Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Was A Boarding School Brat... Part 6

Both my Junior & Senior years at Ursuline Academy we had, believe it or not, a Junior/Senior Prom. Mind you, my graduating class was like 11 girls. The senior class was even less my junior year, I think. It was pretty much a joke, but we went for it with all we had. What else did we have to do besides study?

Girls from nearby towns & St. Louis that had boyfriends, would invite them, some of their families came, and then there were those of us who didn't. Have boyfriends. Or families. Come. Not to worry! The nuns had a top secret deal with Kemper Military Academy (over in Booneville, MO... the same school Will Rogers attended when it was still an all male boarding school), so they would send the required number of their finest losers over on the assigned date, so that we boarding school losers would have someone to dance with. You know, for our exciting prom. A total unity of losers, fattys & geeks alike. I'm sure it must have been a sight to see. I kept no pictures of it. All I can say is that both years were a near blank for me. I remember pimples and burr haircuts and not wanting to dance close at all.

The Brown Recluse, who has and always will buy her clothes at Neiman's, sent me the most gawd-awful dress from Lerner's. It was also too small. So, one of the seniors I was friends with, made some alterations on it for me. Her name was Mary Alice Brockreitens and she had been orphaned at 16 when her parents were killed in a car crash. The executor of her parents estate sent her to Ursuline. I am so thankful she went there. She was one of my favorite people and she could do almost everything and she was mega smart. She was the top student in her class and just oozed talent in sports, school & all else. I truly wanted to be just like her.

She saved me from total humiliation at my first prom. My dress actually looked normal by the time she was done with it and I loved it. When she graduated, she was supposed to come into a great deal of money, but she always said she'd return it all just to have her parents back. Many years later, I finally understood what she meant. I've often wondered what became of her.

At any rate, we were allowed to have our proms but they were small and nothing like even a small town high school prom. Still, it was all we had, so we tried to make the very best of it. But Jeeze, they were so comically lame.

I still cannot stand the sight of pimple faced boys with burr haircuts, to this day. Not that you see that many these days.

The horrible guy they paired me with both years looked exactly like "Buzz", the mean big brother in Home Alone. Except that he had more pimples than Buzz, and way worse teeth. He was revolting, but since I was no great prize at the time, I tried to tolerate him.

We employed a local band from someplace within the Arcadia-Ironton-Pilot Knob area and I just remember that they were okay to dance to and that they only played 3 slow songs all night (I was thankful). And, when they did play the slow ones, the nuns were like referees on a basketball court, ready to yell foul at a moment's notice. As. If.

None of the girls from Mexico were allowed to attend (by their families... tradition & all) so I kept excusing myself to go to the ladies room every time a slow dance came up. It was hilarious. As soon as I walked out of the Gym, I'd run across the drive to the dorms (in my french heel pumps), race up the stairs, give a report to my roomie Maria Esther & her friends, then I'd race back. I'd tell them what they were missing and they would reel with the giggles. They knew they weren't missing a thing, as did I.

The year was 1968-1969 and back home, my brother (The Prince) was graduating from Aspen High School and had a scholarship to The Scripps Research Institute. I didn't get to attend his graduation, but his graduation woodsy was where I'd met Sid Erickson, my highschool sweetheart. That year, Led Zeppelin was the #1 album, Lyndon Johnson left the White House & Richard Nixon took office, the Beatles gave their last public performance on top of Apple Records in London & it was ended by police, the very last Saturday Evening Post was issued, Golda Meir became the first woman Prime Minister of Israel, the secret bombing of Cambodia began, the violence in Ireland raged on, the SDS convention in Chicago collapsed & was taken over by The Weathermen, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones drowned in a swimming pool, the first troop withdrawls from Viet Nam begin, Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge with Mary Jo Kopeckne in the car, Charlie Manson & his freak girls committed murders in Hollywood of Sharon Tate & others, the Woodstock Festival was held in upstate New York, the Chicago Eight were brought to trial, Monty Python made its debut on the BBC and Jack Kerouac died. Those were turbulent times, believe me.
We all made it to the end of the year and vowed to write over the Summer, which we didn't do a lot of. But, we knew there was always next year, our last & senior year. I always thought it was better not to write over the Summer so that we'd have all that to talk about over the long school year.

This is the auditorium where graduation ceremonies were held.


Mamahut said...

Are you telling me I should quit giving my boys buzz cuts :)

Daryl said...

What a walk down memory lane parts of this were for me .. and how awkwardly constructed was that sentence/thought ... your prom w/the 'losers' reminded me of an old movie ... I am enjoying getting to know you ...


Mental P Mama said...

Great post, and the 68-69 wrap-up is very cool. Would love to hear what happened to Mary Alice, too.

scargosun said...

When I saw the military guys the first thing I thought of were the Valley Forge Military School dances that I's only heard about. The guys were supposedly scary aggressive.

San said...

Nicely written memoir--I got a great image of all of you lost little geeks trying your damndest to have a good time. And your account of running to the bathroom to avoid the slow dances is priceless! I would have done the same thing.

Providing a recap of what was going on at the time was simply brilliant. Yes, those were turbulent times. The auditorium is pretty though--I love the wall color and the windows.

Holy Crappers said...

Mary Alice sounds like my kind of friend!!

imbeingheldhostage said...

I just wanted you to know that I can't wait to begin commenting on your cooking blog! Love your recipes :-)

Meg said...

I love reading this story...and sounds like Mary Alice rocked! You should track her down...classmates.com reunion.com that sort of thing!

Snooty Primadona said...

mama: Nah, just don't let them anywhere near me, lol. j/k

Daryl: Which sentence, lol? They are all a bit crazy. That's just how I roll.

MP, Holy Crappers & Meg... Don't make me get ahead of the story, now. Patience grasshoppers...

scargo: These guys were just dullards, lol. Nothing aggressive in their entire bodies, from what we saw. They were equally as innocent as we were.

San: Thank you! It was pathetic but somehow we made it rock. I'm quite certain I'm surely remembering it better than it really was, lol.

heldhostage: It's a done deal! I launched my cooking blog today. It is:


brneyedgal967 said...

God I have missed reading your stories. You're such a great story teller. I am starting here and working my way back. :-)


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