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On the Edge of the 60s

Even though it's 1960, it's obvious that the 60s haven't started yet. My eighth grade class photo in Larkspur - or as Dave would say, idyllic Larkspur. I must say, though, that we're looking somewhat less idyllic than when some of us were gathered at the same spot eight years earlier. I'm in the front row, second from left.
So, when did the 60s begin? A case could be made for 1963, 1964 or 1965, but I'm going for 1965. View full size.

Even though it's 1960, it's obvious that the 60s haven't started yet. My eighth grade class photo in Larkspur - or as Dave would say, idyllic Larkspur. I must say, though, that we're looking somewhat less idyllic than when some of us were gathered at the same spot eight years earlier. I'm in the front row, second from left.

So, when did the 60s begin? A case could be made for 1963, 1964 or 1965, but I'm going for 1965. View full size.

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The 60s started, for me,

in the early spring of 1965, when I was 10 years old. My dad, a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, came home from work and said that he had to get on board ship in a few days. He said he didn't know where he was going or when he would be back. We went down to the dock and waved goodbye and he said, "I'll see you by Christmas." I am sure he really knew where he was going, but couldn't say. He did come back, thankfully, 13 months later. I don't think I had a single waking moment, over the rest of the decade, that I was not conscious of the Vietnam War.

I guess when the 60s started depends on what about the 60s you are thinking of. If it is civil rights, then I agree that it started even before 1960. If you are thinking of the hippie culture, campus demonstrations, etc., then I say it started in 1965. There were certainly all ready things, like the JFK assassination and the arrival of the Beatles, that had kind of paved the way, though.

Biology is strange

Can't help but notice - with this photo as well as my own grade eight class photo, taken 17 years later - the disparity between the girls and boys. Some of the boys look like seniors in high school already, while some - the line sitting in the front - could be in grade 5 or 6. The girls, on the other hand, look around the same age, and far more mature than kids just a summer away from high school. They do, as someone said earlier, seem like 25-year-old women.

The same strange phenomenon is present in my own grade school grad class photo, shot in 1977. The stretch between 10 and 14 really is a biological roller coaster for boys in a way that girls seem to have been spared. I would love an explanation for that.

Something in the Water

I distinctly remember my eighth grade class & none of the girls looked like this. 3/4 of these girls here look like 25-year-old women. It's a strange phenomenon. The beautiful girl sitting on the far right has a timeless look but definitely exemplifies wholesome fifties beauty to me; the dark girl with the sweater sitting in the middle looks four years ahead of her time, like she should be dancing to Spector records.


Hardly -- I look at this photo, and I feel part heartbreak, part bittersweet nostalgia. I see tterrace and his friends, and I see myself and MY classmates*, now scattered to the winds. This is a reminder of lost opportunities, a reminder of the futures we saw for ourselves -- mayhap, realized, more likely not -- and above all, a reminder of the fleet passing of our lives.

Still, it's nice to remember what we were, and not try to force ourselves into the shorthand of decade-sized boxes.

*Admittedly, some of us were smitten with other classmates. Remembering those early crushes -- and that's what has been commented on -- is part of who we were and are.

If you replaced all the girls in the photo

... with iPods, this would look like a pack of present-day Brooklyn hipsters.

Everywhere school

You guys are youngsters. That year, 1959-60, was my first as a teacher. Every kid in the photo reminds me of one I taught. When in a group, mob psychology seems to rule, and these kids, especially the boys, could give any teacher problems. But in one-on-one situations, you would probably enjoy getting to know any of them. One of the best things about kids is that most of them eventually grow up!


That is how I feel whenever the adult male visitors on Shorpy make comments about the physical appearance of underage girls in the pictures....even if the pics are decades old ... it is just creepy.

[There is definitely one creepy comment here -- yours. Ick! - Dave]

Thin and Now

One notable difference between your class picture and one of a current 8th grade class is the lack of fat kids!

Why so few girls?

Was there a Catholic girls school nearby and thus the out of whack boy-girl ratio?

I am about this age and this looks a lot like one of my Indiana school pictures of the time. Socks that always fell down. Checked shirts. Buzz (butch), flat top cut or Brylcreem. Jeans with a cuff. Always a white T-shirt under your shirt. Girls more mature so they were always going out with guys 2 years older.

People from The Edge of the 60s

I met up with a number of them at the 40th reunion of the Redwood High class of 1964 and learned that the gal next to our teacher Mr. G. is, I'm afraid, one of the ones no longer with us. The fellow in the second row from the top, second from left was indeed an athletic-type guy, but it was his older brother who became a tennis pro of some note.

