The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, April 13, 2014

The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, April 13, 2014

This week's homework assignment for high school teachers: Give us the one personal prom memory that your students will get the biggest kick out of while they're shopping for dresses and trying on tuxes the next few weeks.

ALLISON O'DWYER

Urbana

"I was attending the 2000 South Gwinnett prom in Atlanta with my boyfriend at the time, who was a little bit shorter than me on a good day. In planning for my hair styling, I, always the one in a long ponytail, had no advice for how I wanted it done. So it was dealer's choice.

"I had my back to the mirror throughout the styling. When I was spun around, I couldn't believe that this stylist had managed to take all of my very long hair and pin it to the top of my head. She had literally added about 4 inches to my height. This, coupled with my already tall stature, heels and a vertically challenged date, led to some great photos of all of me — and my date only from the neck up.

"I also couldn't fit my 'do into his convertible, so I rode into midtown Atlanta with my head sticking out. It was one of the more classy moments of my life."

TRICIA SHAW

Monticello

"My junior year at Pekin, I ended up going to two proms. One was my own; the other was with a boy I didn't know. While I knew going to a prom at another school with a person I didn't know could be awkward, I went as a favor to his aunt. Looking back, I'm pretty sure he was forced into it.

"The poor guy was nervous. He picked me up in his parents' brand-new 2000 Pontiac Bonneville. Then we were off to dinner in downtown Peoria, which can be a little confusing with stoplights at the side of the road and lots of one-ways.

"Long story short, we ended up T-boning a truck. It flipped over on its side and my date was a wreck. Luckily, we were just fine, and the truck driver had only minor injuries. But I had to stand around talking to police in my prom dress. Worse yet, his parents brought him another vehicle to drive so he could continue on with the evening that I'm pretty sure wasn't his idea in the first place."

MISSY MARQUART

St. Thomas More

"April 1987. Our Unity senior prom was held at the Moose Lodge in Champaign. There was an actual moose head on the wall, which was festooned with streamers, and one of the waiters looked like he had just stepped out of 'Saturday Night Fever,' complete with a white suit, shirt unbuttoned to his navel and thick gold chains decorating his rather hirsute chest.

"On the upside, my date and I were the last ones off the dance floor."

ERICA KOSTOFF

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

"During Fisher High School's pre-prom festivities in 2000, I bruised my tailbone when my race relay teammate yanked my legs right off the wheeled seat, making it difficult to dance at prom.

"Undoubtedly, it was karma for not owning up at prom the previous year when gum flew out of my mouth while dancing, smacking someone in the face."

MOLLY MUELLER

Paxton-Buckley-Loda

"The cool thing to do at Downers Grove South in 2007 was to use your rented limo to go all the way downtown to eat at the Rock N Roll McDonald's in Chicago. Classy, right?

"It took 30 minutes to drive there and the restaurant was filled with kids in their poofy dresses and tuxes. We got our burgers and fries, scarfed them down, and headed back to the 'burbs in our limo after our late-night snack.

"The irony of this is that there was a McDonald's literally across the street from where my prom was held."

KATHRYN CLAPPER

Tuscola

"I'm a proud member of the Tuscola Divine '79. It was a big thing back then to order elaborate decorations in conjunction with the theme. My junior year, the decorations included a bridge to walk your date across to the main room, with a 'real' pond underneath.

"The decorating committee was adamant that there be real goldfish in the pond — lots of them. The class sponsor gave in to our demands. The decorating began in the morning and finished early afternoon. It was perfect — the mirror ball was in place, soft lighting strategically strung around the room, the softness of angel hair giving the illusion of a mystical setting. Oh, and we had goldfish. We were so proud of our efforts.

"But our bubble was burst when we returned hours later to enjoy the evening, crossed the bridge and found that the majority of the goldfish had died and were floating on the surface."

BETH CHAMBERLAIN

Danville

"The year was 1981. My dress was a Gunne Sax, a top brand to have in those days. This dress resembles one that you would see on 'Little House on the Prairie,' with a high neckline and lots of ruffles. The guys wore colored tuxes — light blue, burgundy and brown with cummerbunds and ruffles instead of ties."

