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!
This 1958 Ford ad isn’t cropped or split down the middle of a page. It actually says “Merica’s” instead of America. I’m assuming it was implied that the painter had painted it on the part of the billboard to which we aren’t privy. But as it stands, it’s pretty funny. And the rest of the ad itself was peppy and colorful.
It’s Stevens Twist Twill, lest ye forget. The red lion. And just in case you’re not familiar with twill, it’s a fabric with ridges. It’s the Ruffles of the material world.
You know how people these days looooove to say how important it is to “start a dialog” about things? How necessary it is for them to “start the conversation”? It makes me want to wretch, that kind of speech. So let’s just have a chit-chat about these manufacturer names, shall we? First off: Jack Tar Togs, that’s brilliant. It sounds like the mascot for a little league team. Go, Jack Tar Togs!
Hit Em Hard seems aggressive, but the list includes many manly names like Big Dad and 5 Brother (forget 5 Sister) and Stur-Dee. Sounds super reliable, right? But then others are more vexing. Pool’s is “swetpruf”? What is that about? That’s not even phonetically-spelled.
It reminds me of Farmer Jack’s advertising ploy. But he does it on PURPOSE. Or purrpuss, shall I say?
And as for Tuf-Nut? Yikes. I’ll take your word for it.
Note the M on Mabel’s daisy dress, a precursor to Laverne’s sweater L.
In South Africa, they went in another direction, a decidedly non-Mabel direction. MANLY.
Doesn’t it look HEAVY? That must be the 22 oz mug.
And in Australia, it was even weirder.
Such a fun opening riff, a soft and easy California feeling. Chewin’ on a piece of grass, walking’ down the road…
Then Jorge stops his strumming to assert that there is no actual Ventura Highway, only Ventura County. But Otilia (the older, haggard woman in the back whose hair is struggling to flee her scalp while she strums the hammock strings) says, “No seas tonto, Jorge” and explains that the actual song was about a young boy standing on the side of the road while his dad changed a flat tire. Get with the program, Jorge. Common knowledge.
Maybe it wasn’t actually Nancy Culp from The Beverly Hillbillies. Did she even play classical guitar? She clearly hated doublenecked guitars.
And while she gained notoriety playing a spinster, she was actually married for 10 years. Per wikipedia, one reviewer said she had the “face of a shriveled balloon, the figure of a string of spaghetti, and the voice of a bullfrog in mating season.” Perhaps that’s a bit harsh. Ribbit.