Friday, September 19, 2014

Mineral Ridge Classmates, 1925-1926 - Friday's Faces from the Past

Fifth Grade students of Mineral Ridge School, Weathersfield Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, are smack in the middle of the Roaring Twenties and unaware of the ravages of the Great Depression that would arrive only a few years later.

At right is my mom, Audrey Meinzen, age 10.  She looks angry or at least very serious.  Perhaps she was standing between two girls who weren't close friends or in front of a boy/boys who teased her.  Or maybe some misfortune had come her way just before the photo was taken.  The two dark strips on her dress appear to be the long ribbons of the bow tied at her neckline. 

Every girl in the class wears her hair cut in the popular "bob."  On the other hand, their dresses are as varied as their faces.  Though the 1920s was a time of economic boom for America in general, I suspect that the families in little Mineral Ridge continued to live frugally.  Many of the girls' dresses look home-sewn to me, certainly a money-saving effort at that time (unlike now when it's less expensive to buy a dress than make one). 

The boys wear shirts with ties, vests, sweaters, and/or jackets.  In the front row, most are still wearing short pants with long stockings.  The boys in short pants are probably a little jealous of the boys in long pants (if my father's feeling about short pants was anything like those of these boys).  I wonder if the boys on either end in the front row purposefully stuck out their tongues or it was just a chance lick of the lips and click of the shutter.

My mother never identified her classmates in this photo.  How would one ever know who these children are unless their descendants found this photo and recognized them?  I have a list of those who graduated with my mother but it's no help in putting names and faces together.

I'll just enjoy looking at the faces of these children and imagine what their lives might have been like.  You can click the photo to enlarge it and get a closer look.

Thanks for stopping by.

--Nancy.

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

14 comments:

  1. Those two boys on the front row form perfect bookends. That had to be planned -- those rascals!

    It's a wonderful photo of a fine-looking class of kids. No one seems better or worse off than the other -- as if all were about the same when it came to family economics.

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    1. Hi, Wendy. About the bookends -- I wondered if they were cohorts in crime and arranged to be on the ends with their tongues out. How I wish my mom had identified these children! By appearances, the children do all seem to be about equal as far as family economics. I don't think that's common in public schools these days.

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  2. It is certainly interesting to notice how much alike the little girl's haircuts are (as you mentioned.) I will hope that someone comes forward and identifies some of your mom's classmates for you.

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    1. Hi, Michelle. It would be wonderful fun for someone to see these photos and recognize a parent or grandparents. I can only hope!

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  3. When I look at this picture I only see one child with an actual smile. Everyone else is almost expressionless.

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    1. Hi, Jimmie. You're right! I see only one girl with an outright smile. I think I see a few others with smiling eyes or mouths on the verge of a smile, maybe. But the rest -- all serious. I wonder if that was because they were trying to do as the teacher asked, were unhappy, or because they were told they had to stand still for a whole minute (or however long) while the photo was being taken. I know a straight face is easier to maintain than a smile.

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  4. I can see your mother's features in your face. (Not the angry part of course.) What a great photo! I have two or three of these class photos of my father's and my grandmother carefully annotated the back.

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    1. Thanks, Kathleen. I find old school photos immensely interesting to look at, especially if they're dated. I can learn so much about children's clothing of the time. Your father and grandmother were very good to include notes on the back.

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  5. Thanks Nancy for sharing your family history. I have done some research on the Bickerstaff family of the Ridge, and this has been so helpful. My sister's father was Daniel Isacc Bickerstaff. It hard to find anything on him in particular, but have made a family tree for her.

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    1. Hi, Crystal. I suspect that Daniel Isaac ties into my line but I don't know the connection. I hope you're able to find more information.

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  6. I can remember the teacher lining us up by height for photos. I was one of the tallest girls in my class in elementary school, and often ended up standing next to boys in class photos.

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    1. That was my experience, too, Sheryl. And the boys were sometimes so mean!

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  7. I forgot, your Mom used to be my brownie leader!

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    1. Hi, Crystal. That's a fun bit of information to know. I actually can't remember her being a Brownie or Girl Scout leader.... Thanks for sharing.

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I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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