The Washington Post

Prom night takes on a golden light

(Darwin Weigel/The Calvert Recorder)

Four generations of Ida Garner’s family witnessed her crowning as prom queen during the “Blast from the Past” prom at the Solomons Nursing Center.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Garner, 93, said of being named prom queen.

Laurie Clarkson, Garner’s granddaughter, attended the prom May 16 with Garner’s daughters, Barbara Ridgley of St. Leonard and Darlene Suit of Huntingtown, and great-great-granddaughter Kylie Bysheim.

Clarkson said they “couldn’t miss the prom,” especially with Garner being chosen prom queen.

“I can’t wait to get on my phone and text family,” Clarkson said, adding that she never thought she would see her grandmother crowned prom queen at age 93.

In “a close run,” 89-year-old Parren Gross was chosen prom king, which he said he felt great about. Gross said he knew he would win “because I have so many friends here.”

Nursing center activities coordinator Penny Brown said the prom was one of five activities the center hosted last week as part of National Nursing Home Week. Brown said the prom adds an element of happiness to residents’ lives.

“It’s something to look forward to and [offers] socialization,” she said. “We have everybody all dressed up. Some of the residents’ family members are dressed up, too.”

Brown said the nursing staff put the event together. All of the items, including dresses and jewelry, were donated.

“People even took days off to come in and fix hair and nails,” she said, adding that a former staff member drove from South Carolina to deliver handmade boutonnieres. “A lot of people are just giving and doing for this event.”

Brown said a deejay played music from the 1940s at the prom, to which resident Mabel Clark said she planned to “shake my shoulders.”

Clark, 90, said it’s been “so long” since she’s been to a prom and that she had been looking forward to attending the event, although she joked that there were “too many women and too few men.”

“I just love it,” Clark said. “I think the women look so good in their gowns.”

Maria Bell, 79, said she has been a resident of the center for three years and also thought having the prom was a great idea.

“Everybody gets loosened up and they have a good time,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how they dance or don’t dance, you know. We’re just having a good time.”

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