Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Short Cuts: School Yearbooks- The Past Preserved, For Better or Worse...

 

 

Redartz:  As Summer begins, schools are closing; just has they have since we attended those crowded halls of learning. One of the most anticipated parts of the end of the school year was the distribution of yearbooks. Usually accompanied by a vigorous round of mutual book signing, reminiscing and sharing of summer plans. 

 


 

Shift to the present: looking at these bound volume time capsules now can be an exercise in both nostalgia and cringing embarrassment. As a youth I used to look through my parents' yearbooks and was amused at the photos, certain that my memories would never be so...quaint. Time got the last laugh, though. My yearbooks now contain ample evidence of the cultural and fashionistic excesses of the Bronze age. Along with quite a few handwritten messages from friends, acquaintances, old girlfriends and teachers, with all the accompanying emotional detritus. For the most part, these volumes sit collecting dust on my shelves, forgotten. But every once in a while, I'll pull one out for a laugh and bit of remembrance. 


 

Thus, for our discussions this week, what are your thoughts about yearbooks, the process of reminiscence, and the end of school in general?  Do you have any amusing tales of pranks, parties, or partings? Did you keep your yearbooks ( and in the case of your parents, did they keep all your school pictures- mine presented me with a whole manila envelope some years ago, containing twelve years' worth of uncomfortable portraits)? And just to show you that I'm devoted to journalistic integrity and full disclosure (not to mention possessing no sense of personal dignity), I leave you with one of those school photos of early Bronze age Redartz, I'll probably regret this...

 



11 comments:

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well.. Ole Charlie can break the ice, lol.

About 3 years ago I did recycle my high school and college year books. I pulled a few pages out that were relevant to me and the rest went by by. They were simply taking up space and, truth be told, I don't think I'd looked at them in 30 years.

And 3 years on I haven't even thought about them or wished I hadn't.

So... that's that kids!

Interesting topic Red, as usual!

Cheers!

Redartz said...

Thanks Charlie! Was kind of hearing crickets (or was it cicadas?)...
I understand your viewpoint on those yearbooks. I kept all of mine, being an obsessive archivist. But now they seem...less necessary. Maybe I'll just keep the Senior edition. Oh, BTW Charlie- be honest, how were your photos? Was your Senior portrait memorably good, or memorably otherwise?

McSCOTTY said...

We didn't have Year books at our high (Secondary) school certainly not in the 1970s. It may n be something that's done now but I think it was mostly a North American thing. we only really had school photos (and I have lost most of mine). You picture looks pretty cool to me you look very much like an American kid to my eyes at least..

Redartz said...

McScotty- ah, you're very kind!
So without yearbooks, did you have any particular traditions at the end of your school career? Yearbook signing was (and remains) a huge part of Graduation time. When I graduated, the school actually scheduled a breakfast at a rented location for the graduating seniors, where the yearbooks were distributed. We passed them around for signatures between bites of pancakes and bacon...

McSCOTTY said...

We didn't have graduation parties either (although they do that now) you just left school and got a job (if you were lucky) otherwise you signed on unemployment or went to University (if clever) or college etc. There was a school party at the end of most years (I never attended any) but I don't think they were grand affairs or graduation specific like in the US. I would assume some people met up and signed books etc but it certainly wasn't established then in the mid - late 1970s (in the Glasgow area at least) maybe private schools did that. It's all changed now kids even have graduation parties from nursery as well as when they move from Primary school (4/5 - 11 years old) to secondary school (12 - 17 ish).

Colin Jones said...

As Paul said, we didn't have yearbooks in British schools and we only had school photos taken every two years (in my school anyway). In the last few years of school I didn't show up when I knew the photographers were coming. In those days leaving school wasn't treated as a big event - no yearbooks to sign, no prom dances - but when I left primary school (at age 11) and secondary school (at age 18) I still felt a tinge of sadness for a part of my life that was passing forever. Nowadays lots of schools do have prom dances and maybe they have yearbooks too - most American things seem to come here in the end!

FlameKeeper said...

We had yearbooks for both Junior High and High School, this in central New Jersey mid to late 70's. I still have both of mine, yeah haven't looked at them in years, but my kids like to have a laugh every now and then. I'm still in touch with H.S. friends, we've done the "look through the yearbook and make fun of everybody" bit.
From what I can remember, the last day or two of school always seemed a bit surrealistic to me. It was a school day, so you had to be there, but there was nothing to do, summer break was soooo close you could almost touch it, but here you are in school, not doing school stuff.

Edo Bosnar said...

Don't have much to say about yearbooks. I remember them, and how important they seemed to be back when I was in high school (even to the point of angling to get some popular upper classman/woman to sign it). However, as soon as I was out of high school, they pretty much lost all of their significance to me. I pulled them out to leaf through them once or twice in subsequent years, but they really did nothing for me - they just seemed like this odd artifact.
As to what FlameKeeper said about the last day of school: yeah, I recall how odd they were, and not just in high school but also grade school. One thing I liked about it was all of the horsing around, even during class time. All of the teachers also seemed at ease, spending class-time asking us what we'd be doing in summer, talking about favorite movies, books (depending on the class) and/or even telling jokes and whatnot. Surreal, but not unpleasant.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I can say that the last day of high school was always irreverant.

I'm talking 1979, Crown Point, Indiana, with guys with "muscle cars" driving up in front of the school on the big circular driveway, folks pouring bleach on the back tires, and then "burning rubber" literally in front of the Principal's office!

And of course the weekend was spent in a bit of a haze with Alice Cooper's "School's Out for the Summer" being played about 150 times, LOL.

And now that I think about it, wasn't there a "Cheech and Chong (?)" skit record about "Read your essay on what you did during Summer break?" It played on AM radio for a handful of months.

Killraven said...

I came across my 9th grade yearbook the other day (which was in JR. High at the time), the only one I have remaining. Cringe worthy for sure, but some decent memories like an actual Wurlitzer Jukebox in the cafeteria. Though hearing "Jukebox Hero" 4 times a day for 100 days in a row kinda got old.
Many autographs ended with K.I.T. followed by a phone number. Which was cool when it came from a girl you had a crush on!
And the original LOL (lots of love) could also be found.

Vishal Rathour said...
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