Ah, June, that poignant month for graduations and proms. What teenager doesn’t fantasize about going to the prom, decked in their finery, ready to splurge on a night of fancy?
I was seeing a fellow that year named Alan. He was a colorful character, very bright, witty, and a real iconoclast. In fact, he wore suits to school during a time that bell-bottoms, tie-dye and love beads were all the rage. Maybe he was the real rebel?
Naturally, Alan asked me to the prom. I accepted.
Back then; I don’t remember people renting limos. At least, in my circle of friends they didn’t. The guy just borrowed the parents’ car, and promised to have his date home by midnight. Right! Like that’s really going to happen when hormones are raging, and the evening is filled with promise.
The prom was held at the Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills, overlooking the San Fernando Valley. In fact, that’s where we had our 40th reunion last year, which was so memorable.
Since I was sort of a hippie, I think I wore my red Indian print dress, along with my leather sandals, no bra, and love beads. I doubt I even had a corsage. I probably didn’t even know what that was. I’m sure I thought it was some sort of exercise regimen.
I probably would have preferred something like a lilac wreath around my head. Alan probably wore a tuxedo.
Alan’s family car was a Plymouth, a sci-fi looking boat-sized sedan with lots of buttons on the dashboard. As I recall, it looked like that car Christine in that Stephen King movie, the green hue of the instruments always giving off that eerie hue. The car was large enough for make-out sessions, since it didn’t have bucket seats, so it was perfect for dating, or hauling other kids around on double dates.
I don’t remember much about the prom, except some fancy food, slow dancing, and enjoying the company of my twin sister Teresa who was dating Alan’s best friend, Steve.
After dinner, someone came up with a bright idea to go to the beach. Leo Carrillo was the destination of choice, as it had many caves, and could shelter us from the elements.
Soon we were headed over the Sepulveda pass and onto PCH. It was probably close to midnight when we arrived, the waves cascading their iridescent foam all over the rocks. Romance was in the air.
I’m sure Alan thought he’d get lucky that night, but that didn’t happen.
Another classmate brought a fellow I hadn’t met before named Daniel. Daniel was very different than any fellow I had encountered at NHHS. He was quiet, spiritual, artistic and seemingly wise beyond his years.
His outlook seemed far above the pedestrian antics exhibited by most high school boys. I was immediately drawn to him. He played the flute, practiced meditation, and was a vegetarian.
Although I was there with Alan, my mind kept wandering over to Daniel. I was swept under his spell, much like those who followed that Jim Jones character. And look what happened to them...
Daniel and I saw each other for several months until his life took an unfortunate turn a few years later. Thankfully, at that time, I was no longer seeing him.
But that night at Leo Carrillo was a pivotal one for me.
Maybe that’s what proms are all about.