Dances fifty years ago at CCHS were always held in the gym and included a Sock and Sweater Hop, the Grad Dance, a Christmas Dance with the music of Eaton’s Band Box, a Now or Never Hop, and the popular Sadie Hawkins Dance to which the girls invited the boys. Prizes were awarded for the best corsages made by the girls, often of vegetables. The most exciting and colourful dance of the year was the Spring Prom.
In 1957, if you went with a date to a school dance, you usually danced with that one partner all evening, while the rest of the students lined the walls – boys on one side (joking and laughing), girls on the other. The girls never asked the boys to dance. They just stood around hoping the boys would approach them and ask them to dance. Girls were usually dressed in blouses or sweaters and skirts. The boys wore pants and a shirt. No jeans! If the boys had not come with anyone, their last dance was important. That was the girl they got to take home!
A number of families in St. Lambert did not own a car in ’57 and many of the students did not have a driver’s licence, although you could obtain one at age sixteen. Most of us walked to the dances. For some it was a very long walk! For the Prom one of the boys in our party drove his parents’ car.
In late May the gymnasium was totally transformed for the evening of the Spring Prom. Crepe paper streamers were hung from the ceiling. Tables and chairs lined the side walls which were decorated with trellises and flowers. The lights were lowered and a mirrored ball (known today as a disco ball) was suspended from the ceiling – reflecting the light and casting a magical spell.
The boys came dressed in suits or navy blazers and grey flannels, with ties and white shirts. There were no coloured shirts in those days. Strapless dresses were never worn to the Prom! The girls received corsages and wore white short gloves.
From left to right are: Lawlor Wakem, Joan Mountford, Joan Evans, Grant Leonard, Catherine Glen and George Hurford.
One style of dress featured a full skirt under which was worn a hoop underskirt. High- heeled sandals, as worn today, were not available and many wore satin shoes dyed to match their dress. Most of us did our hair ourselves and little makeup was in evidence. My friend and I visited a neighbour who sold Beauty Counsellor cosmetics. We had our eyes made up and went off to the Prom, thinking we looked great, only to be asked at the dance by my date: “What the heck do you have on your eyes?”
The dances were always well chaperoned by the teachers and the principal, E. Y. Templeton, who attended the Prom with his wife.
Sargeant Rollie Brosseau from the Fire Department, in his dress uniform, was at the door to make sure fire regulations were complied with. Alcohol was prohibited, as was smoking. Soft drinks were the order of the day.
Music at the dances was strictly “Fifties” music. This was the era of really great rock music -- terrific for jitterbugging. Records of the songs of Bill Hailey and slow tunes such as Elvis’s “Love Me Tender” were spun by the disk jockey. Following the Prom, many of us made our way to the St. Lambert Bar-B-Q on Victoria Avenue for food and drinks. Then we wearily headed home in the early hours of the morning, having had a fun and memorable evening.