Today, if you were out walking around 8 a.m., you might have done a double take when you saw a newsboy in knickerbockers, or a girl with an improbably large bow on her head. It was Long Ago School Day for the second grade at our school, whose first pupils–long ago–were the children of pushcart peddlers and garment workers. As Joseph’s teacher put it, Long Ago School Day is not a costume party; it’s an attitude. Things were different in 1907. Last night, showers were not allowed. Just a wash in the kitchen sink.
In 1907, Joseph wore a clean, tucked-in shirt, suspenders and hair tonic. (Sadly, in 2007 we have to make do with gel.)
Girls wore pinafores to keep their dresses clean.
You called your teacher Mister.
Your desk faced front. You had a slate. (Your classroom did not have plastic bins, but whatever.)
“Harry, why are you late this morning?”
[Silence. Grinning silence.]
“Were you selling vegetables?”
“Were you collecting eggs?”
[Silence. Eyeing ruler.]
“Did you wash? Let me see behind your ears!”
In real 1907, it probably wasn’t this fun.
Sorry, no knitting. I’m too farklempt with the end-of-year bittersweetness around here. On Monday I have to face The Singing of the School Song. It nearly kills me, every time.