I was born in 1969, and started first grade in 1975. My guess however, is that the following memories will also resonate with those who started grade school 10 or even 20 years before me. When I started collecting these images, there were more than 100 (far too many for one blog post); so I worked hard to get the list down to a manageable count of 30.
NOTE: if you prefer to click through these one at a time, I've also placed them (just the pictures, without the commentary) on our MyLikes page.
Here goes - enjoy!
#1 - The Desk
Arguably, the most uncomfortable pieces of furniture on the planet. Somehow, that didn't keep us from falling asleep in them. I remember ones like this in the elementary grades; and then in middle school & junior high, we were upgraded to the ones that had storage under the desktop.
#2 - Cursive
OMG - Cursive was the bane of my existence. Somehow, I managed to muddle through. To this day, capital Q's are still a pain in my ***
#3 - Chalkboards & those chalk-holders
The only thing worse than the screech of chalk on a chalkboard was the screech of FIVE pieces of chalk on a chalkboard. Still, I was fascinated with this contraption.
#4 - The smell of fresh dittos in the morning
Do they even know what they were subjecting us to with this? Between dittos and the smells of #11 and #12 (below), it's a miracle that we could even walk straight.
#5 - The pencil sharpener
Ok, so it's not so much the sharpener that I remember - but the fact that each class only had one (and we had to ask permission to go up to the front of the room to use it). It seemed like the class stopped and everyone watched and waited, while someone went up and ground down those pencils. Remember the smell of the shavings when you emptied it? Oh, and the skinned knuckles I used to get when I wasn't paying attention.
#6 - Movie Time
The BEST way to start a day was to walk into the classroom and see something like this.
#7 - Overhead projectors & slide projectors
We weren't as thrilled to see these when we walked in, but it still meant a break from books and papers. There was always something cool about the lights in the classroom being off. For some of us it meant sleep, for others the opportunity to pass notes, yet for most it just meant things would be a little cooler in the classroom (I don't know about you, but air conditioning was rare for us).
#8 - Trapper Keepers
Only the coolest of the cool kids had these (and no, I wasn't one of them). C'mon, it's just a binder - but all the little pockets and compartments made it seem so high-tech back then. Which one did you have?
#9 Pee Chees and Big Chiefs
By the time I was in school, these were on the way out - we were using loose leaf paper and spiral notebooks. But I remember seeing a few of these, and always thought they were cool.
#10 - Pencil Boxes
How many different things did you keep in your pencil box? Of course #2 pencils were a must, and a ruler.
#11 - That Glue
Just like the Pee Chees above, this stuff had mostly been replaced by Elmer's by the time I got into school. But I do remember a few of the teachers had this, and WOW - that smell!
#12 - Speaking of smells
I honestly think we were stoned most of the time, and didn't even know it. Even today, when I catch a whiff of an old Sanford - it always takes me back to third grade.
#13 - Grocery Bag Book Covers
Yes, we were "Green" long before it was cool. Of course the best part of these home-made covers was decorating them (usually while getting stoned on a box of Sanford markers), LOL
#14 - The Dyno
Long before the Brother "P-touch" this was quite possibly the most high-tech item we had access to. Of course, the first thing we did when we got our hands on one was to do our name (over and over and over again) and then stick them to everything in the house.
#15 - The Pet Rock
I'm happy to say that this one passed me by. We did eggs one year, but never got to do the rocks. It's probably a good thing,
#16 - P.E. (we called it "Gym") Scooters
Our school used to have dozens of these, and I remember the racks that we used to wheel them out on. When a caster broke, the janitor was quick to repair - but wasn't always careful about the length of screw he used (we had a few that I regularly tore my shorts on).
#17 - Passing Notes
Kids these days [SMH] - they literally have NO IDEA how hard it was to communicate (without getting caught).
#18 - I forget what these were called
My daughter still makes these things, and I still don't know how :(
#19 - Card Catalog
Oh yes, we never had Google - but we still knew exactly how to find what we were looking for, didn't we?
#20 - Check 'em Out (old school)
No bar codes, no scanners, no electronic tracking - just a piece of cardboard to keep track of all the books. Surprisingly, this was a very effective and accurate way of doing things - just not very efficient. I often wonder if our government still uses methods like this, LOL
#21 - Lunch Boxes
I could literally do an entire post JUST on lunchboxes. When you have some free time, Google images of 70's and 80's lunchboxes - it's an EASY two hours of entertainment. You're welcome.
#22 - Swings at Recess
Regardless of physics and dynamics, we were still convinced that we could make the swing go all the way around the top, if we could just get going fast enough - right?
#23 - Tetherball
My memories of tether-ball are not fond. I always ended up getting hit in the head.
#24 - Hot Metal Sliding Boards
But I could easily spend an entire day on this thing
#25 - Taking Tests
Not a fond memory, but still a memorable one. I remember being worried about going outside the lines of those little circles - and that somehow, it would make me flunk the entire test. I'm actually still quite amazed that this was a reliable technology back then - automated test grading, imagine that.
#26 - "Greenbar" Paper
Didn't see this until high school. I remember tearing off the edges and folding them over and over and over themselves until I had a tall square sort of springy paper thing. And of course, this was the BEST paper for doodling because of its size (and because the sheets were connected). I made many long pictures back in the day. Remember the constant dot-matrix printing sound echoing through the halls?
#27 - Paper cutter
I actually still have one of these things floating around somewhere. The kids think its cool.
#28 - Floppy diskettes
Another (later 80's) reference.
#29 - The Eraser Cleaner Machine
Sounds like a vacuum (and I really never cared for vacuuming as a child) but I was enamored with this contraption. I used to volunteer to stay after class and help JUST so that I could use it.
#30 - ABC Afterschool Specials
Finally, after a very long day - this was my reward. I honestly can't remember a single movie or program that I watched on the ABC Afterschool Special, but I do remember being absolutely GLUED to that TV at 3:30 every afternoon.
What did I forget? I'm sure that there are countless other memories worth mentioning. Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page, or email us with your suggestions. Thanks for spending the time here today. Please feel free to share with your friends (below).
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