By Clyde Davis
We didn’t get to go to prom together. Not, that is, until after we had been married for 15 years, or just a few weeks short of it. Then we only got to go because I had signed a paper saying we would chaperone.
I bring that up because there’s truth to the matter that, when one finds the love of one’s life, it can frequently feel like the fabled (and usually inaccurate ) “high school romance.”
We’ve had a lot of fun with that idea throughout the years. For a brief while, we had my grandson convinced that our high school years, Janice and I together, were kind of like some “High School Musical” remake.
For a briefer time, we had Mikayla believing that our high school years, Janice and I together, were like some kind of “Teen Beach Movie.”
Neither one, of course, is true. We grew up separated by 1,300 miles, and had no clue that each other existed. Her proms were like something out of the date from the nether world, and I don’t even remember whom I took to mine.
Still, it’s fun to perpetuate a legend. The most fun we ever had with it was a few years ago, at a high school reunion. I went around telling people “Don’t you remember me? Of course I graduated in 19__. I played football, and wrestled, and was in Future Teachers’ Club.”
At some point, the conversation would usually include, “Oh, I didn’t know we had a wrestling team or Future Teachers’ Club”, to which I’d respond (truthfully) “Oh, I said I was in the class of 19__. I didn’t say I went to high school here!”
It’s kind of fun to reinvent the past, as long as one knows that he or she is reinventing it. Since Mikayla acquired an art book several weeks ago in Santa Fe that shows and patterns one how to draw fashion models, I have been coaching her in how to draw Nana (Janice) as a disco queen like she was back in the late ’70s. The fact that Nana was not a disco queen and to some extent, didn’t even like disco, should not deter the inventing of a legend and a picture based on that legend.
The key difference, especially in recounting these legends to children, is making sure that they understand, at some point, that the stories they are being told are just that — stories.
Mikayla has entered into the prom fantasy with us, keeping her Nana’s new prom dress from my sight until the night when we go to prom. I’m not sure that is part of the prom mythology, but it is in the mind of a ten year old. I am told she will even be doing her Nana’s hair for the prom.
So after 40 years, I finally get to escort the princess of my dreams to the prom.
Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis High School. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org