JoAnn and Donald Clayton guests of honor at HHS prom

Donald and JoAnn Clayton didn’t go to their high school prom because of a lack of communication.

“His story is, he asked me and I didn’t ever give him an answer,” said JoAnn with a laugh. “And my story is, he just presumed I’d go. So we didn’t go!”

Fortunately, the Claytons got a second chance at the high school tradition, going to the Hermiston High School prom nearly 64 years after the one they missed.

Earlier this school year the couple was visiting Hermiston from Port Angeles, Washington, where they’ve lived for more than 40 years. At that time, Donald stopped in at the high school to have a chat with principal Tom Spoo. He asked if he and his wife could attend the Hermiston prom, and Spoo happily agreed.

But what the couple didn’t know was the school had some ideas of their own. District librarian Delia Wallis, leadership adviser Dave Rohrman and students from the student government class began planning ways to make the evening special for the couple.

“We had just intended to show up,” JoAnn said.

Instead, the school treated the Claytons to an evening they won’t forget. They were chauffeured around in a 1951 Mercury by Fred Clark of the Hermiston Classic Car Club. They were served dinner by Ford Bonney of Hale’s Restaurant and stayed at Oxford Suites.

At the prom, Donald was dressed in his Marines Corps uniform and JoAnn donned a blue dress. The couple was seated at a special table, where students came up and chatted