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50 years ago

I was looking at the paper today – which had an entire section devoted to the local high schools and their graduates for the year 2007. I suddenly realized that is was 50 years ago [exact date no longer recalled] that my own high school graduation happened: the class of 1957 – Andrew Jackson High School, Queens, NYC.

Not sure if it’s a NYC thing – or more widespread – but I don’t recall having been back to my high school since graduation – nor have I ever attended a reunion. Nor am I sure if reunions even happened over these 50 years. But even if they had, I am not sure I would have gone as I’ve never gone to a school reunion of any kind…even when I lived closer to the schools I attended.

1953- 1957 at Jackson were seemingly typical times for New York City High Schools and only in retrospect has any of it seemed odd…Jackson had a mix of black and white students but we had what are now called race riots [of sorts] but I don’t recall what they were labeled than. Most of the “issues” stemmed from basketball games and seemed more of a your high school v. our high school rather than black v. white.

We had stabbings in the staircases – [ah the up and down staircases] – where a student would be stabbed in the leg by someone on the “other” side of the glass that separated up and down and which always had broken panes….most of us dealt with these incidents by walking near the solid walls and not the side near the windows. There was a time when we had NYC’s finest in our locker rooms although I can not recall the specifics of why – it seems there were always police around the school…

I think we had over 700 in the class of ’57 and the classes behind us were even larger! That’s over 3000 teens in a building built for far fewer…[In those days grades 9 thru 12 were in the same building.] I had some classes where two students shared the small seat and desk for some classes; the kind of desk/seat combos that were bolted to the floor ☺.

We had criminals in our classes – kids that wound up in Sing Sing before they graduated. We had academic stars and athletes. We had pregnant female classmates who “went away to live with a relative” for a while since pregnant “girls” were not allowed to stay in school.

We had friends get married as soon as they graduated and many who went off to work in Manhattan while some of us went off to Queens College, one of the NYS Teacher’s Colleges or more “grand” colleges and universities.

I am still in touch with a few from my NYC childhood and high school days. Like my family, they still live in or near NYC… while I became a wanderer.

Wow – 50 years since high school graduation…..it amazes me…. I’m sure at that time I thought that anyone over 25 was ancient and anyone in their 60’s was a doddering old person…we all live and learn….

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