By Norris Chambers

             As a teenager I attended only one prom. In the country schools where I got my education proms were unheard of. Of course in the cities such things were more or less commonplace. Now and then a tale found its way into the country and a few of the students knew a little bit about these functions.

            The year I was a proud senior the school got an invitation from one of the colleges in Brownwood inviting our class to attend a county prom that they were hosting. Some of the denser seniors wanted to know “What the heck is a prom?”  Some of the more brilliant of our twelve students explained carefully that students got together for a real party where they danced and had fun. Our class sponsor told us that we could go if we wanted to and that she would arrange transportation.  It sounded like a fun thing so there was no objection and the decision was made to go.

            Because of financial conditions our country school girls didn’t go for special prom dresses and decorative bouquets. They just wore the best they had and probably wished for something better. The boys wore their first fiber outfits and felt pretty well dressed.

            Clothes in the country were ordinarily described by “fiber” and were represented in three stages – first fiber, second fiber and third fiber. The third fiber clothes were for farm work or whatever kind of work the wearer was involved in. The second fiber was a little better grade and was worn for trips to town on Saturday afternoon, social visits to the homes of friends and neighbors and any other outing that might be considered of middle class importance. The first fiber outfits were reserved for special occasions such as church services, weddings, funerals and functions requiring a high degree of fancy clothing.

            Most of the boys attending this prom wore their first fiber clothing. As I remember, Clifton and I wore our first fiber gear.

            The school generously furnished a bus and a driver and we went to town in style. The big party was held in the college gym. We had never been there before and were properly impressed with the size of the building. The first things we noticed were the  many decorations. It didn’t look that much like a gym. There was a long table of goodies across one end and many, many guests standing around. A band was stationed in the end opposite the table of goodies and was playing some nice popular music. They had horns and drums and were playing a tune that was popular at the time. It was called Wahoo and they were doing a good job playing it.

            The band finished the tune and some fellow started talking over a loud speaker system. He welcomed us to the county prom and told us what the program would be. We were to line up in front of the band and form as many lines as necessary to get everyone in line.

            “We will have music,” he said, “but we will not be dancing. We will march around and around the room while the music plays, then we will walk down both sides of the refreshment table and get our food. Everyone will then sit on the stands and enjoy the goodies. While we are eating the band will entertain us. After everyone has been served we will again march around the room while the music plays. When the music starts again start the line at the food table.”

            That sounded simple enough even for graduating country kids. We followed the instructions and listened to some pretty good music. The refreshments were good and everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood. After a bit more of the same we loaded in the bus and returned to our respective domains.

            I’m sure this sounds like a dull affair compared to modern proms. If it were good enough to remember all these years it must have had some impressive qualities. I’m still trying to figure out what those qualities were and if we had as much fun as we thought we did. After this we could all say we had gone to a prom. If any other members of our senior class are still living I bet they haven’t forgot their first, and perhaps their last, prom!