BOONE LIFE: Donning the dancing shoes

Second annual Ashland Senior Citizen Prom attracts double the turnout
Sunday, April 27, 2008 | 8:27 p.m. CDT; updated 9:58 p.m. CST, Monday, February 9, 2009
Leon Estill leads Miriam Ward for a slow dance at the Senior Citizen Prom in Ashland on April 19. Ward was invited to the dance by her granddaughter, Lauren Ward, one of the event's student organizers.

Chester and Marian Hilgedick navigate a two-step on the gym floor at the Ashland Senior Citizen Prom in perfect time with a grace acquired through 59 years as partners.

The story goes that Marian tagged along with a girlfriend who was going to a dance in Jefferson City. Chester spotted Marian in the room and quickly walked over and asked her to dance with him.


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“The joke with me was that I always asked out-of-town girls to dance with me,” Chester said.

He chuckled and added: “Everyone else was my kin. It was a small town.”

The Hilgedicks still dance together every Friday at the American Legion in Ashland.

“We used to square dance, too,” Marian said, “but not anymore.”

The second annual Ashland Senior Citizen Prom was put on by the Southern Boone County High School Student Council, and the event attracted 20 senior citizens and as many high school students on April 19 to the Southern Boone County Primary School gym. Organizers doubled turnout this year by avoiding scheduling conflicts with bingo night.

Seniors took turns guiding high school students, some of whom were their grandchildren, through unfamiliar steps around the dance floor.

Midway through the two-hour dance, Ashland’s Senior Citizen Prom king and queen were chosen through a random drawing. J.T. Mustain and Barbara Calvin were crowned this year’s king and queen. They were given the option to dance with their “respective other” or each other. Barbara smiled, and J.T. laughed and took her hand during the opening notes of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.”

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