Danc­ing down mem­ory lane

Mu­sic from by­gone eras set the mood at a prom thrown for se­nior ci­ti­zens.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Senior - By TREVA LIND

SARA Martin beams while look­ing at a photo from her 1962 prom. She’s pic­tured in an apri­cot-coloured gown stand­ing next to a young Kevin Martin, dressed in a dark suit.

She in­vited Kevin, then a Gon­zaga Uni­ver­sity fresh­man, to her Holy Names Academy se­nior prom held at a ho­tel. The dance had Elvis Pres­ley tunes and the Twist. She wore long

white gloves and re­calls her favourite flow­ers, gar­de­nias, in the wrist cor­sage.

“I met him through a friend,” said Sara Martin, gaz­ing at their pic­ture from 55 years ago. “He dated Marycliff girls, but he ended up mar­ry­ing a Holy Names girl.”

By 1965, they were wed. She’d de­cided against be­com­ing a nun af­ter a short stint at a con­vent. Both 73 now, the cou­ple lives at Riverview Re­tire­ment Com­mu­nity which held a prom-themed dance re­cently for res­i­dents and em­ploy­ees.

Af­ter their first prom, Kevin and Sara Martin grabbed ham­burg­ers at a favourite joint. “Nowa­days, kids get lim­ou­sines and eat at fancy restau­rants,” she said. “We went out and got a burger af­ter. He was a catch. I had a crush on him from the first time I met him.”

The Martin’s photo joined other prom pic­tures from res­i­dents and staff flashed on a video slide show dur­ing the Riverview Ball, held in the af­ter­noon. The cen­tre’s re­cre­ation room was dec­o­rated in black, sil­ver, and white bal­loons and stream­ers.

Riverview Re­tire­ment, a 12-ha cam­pus along Up­river Drive in Spokane, Wash­ing­ton, has about 400 res­i­dents in hous­ing that ranges from in­de­pen­dent liv­ing units to as­sisted-liv­ing quar­ters and skilled nurs­ing care.

Kayla Schreiber, Riverview recre­ational ther­a­pist, said the fa­cil­ity nor­mally holds a Western-themed bar­be­cue dur­ing this time of year. “This year, we wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent,” Schreiber said. “A lot of staff mem­bers have had their kids go­ing to prom the past few week­ends, so we thought, why not bring prom here?”

About 150 peo­ple dressed up all over again in for­mal gowns and suits, or ca­sual clothes if they pre­ferred, to dance down mem­ory lane. Some of the men even ar­rived in tuxes, and sev­eral em­ploy­ees also wore for­mal at­tire and danced with res­i­dents.

“It sure looks like a high school prom,” said Angie Bri­er­ley, 83. On a ta­ble near the en­trance, peo­ple could se­lect or­chid cor­sages or yel­low car­na­tion bou­ton­nieres.

A DJ played mu­sic from mul­ti­ple decades start­ing with the 1920s through to to­day’s top mu­sic, with a range from Glenn Miller to Johnny Cash. Even a line dance to Boot Scootin’ Boo­gie drew a crowd, and a few res­i­dents in wheel­chairs took a few twirls, as­sisted by staff.

Be­tween dances, peo­ple put on hats and fancy props to take turns at a photo booth that in­stantly printed three small pho­tos.

Al­though her hus­band skipped the fes­tiv­i­ties, Sara Martin came to the dance in a for­mal black cruise dress. “He’s shy,” said Martin about her hus­band. She took sev­eral spins on the dance floor with Riverview friends. “I love danc­ing.”

Mer­i­lyn Kraften­berg, 89, watched from a ta­ble near the dance floor. She re­called at­tend­ing the Coeur d’Alene High School prom in 1945 in a pink for­mal dress, but she didn’t have a date.

“Most of the boys were gone be­cause they’d been drafted,” she said. “There was a few boys there. We had a live band. We had dance book­lets and the guys would use them to ask us to dance.”

Prom-era mu­sic for Clyde An­der­son, 90, meant Benny Good­man, Ar­tie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and his brother Jimmy Dorsey. An­der­son is known at Riverview Re­tire­ment for be­ing good at the fox­trot, and some staff mem­bers have asked him to teach them the dance moves.

