The more things change, the more they stay the same

I came across a large collection of high school and college yearbooks from various states in the US, dated from the 1940s-60s. What interested me more than the yearbooks was the assorted newspaper clippings that fell out of a couple of them. Unfortunately, they aren’t dated, and the names of the newspapers are not evident for most of them. These clippings are about scholarship announcements and senior honors, banquets and whatnot, and were very much what you would find in today’s newspapers around graduation.

One article slightly surprised me. It was about class of 1949 seniors, and their thoughts on life:

Bull Session Shows Students Stirred By Issues

What will the younger generation think of next? Sit in at a coke session of five seniors who will don caps and gowns tomorrow at Jamestown High School, and listen to what they are saying…”

They go on to talk just a few sentences about their school having a good industrial arts program, and driver training course, but then they get to what’s really important to them.

More Sex Education

“But we ought to have more sex education in the schools – a graduated system which would begin in the very first grade,” someone interposes. “It’s silly to only have sex education in the last two years,” says Bob. “It comes too late for some boys and girls, and improper situations could be avoided with the proper education.” “Of course sex education should be given at home, but often it isnt,” he adds. “None of this stork stuff for us! What we need is complete sex education including information on venereal diseases,” they added.

Their other concerns are echoed today – and still not adequately addressed:

Want Place to Dance

“What we need at school is some place where kids can go to dance, study and have cokes,” begins Jackie. “They talk about juvenile delinquency, but a place for high school students to go would help prevent it,” one adds.

The conversation continues with discussion of war, international diplomacy, and of course… communism in America. “Just scare talk to avert attention from something else!” is the brief comment of all.

Another article, which wouldn’t have been out of place in this year’s newspaper as well:

Few Jobs to Graduates Open; Retails Take Some;

Local jobs for 1949 High School graduates will be scarce, especially those in the career field, according to Donald S. Appleyard, manager of the New York State Employment Service office.


I just can’t decide what the most disturbing part of the following newspaper article is. The article was on the backside of a team picture for the Jamestown Falcons, Pony League team of ‘48, although no indication of what newspaper, day or page is available. The article reads:

22-Months Son Insists on Two Cigars a Day

Springfield, Mass. – Mrs. Lawrence Phillips was resigned today to her 22-month-old son’s habit of smoking 12-cent cigars. She said the baby, Lawrence Jr., began smoking cigarettes a year ago, but switched to cigars last month. Two a day. “We used to think it was cute,” she said. “I don’t like it now, but he squawks fierce if I don’t give him his cigars.” At least, she said, he’s a gentleman about it. “He always uses the ashtray,” she said.

Who gives a 10 month old baby a cigarette?! Who switches him to cigars?! And who in their right mind could even remotely think it was “CUTE”??!!

And folk call those ‘the good old days’?? LOL!

For the most part, reading the clippings reminded me more of the saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. I have tried to locate some of the folks named in the clippings, happy to send them off to someone that might want them, but have not had any luck as yet. I’ll keep trying though, using internet people finders such as Google or, and perhaps posting to a message board or two. (You didn’t honestly think I’d get through this whole article without turning it into a research project, did you?!)

2 Responses

  1. Nell says:

    As regards the 22 month old cigar smoking baby, OMG!! Whatever was the mother thinking, or, was she? Lol! Anti-smokers would have a field day with that one.
    Interesting read!

  1. May 24

    […] brain is in “Yearbook” mode, after my previous post about the clippings I’d found in an old yearbook, and I realized that I hadn’t shared any wonderful links to sites where […]

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