Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memories of dances

Yellow Chiffon Maxi Wedding Dress (919)
No hat, no hair down, no dark shoes...and not me!


The girls invited the boys to the prom in the winter time, for four years of high school.  The boys invited the girls to the spring proms.

This was life in a private school in St. Louis in the late 1950s.

So we girls got to dress pretty twice, as well as figure out which boy would be a good dancer.  There were also dance cards where we'd have many dances with other boys besides our dates.

I had 8 prom dresses in high school  I don't remember most of them.  I also learned how to use makeup.  And go to beauty salons to have my hair done.  (I never did the pedi-mani routine, and still laugh to hear young girls think that's "the thing" to do to be girlish!)

I wrote 4 hand written invitations to boys each year.  I only remember one or two of them.  And we already knew who the boys were, because no two girls sent invitations to the same boy.  I think some kind of sign up sheet was done, though I am not sure the boys were necessarily with their girlfriends...but there was some effort to have that happen.  What a zoo!

Miss Barbara Rogers cordially invites
 Mr. David Richmond for the honor
 of his presence
 at the _____ (whatever name of that Prom was)
 on the...such and such date.
  RSVP.

David was my first high school sweetheart, so we went to the winter prom together.  I don't think we received written acceptances...but maybe.  After all, our chosen dates had already been approved by The List.
My sister going to a prom in 1961

But I have memories of at least 2 dresses where I know I had my picture taken before the dance.  My first Prom I wore a pale yellow chiffon with draped shoulders. (It looked ok for a really thin girl.)
And sometime like my junior or senior year I dared to wear a strapless dress, which was held up by nice bone stays around my waist.  I liked the pretty white skirt with huge pink flowers printed on it and a big pink bow and ribbon around my waist which was 22" back then.

Dancing was definitely something I loved.  We'd learned all the ballroom steps in 7th and 8th grade.
Fox Trot, Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha, Jitter-bug (Yes!) and Swing. Just before the Twist came out with Chubby Checker in the early 60s.  Incidentally, I did go to the Peppermint Lounge in New York on a short trip in 62.

Back to the proms, all night we got to change partners, never knowing whether the music would be fast or slow.  This was the beginning of rock and roll, and we watched American Bandstand remember?

American Bandstand
American Bandstand in the 50s


Thanks for the memories, spurred by Sepia Saturday this week!



The themes for Sepia Saturday 280 - post your posts on or around Saturday 23 May 2015 - include boys, girls and dances. The caption on the old vintage postcard reads "In Leap Year - The Ladies after a little wine and tobacco join the gentlemen in the drawing room". So another potential theme you could have is that of "reverses" - occasions when the usual arrangements are reversed. Whatever theme you go with - or ignore, the choice is yours - just post your posts and then add a link to the Linky List below. Here is what is just around the corning:

21 comments:

  1. what a fun post! times sure have changed.

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    1. THey sure have. None of my grandchildren chose (so far) to go to their proms in high school. I've still got more growing however, so it's possible!

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  2. That was a good idea to have both "boy ask girl" and "girl ask boy" proms.

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    1. Yes, especially with the way kids are about invitations and fear of being turned down...the list system kind of got around that, plus, we were kind of required to go.

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  3. A pity you don't have a photo of yourself leaving for the prom, but that one of your sister will do just as well

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    1. I may not have looked like the model in the yellow dress, but I felt like that!

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  4. Yes Postcardy - I was thinking the same thing - what a great idea. Thanks for sharing Barbara. I really like the photo of your sister and that very impressive car behind her ! :)

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    1. Yep, the age when all cars were made in America.

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  5. I think you've matched the theme perfectly! That's a lot of dancing too. Was it to a DJ or to a live band?

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    1. I think American Bandstand had some live bands, but mainly were just recordings. Our proms were recordings I think, before the day when DJ's would stand on a stage. But if anyone knows better, I think it's possible we had live musicians...I have a couple of old high school buddies who I've been recently in contact with over FaceBook...perhaps their memories are better!

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  6. Barbara -- Whew! Your school was so organized for its dances. Our school was not so organized -- I guess we were too large of a school for someone to organize. As a result I asked a boy to a dance not knowing that some other girl was going to ask him to our Sadie Hawkins. That did not set right with a few girls. Oh well -- we were young and forgot problems easily --- moving on to the next rock and roll dance. I enjoyed your post with photos. I was in high school about the same time as you describe in your post. Good memories.

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  7. Funny, but I don't remember now if we always had live bands, or sometimes danced to recordings? Mostly I just loved dancing with whoever I was with to whatever music was playing. We had several dances during the school year - some totally dress-up, some more casual. And I loved our gowns - waltz length of taffeta & tulle or velvet & satin over full crinolines of white, orchid, pale yellow, black, deep emerald green, or a deep blue & purple iridescent, & most strapless. The caption under a picture of a formal dance in one of my yearbook says: "Are these the same people I just saw in 7th period?" Those dances were special & always bring a smile when I look back on them.

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  8. Love the picture of your sister, and your fun prom story!

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  9. what a lovely time you had, I can just imagine you in your dresses, those were the days, love the photo of your sister by the old car - must show it to Gary he'll know just what it is, those fins are wonderful

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  10. Prom dances are relatively new here in Britain and there was never anything like that in my High School days - what I missed out on! I would have loved all that dressing up - provided of course I had a partner to go with!

    Susan at Family History Fun

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  11. I hope you managed to fit in some school work as well:)

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    1. Sure glad to hear that that was part of our lives. I think the required invitations made some of us learn how to deal with dating...while the more popular people were doing things together all the time...at least that's what I thought.

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  12. We still have those dances (Sadie Hawkins) they call them here, where the girls invite the boys, and I went to my daughter's a few years ago, as a chaperone!

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  13. I thought about Sadie Hawkins too. The invitations were a great idea...good teaching tool about manners, respect, traditions and so on. Most of which are absent today. I have hope all of that will come back into fashion some day?

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  14. Oh my! Sounds a good deal like my high school years -- though we didn't do written invitations and didn't have dance cards.

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  15. What fun those proms sound; we never had anything like that. An excuse to dress up in a new gown too.

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