Today I had a really great afternoon. In celebration of Labor Day, my boss (Mom) had my co-worker (and surrogate aunt, Denise) over for lunch. Beyond the yummy sandwiches, complete with feta cheese, the best part of the afternoon was a Show & Tell. Denise brought over her high school yearbooks and her late husband, Lefty's "annuals" (same thing). Mom pulled out her books to share and soon we were reminiscing like crazy.
Well, they reminisced and I sat there with my chin propped up in my hands, like a child at story time. Seeing Denise's flawlessly coiffed beehive hair-do (circa 1965, and not a hair was out of place! ), her giant pom-poms and pleated skirt, was so fun! And it was sweet how she remembered each detail of her try out for the cheerleading squad.
Mom, of course, claimed to "hate" her senior portrait. Which is ridiculous because she was very pretty, big blue eyes and soft, curly brown hair. But all girls hate their senior pictures. Anyway, mom showed us her Contemporaires team picture (not sure of the spelling... it's a fancy way to say "better than the cheerleaders"). Meanwhile the pictures surrounding my mom's were full of people with very, very, very '70s hairstyles.
Between Lefty's, Denise's, Mom's and my Grandma Jean's yearbooks we spanned four decades of trends, styles, teen idols and world events. I think that my favorite ended up being grandma's book.
My Grandma Jean was beautiful and sweet. She reminds me of Ginger Rogers. The book cover shown above is hers: Moline High School, 1945. Amazing, isn't it? The caption next to her picture amuses me. I'm sure that Jean was intelligent and talented; I'm sure she did other stuff besides date and dance. But you'd never know it here, huh? Still, I love paging through this book and seeing the calf-length plaid skirts, feminine sweaters, fraternity pins... *sigh*. It was a simpler time. Oh! And saddle shoes!
Quickly I'd like to give equal face time to my dad's mom, my Grandma Dot. Here she is, my ravishing grandmother, Dorothy Bercher, in her senior portrait. Thankfully I have had twenty-two years with Grandma Dot, and she's been an amazing example of intelligence, wit and gentility.
More than anything I appreciate the value of history and it's impact on our life today, our culture. Between Jean and Dorothy, I was blessed with some great genes. And I felt very honored today when Denise counted me in her circle of closest and dearest friends because, she said, while I am very young, I am "an old soul". It's true.