Dancing and remembering

05/13/2010 12:00 AM |

Mattituck seniors Amanda Paparatto (left) and Chelsea Guditus share a dance with Richard Zoitke of Riverhead during Friday

Remember your senior prom? It probably wasn’t half the fun Southold Town senior citizens had Friday at their prom, held at the Human Resources Center in Mattituck. For more than a few this was their first prom experience because the hard times at home and abroad during World War II kept many from attending one back in the 1930s and 40s.

Claire Fisher of Mattituck remembers. Her mom took her out of school when she was 16 to help with family responsibilities and she never got to go to a prom until last year, when she went to the first annual Senior Prom at the Human Resources Center.

“It’s wonderful,” she said about this second chance relive her teen years.

Susan Lakowitz of Greenport recalls she and a date were set to double with another couple to attend their high school prom back in the day, but “something happened” and they had to cancel their plans.

“That’s why I wanted to come tonight,” she said.

Then there were those who did attend their proms only to be stuck for life with disastrous memories. Just ask Fran Pesci of New Suffolk. In 1944, she was all dolled up in a white dress with red flowers running down one side. Her mother thought a touch of lipstick would be right for the occasion. Fran took the lipstick to the bathroom to put it on, twisted the tube a little too far and the lipstick broke and fluttered down the front of that beautiful white dress. A neighbor thought she could help remove the stains with Clorox bleach.

“I went to the prom with stains on my dress and smelling of Clorox,” Ms. Pesci said.

Nancy Cullen of Southold went to her high school prom, only to rip her dress and need a friend’s help to cover up the damage. Years later on a cruise, she ran into that long lost friend and had a good laugh about her original prom night.

Dressed to the nines Friday, Ms. Cullen confessed, “I haven’t had a dress on for the last 11 years,” she said.

“I love it,” she said about this year’s prom. “The kids are so bright and nice.”

The kids are the Mattituck High School seniors who, led by Superintendent James McKenna and principal Shawn Petretti, showed up to dance with the women.

“I’m very proud of my kids coming,” Mr. Petretti said.

“Mr. Petretti is such a great guy, when he asks a favor, you have to say yes,” Thomas Macari, 17, said. Jake Gamberg, 17, came at the urging of his parents, but admitted he was having fun.

And if the senior seniors thought they had lost a step or two over the years, it was they who found themselves teaching the teens how to do that 60s dance, the Twist, to music provided by DJ Tom Damiani.

“It’s such a cool thing,” Mr. Damiani said.

“Nothing is as much fun as this one,” William Buhler of Southold, a graduate of Christopher Columbus High School in Bronx, said of the twist.  Click for slide show.

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