Back to school

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What it is:

Fifteen photos, each measuring approx. 1.75 x 2.75 inches.

What I know about it:

All are dated 1944-45, except the last one, which is dated 1945-46.  (They were purchased together, so the last one seemed to belong with the others, even though it’s from a different school year.)


As a childless, middle-aged man, it’s been decades since I’ve had to deal directly with the whole back-to-school scene.  But between the profusion of back-to-school sales reminding me that ’tis the season, and the tales of my friends who are parents of school-aged kids, including my friend Christine, whose blog speaks to this, I can quickly recall what it was like, the disorienting mix of excitement and fear, but especially hope.  If there’s one thing I wish for everyone to be able to retain from that time, it’s the hope.

8 comments on “Back to school”

  1. This is a sweet collection. I really wish they had names, because some of them are too adorable for words.

    I miss you, Matt. This post made me want to see you. Soon. Coffee some weekend?

  2. You are right about retaining hope. The reality of this hard life can crush the hope right out of us and leave us disillusioned and angry.
    Did these pictures not include names?

  3. Pictures like this were often given away to friends as calling cards. Usually they had names. I would suggest that this might be someone’s collection of friends and that possibly the one from another year might be related. Just my guess.

    • Yes, that’s a good guess. Handed out like calling cards, and collected almost like playing cards. I didn’t mention that all but three of them have bits of tan paper glued to the back, as if the photos had been glued into a scrapbook, or even turned into part of a school display on a classroom wall or in a trophy case or something, where the names might be written on the backing paper, rather than the photos themselves. I might have ended up with the remnants of such a display, though that doesn’t explain why two of the three don’t have glue (the third being the one from the different year).

  4. These are sooo cute. I don’t remember that my school photographers were talented at getting happy, hopeful looks out of any of us, but whoever took these shots certainly was. It makes it look like almost all of them loved school.

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