My colleague Terry’s eldest child has his prom tonight. Since Terry lives on the school property, Eddie and his date will take their pictures on the grounds, probably standing somewhere in the meadow that used to be a practice polo field when the 117 acres was owned by the publisher of the Boston Globe back in the early 20th century.
My prom, in New York City in 1981, was not so bucolic, nor so romantic.
I had been attempting to date two different girls and, as you know, you generally bring only one date to the prom. This attempt was borne of impetuousness and pride and stupidity.
The summer before my senior year, I had been madly in love with Didi. I was 17. (What’s “love” at that age?) But come autumn, I had already asked her to the prom and arranged to have her photo – she was an occasional model – printed in my senior class yearbook page. The deadline for submissions was November or something and once it was turned into the yearbook editor, it was a done deal. No backs. Never mind, I adored her, and I wanted her everywhere I was.
However, somewhere along January of senior year she started to blow me off, didn’t return my calls for some mysterious reason, and somewhere along March and a few thousand hormones later, I started wanting a new girlfriend.
So I started going out with Lynn.
We went everywhere together and I started to forget about Didi until somebody – a friend, a parent, her parent, her, somebody…-- reminded me that I had made the commitment to take Didi to the prom. She had, in fact, purchased her dress. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if her mother had reminded me about that detail.
Lynn did not like this.
Lynn was not someone to hold back her feelings either. I heard about it. She agreed to let my friend J.M. take her. I was actually relieved. Problem solved.
So prom night arrived, and we all showed up at Tavern on the Green, which my classmate’s father owned then and still does, and I arrive with Didi, and J.M. arrives with Lynn. At the time, the appearance of this didn’t strike me as odd. I mean, I did what I wanted to.
Looking back, I am surprised that Lynn didn’t pack a Glock and silencer to quietly take care of her…boy problem.
But we all danced and drank – it was 1981 and before Reagan raised the drinking age to 21 or withhold from states federal highway funds if they refused – and then about twenty of us sat under the stars in Central Park and then went to have breakfast at The Plaza, like $20 for eggs benedict, and these were 1981 dollars during supply side times.
Didi went on to marry a man who is making millions in the medical records business. Lynn saw me at a class reunion about two years after college and was cordial, but I have not seen her since. That wasn’t the first time J.M. had got me out of a bind.
But then again, I had helped clean up when we had the secret party in his apartment in 9th grade while his mom was away, and Steve Kirn knocked the bathroom sink off the wall.