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Boomers, First Grade: 1953

Boomers, First Grade: 1953

It's seventy years ago in Idyllic Larkspur™, where we find me (bottom left corner) with Bob, David, Bob, Jim, Jim, Margaret, Sandy, Donna, Rae Ann, Roberta, Virginia, Jerry, Buzzy, Fred, Gordy, Frances, Alice, Alice, Sheila, Mrs. Madeline Drew and others whose names I forget. This was taken within a month of losing nearly half our classmates, they having been siphoned off to the district's brand new school in neighboring "Twin City," almost-as-Idyllic Corte Madera. And that one was already overcrowded, for which first-wave baby boomers such as we must shoulder the blame. As for me, good old L-CM was just four blocks from our home at 9 Arch Street, and I continued to walk the round-trip every school day, rain or shine, until I graduated 8th grade. View full size.

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Rolled up pant legs

Not sure how they felt about it at the time, but if it were acceptable these days to have my jeans legs rolled up as much as those guys in the front row, I'd be grateful, not because I'm soon going to experience a growth spurt like them, but because manufacturers don't make 'em short enough for me. I can vaguely remember those huge cuffs around that time. You had to be careful not to get them caught in the bike chain.

Boomers, Kindergarten: 1953

Here's my Kindergarten class picture, also from 1953, at Thomas M. Balliet Elementary School, Springfield, MA. The discolorations result from the fact that this was originally stuck into a plaster backing that we each decorated to give to our parents. My mother ended up cutting the edges to free the picture from its ugly 'frame.' I only remember two of the kids in the class. (I long since left Springfield and have spent my entire adult life in tterrace's area, the Twin Cities of Larkspur and Corte Madera.)

No suits and ties for kids in California

Re casual clothes -- California! I'm of similar age and also from Northern California and I have school photos of me in a white T-shirt. Don't have a class photos handy, so not sure if I was dressed up in those. At that age I was also wearing button up shirts my mother made.

Although I do remember in our Sacramento high school in the early sixties we were finally allow to wear shorts. As long as we had on long socks. I think that was a nonstarter; the long socks were not cool (in either sense).

Names on the back

My mom made sure we wrote the names of all the kids on the back of our class photos. Of course, we thought that was pretty silly, as we *knew* all their names. I should probably annotate the online pictures with text names in case any of those guys search the Internet for themselves.

It's fun to read those names. So familiar, when reminded. We moved away in the 6th grade, so all are scattered to the wind.

[There are names on the back in my mother's handwriting, but not for all, and with one "?". Interestingly, the blanks are the ones I can't remember now. Everybody else's I've never forgotten. -tterrace]

Dress code?

I see jeans, sneakers, and T-shirts. I started first grade in 1959 and we weren't allowed to wear those until 1969, when I was in high school.

Zipper43 St. Thomas

Top marks for making the connection Zipper 43. My father worked for Ford and introduced the Ford Falcon to Australia. Our family lived in Geelong and Melbourne from 1958 until 1963 when we moved back to Windsor. Two years later my father left Ford and the family moved to Vancouver, B.C. where I still live. In 1967 another job took the family to Winnipeg and finally Toronto. I was a trolley bus driver in Vancouver for 41 years and retired thirteen years ago. I have been back to visit Australia seven times.

I went to that school in about 1955

I had the same teacher as the picture. Loved playing around the old electric railroad line long gone and the arch bridge behind the school. Saturday kids show at the Lark Theater or hit the dime store to buy a airplane model. Before that went to Park School in Mill Valley. Great times in Marin. Thanks for posting this. Don

2nd Generation

Sons and daughters of the Western Electric Christmas Party.

[These would be their grandchildren! - Dave]

Say Che-e-e-se

This is the cutest picture. An abundance of genuine joy in their faces, few faked/forced grins in the bunch. Wish I had even one of my elementary-school class group photos.

I wonder if the couple standing in the back, holding hands, are brother and sister -- fraternal twins. They have similar facial features.

[No, Gordy and Frances weren't related. -tterrace]


I hope that being (evidently) the only student in the class requiring corrective eyewear wasn't a significant peer-teasing issue for you. Kids can be cruel creatures, often because of their honesty to emotion and selfishness rather than sheer meanness. This reality however, doesn’t make learning the lesson that life isn’t a walk in the park where everyone gets along any easier. As the years continue to pile-on, my first day at school, Sept. 5, 1950, doesn't seem that long ago!

[Well, later on some of my classmates liked calling me "Professor," because of my glasses but apparently also - I later learned at a high school reunion - regard for my embryonic erudition. Which regrettably wasn't reflected on my report cards. -tterrace]

Class Size

One of my old classmates recently sent out via the internet the 6th grade graduation day photo from Loring Grade School in Minneapolis, dated June 1958. There were 38 of us in the photo, and three were absent that day. That was one of two 6th grade classes, the other being of similar size. How did the teachers manage it? I never thought about it at the time -- it was just boomer normality.

Angus J Windsor

Angus you and your mom look like the family that left for Australia in 1958. That photo was in Hawaii on your long journey south. Did you ever come back to Canada? I was a little older than you in St. Thomas Ontario 100 miles to the east.

Let's play "I Spy"

There's so much to choose from:

--at least 12 wearing plaid
--at least 6 teeth are missing
--one pair Converse high tops
--one puppy-love couple (though one party may be cheating)
--5 hair ribbons

I love this photo so much. When I headed off to kindergarten in 1958 I had the requisite plaid dress, pigtails, ribbons and saddle shoes.

It was a great time to be a kid

First -- I love all the missing teeth. In my memory I was snaggletooth for a year. Second -- Buzzy is a cool name. But in time it will work against him as the name on your ID has to exactly match the name on your ticket. I don't go by my first name and ended up having to put my full name on everything.

I've mentioned before when I was in second grade my family moved into a neighborhood with better proximity to schools. The neighborhood was built for getting kids through public schools. We easily walked to elementary, junior high, and high school. Now I see cars lined up a block long of parents dropping their kids off or picking them up and wonder how parents find the time and whether the world between home and school is really that much more dangerous.

I also remember my friends and I would go off riding our bikes for hours; our mothers had no idea where we were. No one thought we had bad mothers. I'm grateful we were given the opportunity to go explore our world as much as we wanted ... as long as we were home by dinner.

Stripes and Plaids

I was also in Grade 1 in 1953, tterrace, so we must be close in age. It looks like the mothers of some of the girls had them wear their best dresses. You can check out my story in this Shorpy photo.

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