would forego having a prom. It was also said that having a prom while the war was underway was inappropriate. I don't remember that the position was ever put to a class vote. It just seemed to have tacit acceptance; and soon thereafter, school came to an end. No prom.

That would make sense. I would have to bet there was no vote.

Even if this were not the true story, I would embrace it! Thanks.

That was the choice? Geez I was on student council kind of, and I cannot recall a vote vis-a-vis Vietnam and/or a Prom. What the f..., I still ended up in Phu Bai. . . and I went to a prom.

I don't remember that either, and being the rarest of birds (an Upper West Side conservative) I know I would have. And thanks for your service, Jack!

I, too, remember a summer prom night in Jersey with a redhead, 64 Oldsmobile and later the soft sands and surf of Belmar by the sea near Asbury Park, then a Doors concert.

If memory serves me right, I do remember a vote on the prom. It is my recollection that it was the entire class voting. In fact, I am positive that there were class members who were really pissed about the fact that we were not going to host a dance, although I don't remember any of our near term predecessor classes having a prom either. As far as the reason we voted "no", Tom's memory makes a great legend. Its a whole lot better than the thought that we were either too lazy to organize the event, or too cheap to gather dates, flowers, etc.

1 comment:

Steve K said...

Just goes to show how with the passage of time, peoples memories of a significant life event can be so different. Those in the field of recovered memories should take note.
Would recommend a terrific book: Mistakes were made,but not by me.
All the best and hope we see you in NYC in Fall.
Steve K.