Yeah, the"After Prom Party", what a strange night.

The quick version of the Prom: I came home one afternoon from school and Dad was already there - the Corvette was hard to miss. It was too early for him to be home. What did I do this time? I went in. Dad said "I think you'd better go talk to Mrs. (X, I won't mention names)". I couldn't figure this one out. I go to Mrs. X's and she tells me I'm taking Miss Y (not her daughter) to the Prom.

I didn't ask Miss Y, and she was an underclasswoman to boot. What was this about? Mrs. X says "We think this will be better for everyone". As far as I knew she only knew Dad because I used to play street football with her son. "Everyone" - then I got it. Dad had gotten The Call from JHHS, and it was "Don't have Norman showing up at the Prom with Lydia.". Nice. Hey, it was 1966.

So I saw Miss Y at school the next day. I said to her "I guess we're going to the Prom together".

She said "Yeah, that's what I was told". I'm thinking "I'm taking a Freshman to the Prom..."

We did all the standard stuff on the night, parent pictures at her house, I mooched us a ride with the late Tony Gore, we took off for the Prom and I was rigid with anger but was going to fight through it. But when we got there I just went through the motions, except for answering "Where's the Corvette?".

"Dad's driving it", I said more than once.

I don''t remember a minute of it, really. No, wait: the '66 girls looked GOOD. I remember that.

Then back home (I guess), change clothes and off to the After-Prom Party. When we got to the door, I told Miss Y "I can't do this. Have a good time. I'll be out here."

So there I was, sitting on a bench outside while everybody else (including my abandoned date) were inside listening to the Mag Men. Not long after, Gary Hench shows up. "What're you doing out here?" I told him. He just looked at me and sat down. Not long after, Stella Alexis showed up (did Gary take her to the Prom?) and sat down. In that evening, we talked out a mountain of frustrations and ambitions and Gary outlined to me how a new movement of young people was going to change the world. He said "It's bigger than what happened to you or anything that happened here. The world will be different - and we have to be different to be in it". He and I had talked about this before. I said "I'm ready." and he said he already knew that.

So a crappy night created by forces bigger than me, my friends or my family, one that had me so angry at first that I acted terribly towards my date (who was more of a pawn than I was and to whom I later apologized) actually was one of the most uplifting evenings I ever had. And all because someone pulled some very big strings to keep me from taking someone else to the Prom.

We had never intended on doing that, by the way....

Thanks, Gary and Stella. And thanks to my date for not ripping me to shreds.

Prom Night musing from Norman Gaines.