April 1977 - our high school prom was just around the corner, and I had purchased my dress, ordered his corsage, and made an appointment to get my hair done, an up-do, of course. The committee worked on the details for months—beautiful setting at the Cavalier in Virginia Beach oceanfront. The music had so many good songs to choose from and found a local band that everyone loved. The sounds of Abba, Queen, Hall & Oates, and Barbara Streisand with the love song from the original A Star is Born movie.
I had been dating Brad for a few months. We always had a good time and good open communication. Good, that is, until the afternoon I went to his car after school to get a ride home. Low and behold, he was making out with another girl. The look on his face when I opened the door, priceless. BUSTED!
Two weeks before prom and no date. Wonderful! My best friend, however, came to the rescue. The boy she was going with had a brother that graduated the year before, and he wanted to go to the prom to keep an eye on his old girlfriend. Great, all I needed was a date anyway. It wasn’t like this was going to be a lifetime commitment.
Yes, we did drink a little bit on the way to dinner—just a little Boone’s Farm Strawberry wine. While I wasn’t quite yet 18, everything was okay. Until that is, I spilled a whole cup of rose-colored wine on my cream-colored dress before we even had dinner. Polyester was suitable in those days. A quick wrung out in the women’s room sink and blow-dried under the hand dryer. Just as he kept an eye on his old girlfriend, I did the same with Brad. His ‘car makeout’ girl was his date, and she made a point of letting me know she had taken ‘my man.’ Honestly, I was okay. My blind date and I did dance a bit, and, frankly, it went well. After the prom, we cruised the strip for a couple of hours, which was THE thing to do. My date had a nice car too, a Ford Torino with shiny tires and white Goodyear lettering. A little peck on the cheek goodnight and a thank you. As I entered the house, I realized I left my corsage in his car. Oh well. If he wanted to see me again, he would get it to me. His sister, in my class, brought it to me a month later, all dried and wilted.
October 2017, we begin preparing for the 40th reunion in January with an October date around Homecoming. While we had over 700 classmates in our class, it was hard finding most of them. Thank goodness for Facebook, as we were able to create a new group and invite as many people as we knew to join the group and get the word out. Despite having monthly meetings to get folks to help with the planning, it came down to four of us that took on the task. We had all attended each decade to celebrate since graduation. We used the Alumni sites, Facebook, old index cards with names and addresses from earlier reunions. It was very time consuming for sure, but oh, the work paid off.
Forty years. That’s a long time, and we were all grown with families. Our careers had taken off. Some more than others, but isn’t that always the way? We wanted the evening to be classy. We wanted to have a buffet that would suit everyone’s taste. As long as there were steaks, chicken, and seafood, we would be a hit. We were able to get a beautiful Golf Course Club House for free, which was a biggie. We were fortunate to obtain a caterer that met all our needs and price points.
We held a golf tournament the day before the reunion, followed by a fantastic Welcome Event the night before the reunion. A casual get together at a local restaurant. There were many hugs and tears, and classmates met up, some for the first time in many years. Our Saturday was busy putting all the final touches on and preparing for the night.
I took the first shift of welcoming in our guests and requesting them to sign the guest book with updated mailing and email addresses. This age of technology makes planning for an event like this much more manageable. Classmates from out of town many of us had not seen in years. I must say all the women looked amazing. Some didn’t seem to age a day. Now the gents, that was a different story. Some were still the same, but the majority were huskier with much less hair many years later. The DJ played all the songs of the ’70s, and the bar stayed busy all night long. The buffet was a hit, as was the photo booth contributed by one of the planning members.
I found myself watching everyone a lot. There were so many smiles and happy memories shared and new memories in the making. The dance floor stayed busy. About mid-way through the evening, my boyfriend from the day, Brad, asked me to dance. A little awkward. He was now a retired police officer, twice divorced with two boys and a grandson. His current wife, sadly, had some mental issues they had been dealing with for years. He looked pretty much the same.
About three-quarters of the way through the song, he asked, “so, have you ever forgiven me?” “Forgiven you for what?” His response surprised me, “for messing up our prom by cheating on you.” This question was an easy answer for me, but I didn’t want it to sound harsh. I responded to him, “Brad, that blind date that I had for the prom has been the love of my life ever since, and we just celebrated our 35th Wedding Anniversary. Honestly, I should thank you, because had you not cheated on me before that night, I would have never met my husband, had two beautiful children and a grandchild.” He said, “well, it certainly was my loss.” With a smile and a wink, I responded, “yes, it certainly was.” We hugged following the dance, promising to keep in touch.