Here is a look at some ‘Yester-Years’ Proms and a little history from Harley

I attended my first Lidgerwood Prom in 1969 as all High School teachers were invited to the Banquet and Prom. Those of us that stayed for the dance sat at a long table and watched the students for some time and later most of the staff left. I stayed to the end. I noticed some things that were strangely done and there weren’t very many decorations.

The next year I asked if I could be the Prom Adviser. No problem, the previous person was glad to get rid of the job. So for this comming Prom year I made many changes.

After the students stopped dancing on the floor, they would return to the old bleachers to sit down, wearing their nice gowns and suits.

So, my first change was to have 50 card tables brought in by the Junior and Senior students to be placed ‘inside’ of the decorations, so they could be a part of the scene and converse more easily with other students. We had about 600 students then and averaged about 50 students in each grade – only Seniors, Juniors and Sophomores were allowed to attend. The tables were all covered and candles were on each one to provide some ambiance light. I also purchased two big spotlights with colored gelatins to shine down on to the floor area. No white lights any more.

The Juniors held class meetings to decide on all the items that were to be bought.

After that first Prom, I found that it was too difficult to have the whole class decide on all the things we had to do and buy. Too many students got grumpy when they didn’t get their way and caused some hard feelings.  So, I made another change and created a Prom Committee consisting of 13 students (there would be no voting ties). The Junior students had to volunteer if they wanted to be on the committee. I didn’t want just the ‘most popular’ students picked, I wanted dedicated workers to make the choices. Those students were then voted on by the whole class. The committee would make the decisions and the whole class would be involved in all the decorating of the gym.

An example: For the candles, do they want tall ones, short ones, round ones, rectangular ones, sculptured ones, with or without angle hair, and what would be the color? What about the different types of candle holders? Making these choices took a lot of meetings and time.

Well enough of that, let’s get on with some photos.

Prom dresses were different way back then in the 60’s.

The entire gym was to be decorated, so a main wire was attached to each end basket to hold up the ceiling. Streamers were used on the ceiling and the outside walls (lots of work). Murals were put on the back wall, some purchased while others were hand painted to match the theme of the Prom. And smaller wires were then crossed the other direction to hold hanging ceiling decorations.

Popular themes were Foreign Countries. I designed most of the building projects and drew out detailed structures and all the dimensions. All wood structures were made with 1” x 2” boards, strong but light enough. The first year they used hammer and nail construction. But I quickly learned they weren’t very good with  the hammer and nail things. To many split pieces of wood. The next year we only used a drill, nuts & bolts and many metal angle braces. This also worked better as we only were allowed 4 days of the gym being closed off to all school activities to do the decorating. So, the students met in garages and constructed the framework of the buildings. They were then partially disassembled to bring into the gym at Prom time; then reassembled and covered with materials. Worked great using the nut and bolt method of construction. Purchased company kits were too expensive, so we improvised quite nicely.

I decided to have 3 really good places for students to take their pictures. Also, I always came up with some idea to be used as a punch building, like a hut, a large beehive, castle or a windmill. The servers took turns manning those areas.

The Hawaiian Theme

The 6 islands in the background

The punch hut and the servers with their costumes, more about that later.

The student entrance - Lots of streamers

Another punch building

Sophomore servers chosen by the committee

The costumes were made by some parents using modified purchased patterns to match the Prom Theme.

I did this so when the servers would be roaming around the gym they would ADD to the stagnant decorations.

When they weren’t on punch duty, they were invited to dance with the others,

just an extra for them to show our appreciation for them willing to work that night.

The Holland Theme

Windmills of Your Mind

One of the rivers came from the windmill which was also our punch serving building.

Another river went to the wishing well.
Yes, that is me and my wife LaVonne.
And yes, we had ‘live’ bands – no disc jockeys playing records.

Seeing there were no mementoes for the students, I introduced them to Prom Booklets.

Theme covers were purchased and 10 pages were typed up by committee members to list certain information.

Matching table napkins and place cards were added to compliment the keepsake booklets.

A bridge was built to cross the river on the gym floor to get to the three separate areas.

Sailing Away Theme