Belle of the ball at 93

Drew Holm wasn’t going to attend his high school prom this year until his great-grandmother jokingly told him she had a blue dress ready to go.

“I said, ‘I don’t have a date, and I could care less about it.’ And she said, ‘Well I bought a blue dress, and I’ll go with you,’” said Holm, a junior at Crothersville High School.

While 93-year-old Kathryn Keith of Uniontown said she was just teasing her great-grandson, Holm took it seriously. A couple of weeks later, he mentioned it to her again.

But she turned him down.

“She said to find someone prettier — that’s what she told me,” he said.

In the meantime, Holm asked Principal David Schill if the prom age limit could be extended from 20 to 93 — just so he could be accompanied by his great-grandmother.

The purpose of the age limit is to prohibit students of legal age from attending, so there’s no chance they might supply alcohol to students.

“I felt she’s pretty harmless,” Schill said. “In a joking manner, I did tell Drew that he had to tell his great-grandmother that she could not bring alcohol or I’d have her arrested. We all had a laugh over that.”

Once Holm got permission, he asked his great-grandmother again. This time, he did it “promposal-style.”

“I came home, and it was the cutest thing, he wrote me a little invitation, and it was on my step,” Keith said.

The invitation read, “Every princess needs a tiara for the ball, will you be my princess for prom?”

Keith gave in.

“I said that does it,” she said with a smile.

On Friday, the night of the prom, Keith put on the blue dress she had been talking about; and Holm, using Keith’s Cadillac, picked her up and drove them to the dance at The Pines Evergreen Room in Seymour.

Though Keith was excited, she said she also was a little nervous, because her arthritis can sometimes affect how she walks. She also sometimes has trouble breathing.

The night, however, couldn’t have been better, they said.

“I had a great time. It was really nice,” she said. “The kids came up and introduced themselves. … I was so proud he asked me.”

Keith, who graduated from Crothersville High School in 1940, compared last weekend’s prom to the one she attended 75 years ago. Back then, she didn’t bring a date and recalls the prom was held in the high school’s auditorium.

“I just danced with everybody,” she said.

The whole dance was altogether different, she added, — everything from the music, to the dancing, to the dresses.

The sparkly, elegant gowns the girls wear now were not something you’d see on the dance floor years ago, she said. Fashion was more simple back then and resembled something you might wear to church, she added.

“It was the 1940s, everybody was poor back then,” she said.

Keith also said the dance most commonly used at their prom was the four-step, nothing like the moves seen today.

“They had this line dance (on Friday), and I told Drew if I was 10 years younger, I would get out there and try that,” she said. “It was cute.”

Keith, however, did hit the dance floor for one song. She shared a slow dance with Holm.

Keith said she couldn’t remember the last time she did that. Her husband, Lewis, who also was a Crothersville High School graduate, passed away in 2002.

“Lewis wasn’t much of a dancer, just like Drew,” Keith said.

Holm said no one at the prom cared that his date was about 57 years older than them.

“A lot of them thought it was pretty cool, even the friends who pick on me a lot in a good way,” he said. “They said it was really cute and gave me a lot of respect for it.”

By 9 p.m. though, it was time for the fun to wind down, and Holm’s princess was ready to go.

“She has a bedtime,” Holm said while Keith giggled.

After Holm dropped his great-grandmother off at home, he went to pick up his girlfriend, who attends Brownstown Central High School. They went to the after-prom together at the bowling alley. Holm said his girlfriend didn’t mind he took another date to the dance.

“She told me to go have fun,” he said.

Holm said it was a great night, and he’s glad he decided to share it with a family member.

“I really care about her and knew it would be nice to take her,” he said. “I don’t think anyone else has taken their great-grandmother, so it was something original.”