Alice Wells was able to put on a purple gown and do the twist on the dance floor at the Germantown Church of the Brethren’s fellowship hall recently.
She was among the entourage who braved the more than 90-degree humid weather to attend the first “Seniors Prom” held at 6601 Germantown Ave. Sunday evening.
For Wells, a middle-aged woman from Germantown, this was her very first prom. A native of the Caribbean island of Trinidad, Wells readily admitted the concept of a graduation prom was foreign to her.
Yet when she would see all Northwest Philadelphia high school juniors and seniors on her block all decked out and being whisked away in limousines she wished she had experience that. So, for her, the “Seniors Prom” was a treat.
“I thought this was an excuse to get dressed up,” Wells said. “It is fun to get together and have some fun. I think it’s a great experience especially for those of us who never experienced going on a prom.”
Jim Mitchell, of Germantown, was busy taking professional style photographs of the couples as well as extended family groups who came out the gala. He said that it reminded him of his own prom when he graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1980.
“I think this is just a great idea,” he said. “There’s nothing like going on a prom and it is something that we should still do when we get older.”
Poet Victoria Peurifoy of Northwest Philadelphia said that since she became a widow a few years ago she found that she didn’t go out as much as she used. At the Saturday evening prom she was able to win the bop contest along with a local man who identified himself as simply “Smutty.” For Peurifoy it was a trek down memory lane.
“I think it’s nice to create events where you have a good time even though many of us are having hard times,” Peurifoy said. “It’s nice to get dressed up once in awhile. You come to an environment where others are dressed, have a nice dinner, and then you get to dance a little—what more is there.”
One of the evening’s highlights was when Peurifoy recited a poem about President Barack Obama’s “swaggart” walk.
It was written after attending the Southern Ball, one of four official 2009 inauguration parties. She then invited the men to walk and “profile,” which drew spontaneous applause from the audience.
Another highlight of the event was the crowning of the king and queen of the ball. Nick and RuNett Gray of Mount Airy were endowed with that honor. For RuNett Gray, it was a surprise especially since she was one of the event’s organizers.
“This all started when a discussion came up about proms and so many said back in the day many of us could not afford to go to our proms,” RuNett Gray said. “We said even if you didn’t have a date to bring your parent, children, nieces and nephews or anyone you wanted to bring. We welcomed the singles without a date. So we said we were going to have this for those of us who are young at heart.”