An­der­son, dressed in a pin­striped suit, came to Riverview’s prom with his wife Joanne, 86. She wore a polka-dot dress. The cou­ple met a few years af­ter his grad­u­a­tion and mil­i­tary ser­vice, so they weren’t to­gether yet when An­der­son went to his 1944 se­nior prom at North Cen­tral High School.

He re­mem­bers his prom was held down­town next to the Spokane Club. “It’s not there any­more,” he said. “It was the Ea­gle’s Club. I don’t even re­mem­ber an orches­tra, just prob­a­bly a Vic­trola.”

At age 17, An­der­son also at­tended the prom in 1944 for Lewis and Clark, af­ter he was asked by a girl from that school he’d met at a swim­ming event.

“It was World War II, so there wasn’t a lot of time for fri­vol­ity,” An­der­son re­called. “No­body had money back then. I bor­rowed a suit to go to the prom from a friend who was the same size. Mostly the girls made their dresses. You bought a cor­sage for your date; that was a given.”

About a week af­ter those two proms, An­der­son left to serve with the US Navy. He stayed in dur­ing the rest of the war, stud­ied en­gi­neer­ing at Gon­zaga Uni­ver­sity for two years, then got a de­gree in en­gi­neer­ing at Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton be­fore be­ing re­called into the mil­i­tary for Korea.

“By the time I came back here ev­ery­one was mar­ried or gone,” he said. He met his wife on a blind date and got mar­ried in May 1953. Af­ter years as Val­ley res­i­dents, they both live at Riverview Re­tire­ment.

An­der­son said he ap­pre­ci­ates the mu­sic of the 1940s, and danced with his wife for many of the big band sounds played dur­ing the dance, much like at his prom. “It was the Glenn Miller era,” he said. “Right now, it’s just a bunch of noise.”

Rock ‘n’ roll of the 1950s was the mu­sic of prom for Phil Martin, 78, who came dressed to the max – wear­ing a tux and vest to es­cort his date, Pam Com­stock, 85, who wore a for­mal dress. While Com­stock was in Min­neapo­lis for her se­nior dance, Martin went to the 1956 prom in Spokane for North Cen­tral High School.

“There was lots of ‘50s mu­sic, Elvis, Lit­tle Richard, Perry Como,” he said.

An­other cou­ple, Bill and Mar­jorie Haver­croft, came to lis­ten to that mu­sic. This one dance counted, be­cause they didn’t make it to the se­nior prom dur­ing their high school years. Mar­jorie, now 82, couldn’t af­ford to go as a se­nior in 1953, and Bill grad­u­ated early.

“I was work­ing by the time the prom would have hap­pened,” said Bill, 83. “I found out I could grad­u­ate in three years and went to work.”

Al­though they both at­tended Rogers High School, they never met while both were stu­dents. A chance to buy a car brought the pair to­gether, when Bill Haver­croft worked at a sawmill with Mar­jorie’s brother.

“Her brother had a car in his yard he said he’d sell me for a dol­lar,” he said. “She an­swered the door. I had to go back and ask her out.” They mar­ried in 1954. How­ever, he ad­mits go­ing to a few dances in Spokane be­fore he met his fu­ture wife. “There was a place down­town,” he said. “The Spot, they called it, and ev­ery Fri­day night they had dances, and you’d just show up. Not be­ing a dancer, I’d lis­ten to the mu­sic and look at the girls.”

The Haver­crofts even­tu­ally made up for those missed early dances, when they later en­joyed square danc­ing to­gether for about 10 to 15 years.

To­day, Mar­jorie Haver­croft deals with health is­sues be­cause of os­teo­poro­sis, and fol­low­ing a re­cent surgery, she lives at Riverview. Bill Haver­croft, who keeps up their home near Chief Garry Park, vis­its her at Riverview ev­ery day. “I can’t get along with­out her,” he said. To which, Mar­jorie pat­ted his hand and said, “I’m glad.” – The Spokesman-Re­view/Tri­bune News Ser­vice

— Pho­tos: TNS

“This is our first dance since his am­pu­ta­tion,” said Marlys Achey as she danced with her hus­band Len Achey dur­ing the prom.

“I keep ask­ing her to marry me and she keeps say­ing no,” said Phil Martin as he waited to get his pic­ture taken with his date Pamela.

“Won­der­ful,” said Lisa Ing­ham as she chair-danced.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.