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Friday, May 10, 2013

Empty Hotel -- I went to prom there.

What it looked like in it's hay days
Near where I live, there is a very rag-tag empty building. I remember when it was built. It was fancy. It was a Ramada Inn (or as my grandfather use to say Ramaida Inn).

Everyone talked about how it had a pool in the center of the building and that you could have dinner around  it. Which now when I write about it, I think: Oh goody! Chlorine!

In an area that did not boast many hotels, it must have been a pretty big deal to have gotten it built. I was in highschool at the time and the senior class was very delighted at being able to host our prom there. So much nicer than the gym. When that is your reference point, the perspective is much different.

Probably pretty nice.
Today at the high school in my town, will have nothing but the downtown destination of Chicago for their prom. Kids have to be loaded on busses and ferried to the "big city" for the culmination of the dating year of high school.   I suppose there is a certain cachet attached to getting dressed up and heading "downtown", but it is a long way back when so many things can go so wrong. After all prom is an evening of "great expectations" or at least it was in my day.

Anyway, what I was really thinking about was how sad the former hotel looks to me when I pass it, which I do at least eight times a day. It has a ghost like quality, which is more than borderline creepy. The building is empty or looks that way, so when a light sometimes is shining through a lone window or a car is parked under the portico, it is cause for notice.

My family often remarks things like:

1. Tear the building down.
2. Maybe it is a "Norman Bates" hotel.
3. I saw someone go into the front door, yikes!
5. Wouldn't it be nice if they put a Trader Joes there?

I wonder things like:

1. What did they do with the furniture?
2, Is there mold in the building?
3. Do squatters live there?
4. Bet they have rodents.
5. When is the city going to do something with this building?

Sometimes, I think about the prom I went to there. It was, in retrospect, pretty mundane. A large room with  round tables covered with white tablecloths and table decorations in the school colors (red and grey). The D.J. was too loud, the food  in too short supply and the lemonade  too sweet.

This is not the pattern she made for me, but similar.
My sister had made my dress for me, out of pale blue silk with white lace. She also had made me a jacket to match. She was kindness itself, for she also purchased the fabric.

My date? Was the man I would eventually marry, though I did not know this at the time.

So, when I pass this empty, worn out building, the recollection about it most vivid?

Prom night, entering the ballroom, feeling inadequate and unattractive compared to the other girls in the room, which was when, my date leaned over and whispered into my ear:

"You look lovely."

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