Thursday, September 22

Mama Kat Thursday: Vintage Back to School Memories

Today's Mama Kat is to share, "A Back to School Memory."

     The scent of autumn was in the air and golden rod was in bloom when I started school in 1963.  I wore a dress, since dresses were what all girls wore to school back then, and carried a red & black plaid book bag, such as the one pictured.
      I carried all my books back and forth to school everyday. Initially, I don't recall we could leave books in the our desks and I remember not enjoying how heavy trundling that loaded book bag back and forth was. At some point in grade school, we had assigned desks and could leave our stuff there. I think desk styles changed maybe, though I can't remember. I do remember I wasn't carrying that thing back and forth in 2nd grade.

50's/60's Book Bag
     I would wait for the bus at the end of the driveway and on this particular day I recall going sitting at the very farthest back seat. The bus's next stop was at the bottom of the hill. A high school girl lived in that small ramshackle house that was set back against hillside and she got on. She carried her books, since high schooler's had lockers.
   She sat next to me. She had dark hair worn in a poofy 60's style that was softly full all around her head. She wore black eye liner, black mascara, blue eye shadow, had a red or pink lipstick on and was chewing gum. She, too, was wearing a skirt. It was stylishly short--about 3 or 4 inches above the knee, worn with sheer nylons and low heels. 
Square Style Class Ring 
    What was interesting to me is how she used this time on the bus ride to fix up the huge class ring she wore on her left ring finger. No doubt it was her boyfriend's, as wearing the boy's class ring was a status symbol of "going steady" back then. It was the square style ring, as pictured. Wrapping rings with yarn was common then to make them fit better, but this girl wrapped the top of her ring. I remember watching in fascination as she removed whatever yarn was on it at the time, then pulled out a fresh strand of yarn of a different color from her purse, then carefully wound this round and round the ring just under the edge of the square top. Then she pulled out an old toothbrush and brushed the yarn into "fur," so it surrounded the ring like a fluffy cloud of color. It was beautiful and feminine.
     Whenever I think of class rings, her wrapping the ring is what comes to mind.
      (By the time I was a Senior, class rings were the round style and I never bought one anyway. I considered them too expensive and I wasn't so fond of high school that I wanted a  memento that would end up in my jewelry box forever.)

Gum Wrapper Origami
I also found a picture of this gum wrapper chain on Pinterest and I was reminded that I often saw these being worked on by kids slightly older kids on the bus. They'd collect gum wrappers from other kids and work on long chains, such as pictured, using both the colorful outer gum wrappers as well as the inner foils mingled together to make them pretty. I suppose it's a kind of origami, but it's a skill I never learned.


     That's it for today's trip to the past.


Thanks for Visiting!    

2 comments:

Angie Ballard said...

LOL!! I haven't chewed gum in decades, but I do have a long strand of gum-wrapper origami in the Rubbermaid box in the basement with all my other high school stuff! I lived WAY out in the country, so the long bus rides were the perfect time to add to my gum-wrapper chain. I had a pretty mother-of-pearl class ring that I pawned for gas money to get to and from class in college. I suspect that's what happens to most class rings, sadly.

KatBouska said...

I never bought a class ring either...or a letterman's jacket for that matter. I always liked them on other people though!

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