30 April 2007

Spell: Dress Code

*front and center While it was never my intention to write about High School today, having read Applegal's blog on fashion, I decided I would write one on my fashion experience. When I attended high school-back-in-the-day,we actually did have a dress code. Girls were required to wear skirts or dresses, nothing above the knee and the guys were required to wear slacks and a button shirts. No jeans or T-shirts. Can you imagine?

Well, the upshot of all this seemed to be (in long hindsight) that we behaved a bit differently. I am not saying that we were perfect ladies and gentlemen-not I a long shot.(However, senior year our school was voted "Best Dressed" by some national magazine.) But I do remember that we behaved a bit better in classrooms. Most of our youthful, hormonally charged energy was expended in a myriad of afterschool activities; there were a dozen sports for guys and girls, a dozen clubs for every hobby you can imagine, we had a yearbook committee, a radio station, debate clubs, theater groups, choirs, band, orchestra, and even a recorded yearbook (it was on a flat, black, recording disk called a phonograph record)-we called it "Playback".

The reason that I noticed a change in classroom behavior was the fact that at the end of the year, there was one week dedicated to wearing casual clothes, ie: shorts (a week for seniors, and one day for the rest of the school). Keep in mind "the dress code" which meant we could wear Bermuda shorts but guys had to wear knee socks-for real. And behavior actually did change during that week, everyone was much more casual, silly and a tad less attentive.
During most of my time in high school, I was involved with the theater kids. We had a lot of fun, did some great shows, and made some lasting friendships. We were so enchanted with each other that we started a summer theater group called "The Summerset Players" which actually continued for a few years after graduation. It was totally run by students and had wonderful support and I think some seed money from our parents when it started.
We did one play, and one musical every summer-produced, directed, and performed by kids. We did the sets, costumes, make up, everything. It was great fun. We had cast parties that lasted all night, because we were listening to Broadway shows and dancing. I'm sure at some point, that alcohol entered the scene, but not very much. That may have been in part,because in the fall of our senior year, during a canned foods drive; there was an alcohol-related crash into a tree that killed one student-a beautiful art major, paralyzed the captain of the swim team, and badly injured several others. The entire school was devastated by an accident. And, to this day, I can recall that night as vividly as I did 40 years ago.
It was a different time then, today those kinds of accidents are a daily occurrence. And some of the activities that I have described, are probably very funny. They were fun, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to be present in that place, at that time.


Moi said...

What cool photos! And what a different place and time, huh? Funny, I remember studying periods of time in history that encompassed hundreds of years, with hardly any kind of sweeping social or cultural changes during those centuries. Now, we don't measure change in terms of centuries but in terms of decades.

Wicked Thistle said...

In my daily fantasy world I imagine a classroom full of well-dressed, well-behaved children who are so enthusiastic about life and learning that they--gasp!--actually find ways to expend that energy in, say, cool plays & musicals & poetry & such. And now I know it all really existed, albeit in another time and another place.

Very, very well written. Bravo!

bnmom said...

This is what I know: kids will respond to what is presented and what is considered acceptable.
When boundaries are clear, behavior adjusts because of consequences. When boundaries are gray (grey?) kids will push and test the limits because consequences are not obvious.

p.s. I'm a liberal mind.

Mirra said...

Interesting to know.

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