The Memory Project
Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

TMP: Prom Dresses
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Baltimore magazine recently ran a photo of me in my prom dress. I'm sure you're all profoundly disappointed that it's not on line. Two things struck me about the photo, which I provided for an article about Baltimore's strange obsession with high school. 1) The hair. Oh lord, the hair. And 2) My prom dress is strangely similar to the dress I wore to the Edgars banquet in 2005.

A good prom dress was hard to find when I graduated from high school. My mother and I must have made at least three different shopping trips, and it wasn't exactly a high-stakes date. I was going with a classmate, someone really fun and smart, but we weren't boyfriend-girlfriend. He's now a successful surgeon, a fact I know because -- hello, Smalltimore! -- his father volunteers at the same soup kitchen where I volunteer.

My crowd stayed up all night, a tradition at the time. Whenever I look back at my youth, I'm surprised that we all got out intact. Alcohol wasn't an issue in my group -- although with a drinking age of 18, I'm shocked anew that we didn't spend senior year going to funerals -- but we were newly minted drivers, barreling down narrow, country roads.

But the best prom dress story isn't mine, it's just one that I was allowed to tell: (Cut and paste into your browser.)

Did you go to prom? What did you wear? What was the theme song? ("Do You Know Where You're Going To," the theme from "Mahogany.")

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