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Marilynn Brass

For those of you who would like to take a trip down memory lane with the Brass Sisters, this post is for you!

We know all about proms, even though our information goes back more than 60 years, and our experiences were very different from those of 21st century youth.

The Gown -- 1950s:
Your mother takes you to Filene's Basement, and you try on dresses with hundreds of other half-clad young teenage girls. Your dress costs between $10.99 and $14.99.

Your mother holds your purse, your clothes, your coat, and your gloves while you try on dresses. Since you have traveled to Boston from the suburbs, you wear gloves. Your mother wears gloves and a hat.

The Corsage --1950s:
Your date inquires about the color of your prom gown. Florists decide to offer wrist corsages to save young men from puzzling over where to pin a corsage on the strapless gowns which are now becoming popular.

Dinner -- 1950s:
You don't eat dinner because you're a little nervous, and your prom gown is a little tight.

Livery -- 1950s:
YOUR date's father and mother drive him to your house and present him, somewhat like a reluctant bridegroom, to your parents. YOUR mother and father drive you both to the prom. You sit in the back seat of the family car wondering what to talk about with your date. Your parents pick you up after the prom or, horror of horrors, they presume to chaperone the prom. They take you and your date to the local Howard Johnson's for an ice cream sundae or an ice cream soda after the prom.

The Photographs -- 1950s:
Your mother and father, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your prom date's mother and father, and a selection of neighbors, some of whom thought your gown was cut too low or your mother paid too much for it, are present for the photography session. Your image and that of your prom date will forever be preserved so that your husband, your kids, your former college roommates, and various friends you never liked anyway, can years later ridicule your hair style, your too red lipstick, your hopelessly old-fashioned gown, and the fact that your date has a unibrown. Somehow you will look either malnourished or hopelessly middle-aged in the official photograph of you and your date taken at the prom by the shop teacher at the high school.

The setting for the official photograph will be decorated with palm trees, a smiling moon, or paper flowers or a mix of all three to promote a prom theme such as "April in Paris," "1001 Nights," or "Ship Ahoy!"

Prom Protocol --1950s:
If you think no one will invite you to the prom, you are within your rights to investigate members of the class ahead of yours or behind yours for a date. You are within your rights to ask sons of family friends, classmates who have moved to another city or town, or at the very least unknown male cousins.

Sheila once invited a former classmate, Mort, who had moved to another town in Massachusetts. Platonic friends, Sheila was a Red Sox fan, and Mort was a Boston Braves fan. There had been a reported incident of a mock duel fought with rulers about which team was the better before Mort moved out of town.

Mort later went on to have a distinguished career in academia and subsequently became a baseball scout. Sheila became a fashion designer in New York and Boston and worked for 25 years at WGBH, the local Public Television Station, in Boston. She later contributed mightily to The Brass Sisters brand by writing cookbooks and hosting television shows.

Marilynn made an appearance at her senior prom with her cousin, Steve. Among his many outstanding attributes, were his residence in an affluent community, Wellesley, Massachusetts, and the fact that he was more than six feet tall.

Marilynn wore an aqua prom gown, purchased in Filene's Basement, with a v-neckline which served as the receptacle for a misplaced spoonful of vanilla ice cream at the prom. The toughest kid in school gallantly told her how nice she looked. Her popularity quotient went up several points

Thank you for traveling down memory lane with us. We're sure that Prom Time is just as important to the Class of 2017 as it was to us, and we wish them the best of times and the best of memories!

Photo of Sheila and her prom date, Mort, at the Winthrop High School Senior Prom 1958.