This wasn't a "casual Friday" or any other kind of special-clothing day. This is pretty much how we all looked day-in, day-out.

No real teasing quite yet

... of the girls' hair, that is. In a couple of years those natural looking bobs would be teased and sprayed into larger than life beehives and bouffants. By 1962 I am doing just that and seeking great heights of unnatural hair that looked just like the styles in Hairspray. Although my sixth grade year of 63-64 was certainly pivotal between Dallas and the Beatles, the 60s started for me in 1962, when hair was hard to the touch, shoes were very pointy, and boys that looked like the Danny Zuko lookalike in the front row would have been the object of my desire.

Bye, Bye Miss American Pie!

I’ve been wrestling with what I could ad to these observations. I’ve decided that Don McLean knew what he was talking about when he sang about “The Day The Music died.” That did seem like the day of transition to me. Before, it was the optimistically innocent time of early rock ‘n roll, Davy Crockett and Annette Funicello. Afterwards came the threat of nuclear war, the Beatles & Stones and the threat of being drafted. The onset of darkness seemed overwhelming as our high school years commenced. Most of us got through it.

Fan Club

Oh need to have a fan club! And I want to be your president! Your photos make my day, Daddy-o!

That day in Dealey Plaza

Definitely the 60s started that Dallas afternoon on November 22nd 1963

My wife posed in front of these redwood trees.

And she did it many times through her school years. She also remembers Mr. G, the teacher in this photo. Seemingly fondly.

Some of these guys look familiar to me. My sister was this age, and ended up going to Redwood High School with most of this crowd. I think she even went out with the guy in the second row from the top, two over from the teacher. I'm pretty sure he was kind of a baseball hero in high school.

Some of these lads look like the kind of guys you'd have to avoid if you were younger like I was. There was a pretty good pecking order that went on back then between age groups. And if you were from out of town, then you were in real trouble. I was from the next town over, but would head to Larkspur to run amok in the abandoned houses along the Corte Madera Creek. Dangerous and fun.

Casual Friday?

I was in public school 8th grade in 1964, my first experience with "real clothes" after parochial school. I am amazed at the attire in this photo. In the front row alone I spy sneakers, rolled-up pants, and dungarees. All would have been verboten in our school. There's also the glaring absence of shoe polish.

The gals, though, all appear demurely and appropriately dressed.

Could this have been "class day" or some other occasion calling for "dress-down" attire?

BTW, the gal at the top right is hottimus maximus!

Alpha Male spotted

Back row, between Buddy Holly and Susan Boyle. An ath-uh-lete. Those are some seriously huge looking trees in back. Redwoods?

The girl by the teacher

She is not only seriously cute, but that direct gaze, as if she's looking right at ME, indicates she really knows who she is (as someone else pointed out). That, and she's quite a flirt.

More than 10 years to the Sixties

Having graduated from 8th grade in the same year, I would say that the 60s began in 1955 with Rosa Parks in the front of the bus and with the trial and ended with the sentencing of Patty Hearst in 1976. For me, just starting to open my eyes to the world, the Sixties began with the Civil Rights movement, JFK, and the Space Race. In between there was Vietnam, the draft and the anti-war movement; the assassinations (JFK, RFK, MLK and Malcom X); the Summer of Love, Woodstock, and the rest of the drugs, sex, and rock & roll scene; and all the societal and personal changes, large and small, that we remember in different ways. It ended with Altamont, Kent State, Manson, Nixon and the Symbionese Liberation Army. A long, strange trip indeed. I'm glad I was on the ride.

Front row guy

I wonder what happened to the James Dean guy in the front row. He had an obvious magnetism and confidence that the other boys seem to be lacking.

Too Cool for School

Please let us know (if you know) what happened to the dude sitting next to you on the right. I bet he wound up in juvy.

Positive ID

I graduated a few years later at LCM and recognize about 14 of the people, all boys by the way, as some of those were the ones you had to look out for. Do you remember all the names to go with the faces here?

Decades vs. Eras

One of tterrace's contemporaries takes on the '50s-'60s thing.

Let's go back to the '40s. '40-'45: the Depression jarringly became the WWII Era--privation and sacrifice.

'46-'51: the Post War Era--baby boom, consumer goods and housing in short supply.

