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You’re never too old to enjoy going to prom

By Jo McCormick
Madrid Resident

Last Month I alluded to how the Pioneers who settled Perkins County did not come here to let the vastness of the land, or the sometimes severe nature of the climate deter them from what they came here to do–make this area home and adjust the land and climate to meet their aspirations. It was a daunting task.
To alleviate the many hardships they faced, they being human, needed mutual society and entertainment. Dancing was one of those things and it was never too far to go–Julesburg or Holyoke, Imperial, Wallace, and Ogallala.  
Keep in mind, early on this was not by auto or on established roads, but (go) they did. At one time dances were held every two weeks at the Crescent. Other county towns with dance facilities were Grainton, the Powers Hall, Elsie, where the Opera House held holiday dances, and Venango had the Venango House.
It did not take an established dance hall however. Local musicians lent their talents also to dancing in homes, schools, and barns. I acknowledge using the Richter/Gauthier book “Plainscape” for information above.
Many residents of Golden Ours in Grant, at least in the years of 1979-1992 talked a lot about dancing so I heard first-hand stories from them.  Many had loved dancing, but some had not been allowed to dance by their families.
We were talking about dancing one day and many residents expressed they would at least like to watch a dance, even if “doing it” may not be an option for them personally.  
So we had a senior prom at Golden Ours complete with decorations like the high school kids have. It was going to be costly but management agreed the benefits it could bring the residents were worth it.   
Many loved music and several had never missed a dance that they could possibly get to when they were younger.  The dining room was transformed for the evening with decorated tables where residents and staff could sit and listen to the music. Music was supplied by Wendy–a man who lived in Venango–who loved to play the good “old time” melodies on his keyboard. No activity program can flourish without co-operation of staff and help of volunteers.
Those staffers on duty dropped in throughout the evening to dance. Several volunteer couples came to the prom and danced for the residents. Even off-duty staffers came to our prom.  
One of them, Helen, asked a resident, Faye, to dance.  That little old lady wore Helen out.  She seldom sat out a dance.  
Drinks (juice, pop or coffee) and snacks were offered also.  Another year the high school in Madrid, 10 miles east of Grant, had a “senior prom.”  It actually was for area “senior” adults.  
The high school prom decorations were still up and the music was by records and the new marvelous 8-track system.  Six residents from Golden Ours were transported to Madrid and enjoyed a memorable outing that evening.
Along the same line–Skeels came to Golden Ours, complete with the caller and a square of dancers. One square was all the room we had, but it surely was an enjoyable event for our residents.  
Best close for now–but I have to admit to all, “No, do not think I can’t dance, not a step.” Jo