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Penn Hills Potpourri

My Senior Prom

...as suggested by Holly Swisher '70 and Ray Schamus '79

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Based on fantastic suggestions from Holly Swisher '70, and Ray Schamus '79, we invite anyone to send us a photo or group of photos from your prom, or tell us your story of that eventful night.Whether it was Fantasia or a Nightmare on Elm Street, we'd like to see and hear 'em. 

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My prom night was very different.  My boyfriend was in the Navy and couldn't get home for it, so a bunch of people (prom rejects) (names withheld for legal purposes) got together at a girls house and partied.  We all fell asleep, then we thought we smelled fire, so we got out of the person's house and went to McDonalds and ordered our munchies, so no churchill countryclub for us, just mellow and munchied out. Anonymous '81

1979... Prom week was not the best for the Tunnelview Drive gang... On the night before the prom, I totaled my Vega GT hatchback, which I owned for a grand total of 6 days!  To make matters worse, I did $1500.00 damage to someone's brand new (sticker in the window) Olds delta 88 Royale. I knocked the Olds across the driveway, and into a creek 20 feet below, which did another $1500.00 damage to the yard and the walls down to the creek, (I claimed that I was going the speed limit on Orchard Drive in the rain) Thank goodness Gene Gross only wrote me a ticket, and didn't arrest me on the spot. On the day of the prom, I wrecked my mom's Mercury sedan backing it out of the garage to wash and wax it in the driveway. I hurried and took it to a friend's house to repair the damage and put a quick coat of paint on the fender before anyone noticed. The only thing we forgot to do was replace the chrome fender trim (a glaring error when 3 out of 4 were intact). My dad was nice enough to not say anything when we were taking pictures in the yard. As I watched my best friend Ray Schamus drive up the street, I remember hearing his dad yell "Don't wreck my car!". I had no idea that the long stoppage in the motorcade was my caused by my buddy. As my date and I pulled up to Churchill CC for the afterprom, I saw Mugs on his knees in the parking lot in the rain. I asked him what happened, and he told me about hitting the car in front of him. I felt his pain as he called his dad from the pay phone (remember, this was long before the days of cell phones). With all that, proms being what they are, we forgot about real life for a while. The next day, my dad asked me why one fender on mom's car was missing the chrome. I fessed up and took my lumps. Even after that, we went to Kennywood, and life was good for a few hours more.  Later that week, I remember Mr. Schamus telling my parents that he heard about an accident in the prom motorcade on his police scanner and saying to Mrs. S. "I bet that's my car" Well..... he was right. Needless to say... Ray and I spent most of the summer riding bikes to get around. Ralph Cappella '79

The one in '68 was our class. I went with my steady since 1965 Ed Russo. The Vogues were there for the dance at the school (great show), and afterward was the escorted journey to the Hilton downtown for the afterprom. I had a really good time, but was glad when they said we could go home (I was sleepwalking by then).
Then I went to Ed's prom in '69. It was pretty much the same as ours the year before, just different bands (good, and famous ones too). There was a good time had at that one too, but I don't remember going to Kennywood the next day. Probably slept.
I've totally enjoyed bragging to people I've met over the years about our proms. People have a hard time believing how big our class was. Quantity, and quality. That's how I always described our class. Patty Stahovic '68

