Thursday, October 11, 2012

Graduating in 1941

I seem to gravitate towards literature from the late 1930s to early 1940s, searching for clues to they way people lived back then.  I have a small set of diaries written by a young lad who later became a lawyer and judge in the area where I currently live, and I've read non-fiction that was recommended by online friends.  The strength and determination of our forebearers is inspiring.  So it almost seemed like Fate put this 1941 high school yearbook in my hands.
In the midst of worldwide turmoil, these young people were growing up, and enjoying their school days while becoming model citizens.  They participated in school plays, played football, debated, and enjoyed (or complained) about the cafeteria meals.

Girls kept their (mostly) shoulder length hair curled, created that notable "poof" on top, and sometimes used barrettes to hold the sides pinned back.  Guys wore their hair short and combed back, with the occassional fellow having his parted in the middle.

School chums formed strong friendships, dreaming about their future.  I love the end of this sentimental note...."Don't forget to have plenty of kids, after all you promised."  Girls still ultimately wanted to be homemakers and mothers.

And they lived all this while on the other side of the globe things were happening to change some of their lives forever.  How many of them would be sent overseas?  How many would spend months/years worrying about family members over there?  Did some of these very girls get jobs in munitions factories?
The letter to the graduates from the pricipal and the letter from the senior who was editor-in-chief of the school publishment "Log" put everything into perspective.
From the principal:  "Your whole school life since your kindergarten days has coincided with the years of the financial depression from which this country and the whole world have suffered.  You have witnessed economic chaos, misery, distress, and, more recently, the ruthless ravages of war....."  How telling is that!
The editor-in-chief wrote a wonderful three page letter, often drawing parallels between the sports scene and life at school with politics and world news.  This was the era of "wrong-way" Doug Corrigan.  The Democrats nominated Roosevelt for a third term.  A constant worry was the possibility of lowering the draft age.
My junior high and high school years were darkened by the conflict in Viet Nam.  We live in hard times now.  But I still have the greatest admiration for those who lived during the 30s and 40s, facing the unknown while living what should be their formative years.  The sweet innocence of youth.
If you enjoy vintage and history, please visit Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingie Thursday and see what everyone is sharing!  Thank you, Colorado Lady!


LV said...

You brought back a lot of memories for me today. I went to school during this time frame.

Antiques And Teacups said...

Wonderful post. It is wonderful to see the old books and think about life then. Happy VTT!

Sarah Sandberg said...

What a fun memory book!! I wish I still had mine and mine aren't from too long ago either.

Maria said...

The depression is my favorite time frame also. What those wonderful people did during the 1930's is an inspiration!

Thank you for showing us a little slice of the era!

Crystal in Texas said...

That's a great post you've written! I graduated in 1968, during the great 'flower power' cultural revolution. However, at my High School in Texas, girls still wore dresses and guys had to wear socks if they dared to wear sandals... It all changed right after... It was truly the end of the era of which you wrote... However, I wouldn't want to live at any other time in human history...the advances we've made are incredible and I'm glad to have seen what's come and look forward to what's coming next!

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

I'm glad you all enjoyed this sweet little book! Thank you for stopping by :)

Sue McPeak said...

The 1940's have been of special interest to me this year as an Ambassador for the 1940 US Census Community Project. My mother graduated from HS in 1943 and kept a wonderful Scrapbook/Photo Album. I shared many of her pictures and stories on CITexas Gal. On my Sidebar there is a Tag for the 1940 Census Project where all the stories and photos are linked.

This is a wonderful post. I enjoyed seeing your book very much. Thanks for sharing.