Good morning to everyone...today I have a big day planned. I am attending a painting class for the day and then in the evening I will be a speaker for an organization I am affiliated with.
I thought over what to write about this morning and thought about prom dates. Now, I must tell you that through the years in my high school days, I had gone through a number of prom dates. I remember the excitement of being asked to go to prom and all the hub bub of shopping for a gown and shoes and purse to match. Making sure the young man knew what color I chose so that he could get the right color of flowers to match.
Then there was the thrill of the day itself. For a girl, anyway, you had to have your nails done, your hair done. Makeup had to be absolutely perfect. You dressed and once your date arrived there were always tons of pictures taken. Fist at you house, then at the young man's house and sometimes, if you double dated, then you went to each of their houses as well.
There was always the prom and dance. Then afterwards you would go out to a special place afterwards as well for food and or entertainment. The hot spot that we kids used to want tot always go to was Shanghai Lil's on Milwaukee Ave on the north side of Chicago. It was a Hawaiian restaurant that also had a floor show. It was so exciting to go there. Many of you classmates were there as well to enjoy their type décor, the virgin drinks that were always so interesting with those little paper umbrellas decorating them.
After that long evening was over...and it was long...e usually didn't arrive home until after 3 in the morning. Of course our curfews had all be waived since it was prom night. We would go home and prepare ourselves for the picnic the next day. We would all usually not even bother to sleep. We would change clothes, pack our picnic baskets, bathing suits and beach towels and suntan lotion and start off on another adventure. Our usual spot to spend the day was at the beach in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Now as you are reading this, you are probably nodding your head as to the similarity of this day to yours and even bigger nod if you were from the Chicago land area.
Now, I want to share one particular prom date that I went on, in fact, it was the last one I ever attended.
I was always in plays at the Private boys high schools, and consequently made friends there that were lasting friendships. Well, one of the guy friends had a friend who needed a date for the prom. He told me that he was a really nice guy, why not meet him and so a bling date was planned. I met the young man. He was very tall...I liked tall because then I didn't have to worry about wearing heels. I was 5 feet 9 inches tall. He was good looking...always a bonus, but the best thing was he was a really nice guy. I like him and so when he asked if I would consider going to his prom, I immediately accepted. We landed up going on numerous dates prior to the prom and so we actually became a couple. A blind date that turned out pretty well.
Now, prom date came and it was wonderful. A great evening. Dancing and fun. The usual trip to Shanghai Lil, the usually picnic preparations and the usual day at Lake Geneva. When you are 17 everything in the world is always peaches and cream! Well, after the day at the lakes we came back home and changed and decided to go out again, only this time to park at Lake Michigan. When you are 17 and in love, romance is easily found around almost any corner. We would go to this one spot called the Montrose Harbor, park and make out. It was a beautiful night, the water and boats were so soothing to watch. The moon was almost full and its light danced across the midnight sky. I was in the arms of the young man whom was in love with. Nothing could be more perfect. When it became 10 P.M., we decided it was time to go home. We had had 2 really full days of pure pleasure and enjoyment and only perhaps 3 hours of sleep in between.
We were driving down Montrose Ave. He was driving his mothers car...and in those days there were no consoles in between the front seats. I was sitting right next to him and his arms was wrapped over my shoulders with my head placed on his shoulders. I was so very tired and tried hard to stay awake, He told me that I should just fall asleep and he would wake me when we got to my house. I was so happy that he was so considerate and closed my eyes and dropped off to slumber land. When I awoke it was not at my home. There was all this nose and sirens.
When I opened my eyes I realized we had been in an automobile crash. You see....he was pretty tired a well, and fell asleep at the wheel. At 30 MPH we went up a light post. They say the fact that we were asleep is what saved our lives. There were no seat belt laws in those days...I upon the hit, went through the windshield taking the real view mirror, which in those days were attached to the roof of the car...out the window with my forehead and then fell back into the car, which at that point the dashboard had fallen onto my legs and the firemen were trying to pry me out. He had hit the steering wheel and had knocked some of his teeth in half. We were finally removed from the crash and taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.
Now once we were in the hospital , they needed permission to work on us since we were bot minors. They called our homes to get that permission. His parents came immediately. My mother on the other hand was at work, so they spoke with my Grandmother. She of course gave permission to have anything I needed done. I had to have glass removed from my forehead and have stitches put in.
Now, as soon as my poor mother got home from work, my grandmother unfolded the story to her, told her I was in the hospital . When my mother asked her which one, my grandmother had gotten so upset over the ordeal...she forgot the name of the hospital...all she kept telling my mother was that all she could remember was it sounded like a bird. Now, here was my poor mother...Grandmother hadn't even shared that we had come home from Wisconsin, calling all these
hospitals, police etc.., to try to find me. Finally she took a chance and got in her car to see if she could find the young man's house. We had passed by it one day and I had pointed it out to her. Well, she did find the house and the young mans brother was there and told her that we were at RAVENSWOOD hospital on Montrose Ave. in Chicago. She final arrived and was relieved to see that was not seriously hurt. Lots of scrapes and bruises, stitches in my head, but no broken bones and I was laying in a hospital bed with tubes everywhere. Not the greatest look for my graduation, or my graduation pictures, but was in relatively good shape. By the time my mother got there, it was well after midnight and Mothers Day to boot. I am sure that was one Mother's Day my mom never forgot.
Now the one blessing was that most prom dates involve some sort of alcohol drinking, but we were not the alcohol drinking types. Thank God for small miracles. I cannot have imagined what would have happened had we been. I didn't think a lot about anyone else at the time...because, well, I was 17 and thought about myself and the young man. But wen I look back now, thank God no one else had been hurt or for that matter killed because a couple of kids were too dumb to know that enough was enough. I tell the story over and over to my granddaughters to remind them that even though there are nothing but good intentions....accidents happen! I hope that my story s one that will perhaps save them from ever having to go through anything like what I went through!
Now the same routine of preparations ensued. We went to the prom and had a wonderful time.