I went home last weekend for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, to celebrate with my family and my friends that are like my family. And, as usually happens, we ended up talking about the old days, mainly our high school days, and sharing news about the people we knew back then. So and so is divorced and has moved back in to his parents’ house. This person is on TV selling a weight loss product. Do you think it works? And did you hear, she re-married, has a husband who can cook and has put on a few pounds? Oh wait, that’s me.

My best friend from growing up, the one whose parents are best friends with mine, whose family is truly like family, and I started reminiscing about our junior prom. Sharing some of the details with our parents and our children as we sat around the dining room table on Saturday night.

I was not real popular in high school. Sure, I had a good group of friends but I was second tier. I didn’t have a boyfriend. Didn’t really have one until college. So something like the prom was a big deal. I had no idea who I would go with. But then, I was asked by someone I had known since first grade. He was the first boy I had ever French kissed, during a sixth grade game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven”. (My son is in seventh grade and doesn’t like this story. Happily, I think he is still afraid of girls. My daughter, in fifth grade, is extremely interested.).

I said yes to him, but with some disappointment. He was a nice guy but having already gone to first base with him years before, I knew there would be no spark, no butterflies. Just someone to hang out with. Maybe not such a bad thing since I was scared of boys at that point. There was the question of transportation though. We were juniors so we could drive ourselves. But his mother’s car was an old-fashioned (even back then) station wagon with faux wood paneling on the outside. A Woody. That would be my chariot.

A few days after B asked me to the prom, one of my brother’s friends called. D, like my brother, was a senior. I was a junior. He was a nice Jewish boy from Miami Beach. I didn’t know him very well but he drove a really sporty car. It was yellow and I think it was a Mazda RX7. Imagine pulling up to the valet stand at a fancy hotel on Miami Beach in that. Now imagine pulling up in an old panel station wagon. We’d probably have to self-park. But my mother raised me right and I had to decline the nice Jewish boy with the nice ride.

The day of the prom, I got all dressed up and fixed my hair and put on some make-up. I wore a gorgeous black lace dress of my mom’s. It looked great, it had a slip underneath and a sheer lace overlay. The week before the prom, my mom took me to the mall and bought me a pair of high heeled strappy sandals. My first ever. They were absolutely gorgeous. I was ready.

Sidebar: My brother’s date to that year’s prom was a friend in my grade. A girl who 5 years later would become my stepsister. Who, many years later, married a man that my brother and I had both known in our teens from sleep-away camp. I never found out for sure, but the story goes that my brother didn’t make a move on his future stepsister the night of the prom. If he had, we could have had our very own episode on the Jerry Springer show.

So the night of the prom, B picked me up from my parents’ house. He had brought me a corsage. My mom took the requisite pictures of us and it was time to go. Outside, B opened the door to the panel wagon for me. And I thought, okay, this isn’t so bad. But it was May in South Florida. Hot and humid. And of course we had to have the air conditioner on. I didn’t want my hair to frizz (hah!) or my make-up to melt. But within a few minutes, I felt it. Drip drip drip. From underneath the dashboard, where the air conditioner was. Drip drip drip on my gorgeous, new, strappy sandals. I was mortified. I remember thinking that a Mazda RX7 wouldn’t have a leaky air conditioner. Ugh, I hated that I had done the right thing. I had to sit with my legs folded under me.

And my poor date. He felt bad and kept apologizing. It was a long drive to the hotel and by the time we got there, there was a little puddle of water where my feet should have been. I got out gingerly, helped by the valet. Once inside, we danced and ate and had a really good time. A friend’s brother was getting married that night in the same hotel, a few floors from where our prom was. So, my best friend and I made a few trips to the wedding to drink wine out of glasses sitting abandoned on the tables, and to say hi to our friend. My date didn’t seem to mind my absence. The pairing that seemed apparent when we walked in to the prom had given way to group dancing, group seating and group hugs.

By the end of the evening, I was a little drunk. And for the ride home, I took my shoes off and didn’t care if my feet got wet. B walked me to the front door. I unlocked it, thanked him and very sweetly told him I had had a great time, which was true. I then proceeded to shut the door, which was made from a very large and very heavy piece of wood, and lock it. I think he tried to stop it from closing in order to say something or perhaps he wanted to re-live our sixth grade experience. But I’ll never know. I went upstairs, exhausted and buzzed, and fell asleep in my dress with all of my makeup on. Something I am still known to do after a Thursday night out, only to wake up on Friday morning looking like a clown. At least I am true to myself. And I like to think that, the majority of the time, I do the right thing.