I didn’t know how or why or any of the intricacies of how I ended up growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada in my teenage years. I didn’t ask questions and didn’t even want to know. I wanted to be there and was super excited to be plopped down in the middle of a happin’ place. WOW! What more could a girl of sixteen coming off a small rundown dairy farm in Missouri want in her most formative years. It was Vegas after all. There were only 4 high schools, and one was private. Can you imagine? Now, there is something like 96 high schools. And the strip had hotels with names like the Sahara, the Dunes, the Desert Inn, and the Sands. And Fremont Street didn’t have a cover over it or a zip line that goes from one end to the other. There were only a couple hundred thousand people who lived in Vegas and only two who were actually born and raised there. Now there are over 2 million in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area. Love and Peace were the buzzwords and psychedelic visions & dirty, stringy long hair were the norm in those days. But not in my world since I was a good girl going to prom.
Yep, you got it. It was junior prom night, and I even had a date. He wasn’t that cool, but he was nice and paid for dinner. As I recall, I drove since I was about the only one in my class of 250 that had a driver license and a car. I made my own prom dress. It was beautiful I thought. It was deep purple with silver sequences, mini gathered and ruffley skirt. I even went to Kmart (Kmart was the epitome of coolness in those days) and bought a pair of silver, sparkly shoes with a not-so-high heels. I was already a head taller than my date, and I probably still am. Sort of looked like the dress below.
I really can’t remember the band that well. I know they were really good. They played on stage in one of the lesser hotels off the strip. But, what I do remember is that our class got to hold their prom in one of the ballrooms at the Sands Hotel and Casino, and was I pumped. I remembered it was decorated splendidly and had a really cool large performing stage with elaborate, flowing drapery.
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The band was on break, but music was being played in the background. We were all sitting around, drinking spiked punch I’m sure. Nobody was dancing much as we were just waiting until the band came back. It was about midway through the prom night, and all of sudden a short, thin, little guy came onto the stage and said, “Do you want to dance?” It didn’t seem like any of us took too much notice, at least the friends I was with because the guy looked sort of old and dressed up in a suit and tie and a funny sort of fedora type hat. He grabbed the mic and with no back up music belted out, “Your Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You.” He sang a total of 5 songs: “Mack the Knife”, “Fly Me To The Moon”, “Send in the Clowns”, and ended with “The Best is Yet to Come”. Just before he walked off the stage he said something very close to, “The World Is Yours, Kids. Good Night.”
Well you know when he was gone; I don’t think too many of us thought that was a big deal. That was the music our parents listened too. I heard one classmate say, “Oh, Frank Sinatra is such a-has-been.” When I went home and told my parents they both confirmed strongly, remember this night, remember Frank Sinatra, and always remember the songs he sang especially to your class.
As I found out later, Frank Sinatra owned 9% of the Sands Hotel and Casino. He happened to be in the hotel that night and heard there was a high school prom going on and just happened dropped in. I’ll never forget the best prom night