PROM. Don't ask me how that happened. He was seven years old just the other day, and the only great wish he had was to meet Mickey Mouse (spelled Miky Maws.)

Prom is a much bigger deal than it was when I was a young lass. Tickets are much more expensive, and it's like this giant all-day thing. Ian's girlfriend, Caroline, is a charming and sweet girl (plus theater geek and sf nerd, so we like her). Poor girl spent half the day at the salon! I think I went to a hairdresser or something...

Exploring the costs of tux rental left both me and Ian in palpitations - poor boy earns about $55 a month from his various "employments," so a $175 rental plus $40 in flowers plus $50 for the prom ticket plus $15 for after-prom was a tad daunting.

But since Mom is a super genius, I found that tux rental places sell their unwanted tuxes on eBay, usually when they get some minor problem. I found a tux in his exact size for $35. Perfect condition except for a slight tear at the waist, which we took to the same lovely seamstress who altered my wedding gown. If I had the slightest idea what I'm doing with a needle, I probably could have fixed it myself, but I can sew on a button and that's about it. Plus, he gets to keep it!

He did buy a dark red bow tie on Amazon that matched her dress more or less perfectly. Aw.

The day of the prom was scheduled to be dark and thunderstormy. This was a problem, because we had planned to do pictures at the Gardens at SIUE, which is the same place where Jim and I had our wedding pictures done. However, two problems loomed: The Gardens is the single most popular photography spot in town, so we'd be standing in line; and the storms.

The day was dark and sprinkly. And as we began getting ready, Boy confessed that he had invited his various miscreant friends along to the photo shoot. Suddenly I'm doing photos for a dozen kids. Oh, really? Commence the group chat, which is apparently how kids communicate these days - what, nobody passes notes anymore?

So we developed Plans B, C and D. Since the Gardens were likely to be crammed with prom families, we determined Plan A was now the lovely fountain in front of the library, if the weather was fair. If it was sprinkly but not outright raining, the pavilion in Leclaire Park overlooks a lovely lake and fountain. If it was pouring, well.... Everything pretty is outdoors or out of town!

I sent a panicked text to two photographer friends. One suggested a spot on the second floor of the college library that can make for neat photos. The other suggested the bus station - no, really! It's covered, there's an "Edwardsville" sign at one spot, and the architecture is pretty nice, actually.

While checking out those spots, we saw that the Wildey Theater had opened its doors. See, back in the 1950s and 60s, the Wildey hosted the prom. They rolled out a red carpet, and the kids strolled in past parental paparazzi. They were announced by couple, and it was a big deal for the town.

Well, Edwardsville High School now has something like 2,500 kids. There's no way the Wildey can hold all those kids. For perspective: Our wedding reception was in the larger ballroom at the Wildey, and it was full with about 100 guests. The actual prom is held at a convention center in Collinsville.

But they had put the prom up on the marquee side, and opened doors for photos.

As we finished our preparations, Ian was begging the skies to stay clear. I told him he should strike a deal with God that if the weather cooperated just through the photo shoot, he would be on time for his classes the rest of the semester. "I can do that," he said.

What do you know? The skies opened up as we were picking up Caroline and caravanning with her and her mom to the park. Sunny and lovely just long enough for the shoot.

So we were at the fountain, with couple and single shots there and under trees in the park. Then we waited on the Miscreants, but they never showed. Ian said they were all running madly about town trying to get ready.

So we went on to the Wildey. We shot under the marquee, on the stage, and at the ticket booth. It was really lovely, and made it very special for the kids - in particular since they met working on plays, and because it was their one-month anniversary. All together now: Aw.

After that, who cares? Okay, they did. The prom was lovely, by all reports and from the photos shared. Dancing and silliness and romance of the teenage variety.

And once prom was over, we collected the kids and delivered them to the after-prom, which is a five-hour mini-carnival inside the school with food and games and prizes and silliness in a safe, supervised, drug-free environment. Not that we don't trust the kids, but.... Oh wait. Reporter. I popped for the after-prom tickets myself.

Then Boy slept nearly twelve hours. Can you blame him?


  1. What no horse drawn carriage! Or at least a limo. LOL that seems to be the thing over on this side of the river for prom.

  2. What no horse drawn carriage! Or at least a limo. LOL that seems to be the thing over on this side of the river for prom.

  3. I was the limo! :) Some kid(s) did get one of those ghastly Hummer limos, but most were in their own cars or parents' cars. Refreshing, actually; most of Boy's classmates are far wealthier than we are, the kids who get a car for their sixteenth birthday and spend spring break in Cancun.


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