Blast From the Past

Well here I am in 7th Grade. Boy do we all look white. There was not one student in Junior or Senior High who was not white. And look at that hairdo — I think I was trying to look like Patty Duke with my headband but I’m not sure.

This was in 1966-67. It’s hard to imagine but when this was taken LBJ was President, the Vietnam War was raging, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were still alive, no one had ever heard of AIDs, no one had landed on the moon, and some of my friends hadn’t been born yet. I know at least two of the people in this picture have passed away. The summer of ’67 was the “Summer of Love” but for us it was the year of puberty. We would whisper to each other the big news “I got my period.” Our homeroom teacher Mr. Haaland was the nicest person you’d ever meet. He had some form of spinal bifida or something like that. He was quite short and had a humpback. It was truly my first personal encounter with someone different. Prior to that if I had seen anyone with crutches or in a wheelchair or any sort of physical malady my only encounter was my mother pointing and saying “You see how lucky you are,” and then telling me not to look after she just pointed. No wonder I’m so confused in life. Look but don’t look. But I digress, as usual.

Mr. Haaland was a science teacher and had the greatest smile and laugh. He was the first teacher I met in Junior High and he somehow made me feel everything would be okay. That was a lie, but he initially made me feel that way. Later on I learned I had Mr. S for English and all the 7th grade girls had been warned by the girls who went before them (8th and 9th grade girls who knew their way around) that Mr. S liked to look down our blouses at our bras. Well he never did that in my class, or any other class I heard of, but we all sat in fear of the day we would be called up to his desk and asked to bend over so he could take a look. He eventually married another teacher — a French teacher — who we figured didn’t mind playing peek-a-boo with him among other things. Yuck, ick, so gross. I knew I’d never do anything so nasty.

1 thought on “Blast From the Past

  1. I also was in 7th grade in 66-67, back when dresses were required in Jr/sr high school. Our local pervy teacher would drop pens or pencils, then bend down to pick them up and look up skirts! And you know, back then we all thought "ewwww" and warned each other and talked about it, but it never occurred to us to tell the admin or our parents.

    And as a cultural aside, the Tulsa school board voted in Jan of 1970 to allow girls to wear slacks because it had turned so cold and we all rode school buses back then. One prudish teacher of office skills kept a chart, noting each and every girl who wore pants to her class, even though it was now perfectly legal. As she took role each day with her glasses drooping on the tip of her nose and one of those glasses chains, she would demonstrate her disapproval by pausing for each girl who had on slacks, giving her the once over before continuing. We still didn't tell our parents.

Comments are closed.