Senior Prom in Sarasota

A Night To Remember

It is 1944 in Sarasota, Florida and Sarasota High School is buzzing with plans for the Senior Prom. As a senior I am excited at the prospect and have a date planned with my steady boyfriend. I have my dress and we love to dance so it promises to be a wonderful evening. There is one tradition that the more daring students enjoy on the night of the prom. They try to stay out all night until sun-up, driving around, going to the “Smack”, a local drive-in restaurant and driving out to the end of Longboat Key for more dancing on the hard sand to music from a portable record player. Such fun to be young on a balmy night with perhaps a moon shining a pathway over the Gulf of Mexico.

There is a problem, however, a couple of problems, the parents. George’s mother keeps close tabs on him. His use of the family car is quickly revoked at the slightest breaking of the rules. My parents would never say yes to an all night cruise around town. Our solution is to double date with my girl friend and her date. I would stay out al late as possible and return to her house for the rest of the night. My parents gave their approval. At the last minute something happened and the double date was cancelled. George and I were on our own. We had a fine time at the prom where we enjoyed a big band, dancing to every song. At one point we found ourselves jitterbugging in the center of the gym while a ring of onlookers formed around us. What fun it all was. Of course we were too exhilarated to go home after the dance so we went to the Smack to have cherry cokes and drop nickels in the juke box, then out to all our favorite spots in Sarasota: Lido Beach, Siesta Key, Longboat Key. We passed other high school friends doing the same thing and called to one another. We didn’t even dare look at our watches. We’d never been out this late. Indeed, we forgot about time.

Dawn was breaking when George turned the car into my street. The night seemed to have passed so quickly. I said, “Oh George, is that the sun coming up?” to which he responded, “Well, it isn’t our uncle Louis” — a ridiculous saying but popular at the time.

We drove up to the house and there on the porch sat my father. He had remembered that my friend’s last name was Jones. When George’s mother had called asking where we were, my father had called all the Joneses in the telephone book. When we walked up on the porch my father simply turned and said, “Do you want to call any of the Joneses? They’re all awake. Mother came upon the scene at this point and said, “George, call your mother”. My 6 foot boy friend probably felt considerably smaller as he crossed the room to the phone. Needless to say, the car privileges were taken away and we were back to riding our bikes. Sometimes a date with George found me riding on his handle bars. We felt guilty about our escapade but we had done it. We had stayed out all night after the prom.

Pat Broman
Southbury, CT © 2016

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