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Fables la Fontaine: 1924

Fables la Fontaine: 1924

Washington, D.C., circa 1924. "Maret French School." The book: "Fables la Fontaine." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.


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When I was a youngster

I may have attended kindergarten in that building, possibly even in that very room, back in nineteen-aught-fifty. The doors look familiar somehow.

Maret in those days, while still pricey for the time, wasn't so much upper-crust as slightly soggy middle-crust.

Fables de la Fontaine

Un Deux Trois

"Un, Deux, Trois,
Je vais dans la bois"

I go into the woods.

That's about it for my memories of high school French in the 1960s.

And my mama had what she called a switch tree in the back yard for disciplinary purposes. You knew you were in trouble when you had to go cut your own.

"and it better be a good one."

French Lessons

Never mind physical punishment, having to memorize some of "Les Fables de La Fontaine" were punishment enough when I was in grade school (yes I went to french school)!

To this day I remember cramming to memorize amongst others "La cigale et la fourmi", "Le corbeau et le renard" and my biggest nemesis, "Perette et le port au lait".

Seeing as most of the kids are on different pages in their books, I am guessing they are posing for the picture. What really surprised me is to see the teacher is not a nun in a French school in the 1920's in the US.

[Maret was (and still is) a private prep school catering to the upper crust. - Dave]

Arrows too!

You can see the arrows on the right of the second shelf. Must have been a fun class!


If you mean the stick under the paper clock, I think that's a bow for an arrow. Teachers usually preferred the ruler or yardsticks! Maybe a close up will shed some more light on the items there. (I like the crown!)

[Yes, it's a bow. Not a switch. Click to enlarge. - Dave]


...cramped environment, beat-up desks, no air conditioning... ahh, memories of grade school in 1960s Louisiana.

One objector

I love the look of the little girl beneath the teacher...she obviously isn't impressed with the Fables la Fontaine! How did these girls learn in a cramped environment with beat-up desks, no air conditioning, and evil looking implements of punishment (the switches, as my mother called them) literally over their sweet heads? Mlle does look like she enjoys teaching, though.

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