When Helen Was A Popular Name

In days of yore, both high school and university yearbooks included many pages of the campus’s most attractive dames. The 1933 Austin High School Comet was no exception. Let’s start with the freshman.

How equestrian! How polished! How elegant!

Now on to the sophomores.

Check out the razzle-dazzle art deco framing their pics. I guess most high school girls owned riding crops. Now we see the juniors, both named Helen.

And there are no 12A or B favorites, oddly. Just Essie Mae Wentworth, Queen of the Spring Festival.

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When Everyone Dresses Like Criminal Bonnie Parker

Comet33--004
1933 Comet

Pictured above are the Austin High School 1933 Girl Reserves. I wasn’t clear what exactly “girl reserves” were (what came to mind was not pleasant), so I searched for clarity. According to the yearbook, their “aim” was to “find and give the best.” Their flower is listed as the “phlox” and their colors as “blue and white.” Seems like a lot of wasted information to me. Perhaps they were reserving the truth?

Below is the group of Sodalitas Latina. Motto: Esse quam videri. I am guessing the boys up front are freshmen, as they hardly look a day older than 14.

Along with the German Club, the Motion Picture Club (motion pictures being about the same age as the teachers), and TWO Nature Science Clubs, there was also this Golden R Readers Club, with one happy boy and several angry girls. Ralph appears to be mid-prank.

Not to be outdone by R’s, I present the Order of the Golden A, comprised of those who have achieved non-athletic interscholastic victory.

This one is a hoot. The front row middle girl is being held hostage by the iron fists of the Dead Center. Then we have Messy Martha, second from the left, who is not only scowling through lenses, but clutching her handbag protectively. Further to the right is that amazing three button dress.

Lastly, I share the Austin High Student Council–in two pieces, so you can really climb in there and check them out. Those pockets! That ruffle! What kind of Depression was this?

This shot is really just to appreciate Angry Eyebrows and Odd-Stance McCrary there, both in the front row (or as they called it, the FIFTH row, since the Top Row was in the back and there was no Front Row). If one thing is certain, it’s that those two aren’t dating.

 

 

1933 Austin High School Tumbling Team

The AHS girls’ tumbling team consisted of these five ladies: Henderson, Remund, Silberstein, Piper, and McGill. Remund clearly was distracted.

For anyone familiar with Austin, you will recognize the capitol in the background, before the skyline was a jagged, crowded hodgepodge of skyscrapers.

I love the juxtaposition of the upside-down girls against the vintage cars, but it also raises many questions. Personally, I recall the discomfort of doing Jane Fonda aerobics in my high school cafeteria, especially when the boys walked past us during pelvic raises. One can only surmise how many citizens observed these antics as they passed by in the days prior to registered sex offenders, and how vulnerable these gals may have felt, limbs akimbo. Also, it looks quite painful! What are your thoughts?

Long Lost Joe Jackson & Holly Hunter Pic

Western Hills High School 1980

Okay, so it doesn’t look like Papa Joe Jackson (RIP), but it absolutely looks like Holly Hunter circa “Raising Arizona” (desperately in need of some sun). However, it’s just teachers chaperoning a high school dance. Thank God THIS teacher put on a happy face for the dance.

Do you remember those AWFUL cheap plastic cups? Yikes.

Take a look at the students. Do these look like the kind of kids that even NEED chaperoning?

Of course they do! Poor Midget…

You won’t find a pay phone in a high school these days.

I think this last one is my favorite.

What a sexy Travolta!

The Final Bell Rings

School is finally out today in central Texas, where we’ve already experienced 100 degree days and no rain in sight. In two months, school will resume, with seven weeks left of summer at that point. Who makes the rules around here?

But 60 years ago, 100 degree days were rare, and I’m told that school actually started in September. In June of 1958, LIFE profiled Hempstead High School in Long Island up until their last day of graduation.

The white graduation gowns give ladies angel wings.

Harry Greene said, “Band and football have been the big things in my life at Hempstead High. Nothing like a tuba for keeping your wind in trim for the Saturday game.” But did he play both on the field AND during halftime?

Of Helen Ignelzi, both the Spanish and French teacher, students said, “A typhoon in the classroom. She had a way of looking at you over the tops of those half-glasses, which kept you on your toes. And she was a fanatic on irregular verbs!”

These students enjoyed the fall weather while cheering on a Tigers touchdown.

At the annual Greek Games, these ladies made fine Athenian horses with their chariot.

On Old Clothes Day, students sported unfashionable outfits. Harriet Hills, on the right, said, “This is the last thing in sacks. They make an hourglass figure look like a Mason jar. I come from Kentucky and always wanted to be a hillbilly.”

And lastly, we have Richard Lane and Mary Lou Albright. Mary Lou declared, “Everyone has her favorite memory of Hempstead. Mine will always be the senior prom where I felt like Cinderella in my pumpkin dress.”

Well, that wraps it up for the 1958 graduating class, who would all be around 78 years old now. Never forget you’re a tiger!

Thomas Jefferson High School 1940

Sometimes the ads in the back of old yearbooks are just as interesting as the pics inside. This is a right fancy car for only $790. Looks like you could rear end the fellow in front of you and still not come close to smooshing your legs.

The yearbook included this cool image of the students inside a cave. Creepy!

Then there’s this too close for comfort wrestling team. 

En garde! Theater students have all the right moves.