Apologies to Wayne Newton for the title but I promised 'A Free Man' I could match him for blue velvet roses on Prom Night.
Of course, it's not called Prom Night in Australia. In 1977, this was my outfit for my school 'Formal Ball' (as opposed to the dance earlier in the year known as the 'Sports Dance' a very informal occasion indeed!).
My dress needs comment; it is my mother's wedding dress which she had 'cut down' to use for balls and dinner dances in the sixties. It was actually quite 'out there' in the realms of formal dresses of the day; which were, in the main, Laura Ashley puff sleeved numbers or handkerchief hem confections. I always liked to stand out from the crowd. The blue velvet rose was the very classy finishing touch. If I remember rightly I also had a black lace shawl reminiscent of Stevie Nicks on the Rumours Album. Ahhhh, those were the days.
The other reference in the title is that of a 'blue lady'. Now, as well as obviously being dressed in blue, I was also in mourning for the departure of my boyfriend, the Rotary Exchange student from the US who had the honour of being my first real love. I'm not sure whether I ever recovered from his return to the States although I'm pretty sure, from the tone of his dwindling letters, that College life back home put little old me pretty quickly out of his mind :-) Still, I seem pretty happy here, even though I had elected to go to the dance on my own rather than find a stand in partner.
I hope you're all feeling very sorry for me now ;-)
There are other memorable stories from that dance, notably my father's role as a chaperone! He had the job of patrolling the grounds to ensure 'couples' stayed inside the hall and didn't leave before the end. On one occasion he chased one of the teachers and her husband across the road demanding to see a permission note for leaving early! On another he asked a young man and his lady friend to come out from behind a bush, only to find himself dwarfed by a 6ft+ Aussie Rules football player. "Sit down, enjoy yourself," he recalls saying!
My father was also responsible for the unfortunate incident of the 'balloon structure'. We had spent the afternoon crafting a cane cage to hold balloons above the dance floor (obviously no helium around in those days) and, as the evening drew to an end my father felt the crowd needed a balloon shower. On his own initiative he climbed a ladder and cut a cord, expecting the cage to open and the balloons to fall harmlessly down. Instead, the entire cane contraption (a sizable affair) came crashing down onto the heads of the unsuspecting dancers. The Headmistress always thought I had something to do with that; although the fact that I was gyrating on the dance floor at the time meant she couldn't pin it on me.
If only she had known....