Yearbooks, a shocking look back in time

Source: Wikipedia

While cleaning up (and tossing out), I found my old yearbooks from high school. How can you not stop what you are doing and look through them?

(Seriously, I look for any excuse to stop work on a real project!)

Initially I was struck by how young we all looked. As you age day-to-day you don’t notice the jowls and rolls accumulating on your frame. Than one day you wonder who that old person is in the mirror! (This doesn’t apply to you. You will always be young and gorgeous!)

As I flipped through, I saw all my old friends. Many are gone. Some permanently as in death and others moved to other states. I am not in touch with any high school friends. (Having said that, my bestie died about five years ago. We had been in touch even when she moved to a different state until her death.)

The clothes — did we really wear that? Girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school back then so it was dresses or skirts/sweaters/blouses with either knee-high socks or hose.

For those of you who are young, hose was a medieval form of torture for women. It’s a very sheer fabric that covers your legs up to your thighs (pantyhose had not yet been invented along with the internet). They stayed up with a contraption of a garter belt with crazy looking hooks that pinched and made marks on your legs.

Hosiery also ran if you looked at it cross-eyed. Mostly we wore knee-high socks unless it was hot. Cheaper and easier.

There were those hideous cats-eye glasses too. Yikes! ‘Nough said about that. (Contact lenses had just been invented but no one could afford them.)

The guys looked so…thin. They hadn’t filled out around the face and neck. There wasn’t much peach fuzz on the baby face either. All the guys greased their hair (with Brylcreem…a little dab will do ya!) We thought they were hunks. *bangs head on desk*

The teachers looked old. Even at today’s perspective, they look old! (Seriously we look a lot younger these days!)

There were contrived photos of seniors at the various contributors’ stores. There was a picture of three kids walking up the steps at a funeral parlor. Glad I didn’t get that assignment. Another was of an ice cream shop. I didn’t get that gig either.

As a matter of fact, I noticed that I wasn’t in any of the photos except for my senior picture. (This picture was when I learned that you NEVER EVER get a haircut the day before any function that will result in a photo.)

My friends and I did not leave a footprint in our high school yearbook!

We were active in school. We were in clubs; attended athletic games; and dances. Why weren’t any of us in pictures?

It was the same group of kids in everything. Homecoming, plays, recitals. We all attended those things but there was a group of ten to fifteen that were in all the pictures. All. Of. Them.

I was shocked. I attended a small school. Our graduating class was 110 kids. The yearbook “team” selected groups and scheduled shots but there was a teacher advisor looking over all of this. What was he/she thinking? Perhaps this was back in the day before self-esteem was invented (along with pantyhose and the internet). No one really cared about anyone feeling left out, especially 50 years later!

We’ve come a long way baby!

 

 

 

56 thoughts on “Yearbooks, a shocking look back in time

  1. I threw away some annuals and kept others. It must have been a haphazard process because I don’t seem to have the annual from my senior year in high school.

    For some reason, my high school class had better group dynamics than most. There was a lot of mixing between groups. So when the annuals came out, it was not surprising to find a good mix of students in the photos.

    When I was in high school, I thought we were all grown up and that we looked the same as any other young adult. From this vantage point, high school kids just look like kids.

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    • My high school was pretty good socially too. That’s why I was so surprised. I went back to some other yearbooks and I wasn’t in my sophomore book either. Maybe I was camera shy! Yes, we all looked like kids, skinny and with odd hair styles.

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    • I remember the cotton gym suits with the elastic legs that fit no one. I would have to tuck all the extra fabric under the elastic or they would look bloomers from the early 1900s. Not a cool look. The hair styles were mostly short. This was right before the hippie period with long hair on both sexes. To this day I will not even consider cats-eye glasses. Hated them then, hate them now!

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  2. I have remained good friends with several girls I first met in elementary school and remained with all the way through high school. I know from my other friends that this is somewhat extraordinary, and I’m grateful that at this age we can get together, pull out the old yearbooks once in awhile and laugh. The best thing is when we go through our memories and realize that we often have different perspective and associations with events we shared. We could use a fact checker! I have yet to lose one of these old friends and I think that will be a very hard “first” when the time does come. We were given permission to wear pants–not jeans–in our senior year! When I see what high school girls wear to school today I know I was born midway through the previous century! 🙂

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    • You are indeed lucky. In elementary school (class of 18) there were 7 girls. Two are gone. I don’t know about the others. The clothes kids were wearing to our local city school were so bad they installed a “uniform” based dress code. There are specific things you can wear but they must be “regulation.” When I drive by the high school, it has improved a lot. To bad we have to tell kids they can’t wear pants around their knees.

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  3. I kept only my Senior Yearbooks from HS and College ~ what a hoot to look through them. Our school had pictures of ALL the clubs with their members. So if you were active in after-school programs or team sports or student government, you had an “IN” in the yearbook.

    Never wore a garter belt and hose. Just pantyhose . . . still a pain. I don’t own any pantyhose now. I’m glad my niece got married on an 80 degree day so I didn’t need them for warmth. 😀

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  4. I went to a Catholic grammar school and an all boys Catholic high school. Your stories are hell raisers compared to mine. Hated high school for many reasons including the fact that there was no hosiery but you’re right about a select few being in all the photos. It’s crazy.

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  5. We had “Slack Days” only on the days of home football games so the girls could wear dress pants–no jeans–to the games that started shortly after school was out so boys couldn’t slink around under the bleachers to catch a glimpse of underpants.

