Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Bringing the magic of prom to a Minnesota nursing home May 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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TIS PROM SEASON in Minnesota, that annual rite of spring which throws teenage girls into a spin over finding just the right dress, getting a fabulous up-do, planning photo sessions and doing whatever to create the perfect evening.

That’s all delightful, to live in a fairytale world.

But what a group of girls in rural southwestern Minnesota did on the day of their high school prom impresses me more than all the magical glitz and glam.

They took the time last weekend to share prom with the residents of a small town nursing home.

This my mother, who recently moved into Parkview Home in Belview, shared with me during our weekly Sunday evening phone conversation.

If those teens could have eavesdropped on our exchange, they would know just how happy they made my mom by stopping at their workplace before prom to show off their Cinderella selves.

Mom didn’t comment specifically on the dresses, although she did on the “fancy hair.”

And, she noted, some of the girls brought their dates, who, she laughed, looked a bit bored and “were probably wondering when they could leave.”

I don’t doubt her observation. Physically Mom is limited in her abilities. But mentally she is still, as they say, sharp as a tack.

This isn’t about my mother, though, who also profusely praised those prom-goers as kind and thoughtful.

Rather, this is about these young women and, yes, their dates, too. I am impressed by their care, kindness and generosity of spirit. They could have gone on their way, without a thought of stopping at Parkview. But they did. And for that, this daughter is grateful.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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21 Responses to “Bringing the magic of prom to a Minnesota nursing home”

  1. Bev Walker Says:

    In Wautoma for the past 12 plus years, the Junior class sponsors a “Senior” prom at the high school while the decorations from the previous night are still up. A band plays, refreshments are served, games played, dancing and a King and Queen are chosen.

  2. cecilia Says:

    Isn’t that just grand. Lovely. When i worked in the old folks home in NZ if any of the girls who worked there were getting married they would swing past the old folks home on their way to the church. I did it too. We would promenade with our bridesmaids and our dads through the wards and corridors, in our white and lace , giving out flowers, and it was the one day in my life I truly felt like an angel. All the nurses and elderly would come to the doors of their rooms and smile .. So many smiles. Ir was a beautiful tradition. Good for those girls doing that.. c

  3. BradG Says:

    Very impressive! Remember, Belview doesn’t have a high school. Believe their high school is in Redwood Falls..15 miles away. Those kids definitely have a good heart.

    • You’re right, sort of, Brad. Belview has the Belview Learning Center to meet the needs of elementary and secondary students with behavior issues.

      However, the prom-goers who stopped at Parkview were either from Echo Charter School and/or Lakeview School in Cottonwood, so I was told by a staffer.

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    So nice to hear of ‘positive’ behavior in a day that publicizes the negative cuz “it sells”!!!!!!!

    • Yes, it was good to write about the positive. As a former newspaper reporter, I will say, though, that I never wrote about negative events because “it sells.” Rather, it was my job to report all of the news, good and bad. As I have often said, “Don’t kill (blame) the messenger (the media).”

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Around here if it isn’t somewhat “sensational” it is sports related. Those two subjects account for 90% of the stories printed in Winona and LaCrosse. Finding the “good” news may be a bit more work cuz there aren’t the courts, police, etc to help. I’ve never heard of a reporter seeking out non-sensational stories to “balance” the darker/unpleasant life circumstances. I’m only speaking from a very local newspaper perspective. This doesn’t count politically ‘charged’ issues which are something else.

      • Well, you’ve just met one. In my work at daily and weekly newspapers, I wrote many feature stories focusing on the positives in life. Of course, I also had to pursue “hard news” stories, which certainly weren’t pleasant to write (accidents, murders, etc.) but which needed to be reported.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        So pleased to meet you!!!!! Very encouraging!!!

  5. What a nice thing to have done! At first, from the title, I thought this was going to be about having a sort of prom at a nursing home. I have very mixed feelings about those kinds of events, where they crown a queen, etc. I see your first commenter mentioned such an event. As long as the senior citizens enjoy it, that’s fine, but I can see how it might come across as a little patronizing to some older folks. Having the girls and guys show off their finery seems perfect.

    • I see what you mean and I have had the same thoughts about the crowning of a king and queen in a care center. Like you said, it depends on how it’s done and received.

      I was just so impressed by the prom-goers who took time out of their day to stop by the nursing home in their prom attire. So sweet.

  6. Jackie Says:

    They took the spot lights off themselves and gave to others…. I’m so impressed and happy to see the youth doing these sorts of things. (Glad to hear your mom is in a safe environment, hope she is thriving there and meeting new friends!)

  7. hotlyspiced Says:

    How lovely. What a kind act. I wish there were some photos of the exchange between the prom girls and the elderly. It must have been the highlight of their week and I’m sure, for those who are still as sharp as a tack, it must have made them a little nostalgic as they thought back to their own prom, their dress and their up-do xx

  8. That is SWEET 🙂


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