Thursday, September 12, 2013

Class Pictures - Because School Isn't Awkward Enough

Camera van (Maker Faire)
Photo credit: Logan Ingalls
One of my most vivid memories from 5th grade is having my school picture taken. We were all herded down to the gym where we each took our turn sitting on a stool in front of a lame backdrop while a photographer snapped our picture. Afterwards, we were supposed to get up and go to our left. For whatever reason, I got up and turned right. 

This completely ruined my class picture and it had to be retaken. Because...I got nothing. There is no real, actual reason for this to be the case. Maybe the crazy bullshit of Catholic school rules permeated the camera. I dunno.

I had just switched schools and was having a really hard time of it and I was nine, so there was no way I was going to turn to the photographer and call bullshit. If it had happened in the first month or so, I might've said something, because I was in a haze of WTF for weeks because that's what happens when you switch from someplace laid back like Montessori to someplace with regimented, mandatory insincere prayer 2-3 times a day.

It's not like there was really any hope of a flattering picture since our uniform was green, gray, black and yellow plaid. 

It was just as ugly as you are imagining. Which is why I'm not even going to look for a picture to scan.

My husband went to public school because his parents were much less interested in screwing him up than mine were. In second grade, his mom let him wear his Star Trek uniform t-shirt for his class pictures. Because it was his totally favorite shirt. And he was the cutest thing.

His mom also saved the class picture and there were other kids all dressed up for picture day in nice sweaters. In the 80s, you just know that a kid showing up for picture day in a Star Trek tee would've led to nasty gossip. In the 90s, possible re-shoots of the class photo. In the Aughts, dozens of fraught e-mails and photoshopping.

But it was the 70s. I'm sure everyone just rolled with it. If any mom was annoyed that her dream of a perfect Norman Rockwell class picture had been besmirched, she probably just grumbled into her bourbon and had a smoke. On the way to the obstetrician. 

Got your own school picture stories? Share 'em in the comments. Wanna read about other people's school pictures? Check out this week's Remember The Time Blog Hop.

RTT new


  1. I went to Catholic school, but we always got to dress out on picture day. Yes there was always some schmuck who forgot and ended up in the yearbook wearing his/her uniform. I always felt bad for those kids.

  2. Ha! I hate your story for you, but your husband's story? Priceless!

  3. I love it. I posted a pic of me in my Kindergarten class photo, and I'm the only one not looking at the camera. Instead, I'm in lala land. Wonder if some parents were mad about that?

    1. Probably not, because what parent doesn't understand how hard it is to get a bunch of 5 year olds to look in the same direction. Of course, these days, there would be half a dozen moms convinced that they could've done it, and taken better photos too.

      Man, the neglectful parenting of the 70s and 80s sure created a bunch of loonies.

  4. "My husband went to public school because his parents were much less interested in screwing him up than mine were." LOLOLOLOL! Loved that.

  5. Haha. I remember Catholic school. My was pretty laid back - no uniforms and church was only once a week. However, I got more bullied in Catholic school than I ever did in the public school system. What happened to tolerance and 'God is Love?' Maybe they were just trying to install a good amount of Catholic guilt in me before I moved on to the public high school(there was no private high school in my area). It was one of life's small blessings.

    1. I was more bullied in Catholic school than in Montessori too. I was bullied by one guy in Montessori, but in Catholic school, there were a lot of kids interested in picking on me.

  6. Haha, this was great! I smiled at the image of your husband's star trek picture, it sounds precious and priceless.


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