Thursday, August 19, 2010

Email Mystery--How's This for Nostalgia?

I got a big surprise recently when I opened an email from a friend.

While I appreciate the gesture, as a general rule I ignore forwarded emails meant to inspire, enlighten, or entertain me. First, I don’t want to contract a computer virus. Second, I have far too many unread emails already. I usually delete them, but there are always exceptions. At times, a good joke is just what I need. The email I reference here, came to me twice from two different people. The first time I took notice, but the second time, I really took notice.

As a baby-boomer with a penchant for the good ole days, I decided to take a look at this one, entitled, "How's this for nostalgia?"

Perhaps you have seen it too. It began with a picture of 'those ugly gym uniforms' we all used to wear. I smiled as I scrolled down looking at the pictures that resonated with me from the past.

When I got to the part that statement, "They (teachers) threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed…and they did it!" there was a picture attached that really caught my eye. 
Immediately upon seeing the picture, I recognized some of the kids.

This is my class, I thought. As I looked at them, I began to remember a few of their names—Gilbert, David, Elmer, Sue, Sally, Jimmy, Rosanne, Theresa, Sharon, and Cynthia. That was all I could muster. I have no idea any of their last names were, except for Sharon. I attended her birthday party. She lived across the street from our school. I wasn't in this picture, but I still believe this to be my class. If this was my class, this picture had to be taken around the late 1950's.

I struggled to read any identifying information on the plaque placed on the floor, front and center with the name of the school and date the picture was taken, but to no avail. It was all too blurred to read. I could tell that it said, Chicago, Ill., however.

I immediately went to an old photo album where I located my kindergarten and first grade pictures—1957 and 1958. The pictures contained those same kids I mentioned. I believe this picture was taken the following year after my family had moved out of that school district.

The picture above is from my first grade class. That's me—front row, fourth from the left.

In '57 and '58, I attended James Hedges Elementary School on Chicago's south side. The school is still there today, but the website yielded no information about those good ole days. I plan to write to the Chicago Public School District to see if there is any way to verify this information.

This picture so haunted me that I googled "How's This for Nostalgia." I learned that several sites by that name contained similar, but not identical information. Only a few sites contained this picture. That leads me to believe that someone, perhaps one of my long-lost classmates, added their own school picture to the nostalgia email.

I would love to solve this mystery, so if you know anyone in this picture, or anything about the origination of this email, please comment or send me an email.