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A senior prom for seniors

SP_Couple Dancing

By Harvey H. Jackson

Senior prom season is in full swing.
However, in addition to the senior prom that honors the senior class, my daughter’s high school holds another.
The Student Government Association sponsors “Senior Citizens Prom,” for old folks ­– which to the kids is anyone over 50.
The kids (with adult input and supervision) decorate the cafeteria, put together a “play list” of ’50s and ’60s songs, lay out heaps of food (made by mamas and/or donated by local businesses), and get door prizes – also donated. Then they get the word out to senior citizens that for $10 each they can hit the buffet and dance the night away, at least from 6:00 to 9:00, when the elderly need to be heading home.

Although the “theme” was “The 50s,” the seniors did not dress in jeans, white socks and poodle skirts. They came dressed as they would have dressed for a prom – coats, ties, long dresses, one guy in a dinner jacket. They hit the dance floor, and you could see from the way they moved that age slowed them only slightly.  Some of those couples had obviously been partners since the ’50s and could still bop, shag, and shuffle with style and grace.  And when the music slowed, they held on to each other as only old lovers can and do. Time turned back and they were young again.

As everyone knows, an all-you-can-eat-buffet is a senior citizen’s natural habitat, and they went at the food like locusts. Then back to dancing. The kids joined in, leading them through “YMCA,” and twisting and shouting to “Twist and Shout.” Senior citizens are into group participation. So are teenagers. It was a perfect match. Conga lines, circle dances, hand jive, one group of oldsters even broke into a modified version of the Electric Slide, and the kids struggled mightily to catch on. I, myself, took a turn with my daughter and quickly “Twist and Shout” became “pause and pant.” I needed to get in better shape. At 9 p.m. the DJ called out “Last Dance,” and the strains of “Goodnight Sweetheart” floated across the room. The dancers, hardwired to go home when that song ended, took one more twirl around and headed for the door.

The kids, worn out and happy, were also ready to call it a night.  As the senior citizens collected their stuff, they thanked us for the good time they had. We thanked them for coming out to support our children.As they left, they vowed to return next year. So did my daughter and her friends. “This was,” one of them said, “more fun than our Senior Prom.” But next year my daughter’s group will be off at college.

Will they come back to dance with the senior citizens? We’ll see. But one thing is for certain. That night the young folks discovered that the old folks know how to have a good time. And why shouldn’t they? They’ve been doing it for years.