Friday, October 5, 2012
Usually, it's not too surprising to learn a homecoming queen is a senior.
Friday, though, a Clearwater woman who is wearing the crown is 70 years older than everyone else in the school's homecoming court.
In fact, Leila Anderson is much older than most people at the school.
To keep the surprise, residents of the Clearwater Village were told they were being visited by the homecoming queen candidates, but then the Village's life enrichment coordinator Karen Van Allen announced some unfinished business.
"Clearwater's homecoming of 1942 was almost canceled," she said.
Here's why: The United States was just coming out of the Great Depression, which was followed by World War II.
"There was no money for anything extra," Van Allen said.
That included no money to crown then-homecoming queen Leila Anderson or even buy a sash. The cheerleaders instead made a cardboard crown and used sparkly hard candy to replicate jewels.
So, students made up for it seven decades later.
Leila was also presented with seven red roses, representing each decade of waiting for a proper celebration. To top things off, this year's candidates voted to present Leila with this year's homecoming queen's sash.
Of course, Leila is overwhelmed with emotion and memories of that day.
"Oh, I remember being in a parade, riding in a convertible," she said.