Is there a month more deserving of a new museum exhibit than September? I think not. And is there a topic more deserving of September than my thoughts about school? I think not yet again. So settle in and get ready to hear all about my years in public school through the timeline of my school photos.
Here we have, from left to right and top to bottom, grades one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and my senior photo from my high school yearbook.
And here are some thoughts on each year . . . these are the things I would tell you if you were sitting beside me and we were looking at these photos together.
First grade: My teacher was Mrs. Sykes and I adored her. She was older and she and I just . . . clicked. I wanted to please her in every possible way and she set me up for a truly successful school career. My favorite subject was reading, of course. I loved that dress, too. It was soft and not only did it have a ruffle at the neck but there were ruffles at the cuffs as well.
Second grade: I don’t remember my teacher’s name! Actually, I don’t remember specific names with most years after first grade. But I do remember that dress with the smocking and the black velvet ribbon on the sleeves. I’m not smiling the way I am in all the other photos because I had lost my front teeth and my mother told me to smile with my mouth closed.
Third grade: My hair is a little shorter but still brushed back and secured in the back with a single barrette, my mother’s go-to style for me. I did not like that dress at all. It was a sweater dress and it was scratchy. I distinctly remember going to the school library at this age and being able to check out books and bring them home.
Fourth grade: Oh, that hair. I was growing out a very unfortunate short cut. My mother tried to curl it and give it some style but it was futile. I don’t remember that dress specifically but I think it was this one I had with a dropped waist and plaid skirt – it looked like a sweater and skirt but it wasn’t, you know? My teacher was Mrs. Leroux. And, funny story about that . . . a few years ago Dale and I attended a 50th wedding anniversary party for our dear friends, Roger and Alicia. I’ve known them for years from town and because they were library patrons and Dale and I became good friends with them through Kiwanis. Anyway, we’re at their party and I look up and there’s Mrs. Leroux. And I said to Alicia, why is my 4th grade teacher at your anniversary party? And as soon as I asked I made the connection . . . she was Alicia’s sister! I realized in that moment that there voices were exactly the same. Anyway. I loved 4th grade.
Fifth grade: I call this the Laura Ingalls Wilder photo. I loved that prairie style dress and my hair was (thank goodness) long again. I was firmly established as the teacher’s pet by now, staying after to help with clean up, bulletin boards and more. I also worked in the school office. Of course.
Sixth grade: The beginning of the awkward years. Braces. Stick straight hair. And a 3 piece suit. Good grief. I remember that suit so clearly. There were pants and a skirt plus the vest and the jacket. I thought I was all.that when I wore it. This was the year I got in trouble for talking in class and the teacher threw a piece of chalk at me.
Seventh grade: Braces and messy hair. Could the photographer not have given me a comb to smooth it down in the back there over my shoulder? Sheesh. I was completely devoted to the preppy look by then hence the plaid shirt and navy sweater. I was wearing grey corduroys with them and . . . wait for it . . . penny loafers. This was junior high and I was fairly miserable. Almost all of my friends from elementary school went to a different junior high and I was so lonely and it was very hard to make friend at that point. It was rough.
Eighth grade: My braces are gone and I’ve just got a retainer at this point. I loved that super soft yellow sweater and always paired it with a plaid skirt and boots. My hair was about the longest it’s ever been and things were sort of better with school. I loved music class and social studies and even math . . . because my math teacher was very handsome. He made us memorize the definition of a polynomial in x and I can still recite it to this day, which he actually predicted all those years ago.
Senior year: I hated this photo then and I still hate it today. The bad perm. The awful teal sweater. The phony background. Ugh. But I was pretty happy in high school and this is the culmination of all those years. I was working at the library, getting good grades, dating the guy who became my first husband, and about to go to the college of my dreams.
And there you have it . . . my school years in one post . . . errrr . . . exhibit. I hope you enjoyed it!
What a lovely exhibit, Carole! I can’t remember many teachers names beyond my second grade teacher either… I wonder why that is. I even have a couple of “year books” from elementary school and even looking at the class pictures *with the teacher* I don’t remember them at all.
My second grade teacher was incredible… no matter how many years passed since second grade, she always knew who I was!
It seems we all have had hair issues and we remember the clothes – good and bad! Before seeing your pictures, I don’t think I knew anyone who wore a three piece suit (you were all that)! (I see you even got to lean on the same fence Kym had.)
All these exhibits (yours, Kat’s, Kym’s, Bonny’s) have gotten me thinking about my school years. I don’t really remember teacher names (except Mr. Fleck – my 6th grade teacher – a MAN!!!…and handsome – or so I thought). Like you, I loved to help the teacher – cleaning the blackboard, putting away supplies, etc. I think it’s probably fortunate that I don’t have (or don’t know where they are) my school pictures – LOL
I posed in front of that same “woodsy” background with that same “split rail fence” for my senior picture. (Sigh.) Thanks for a fun exhibit, Carole. (You were adorable.) XO
I don’t think I had anything but awkward years, Carole!
I see your same beautiful smile in all of these, Carole, even if braces were involved some years! It’s somewhat heartening to hear that everyone had a span of years where they felt self-conscious about their smile, their hair, their clothes, etc. — I guess middle school/junior high is just the time of life when we feel awkward!
I love seeing your smile in each of the pictures, even the one with your mouth closed! I think we all had hair issues at one time or another and we all had that same awkward stage in Junior High!
My 50th reunion was celebrated this year and while it was fun to reminisce, I don’t want to go back and re-live those years!
what fun, Carole – love the framing of “school” through the lens of your photos. and impressed with how much you remember about your haircuts and the outfits!
Fun! I only remember Mrs. Wigglesworth from I think Elem or Middle. I remember going to a yoga class at one of the high schools and there she was, but I was too shy to say anything. I also remember my art teacher (from middle school) Mrs. Ghezzi. I drive by her house all the time and was at the gastro dr about 10 years ago and there she was. When she left, I mentioned to the receptionist who rightly couldn’t say yes that was her but I knew it was as they also said she was a teacher at one time. She had the same long hair coiled in this long not a braid but with spinning, twisted like yarn. For some reason I can’t remember an elementary school teacher’s name but I did go have lunch with her about 25 or 30 years ago when I was thinking of going back to school to be a teacher. She had us all make hand prints on cloth and she made a jumper out of it. Some of the hand prints were in the wrong spot on that jumper. She admitted to me that she still had it.
I wish I had all my school photos! But I’m so un-photogenic that my mom rarely bought my school photos, so I only have a couple of years.
What a great exhibit!! Love it.
My first & fourth grade teachers were my favorites in grade school, too! I wore my Laura Ingalls Wilder dress (made by my mom) in 6th grade… and my sister Karen wore it a year or two later! haha.