Delores Dennison never went to her high school prom.
Times were tough. Money was scarce -- just enough for the necessities.
But if she had gone to the prom, Delores might have imagined wearing a lovely dress and promenading through a sea of balloons and dancing with a handsome young man on a crisp April evening. She might have imagined the band playing the Frank Sinatra song, “How I love the kisses of Delores.”
But the days of promenades have long passed for Delores, now 89-years-old. Youth and vigor have given way to heart trouble and a stroke. And the handsome young man who became the love of her life – the man who used to sing to her that Frank Sinatra song, passed away many years ago.
A few months back, Delores received a telephone call from her great-grandson. Austin is 19-years-old, a senior at Parkway High School in Rockford, Ohio. And he had a very important question for his “Granny DD.”
“I asked her if she would be my prom date,” Austin told me. “How cool would it be to take my great-grandmother to prom?”
Now, Austin Dennison is the kind of fellow who looks like he just stepped out of central casting. He’s the sort of kid a dad hopes his daughter would marry.
He’s an Eagle Scout who plays for the school’s football, baseball and basketball teams. He plays in the school band and faithfully attends church. He’s the kind of youngster who says “yes sir” and “yes ma’am.” He’s the kind of young man who respects his elders.
Still, the proposal took Delores by surprise. It’s not every day your great-grandson asks you out to prom.
“He was so sweet and adamant about it,” Delores told me. “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.’”
Before we continue, you might want to grab a box of tissues.
Austin drew his inspiration from his economics teacher. The teacher’s older brother had taken his grandmother to prom. Austin remembered that his own Granny DD had never been – so he picked up the phone and made the call.
“I couldn’t disappoint him – if I had to go on my hands and knees,” Delores said.
“At first she was a bit resistant,” Austin said. “I assured her I was serious and she finally said yes. It was my privilege to take her.”
But there was much, much work to be done. The first item of business was finding a suitable dress for the big night.
“That was an adventure,” Delores said. “We were looking at the young girls dresses. None of those dresses would be OK for me.”
Let’s just say young ladies don’t dress like they did back in the 1930s.