Letters to the Editor

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PROM: The year when prom was free

Letter by Bernice L. Youtz, Tacoma on April 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm | 79 Comments »
April 26, 2012 1:04 pm

Re: “Prom as a budget buster” (editorial, 4-25).

The editorial cites a source saying that the average family of a 2012 graduate will spend $1,078 on prom expenses. The writer muses that those who recall more modest times are “old . . . Very old.”

I graduated in 1943. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Los Angeles School Board canceled all evening activities, citing the possibility of “blackouts.” By June 1943, there had been no “blackouts” for more than a year, but the rule prevailed.

Our “prom” was a noon sock-hop in the gym, followed by return to afternoon classes. I do not remember what cotton school dress I wore, but cost was not a factor. Graduation was also at noon on the football field.

Many of the boys in the class came in uniform, home on leave; others were already overseas. Their names were read and diplomas were accepted by a family member. The remaining males would report to induction centers the next morning.

That evening there were, of course, private parties and dates, limited by the amount of rationed gas in the family car. We girls would soon go to college or find jobs, and write letters to boys with APO addresses. But it was far from a sad event. With the high spirits of youth, we may have found those days as rewarding as today’s elaborate celebrations – at little cost to our parents.

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