“Mary Olson spins better than 90 percent of 90-year-olds. She wisely pairs a red satin top with comfy New Balances on Prom Night.
“Life is short, I have no regrets,”” she says of her dancing days, old and new. Here, Olson takes a turn with Marquette sophomore Brennan Foeckler.” photo by Sara Stathas
This Milwaukee Event is a Different Kind of Senior Prom
The gents are dressed to the nines and ladies don their best jewelry. Just don’t forget your walker.
The roughly 70 guests of honor are sexagenarians to centenarians, and despite their age, several of them say it’s their first such dance. Some slowly shuffle into the festively decorated cafeteria, in bow ties and dresses; others in Brewers caps and sweatpants are pushed in wheelchairs by caretakers.
“At least I was wearing red when they dragged me out here,” 100-year-old Marcella Bishanell laughs.
Divine Savior Holy Angels senior Abigail Stoffel says she prefers the event to her own junior prom. “There’s less people, it’s better decorated. It’s going to be a lot better coordinated and more fun.”
DSHA senior Katie Schulz, who helped coordinate the event with Stoffel, says “It’s one of our favorite events because it’s one of their favorite events.”
A couple of attendees fall asleep in their seats. One woman wearing a sweater asks for wine; all she gets is fruit punch, but she seems content anyways.
Some dancers are quicker than others. When the music starts, one woman just about sprints to the dance floor with the help of her walker.
Residents trickle in and out as the evening progresses. When you’ve been alive since Herbert Hoover’s presidency, your energy tends to dip.
American proms — short for “promenade,” an antiquated French term that means “leisurely walk” — can be traced to Ivy League schools’ “Presentation Week.” Proms backtracked from college to high school in the early 1900s, where they’ve become a coming-of-age staple, and became more extravagant in the post-World War II boom.
Adam is a journalist who recently returned to his Wisconsin home after graduating from Drake University in December 2017. He interned with MilMag in the summer of 2015 and has been a continual contributor ever since. Follow him on social media @Could_Be_Rogan
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