Most of us would have been curled up in front of the television rather than dancing the night away at a Senior Prom as Gloria Smartt did on a Thursday in September 2010.
Gloria, who is a registered nurse assistant at Heritage Woods of Batavia, started her day working a full shift at the affordable assisted living community in Batavia, Illinois. She then went to her second job.
"I couldn't wait to get off work," Gloria said, so that she could run home, dress up and put on her dancing shoes. Gloria was just one of the many staff members who returned to Heritage Woods on their own time for the community's first Senior Prom.
The residents had been waiting for the Prom all week. "I wouldn't have missed this for anything in the world," said resident Nancy Yates, who had moved into the community just five weeks before the event.
The community was beautifully decorated in black, red and gold, and the Red Carpet was rolled out to welcome all those in attendance. Corsages were pinned on the women and boutonnieres on the men.
Residents and guests munched on hors d'oeuvres, including vegetable spring rolls and gazpacho garnished with shrimp. They sipped on champagne as well as beer, wine and punch. A chocolate fountain was the highlight of the dessert table.
All of the residents who had been nominated for Prom Queen and King were introduced. Nellie Blacksmith, who is 103 years of age, was crowned Queen. Nellie is a pioneer of Heritage Woods of Batavia, having moved into the community when it opened seven years ago in the fall of 2003. Greg Bryant, who serves as the Vice President of the Heritage Woods Resident Council, was crowned King.
Gloria, along with residents, guests and other Heritage Woods staff members, spent much of the night dancing together to the music of Frank Lamphere. For the better part of 2 1/2 hours, Frank and his keyboard player and drummer played songs from the World War II era and from the 1950s and 60s.
"You know people are having a good time when they go off without their walker," someone mentioned as the party was wrapping up.
Gloria talked about how she was so looking forward to getting up at 4:00 a.m. to come back to work at Heritage Woods. "These guys just make my heart dance… every single day," Gloria commented.
She promised to be wearing her dancing shoes.