Dressing for the prom, thanks to others


Photo by Michael Fortier

There are some people in town who are just plain nice…and caring.

A woman living in the northeast section of Tarrant County  in Richland Hills decided that the girls at the high school in her neighborhood should be able to attend this spring’s prom in style.

She started collecting new and gently used dresses wherever she could find them. She asked everybody including the girls at local universities. As a result, many girls who cannot afford to go to prom can now attend in style with a free dress. Prom dresses are similar to wedding dresses. They are usually worn once and then pushed to the back of closets. The dress has long been a symbol of American excess but one that almost every girl still desires.

People responded to her call. She received over 500 dresses and was able to briefly obtain the use of an empty storefront so the girls could come to pick out the one dress of their adolescent dreams.  Many of them still had original price tags. Once things started rolling, she also saw to the collection of make-up and shoes. Sometimes those special shoes can run as much as the dress. Of course, quite often, they, like the dress, are only worn for that one special occasion as well.

This woman, Janie Wood, is hoping to expand the program to the rest of Tarrant County next year. What makes this story special to me is that this woman is 72. It is a story of generations coming together and reaching out to help one another. I like that.

Of course Ms. Wood is not the first person to think of such an idea. In Naples, Florida, a promfest was held last month. In fact women and girls in cities all over the United States are realizing the practicality of such a project. There is even a national campaign going now to get girls all over the country who can afford to buy a new dress to donate it to the cause once it has been worn. There is even a web site that girls can go to in order to locate an event near their own homes.Visit http://www.donatemydress.org for more information.

In all this kindness, however, I see one more step that school administrators could take. There are always girls in every class who are never invited to the prom. They are the outsiders. I think we should turn back the clock to the time when everyone attended the prom, not just the girls who are dating a guy at the time. There are guys also who would love to go but can’t afford to rent the tux, or are too shy to say anything. Somehow guys should be included as well. Even for the guys who can’t afford it, dutch treating should be encouraged. No one who truly wishes to go to the prom should have a reason not to be included.

This “recession” is bringing out the best and the worst in us. It is forcing us to regain a long forgotten phrase called being practical. Actually, this phrase has religious and philosophical meanings.
In addressing the question more specifically, “being PRACTICAL in life” means one is grounded in the real world, in reality, facing and handling with real issues and problems, and being able to adapt and interface effectively in a variety of situations.

Fewer and fewer kids are able to ride the way their parents did in the 80s and 90s when they arrived in limousines rented for the evening. More and more of them no longer even own a car. We are seeing the results of decades of excess coming tumbling down on the heads of our children. If there are still families who are not living in the real world handling real situations, then it is about time they came into the now and started doing so. Their turns may very well be just around the next paycheck.

This recession with coinciding social change is bringing out the worst in an awful lot of people. But then you read stories like this in your own home town or watch TV shows where new houses are built for deserving neighbors and you still have a place in your heart where hope  lives that out of all this turmoil around us, peace and humaneness can somehow survive and flourish one dress, one home, one comforting hug at a time. At least that’s my dream.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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