Friday, October 15, 2010

An Entire 6th Grade Class of Nerds

Gledhill Street School, Sepulveda, CA, December 1961.  Grade A6.  Age 11.
How my mother could've let me out the door in a white turtleneck sweater is a mystery.  Yes, that's me, the tall chubby girl in the upper right corner.  The one with the hairdo from hell.  The one with the major crush on Freddy Bratton (top row, tallest boy, center) who never knew I existed until one day when the Devil took over my soul and I actually chased him down the street on my bike.  Believe me, THEN he knew I existed and he hated me forever after.

I believe that was our graduation photograph, but here's one taken earlier that year when the class took a field trip to the LA Times.  Back then the typesetters wore little hats made out of newspaper so we each got one to get us in the mood.  (Note: Back in the stone ages when I was a child, newspapers were typeset--the word "digital" only applied to the more feared part of a prostate exam).  They also gave us a pencil and a little pad of paper so we could pretend we were "ace reporters."  Are 6th graders still that gullible?  What a bunch of dorks!  We also field tripped to a bakery and a dairy, where we were amazed to learn that milk actually comes from a cow and doesn't just magically appear in the local supermarket!

That's me smack in the middle (again in a sweater), third row from the top.  My crush, Freddy, is sitting in the SAME ROW (you know that caused me no end of palpitations), far left.  I believe by this time he hated me, though.

A year earlier, my parents rented a house at the beach for two weeks during summer vacation.  But oh, not just ANY beach.  Nope--we rented a house on the beach at Malibu!  Believe me, we were not at all wealthy back then but even though movie stars were already living in Malibu, there were still obviously affordable rentals.  Wonder how much it would cost today to rent a house on the beach there.  Affordable?  Yeah, if you're a frickin' Saudi prince!
I guess back in the 50's and 60's the waves never dared to come up too far on the beach, since had they done so this house would've gotten flooded in a big way.  That's my dad in a studly pose (well, those black glasses aren't exactly studly) but hey, I was 10 years old and thought my daddy was the most handsomest man in the world!  And come to think of it . . . he still is.

Here's me in 1961 with my best friend, Susan Simonson.  I have a Dick Clark iron-on patch stuck to my shirt.  You might also be able to vaguely see the word "FAT" written across the photo.  Yeah, I was a bit on the chubby side but I was also one of the tallest girls in my grade and looking back, I think I might have been a little too hard on myself writing FAT.  Maybe "CHUBBY BUT WILL BE ATTRACTIVE TO BLACK GUYS IN A FEW YEARS SO HANG IN THERE" might have been more appropriate.
Susan's family was what passed for Bohemian in our southern California tract home neighborhood--they had sparkly white rocks on their roof AND in their yard, and when I was invited over for dinner the kids ate before the parents!  Seems Mr. & Mrs. Simonson enjoyed a bit of vino with their meal but didn't want to drink in front of the kids.  Plus they had this radical idea that they needed some time to themselves instead of giving over their entire existence to the offspring.  That was pretty radical for a time when it was still de rigeur for everyone--Dad, Mom, kids and any invited pals--to sit down to dinner together.

This last photo was taken during a family vacation in San Francisco at the Cliff House.  This was taken in about 1960 (I'd just been given my first Brownie camera!) but from the outfits those two unknown women are wearing it looks more like the 40's!  I thought at first the woman on the right was my Dad's mother but then I saw those ample hips and knew it wasn't her (she was always scrawny).  Back in those days adult women still wore dresses most of the time in public, even when on vacation.  Note Mom's awesome sunglasses.
For those of you living in San Francisco these days, you might know about the old Sutro Baths at the Cliff House--they still existed during our visit except they were no longer baths--the place had been turned into an iceskating rink but still had the original museum.  The main thing I remember seeing at the museum was P.T. Barnum's famous mermaid, which to me looked like the top half of a monkey stuck on to the bottom half of a fish.  Which was, of course, correct.  They also had the outfits Col. Tom Thumb and Mrs. Thumb wore at their wedding, a life-side diorama of The Last Supper, and lots of other cool stuff.  The structure burned down in 1966 and I'm so glad I have some memories of the place when it was still intact. 

You know, in alot of ways, they really WERE the good old days.

Next up--more swingin' 70's!   


  1. Those pics sure brought back memories of my childhood. My sister and I were born in Tulare. Ever heard of it? About an hour north of Bakersfield. Was that the whole 6th grade or just your class?

  2. I loved this post especially hearing about your crush Freddy. lol
    I also had a crush on a boy who didn't like me a bit. He poked me in the back with a math compass. =(

    Loved all the pics you shared.

  3. LOVE the photos and memories!

    My boy crush didn't know I existed either... Another boy, I assumed he liked me ? walked up to my desk one day, turned around and farted. We never dated, by the way, that was the extent of our affair.

    I always felt chubby as a kid too, probably because all my friends were runts or something, but I look back and laugh at the idea I used to think I was fat ha ha.

    What is that thing in the last photo that looks like a giant turd? lol...

  4. You make me want to bring out my old school photos and vacation pics. I was the skinny girl in school. Geeky until High School when I blossomed...not boobage wise but suddenly boys 'liked' me...?? Funny but I agree...those were the good ole days!

  5. You know Christine, you are right! Those were the 'good ole days' in a lot of ways. But I agree with you that we all looked like NERDS!! Why I wonder? Were we THAT oppressed! Todays kids are much nicer looking than we were. Then again, if it wasn't for us, they wouldn't be where they are today.

  6. I don't think you look chubby at all, but it's all in our perception of ourselves I guess. Your teacher looked a little like the Beav's mom. lol

    I'm always amazed at houses that sit 'on' the actual beach. In Oregon homes aren't built that close to the ocean. There are some businesses that sit fairly close, but not directly on the sand.

    I've been sorting through old photos again lately. Maybe I should start sharing a few as well.

  7. OMG, you have me in stitches. Yes, I remember how newspapers were made then - we're so old we can remember when they were delivered on pieces of stone!

    You are NOT fat in those photos. And yes, you didn't have near enough booty for the black man. That takes time and effort, which you needed the 70s for.

    I love these pictures! You kill me girl!

  8. <> oh, the memories...
    I was ALWAYS the tall, chubby girl in the BACK row TOO!!

  9. How wonderful! Thanks for taking us along on your trip down memory lane :-)