At the ‘senior’ prom, age just didn’t matter

Everyone’s wild about Harry.

That was evident during Friday evening’s senior prom at the Southold Human Resources Center in Mattituck when Harry Poulos, 83, of Greenport, was elected senior prom king. He absolutely commanded the dance floor, jitterbugging with Mattituck High School senior Rebecca Smith, who did her best to keep with the octogenarian.

“It was so much fun,” she said. When host and singer Grant Werner announced that the high school queen of the event would “get a date with Harry,” all the high school girls screamed in glee.

“I don’t deserve this,” Mr. Poulos said when he learned he’d been chosen king.

Mildred Behm of Cutchogue was selected as his queen. She didn’t go to her own prom when she was in high school, but remembers being tapped by her older brother to accompany one of his friends, who didn’t have a date.

She recalls that at 13, she wore her first pair of high heels to the dance held at a big hotel in New York City. As for her own prom, she got married when she was 17 and she and her husband “didn’t want to mingle with a bunch of kids.”

A second king and queen set was selected from among the Mattituck students in attendance. Those honors went to Billy Goggins and Sara Schull.

This is the third successive year that a senior prom has been held at the center and attendees pronounced it the best yet.

“It’s more lively than last year, said Christine Alexio of Peconic Landing in Greenport. She missed her senior prom at George Washington High School in Washington Heights in 1948 because three boys invited her and she couldn’t decide which to accept, she said.

Anita Heimink of Mattituck still remembers the night of her prom at Bryant High School in Queens. Back then, a subway ride cost five cents and she recalls that after the prom she and her classmates rode the subway into Manhattan, where they continued their party in Times Square.

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Dorothy Auer of Cutchogue was making up for lost time because when she was in high school, her mother was strict and wouldn’t let her date.

Frances Confusione of Mattituck quit school at 14 because her family was poor and needed the money she brought in working in restaurants and as a dressmaker.

As for the Mattituck students who came to dance with the seniors, Kate Loper said it was actually more fun than her junior prom because there’s less pressure to get ready, she said.

Casey Burns had heard from previous high school seniors who attended this prom about the fun they had.

“Everyone’s really interesting to talk to,” Katherine Golde said.

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TIM KELLY PHOTO | The prom kings and queens at the 'senior' senior prom Sunday.
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