Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yearbook time!

Egads!  Check out the horrific 'do!
Today, June 1, 2011, marks the 25th anniversary of my graduation from high school and my 20th anniversary of graduating college.  I can scarcely believe it. That old adage, "Where did the time go?"  Absolutely true.  Thank goodness there's a record of exactly how much time has passed and when I see that horrific 'do (yep, that's me in the photo, above), then yes, it does feel like it's been 25 years since high school ended (for the record, my sister in-law had given me a perm the day before this photo was taken and left the perm solution on my head for TWO HOURS.  I had to go to the Regis salon in our mall the day of this photo so they could salvage my hair - I'm lucky I had any left!!!).

One may not think of yearbooks as ephemeral, but if the person to whom they belonged doesn't care about them anymore, then I think that counts!  I still have all of my high school yearbooks, but I don't know what will happen to them after I'm gone.  Would they be worth anything to anyone besides me?  A lot of those autographs are specifically for me, so they'd mean nothing to anyone else.

Which is how I came to own all of these amazing yearbooks!  The oldest of the bunch, the "Oaken Bucket" yearbooks, are from a high school in Oakland, California.  They belonged to my friend Amy's grandparents, who had passed away, and no one else wanted them.  I LOVE the old photos and slang of the day!  What struck me right away was how much more grown-up these kids seem compared to today's kids.  Check out their clothes!  I could definitely see their parents wearing the same outfit!  This yearbook is from 1939, so it predates the whole "teenager" phenomenon which began in the Forties.  These kids knew they were headed straight for adulthood - after high school you either started working, you prepped for college/university or you just got married.  There was no "taking a year off"-type attitude!  You were on your own.  Incidentally, this was the same year my dad graduated from high school.  His family couldn't afford higher education so my dad went right to work, which was lucky considering it was the tail end of the Depression.

Let's fast forward 30 years to 1969 - check out this groovy college year book from San Diego State!  This also came from my friend Amy - her mom went here for a year or two before transferring to Berkeley.  What a difference a generation makes!  I LOVE this "best dressed co-ed" photo - sexism was alive and well at this school!  This is only one page devoted to MANY about "Campus Beauties", "Homecoming Court" (women only), "Miss Del Sud", or "Miss San Diego State".  It's quite amazing that, in this supposed age of enlightenment, this was still happening.  But it appears to me that there was a LOT of money at this school and if the alumni groups sponsor such things and there's scholarship money attached, then there will always be contests like this.  It's not unlike pageants, I suppose.  I wonder if they still have them?

Here is a year book I picked up at an estate sale a couple of months back - it's from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  It belonged to a girl named Roxy.  Even though this was a mere 12 years before I graduated from high school, the fashions couldn't have been any more different.  What's interesting is that the kids graduating NOW look more like these kids from 1974 than my year.  Which is good, considering how heinous 80s fashion was.  EEP.  Check out this prom photo!  Either those two guys are Amazons or that girl is 4'7"!  :D  I LOVE the plaid pants, don't you? :D

As the school year draws to a close, perhaps this post will trigger memories of your own graduations.  It's an exciting and scary time!  I'm very glad my school days are behind me, but they were fun while they lasted!  :D

And if you're wondering - yep, I DID tear into these yearbooks and I will again.  It killed me to do so the first time - they do seem so personal - but honestly, what would happen to them otherwise?  They'd collect dust!  So what better than to make art with them?  :D

1 comment:

  1. I was just scouring google for references to the "Oaken Bucket", the yearbook for Oakland High School in Oakland, CA, and I found your blog post. I am wondering if you could find the time to look at the OHS online Memorial and see if you could add some missing information. Specifically, we need some yearbook covers and we also are missing some senior photos.

    Not to create drudgery for you, maybe you could tell us which yearbooks you have and we can then ask for your help if we need it....?

    The entry to the site is
    and the yearbook page is

    We would be ever so grateful!!
    Bev Shulster, webmaster