Prom Night – My Grand Entrance

The American tradition of a prom night bash for teens migrated to the UK some time ago and a conversation with some of the girls at our pub about their dresses sent me searching through my files for a photo of mine. I seem to remember floor length and sweet as being very in style in 1977 unlike what I think of as the “sexy too soon” look that has been the rage for a long time.

I’d be willing to bet none of the girls I talked with will be wearing anything as demure as my cream-colored Gunne Sax dress with all of its lace, and pearl buttons. I’m not saying sleek and glamorous should be ditched in favor of a dress that looks as if you’re practicing for a premature walk down the wedding aisle, but do girls have really to look so old, so soon?

In the photo above, I’m standing in front of my high school sweetheart’s house making some serious googly-eyes at him. Looking at it now you’d never believe the experience we’d shared less than an hour or so earlier when he’d arrived at my house to pick me up for the evening.

I’d spent all afternoon getting ready as I struggled to make my normally stick straight hair bend to my will. It took less time than I expected so I was ready before my date was due to arrive. My step-mom, Cullene saw his car (no limo for us) coming through the trees down the long gravel road that connected our home in the woods to the rest of the world. She suggested that I should go back upstairs so I could come down the curving staircase and make an entrance befitting my dress and the occasion.

Lifting the hem of my dress a few inches so as not to trip, I ran up the stairs and stood off to one side so I couldn’t be seen from below. I listened as my dad opened the door and greeted my boyfriend and then heard Cullene say, “Elizabeth, Scott’s here.” Pausing for a moment at the top of the stairs, I looked down over the railing smiling at my boyfriend who was wearing a dark suit that he could wear again instead renting a pastel tux, a look that was very popular that year.

It was the most dressed up I’d ever seen him as he lived in jeans and t-shirts no matter what the season, but I didn’t have time to think about how handsome he looked or what he might be thinking about my dress because as my eyes met his and I took the second step intending to glide down the stairs like a romantic figure in a Jane Austin novel, my new shoes slipped on the carpet causing my feet to go straight out in front of me as the heels of my shoes snapped off. I hit the stairs hard and slid on my backside, bumping down three or four steps before coming to a stop.

I was shocked out of my embarrassment when I heard Cullene say, ” Oh Elizabeth! Are you okay? ” Almost as soon as I said, ” Yes,” I heard my family begin to laugh nervously as if they were having trouble keeping it in but didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I was laughing too before long and poor Scott, who didn’t know what to make of us by now laughing like we were coming unglued, shook his head and walked towards the door doing his best to keep from losing it too.

After realizing my high-heeled opened toed sandals had suddenly become flats, I worried aloud about what to do for shoes until my dad grabbed a hammer and some small nails and pieced them back together so we could go on to the prom.

There are of course other parts of the evening that I remember, such as our expensive dinner with its tiny portions and the grandness the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom, but the most memorable moment for me remains my dramatic entrance and how quickly I bounced back afterwards.

I’d love to hear your prom night stories if you have one or a most embarrassing moment if you’re feeling brave. 

Going Nowhere In Particular

Sometimes when you look outside the window and you see the sky is a brilliant shade of blue for the first time in days, you feel the need to get out even though you have no idea where you want to go. So you slip on your shoes or you tie up the laces of your boots and you grab your camera and head out the door.  Saturday was just such a day … want to see where we went?

John is going on ahead as usual while I hang back to photograph a few macro shots of spring flowers. The forest is full of varying shades of green right now as the leaves are still coming out. Everything seems to be a bit late in the blooming probably due to our colder than normal winter.

Up ahead you have a choice in direction … take the left fork and go up a hill deeper into the woods or …

… if you continue on the main path you begin to see a special place for us. Can you see the sheep through the trees?

The light was perfect as we caught sight of the buttercup field.

Stepping into the meadow, we could see some bluebells to our right near the river’s edge.

As John was walking into the buttercup field, I told him I almost expected to see Thomas Hardy walking towards us with Tess trailing behind him.

I thought I we might spy Elizabeth Bennet out for a walk with her sisters just ahead, but John and I were the only two legged creatures around as we passed by the fat sheep munching in the meadow.

We discovered the reason for the lengthy ringing of the church bells earlier in the day when we saw the flowers arranged over the doorway to our parish church. Notice that someone cut the grass, but only part of it for some reason, making it look as if like they might have stopped for a break and not come back to finish the job.

The mix of flowers above the doorway was really lovely and I almost expected to see Marianne coming out on the arm of Colonel Brandon.

Inside were more flowers including a circlet around each of the pillars.

The flowers were a delightful mix of wild and cultivated providing a few photo opportunities.

I can never resist shooting from outside in even if the panes of old glass are a bit in need of a wash. I love the reflected surprises that can show up later when reviewing them.

After church, we stopped by the pub for a pint. I had my usual diet lemonade (like diet Sprite) while John sampled the special of the day.

If we didn’t live within walking distance, perhaps we might have talked the owner of this classic MG into giving us a lift home. Notice the church in the background … the white cottage in front of it is for sale if you’re interested in relocating or having a holiday home in Cornwall.

We’re having perfect weather again today and I’m off in a minute. Where am I going you may ask … nowhere in particular would have to be my reply, but it’s sure to be good wherever my feet lead me.

Editing Real Life -Deciding What To Keep



I was barely back in Cornwall long enough to unpack last week before I was off  to photograph my first UK wedding. I met these two lovely people though another blogging friend Joanne Rendell.  Joanne and Alycia have connections in New York and after communicating with Joanne after her first book was published, she introduced me to Alycia. Alycia and I have loads of things in common including a theatre background, but it is in loving our Englishmen and leaving our U.S. based lives for that love that we find the most similarity.

It was truly an honor to be asked to record the moments of such an important day and my pleasure to be able to do it. Honestly, it was a bit like being in a movie version of a modern day Jane Austin novel. 

The ceremony was one of the very sweetest I’ve ever seen and had some moments so tender that I almost forgot I was there to document the day. I’ve seen brides who were beautiful and grooms who were handsome and happy, but I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed such total joy at the moment they kissed. Even I got a little teary behind my camera.

I’m editing like a mad woman and will probably be doing so for a few more days but I’ll be back with more photos if you’re interested in having a bit of a look as I finish them. Thanks to John’s assistance as my second shooter, we ended up with a total of more than 1800 images. So now the big question is what to keep. How do you decide what makes the cut with your images?

I tend to be pretty ruthless, but there are some here that I’m not sure I want to say goodbye to…not just yet anyway. I’m talking about those which are slightly imperfect, but full of emotion…hmmm, perhaps I’ve just answered my own question. Life is messy and imperfect right…so perhaps keeping an image or two to remind us can be useful now and then.

Thanks to the photoshop skills of my sister Margaret, the image above no longer has a bicycle in the background or a sign in the window.