Saturday, April 04, 2009


First Grade Class Photo - 1959
Mrs. Bruni’s first grade class at Unqua School, April 1959. Click to embiggen; click here for the full-size, high-resolution image.

Here you have little Elisson in his first grade class in this photograph taken fifty years ago this month.

Fifty years! Damn, that’s a lot of water under the bridge... a whole half-century. Fully a decade before the first moon landing, the very idea of which would have rendered any one of us completely slack-jawed with astonishment. Sputnik, after all, had been launched by the Russians only at the beginning of the previous school year.

Looking at the picture, I wonder. Where are all those people now? In the accumulated pile of Circumsolar Travels, how many have been raised up, how many brought low? How many have lived, and how many have died? What are they like? Do they have families? Children? Grandchildren?

I am ashamed to say that I can only put names to a handful. There’s my friend Walter - he’s the one with the string tie in the center row. (Now, there’s a Fashion Statement for you!) And the dapper little guy in the front row with the pocket square is Josh P. But I can only name about seven others with any degree of certainty, the fact of which makes me want to mourn the passing of all that time... and all those brain cells.

The image itself - unlike my memories of it - is razor sharp. It was taken with a large-format film camera, most likely a 4 x 5" tripod-mounted Crown Graphic, and the black-and-white prints we received (for the then-princely sum of $5) were finished to a crisp gloss and shoved into a heavy cardboard display jacket. Check out the full-size version: You can read the childish block printing on the wall display, that’s how clear the photograph is.

I’m pretty sure my old buddy Steve V. - who is not in this picture, but who would be a part of my third grade class two years later - can still name almost everyone here. Got a mind like a steel trap, that one has.

Hey! Test your vision and mental acuity - see if you can spot Elisson. He’s the one who looks exactly like Elder Daughter did at the same age. Give us your best guesses in the Comments! Answer is below the fold.

Update: Thanks to some Internet sleuthing by SWMBO, we now know that our teacher, Mrs. Doris Bruni, lived to a ripe old age, passing away in late 2005 at the age of 85. Ave atque vale...

I’m the guy standing in the back row, second from the left. Erica, PeggyU, and Jimbo figured it out... not an easy task, given that the photo dates from my pre-Colanderic Headgear days.

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