It's prom time again and oh how times have changed! Between the prom gowns and the events, today's proms are a world away from those in the late 1950s.

Our gowns were something out of Gone With The Wind, with crinolines and tight waists. The fuller the skirt, the prettier we felt.



Most of us were able to find a beautiful gown and crinolines that the local merchants had stocked especially for our proms, or sometimes, if we really got lucky, we could talk our parents into driving to Pittsburgh to go shopping at Kaufman's or Horne's Department Stores.

Our proms were held – OMG – in our gymnasium. No big bucks to rent a fancy catering hall-we did it ourselves. Themes like Krystal Kingdom and Isle of Dreams and we would jitterbug and romantically slow dance to local bands like Bobby Vinton.

My junior prom had a Paradise Island theme, a crate paper dream with palm trees and all of the things that a teenager would think of finding on a tropical Island minus Sandra Dee, Annette and Frankie.

The probability that most of us in the late 1950s living in a small blue collar steel town had never really been to a tropical island, except perhaps in the movies or our dreams, was almost certain. And that the local merchants would be solicited each year to let us borrow their window dressings was also almost certain. Without support of our business community our high school paradise could never have happened. Basically, our whole town was involved in our big night.

Our dates didn't rent chauffeured limos, but borrowed the family car and gave it a lot of teenage testosterone elbow grease to be sure that it was polished to a high shine.

And fathers gave strict warnings when handing over the car keys to their sons, and daughter's fathers gave strict warnings to be sure that his prize was brought home safely and at a decent hour unless they were allowed to go to the "After Glow", a place where we could go after the prom where our parents felt we would be safe.

We didn't stress about renting fancy limousines, asking our parents to come up with hundreds of dollars so that our prom venue would outdo all others and so that we could have the best designer short sexy dress. We were so happy to have what we had.

All we dreamed about was a date for the prom, a beautiful dress and a gym decked out to the max by our classmates. We were not a materialistic generation. We had aspirations, but knew we had to earn our future. That was the 50's generation, my time, and in my opinion, looking back, and although we probably didn't think twice about it then, those really were the best of times.


Sandra Hart Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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Welcome to my world! I have always loved to write, but I have spent most of my adult life in front of either a television or film camera. First as a Romper Room Teacher, then in television series and movies where writing took a backstage place in my life. I am now over 50 and have the freedom to get back to expressing myself through writing. I muse about my life and thoughts and just about everything under the sun. The only order to it is life itself as lived. Natural chaos! I am married and have three grown children who are interested in breeding horses, flying and creating. My youngest is the lead singer/songwriter of the Grammy nominated band, Tonic, Emerson Hart. So here I am, wanting to read about you and at the same time bringing you along with me to mine. I hope you will find me just as interesting as I do you! Hop aboard for the ride.

6 thoughts on “CRATE PAPER HEAVEN”

  1. You look beautiful in your prom dress and it sounds line a lot more fun than mine was. There must be something special about those gymnasium proms because every single Hollywood movie I’ve seen about high school proms from the 50’s thru the 80’s and beyond show the high school prom In the gym… So there you go!


    1. Thanks. I was chairman of my Jr. Prom and no one asked me to go. How sad is that! But senior year the prom king from class of 55 two years earlier was my boyfriend! Justice prevails!


  2. Sandra, I never went to an SHS prom, but the people in the photo I recognize. That’s Bob Porco in the center and on the far left, I believe, that is Dick Dever and he is dancing with Nancy who became his wife. Dick was in my class also and Nancy was the class behind us.. Bob Porco played the accordion and later became a symphony conductor.


    1. Thank you, I was wondering. I took the photo from my Senior Yearbook and I didn’t recognize anyone. Fascinating how most of us left and went on to have interesting lives, isn’t it?


  3. I think things have gone a little too far these days – its so expensive and you are correct, we did have the best of times.


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