    Teachers carried around little 6-inch rulers. At any time they could instruct a girl to get on her knees and whip out their ruler. If her skirt was more than 2 inches off the floor she was sent home. (They used surprise tactics so a girl had no time to unroll the waistband of her skirt–LOL!) I remember the awful nylons and garter belts–and the girdles! We usually opted for knee highs, too.

    The boys–hair had to be cut up and around the ears, couldn’t hang over their shirt collar (yes–they had to wear shirts and the girls, blouses), and if their hair measured more than 2 inches anywhere on the top of their head they were sent home, too. Lunchtime was a favorite time for hair measuring.

    And I lived in a suburb of a metropolitan city (Minneapolis) and graduated in 1968 (the time of the Beatles and mini skirts!)–wearing cat glasses and the ratted, bubble hairdo most of us girls spent hours creating and spraying. My sister graduated from the same school three years later and could wear jeans and t-shirts to school! I was shocked!

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    • I graduated in ’64. By 1970 a lot had relaxed. We were always threatened with skirt length but I don’t ever remember anyone getting sent home. Only one or two girls pushed the envelope and not that much. If I went to an after school game, I had to bring clothes and change.

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      • Yes, bringing clothes to change into for the game had been the norm so “Slack Days” were huge!
        Some girls protested the skirts being measured by all wearing granny dresses on the same day (must have been 10 or 12 girls)–and they were sent home, too! For being “distracting”–OMG! Our school clung to the old MadMen days much longer than they needed to–LOL!

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  6. True confession… I was on the yearbook committee. I was definitely not in the uber-popular group, I just liked photography and design. In picking the picture to use of the homecoming king (who we all were in love with) and queen (who was beautiful, but not very nice), we all chose to use a picture that flattered him but made her look bad. I still feel a little guilty about that whenever I look at my old yearbook.

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  7. I didn’t buy my yearbook from freshman year but I have all the rest. I remember being excited when they had a few pictures in color! I see my kids’ yearbooks and they are so different! I wasn’t in very many (maybe 1) extra picture either, but then again I worked during high school so I wasn’t much for extra curricular activity. Garters and nylons – I didn’t wear them in high school but the hubs likes them so on occasion…

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  8. Ha. I could just picture those days from what you wrote, especially since I’ve been watching Mad Men on Netflix. When we moved back home to Chicago from Florida two years ago, I found tons of old keepsakes I didn’t know I’d kept. Notes we even passed back and forth in Junior High! Those were the original text messages. I don’t know why I kept all that. I wrote about it right after we moved, and guess what? I still have them. 😛
    https://loreezlane.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/for-keeps-sake/

    Thanks for the memories. 🙂

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  9. I threw out my yearbooks years ago. I figured that there was no need to drag the past around with me. That being said, I remember stockings and garter belts. I was forced to wear them a few years before pantyhose arrived on the scene. Didn’t like either ways of wearing hose, preferring blue jeans and hippy clogs instead.

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  10. Snorts and rolls with piggy laughter. You are going to make mom get her albums out to look at them soon. All of these years being out of school – snort snort we won’t mention 30 years since mom has graduated – and she remembers maybe a handful of kids she knew. A couple she still talks to maybe. It seems like so long ago when the days were careful, right? XOXO – Bacon

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  11. All so skinny!
    Was it the clothes/hairstyles of the era that made everyone look old?
    Our yearbook Sr year was all into contemporary and avant-garde – some of the club/group pictures were taken amid giant pillars to the huge 3 story overpass intersection that was being built. I surprised TXDOT /construction company didn’t run us off. It turned out very abstract and sort of Greek architecture type.
    Yearbooks were always notorious for cliques and power of photo selections – if the sponsors didn’t care or not watching. But with the size of our school, there wasn’t a lot of room for extra photos. There were over 1,000 in my graduating class – the classes below were actually larger. We were also alphabetical in homerooms and classes from about grades 7-12 so you knew people around your last name letter group, but not a lot of others from other parts of the alphabet. Weird, right? Small schools do have their perks.

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      • The homerooms in my school were arranged by course picks. There was academic (these kids were headed to college or thought they were), business (think secretarial) and general (the dunderheads who didn’t know what the hell they were going to do when they graduated). By senior year, homerooms were mixed but not alphabetical. I think that’s hysterical that you get to know people within a few letters of your last name!

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    • Funny thing was I thought it was a BIG high school. I went to a parochial grade school. My class had 18 kids in it. This was big time for me. A graduating class of 1000? Wow! I went to a more rural school but the city school nearby had classes like that. There was something nice about a small school. Nowadays the bigger regional schools offer more specific opportunities for learning.

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      • I’m a real fan of neighborhood schools – even if they don’t offer all the “extras” and career oriented “specialty” classes. Computers and the internet can compensate for that. Smaller neighborhood schools create a better sense of community and school spirit. These days with mandates and oversights all school no matter their location/size can be good schools. Maybe if kids felt like they weren’t invisible as some feel in large schools, they would be happier (they are teens so just so they will feel miserable no matter what), more comfortable, and more willing to learn. Kids seem to be having such a hard time these days.

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        • They do. I don’t remember so much unhappiness (except maybe at prom time) when I was a kid. I don’t remember any bullying either. I don’t think the other kids would have tolerated it. Practical jokes, yes. Mean spirited stuff, no.

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    • They were and got all the good opportunities but they weren’t “mean” kids at all. The fact that I just noticed I was slighted demonstrates that I was oblivious at the time. We would mix it up at lunch because the lunch periods were staggered so there didn’t seem to be so much class distinction. Come weekend or activities, everyone hung with their homies.

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