Long ago, times were tough and money was scarce, so Delores Dennison never really experienced going to a high-school prom.
If she had gone to a prom, Delores might have known the experience of wearing a long, beautiful dress, walking through a sea of balloons, and dancing with a handsome young man to the tune of Frank Sinatra‘s “How I Love the Kisses of Dolores”.
Sad to say, the prom days are over for her as Delores is now 89 years old. Youth and strength have already been taken away from her, making her vulnerable to heart disease and stroke. The handsome man she dreamt of, who eventually became her life partner and sang her the song she always wanted to hear, passed away several years ago.
But things changed a few months back. Delores got a phone call from her 19-year-old great-grandson Austin. He had a very important question for his lovely grandmother.
“I asked her if she would be my prom date,” Austin asked. “How cool would it be to take my great-grandmother to prom?”
A senior at Parkway High School, Austin Dennison is the kind of man whom everyone looks up to, the type of person every dad hopes his daughter would marry. He is ranked an Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. He plays for the school’s basketball, baseball, and football teams. He is a member of the school band. He faithfully fulfills his obligation at the local church. He is also respectful of his elders, saying “Yes, Sir” and “Yes, Ma’am” every time.
Despite all the wonderful traits he possesses and the achievements he has acquired, the proposal still took her by surprise. For Delores, it is not every day that someone asks you out to prom.
Delores said, “He was so sweet and adamant about it. I asked him, ‘But are you sure that you wouldn’t like to take one of the young ladies who could get out there and do everything with you?’ He said, ‘No, I want you.'”
According to Austin, he was inspired by his economics teacher’s older brother who had taken his grandma to prom. He remembered that his very own Granny had never been to an actual promenade, so he immediately picked up the phone and called her.
“I couldn’t disappoint him—if I had to go on my hands and knees,” said Delores.
Although her great granny was feeling a bit hesitant, Austin made sure she knew he was serious. Finally, she said yes. Austin said, “It was my privilege to take her.”
But before the event, he knew there were plenty of work to be done. The first thing they had to do was to look for a dress that is perfect for the prom night.
Delores recalled that the ladies today don’t wear the kind of dresses they wore in the 1930s. “That was an adventure. We were looking at the young girls’ dresses. None of those dresses would be OK for me,” she said. “They were either too high or too low, and I didn’t want any of that.”
Finally, she settled on a lovely blue dress and a simple clutch purse. Delores explained, “The purse was for my necessities—my nitro and my puffer that I use for breathing.”
On the day of the prom, Austin first serenaded the beautiful lady with a beautiful song and gave her a pearl necklace. Before they headed to the venue, they had dinner at Bob Evans, one of her granny’s favorite dining places, where he ordered pancakes and she ordered an Omelette. Delores confessed, “I had to take some of it home.”
After eating, they went straight to the school, where Austin and his gorgeous date were introduced to the crowd. He said, “We got a standing ovation. But we had to cut across the dance floor because she didn’t have enough energy.”
Although Delores hit some balloons with her cane, she still managed to get a few laughs. For her, it was a truly magical night. “It was wonderful, and I just loved all the girls in their fancy gowns and the gentlemen in their tuxedos. It was quite a night. Everyone there just could not have been more polite. Everyone got an A+.”
Austin shared that one of his friends tried to make a move on his granny. While laughing, he said, “He tried to cut in. He asked for a dance, but she didn’t have the energy.”
When Delores was asked about her date, she claimed, “He was a perfect gentleman. He was everything you would expect of a young man.”
Austin then added, “I respect my elders greatly. They have a great influence on my life. To be able to sit down and talk to them and learn from them and their experiences is a great thing.”
Just as Delores thought the night was over, Austin gave his final surprise. As he escorted her onto the dance floor, a tune from another era filled the venue. It was the song that Delores ever wanted to hear—”How I Love the Kisses of Delores”.
“I chose that song because Grandpa Ed used to sing that song to her,” Austin explained. “We shared that dance. It was really sweet.”