'52-'63: "The Fifties", the "Fab-u-luxe Age"--tail fins, massive consumption, rock and roll, shadow of nuclear destruction, JFK. Started to peter out with Cuban missile crisis. Ended November 22, 1963

'63-'72: "The Sixties", civil rights, the British Invasion, Women's Lib., Viet Nam, student riots, Stonewall Riot, M.L. King and RFK assassinations, Chicago convention, Nixon, war winds down.

'73-?: Beyond here lies Disco, gay rights, bad presidents, trickle down, AIDS, Iran, energy crisis, limited wars, cell phones, the Internet and Shorpy.

Could be my class

I believe the 60's started around 1962, but in a small way. The folk music scene, and coffee houses contributed to it. Early Dylan, Baez helped nudge us into a new decade. But the really visible 60's didn't occur until around 1964/65 with the British invasion of music, and fashion. The guys in the photo defiantly exhibit a late '50s sensibility in their clothing choice, and hairstyles.

[Definitely. - Dave]

When the 60s began

The 60's began on Sunday night, Feb. 9, 1964!

Did any of these boys

serve in Vietnam?

Great photo BTW

The 60s

I'm in the group who think the '60s started at the end of 1963 with JFK's assassination, followed by the Beatles in '64. And the end of the decade came in 1973 with the U.S. pullout from Vietnam and Nixon's resignation in 1974.

I'm from a later generation

but I think Buddy Holly (among others) had a influence on kids back then. (Or was he just that way?)

I Want to Drive

my '50 Ford to the drive in with that little gal next to the teacher, whew, what a doll she must have become in high school, "Apache" (1960) on the AM car radio.

When did the 60s begin?

I too was an eighth grader in 1959-60. It's hard to say just when the culture of the "60s" first emerged in the national consciousness. I guess I would say 1964-1965, with the beginning of the Vietnam buildup, the civil rights movement in full swing, campus protests, inner city riots, and the emergence of an entirely different style of popular music. Anyone who leapt from 1963 to 1968 would have been completely lost.

How many?

Point of curiosity -- if you know -- how many of your classmates are still alive? It seems like every class starts losing members about a year after graduation so I suspect you've lost your share as well.

60s != sixties

The problem here is that the Sixties as a cultural phenomenon has very little correlation with the decade of the 1960s.

In most of America, the Sixties (drugs, sex, rock-n-roll, decadence) began in late 1968 with the large demonstrations against the war, and faded out around 1975.

By contrast the 1960s, as seen in this picture, were a time of prosperity and optimism, a time when boys looked like rocket scientists and girls looked like rockets.

Girls ARE more mature

If you enlarge this photo, and carefully scrutinize all the faces, it is apparent that all of the girls seem to be certain of who they are and comfortable in their own skin. Many can also pass for high school students. The boys on the other hand show various characteristics of rebelliouness, moodiness, sadness, some seem troubled and pensive, some look like cut-ups and wise guys, just a lot less certain of the image they wish to portray and many can pass as fifth graders, looking at least three years younger. I'm thinking perhaps some parents were much harder on their sons than on their daughters as the girls seem relatively content while the boys show signs of personal conflict. I hope they all found happiness. Thank you for this very nostalgic picture.

I was in 2nd grade

in 1960 ... and you're right, we were all still blissfully living in the fifties then. I think the sixties began with the assassination of JFK and arrival of the Beatles in 1964. The era was in full swing by the time of the Summer of Love and the murders of RFK and MLK.

And, btw, if anyone ever perfects a time machine, I'm going back to live with your family, tterrace. "Idyllic" is the right word for most of your pics.

O.K. Romeo

Which girl (?!!) did you have the hots for?

Innocence of youth

Well, our names were innocent-sounding enough anyway: Albert, Bob (2), Bucky (really Harold, but who knew?), Carla, Christine, Cynthia, David (2), Dennis, Earl, Frances, Hilliard, Jack, Jean, John (3), Johnny, Ken, Laurie, Lenore, Lonna, Marcia, Margaret, Paul, Peggy (2), Richard, Roberta, Roger, Russ, Sam, Sharon, Sheila, Tom.

Ashley, Brittany, Brandon, Justin and Dakota were absent that day.

I was six in 1960

This shows life as portrayed in "Leave It To Beaver." Then came the Beatles and life changed. That's how I remember it anyway.

No more

An innocence that no longer exists in our children.

So tell us, tterrace, just how innocent *were* you kids? Starting from top right, moving counterclockwise. On a scale of 1 to 10. -Dave]

Nothing screams 1960

... like a Hawaiian t-shirt! Such a lively group of kids, and to think, in just under a decade this same group of youngsters will introduce the world to pot, LSD, and the Grateful Dead!

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