1978..The Senior Prom (May 25) and Kennywood Day (May 26) were a tough combination for the seniors on the 1978 Penn Hills baseball team. (Almasy, Droschak, Friedhof, Haluck, Keefer, Vaughn, Ziegler).  On May 25 (Prom day) the team was scheduled to play a 4:00 game against our rivals at Gateway.  Somehow, a then young Coach Neil Gordon was able to convince our friendly neighbors in Monroeville to change the game to 2:30 so the seniors could have time to prepare for and attend the prom on time.  No pressure.  We had to defeat the once-beaten Gateway team on May 25 and Penn Trafford on May 26 to win the section and move on to the WPIAL playoffs.  Gary Ziegler did his best to get us to the prom on time,  threw a no-hitter against Gateway and their soon to be first round pick of the Oakland A's, pitcher Tim Conroy, and led us to a 1-0 victory.  No problem, we all raced home, showered, and made the prom on time.  That night I learned my first lesson about the effects of hard liquor.  The night went well even though my date spent the majority of the time at the after-prom at Churchill C.C. ignoring me until it was time for a ride home.  By the time most of us got home it was close to 7:00AM, time to sleep, one problem, Coach Gordon got the game time for the May 26 game changed to 12:00 so the team could play the game and still have time to spend at Kennywood.  The seniors struggled through the game despite having minimal sleep and with the help of the bright eyed juniors beat Penn-Trafford on the road to win the section by one game over Gateway.  We once again rushed home, showered and were able to enjoy the evening at Kennywood, ignored my date as I was ignored the night before and life was good and tired on May 26 for the 1978 baseball seniors.  Not the normal way to spend your Senior Prom and Kennywood day, added lots of chaos but also lots of good memories.  The team enjoyed more later, left Graduation day a little earlier than scheduled due to a playoff game, won the WPIAL for the second consectutive year in 2 weeks and the state championship(PIAA) in mid-June.  "anonymous 1978"

I asked Rhae Ann Wozniak (not her real name) to the prom (Theme: "Stairway to Free Bird"), but she turned me down (d'oh!) I decided to spend the evening as far away from Penn Hills as I could get -- in Monroeville, ice skating with Cathy Mitlo (also not her real name) at the Mall. No time to write the rest of the story now, but stay tuned for the surprise details of the evening...Thom Downing '79

I also had a bad experience. I was asked to the prom by someone I had been friends with. I was so excited and went out and bought my dress and a few days later, he told me that he couldn't go. I later found out that he asked someone else who he liked better to go with him, so he lied to me. A friend took care of him at the prom and spilled a coke on him. I know thats childish now, but at the time, it was great. Anonymous '79

May 1979I hope someone can top this prom night. First, I wasn't to thrilled about the cream colored tux to begin with, but as the night progressed it was the last thing on my mind. Dancing at the gym was O.K so I will skip to the police escorted motorcade to Churchill C.C.. It was raining and the water was falling off the 6 coats of wax I had put on my dad's brand new Dodge Diplomat (complete with 8 track player). I was lined up about fifth in line from the front of the motorcade, as we slowly got near the entrance of the country club, the police car stopped. My date Chris, was kind of sitting on my lap and the car infront of me had these six to eight foot streamers coming out the back of it. Well between the rain, the streamers, and Chris sitting on my lap I didn't see the police car or the Bonneville infront of me stop. When I realized what was happening, I slammed on the brakes and into the car infront of me. Chris hurt her arm as it slammed into the steering wheel. As she complained about her arm, I was more concerned about my dad's new car.
I got out in the pouring rain to check the damage to both cars and the cops told me to get in and move the car to the parking lot and not hold up the procession. I found a space to park and was down on my hands and knees in the rain looking at the smashed front end of my dad's new car and the bumper of the car I hit just hanging by a thread. My tux was soaked and dirty, I was trying to think of how I was going to tell my dad about the car, and my date was still bitching about her arm. This was not a pretty site, and the after prom hadn't even started. I got into the country club and found a phone to call my dad. How do you tell your dad you smashed his pride and joy car at 12:15 in the morning? I figured the truth was the best choice, as I said "minor damage, about $200 or so" I put the phone an arms length away to clearly hear him holler ( and save an ear drum) at me. The final damage was over a thousand for my car and about five hundred for the other car (after a few trips to the junk yard), not to mention the tux shop charged me extra for cleaning when I turned in the tux. In 1979 that was alot of money for a part-time cook at Mr.Steak to come up with.  It's been 24 years since it happened, and my dad has passed away, but I can still hear him as he would tell his buddies about driving the car to the dealer to get it fixed, and the head lights falling off as he pulled into the dealership. "and my son says to me, minor damage, dad". That was a prom I'll never forget. Ray Schamus '79        


 any pictures or stories to PennHillsPa@yahoo.com . Remember: If you do e-mail a picture or story, make sure to give us all names and what year prom it was!

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