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In the spring of 1981, high school senior Dave Bentley asked junior Pam Simpson — then Pam Semrau — to go to prom with him in the Seattle suburb of Shoreline, Washington. The two were not dating, just "fellow band geeks," Simpson said, but they had a great time.
This spring, in a sweet twist of fate, Simpson and Bentley's children also went to their own high school prom together — 37 years after their parents' date.
Though it is only 15 minutes from the skyline of Seattle, Shoreline "feels like a small town," Simpson told TODAY Parents. A lot of people stay nearby or move back to the area, including Simpson and Bentley, who both became teachers after college.
Simpson taught Bentley's son, Jake, for two years when he and her daughter, Annika, were in middle school together. "I told him the story of going to the prom with his dad, which I think kind of embarrassed both Jake and Annika a little," said Simpson.
Jake and Annika are good sports, though, and shared a running joke beginning in 8th grade that they would either go to prom together or, at the very least, recreate their parents' self-described "very awkward" prom photo.
Now both 18-year-old seniors at Shorecrest High School themselves, Jake and Annika are still good friends and neither is dating anyone in particular. "Evidently Jake said, 'So, are we still on for prom?'" said Simpson. "And yes, they did recreate our photo, and Dave and I did a recreation of our own!"
"It just felt normal," said Annika. "I don't know if I would have ended up going to prom with Jake if my mom hadn't gone with his dad, but he's a good friend, and we had a great time!"
Simpson posted the photos of both her prom and her daughter's in the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook group, where it had over 2,000 likes and many comments from other parents noting the "full circle moment" as well as Simpson's classic '80s Gunne Sax-style prom dress.
"I am grateful that I live in a community where people want to stay around for multiple generations, so a story like this could happen," said Simpson. "I am also grateful that the kids at Shorecrest largely go to things like prom and homecoming as big groups of good friends, rather than exclusively as dates. There's so much less pressure, and I think the kids have a lot more fun."