The look on Frank Huygens face Thursday said it all. Unlike most people his age, Huygens didn’t have an opportunity to attend his high school prom.
“We were at war,” the 89-year-old Belgium native said.
So, when his name was called as prom king during Hawthorne Woods Assisted Living’s senior prom, Huygens was overwhelmed.
“It’s beautiful. I’m very surprised,” he said.
While Thursday’s event was a first for some, others spent the evening reminiscing. Margaret Dorazio, 82, said the years gone by were “different.”
“You didn’t have money to go out and buy a gown,” she said. “You wore what you had.”
Peg Trimble, 92, almost seemed offended when asked if she went to her high school prom.
“I absolutely went,” she said, pausing to revisit old memories. “I had a nice, handsome man by my side.”
This was the first time Hawthorne Woods in Washington hosted a senior prom. Activities director Mary Gricar said the staff wanted to “bring back old memories.”
“We reminisced all week,” she said. “Prom is generally a really good time.”
Which is exactly what many of the resident had. With hits from the ’50s to set the mood, residents danced, swayed and clapped their hands to their favorite tunes. Others sang along, and many chatted with their seating partners.
To make the day extra special, Gricar said staff members made corsages, set up an arch for pictures and helped some of the women put on make-up and paint their nails.
Dorazio proudly showed off her champagne-colored nails.
“I couldn’t wait,” she said.
Margaret Schultz, 81, was thankful for the staff’s hard work. Schultz, who graduated from high school in 1950, said she decided at the last minute not to go to her prom.
“But this is a nice way to make up for it,” she said.
Edna Wiley, 83, said her daughter came prior to the event to help her get ready. Dressed in a olive-colored ball gown, Wiley got numerous compliments.
“My daughter wore this to her daughter’s wedding,” she said.
But the dress’s train made it a little difficult to maneuver when her name was called as prom queen.
“I’m very surprised,” she said. “This is a first-time experience for me.”
The evening wrapped up with a dance by the king and queen to the Rodgers and Hart standard “Blue Moon.” Both Wiley and Huygens wore huge smiles.
“This made it an extra-special night,” Huygens’s son Vic Huygens, who came for the event, said. “He looks pretty happy.”