Grandma’s love is heartbeat for Parkway senior prom date
Thursday, May 01, 2014 12:00 AM
Parkway senior Austin Dennison attends prom with his great-grandmother, Delores Dennison, who was unable to attend her high school prom when she was younger. (Photo courtesy N. Fox Photo)
ROCKFORD — When Delores Dennison of Hartville received a phone call a couple of months ago from her great-grandson, Austin Dennison, asking her to be his date to the Parkway High School prom, she couldn’t believe that he meant it.
“He said, ‘Grandma, I want you to go to the prom with me’,” observed Delores Dennison. “I had a bad heart attack and stroke. ‘I’m not that good on my feet,’ I told him. Finally I said that if I was able to go at that time, I would.
“He said again, ‘Grandma, I want you’,” said Dennison.
For Dennison, her grandson’s phone call was the first time she had ever been invited to a prom in her life. She had attended school in West Virginia and didn’t graduate at the time. However, she later picked up her education through various outreach opportunities.
“I live in Hartville with my daughter; I haven’t had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him,” noted Dennison. “I stayed at his house. We both got dressed and went to Bob Evans in Celina and then we went to the prom.”
Austin Dennison said that the idea to take his great grandmother to the prom was sown by government teacher Lucas Minnich.
“Mr. Minnich told me that his older brother had taken his grandma to the prom,” said Dennison. “I asked Grandma if she would be my date to the prom and she said that she would be honored. I told her that it would be my privilege.
“I’ve been blessed with grandparents and great grandparents that know as much as they do,” continued Dennison. “They have so many stories to tell. All I have to do is ask.”
Dennison said his great grandmother went shopping for a special dress for the prom. The day before the prom, he purchased her a pearl necklace. Before the prom, he played his guitar and sang the song, ”Iris,” to her. Prior to the event, Dennison took his grandmother to Bob Evans in Celina (one of her favorite restaurants) for supper. Then they returned to Parkway High School to have their pictures taken for the prom. At the promenade, Dennison and his grandmother took the short cut through the balloons to take their place.
“She is so funny. She was hitting the balloons with her cane,” observed Dennison. “She is really neat.
“When the music started to play, we danced on the floor,” continued Dennison. “They played the Frank Sinatra song, ‘I love the kisses of Delores.’ Her husband (Edward) used to sing that song to her. There was a standing ovation when we came out.”
Following high school graduation, Dennison plans to attend Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers and take a pre-med course. His chief goal is to continue a career as a firefighter and possibly get into exercise science.
“That would put in a situation where I could train to be a doctor, chiropractor or nurse practitioner,’ commented Dennison.
Dennison already serves as a volunteer fireman with the Chattanooga Fire Department. He is also an Eagle Scout. At Parkway, Dennison has played football, baseball and basketball.
“We got home shortly after 9 p.m., later than I go to bed these days,” Delores Dennison said. “He was so good; he got me a pearl necklace.”
When asked how he felt about the evening, Austin Dennison replied, “I feel stupendous. I know this helped her out. When you help others, in some way you help yourself. She means so much to us. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”