Miss Ruby Forsythe, 1987, Pawleys Island, South Carolina
one-room schoolhouse teacher for 50 years
If you’ve frequented this blog, you know I loooooooathe White Diamonds. Having endured the presence of not one, but two Boomer women in my life who sported the scent, I can honestly say that it makes my stomach churn. Colognes are so subjective. In any event, these poor kids wish they were breathing the scent of rank perfume. Instead, they were stuck in an Oklahoma one-room school smack dab in the middle of the Depression, covering their mouths against the dust that had permeated the air and suffocated cattle. Dust pneumonia, aka the brown plague, proved lethal for children and the elderly. Makes the cedar pollen plumes of smoke in my home state seem tame.
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.
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.
Scottsboro, Alabama, 1936 by the great Carl Mydans for Farm Security Administration
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?
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?
Yesterday, we looked at the life of a University of Kansas Jayhawk in the spring of 1936. Today, we start with scenes from their social life.
Students bought tickets for Carnival Town.
It was an indoor affair.
Lucky Millinder provided the music.
There were sideshow acts as well.
The students loved costume parties.
And sports were taken seriously.
The ladies below were the junior queens of the annual prom. As you can see, this was a “bare forehead” time in hairstyling.
I also wanted to share some of the ads in the back of the magazine, for the artwork as well as the three-digit phone numbers.
And how about that cute little image at the bottom right? Keep in step! Everyone knows ice cream is healthy!