Heartfelt high school memories for Evelyn

What it is:

Two photos, each measuring approx. 4.5 x 7.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Written on the back of the left-hand one in teal ink:  April 13, 1931.  Dear Evelyn,  Gee it won’t be long before we have to leave what you call prison but to me its just like a happy home and we are just one happy family.  Evelyn, even though I have hated you at times I still love you & I now know that you are a real friend.  Please overlook any hatred that is flying over us.  I hope that when we have gone out into this cruel world we shall still be friends.  Now that our real life is soon to start I wish you the most luck & happiness I can.  Don’t forget the happy days the three of us had.  By the way don’t forget to sign your name by the X marking the spot where the vaccination lies.  Barrels & [illegible] of Love, “Red”.  Written on the back of the right-hand one in black ink:  Dear Evelyn:  I sure have enjoyed your company in Civics this semester, and hope you will always remember me.  I also hope you think better of me now that you know me then you did before, for I know I had an awful reputation as a “snob” before.  I have tried to live it down & hope I have succeeded in your estimation.  Love to a darling girl, Louise


I gather these are senior portraits, I’m guessing from high school, but possibly college.  I have seven of them, all the same size, all women.  Two are inscribed on the front, three (including these two) have lengthier inscriptions on the back, and two have no writing.  It seems the girls went to individual photographers to get their portraits taken to share with each other, since two out of the seven (not including these two) have photographer’s stamps, both different, both in Chicago.    There are references in the inscriptions that confuse me, but overall they are pretty universal.  As I read the inscriptions, I cringe at the melodrama of school days, and I chuckle in recognition, amazed once again at how some things never seem to change.

4 comments on “Heartfelt high school memories for Evelyn”

  1. Pretty adorable. But that Evelyn, what a social butterfly.

    • A pretty demanding one, too, apparently. The third one that has a longer message on the back is from a cousin, and dated December. It makes reference to the fact that it was finally sent months late, implying that Evelyn had been pretty insistent on having it.

  2. My parents have my grandmother’s high school yearbook, from the 1920s, and the inscriptions on it are exactly like what was written in my yearbook, except with contemporary references (“marcelled hair!”). But one thing that really strikes me about the second inscription is how much emphasis the young woman put on self-improvement and humility. I’m not sure any of my high-school or college friends would have thought to write anything like “I know I had an awful reputation as a ‘snob’ before. I have tried to live it down & hope I have succeeded in your estimation.” I get the impression that most American kids now think admitting something like that would make you look weak.

    • Yes, I agree, it’s an interesting combination of the eternal drama of school combined with shifting values over time. I love old photos, but the documents can be amazing in the way they flesh out the images.

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