LAURA BILLIMACK

Rantoul

"I was absolutely in love with my dress. I thought it was the most beautiful dress in the world and even took extra shifts scooping ice cream at my part-time job to pay for it. Now, I look back and laugh — the dress was a cross between something Scarlett O'Hara would wear and Ralphie's pink bunny costume from 'A Christmas Story.'

"Years later, I wore this super huge pink nightmare to a costume party. I won the 'tacky dress' award."

ASHLEY KRISMAN

Heritage

"I went to the St. Joseph-Odgen 2006 and '07 proms with a football player who had asked me to be his girlfriend the day before homecoming. Because of the concussion he received in a game that night, he forgot he had asked — and asked again within the hour.

"Four years later, that same guy asked me to marry him — again, twice, but just for good fun.

"Because I'm a teacher, I've been lucky enough to attend four proms with my high school sweetheart, Nick Krisman, as my date and I are looking forward to attending our fifth prom this year with Heritage High School."

ALYSSA THOMPSON

Mahomet-Seymour

"I went to school in a small town. Seniors were voted to the homecoming court, juniors were voted to prom court. For prom 2007, I borrowed my dress from a friend and was voted queen.

"My senior year, I wore a black Jessica McClintok dress — and I was voted as having the 'most school spirit.' That achievement was much more admirable in my eyes — I showed up in body paint to most games my senior year."

AUBREY WACHTEL

Villa Grove

"When 'My Sharona' by The Knack was played by the DJ, I hit the dance floor with a bunch of girls because we all loved that song. If we had understood what that song was about at the time, we might have felt differently."

AMBER ALLEN

Monticello

"Back in 1997, I went to my senior prom at Lehigh Senior High School in Florida. As I now teach and see boys stressing over asking someone to prom, I am reminded of the time 17 years ago when I asked my husband to prom.

"Even though earlier that year we had tried dating for a short bit — it didn't work out — he was the only person I could see myself going to prom with. So, I was devastated when I asked my friend of six years to prom and he said no. Devastated but determined, I wasn't going to accept no for an answer, so I asked again. Luckily, he finally said yes, and five years later he asked me to be his wife.

"I said yes the first time! We are about to celebrate our 11-year wedding anniversary and we never pass up an opportunity to reminisce about those days."

BARBARA NUETZMANN

Hoopeston Area

"I chose not to go to my senior prom, and you will understand why after my story.

"Halfway through my junior year, I moved from Massachusetts to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Being new, I really didn't know what I was getting into when I said 'yes' to being asked to prom. It was the night I will never forget. The dream night that every girl dreams of just did not happen for me. It started with horrible service at the restaurant — we received our drinks after the meal was served. My date, who was trying to impress me, tipped the waiter over 20 percent.

"At the prom, I had to hide in the bathroom from my date during every slow song. After prom, we went for dessert and then for a walk to a beautiful fountain. As we were sitting down, the tails of the tuxedo went into the water of the fountain. When he took me home, he asked for a kiss. I told him nicely no for the 10th time of the evening, hence why I was hiding in the bathroom. He got mad and demanded a kiss, since he paid for everything. All he got was a door slammed in his face."

CAROLYN McINTYRE

Heritage

"What I remember about my junior prom is that we were the first class to hold our prom outside of the A-B-L High School building. It was 1967. We chose the Lincoln Hotel at Lincoln Square. It was very nice there. However, it was also my date's prom night. His school, Newman, only had prom every other year. So we excitedly left my prom early to go to his, which was held in his high school gym.

"When we got there, another girl had on the same dress as me. But I was told that it looked better on me by friends. I filled it out better. We had an all-nighter — went to Villa Grove to a movie, followed by breakfast at Newman Grade School, the only cafeteria in his district. Then we changed clothes and spent the day at Turkey Run.

"What happened to my date? I married him and we spent 40 years together before parting ways."

SUSAN RILEY

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

"I am a proud alum of Williamsfield High School, home of the Billtown Bombers, a very small school in west central Illinois. Since we were focused on funding a senior trip to Florida, we didn't want to spend a lot of money on prom. The meal was in the school cafeteria and the dance was in the gym.

"Decorating the gym the night before was a blast — most of my 27 classmates were there to help, with music blaring and Mountain Dew flowing. Just before 9 p.m., our class sponsor, also the basketball coach, killed the music, brought out a black and white TV and watched the season finale of Dallas.

"I know it's heresy to say, but that's the most vivid memory of my junior prom."

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