Take A Seat (Literally)

Nat Geo Dec ’85

Back in 1985, the ill-equipped school system of Managua (Nicaragua’s capital) couldn’t provide desks for each student. In order to make sure she always had a seat, this young student carried her desk to school and back from the barrio she lived in.

Lest you think this is a thing of the past, a 2012 article reported on Central China’s  Macheng City in Hubei province, where the elementary schools had 2000 desks for 5000 students. In some cases, grandparents helped bear the burden.

Fortunate families strapped them to the backs of scooters. I guess the police don’t fine you for that.

Makes a simple classroom chore seem like nothing.

Michael H/Getty Images

Masochists In The Midst

Ralph Kestly

Setting: First day of school, fall 1939, at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.

Plot: Same old song and dance. Upperclassmen defile face of newbie frosh. Onlookers smile. Well-dressed people spank each other with paddles.

Y’all, I just don’t get it. I don’t get hazing. I didn’t do the Greek scene. I would never have allowed myself to be humiliated like that. But golly, it’s in every single one of my yearbooks. The tradition continues!

People have always been cruel, since the first brothers to exist, Cain and Abel, became murderer and murderee. Honestly, murderee rolls off the tongue better than victim. Why don’t we say that instead? Anyhoo, the point is that violence always has been and always will be, and praying for world peace (which Andie McDowell’s foolish character did in Scrooged) is like trying to boil the ocean, as they say.

Fun fact to temper bitterness: That looming tower is the FDR Tower, which contains a carillon of 25 bells. What’s a carillon? A set of bells.

The tower still stands today (unless Dorian takes it out).

It commemorates then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt, and will remain named after him until future generations decide they don’t agree with something he did–at which point, it will either be renamed in honor of a more PC and palatable figure–or toppled altogether in the name of retribution.

 

I Was Espresso When Espresso Wasn’t Cool

National Geographic Society

Granted, the fellow on the left looks 57, but apparently, he and his buddy were both Roman university students, sipping caffe espressos made from Brazilian beans between classes way back in 1937. Each student’s neckerchief bears colors denoting his course. Would you get a new neckerchief each time you changed majors?

When Students Took Books To School

Anchor 65

P.S. They really don’t use books any more. At least not here. Our school district leases Lenovo laptops to students once they enter middle school and they can continue with the same one for years. Families pay for them yearly. Back in my day, we were issued used textbooks and we covered them with paper ads, such as Mrs. Baird’s bakery or Big Red. We had to fold them just right at the corners to keep them in place.

This is one I’ve actually kept for 40 years. Any of you recall doing this with paper bags?