Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey: yearbook photos

I was going to title this post Daydream Believer, because this-here lovely young lady is a Homecoming Queen from that succulent year, 1966.

It's a strange coincidence that my fall-down-and-worship slavish addiction, Mad Men, is right now in the midst of that august (actually it's October) year. A year when the whole world seemed to be balanced on the point of a pin.

And here are the runners-up, complete with poofy hairdos and hopeful expressions. The Marlo Thomas look vies with the '60s beehive and side-flip that will all-too-soon give way to two curtains hanging sullenly on either side of the face.

OK, here's the backstory: it all had to do with painting. When you paint, every century or so, you generally repaint the closets, which means a major purge. Which yielded what seemed like dozens of yearbooks from junior/high school. Most of these belonged to my kids, and we spent a hilarious evening reading the scrawled comments out loud to each other. My son's wife Crystal kept bursting into whoops of laughter so loud it raised the roof (that is, until she saw a spider, jumped straight up in the air and disappeared upstairs for the rest of the evening).

But the choicest cut was this one. Turns out my husband Bill, now 65, kept one yearbook from all his university-hopping days: the Brown and Gold from the University of Manitoba, circa 1966. That year when things were still just barely teetering on the side of innocence.

That skateboarding fiend above is mysteriously captioned ATHLETIC PROGRAM. The skateboard looks to be a handmade job cobbled together using rollerskates and  a piece of plywood.

Here we have an even more enigmatic mystery: the Rifle Club, consisting of two pistol-packin' mamas. No boys in sight (so to speak), but is it any wonder?

Some clubs, we noticed, had only one member, but we could find no pictures. Too excruciating, I guess. But the elections would be fast.

Ah, 1966, when accountancy was still Not Boring!

Hey look, everybody. . . it's Robert Vaughn!

The Rhodes Scholar. No one smiles in these things. Where is he now, I wonder? He might be dead. Dear God! Most of my high school teachers must be dead by now, and all of my grade school teachers. How did that happen?

One of the racier, lovelier photos in the collection, found in "candid shots" which look anything but candid. "C'mon, Peggy Sue. . . lie on your stomach." Come to think of it, that IS pretty racy.

And here he is, MY Rhodes scholar, looking deadly earnest, complete with Big Bang Theory glasses. (When I met him in 1972, they were held together with tape.) I had a thing about science nerds even then, though I have to admit that in 1966 I was only 12 years old.

In 1967, I heard the word "hippie" for the first time, but wasn't sure what it meant. In 1968, I first heard the sound track to the musical Hair and began to get stoned to Donovan records ("First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. . . ").

By 1969, Woodstock exploded, the unwitting pinnacle of that magical, idealistic time which all too quickly plummeted into the dirty rotten shame of Altamont.

But the kid from Manitoba grew up, and lived through all the rich and rough and bumpy times since then. As did we all.

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