2021 – School Daze


(ignore April 30, 2017 publish date – this was published on March 15, 2021)


GEEZ, this bag is heavy! What the hell is in this thing?

BOOKS, as it turned out. School books.

Whose? (mine)

From when? (the first two years of high school)

WHY? (good question)

Condition? (VERY used)


Before we start, I just found some related material elsewhere in another old, falling apart scrapbook:


I’m not sure how it works now, but back then, if you attended a Catholic grammar school, it was considered a VERY BIG DEAL to get into some of these schools…………so much so, that you had to take a test and could only list 3 schools. If you didn’t do well on the test, you would probably wind up going to public high school (which might not have been a bad choice).

I got into all 3 schools I applied for. Sadly, I didn’t choose the nearby (next town) co-ed one (BIG mistake!) and went for the all-boys name one 3 or 4 towns away:


Back to the bag-o-books:

There was some light stuff sitting on the top of the bag, so as to not get crushed by the books – something to do with peanut butter, presidents and noses.

Right on top was a partial piece of paper advertising products from Planters: peanut butter, oil, and candy (5 cents for a “Jumbo Block”);


On the back, you could get yourself an “historical and educational paint book” from Mr. Peanut if you sent him lots of empty peanut bags, candy wrappers or other refuse. Got peanut allergies? Tough – you lose out:


Something looks very familiar about that paint book, but I don’t think I ever had a paint book from anywhere in my life (watch one show up in the next bag):


Under that was a slightly-yellowed and oversized plastic bisection of a human nose with a door on it that says “OPEN”. Who wouldn’t want to open a door to the inside of a nose?


Did you know that besides having an interior door, your nose has different parts with black numbers on them? Me either:


There are a couple of other black numbers visible when you flip it over:


I also have this loose piece that seems to fit over the right part of the previous image at an angle:


Well, that’s as far as I got – knowledge-wise – until I dug further into the bag and found this cardboard with a piece of paper attached to it:


Good lord! It’s my freshman year, Bergen Catholic High School Science Fair project with the answers to all those number questions!

(“1-E” was my class’s designation)


This item tells me that I probably had a choice of which sense to focus on for the project:


I could have bought one that was fully assembled AND painted for 5 bucks? I’m sure that wasn’t allowed, but I didn’t even bother to attempt painting this one (though I DID have the instructions):

I wonder what kind of grade I merited for this slap-together job.



On to the books!


HISTORY (Part 1)

The one on the left looks as old as the contents:

There’ll be one more history book later.



Yes, I took Latin. Two years of it were required…………..I took three (I liked it):

The problem was that two years of another language were also required. I took Spanish for three years. After a while, you start mixing them up. I remember one test where I had to write the Spanish word for “boy”. Simple enough, right? I wrote “puer” – Latin for “boy”.

I still remember a lot of the Spanish words I learned back then and Latin was always interesting to me because so many of our English words are derived from it.

Useless information: the Latin word for “asparagus” is “asparagus” and it’s a male noun. And why can’t people understand the difference between the written form of soundalikes “alumni” (male plural) and “alumnae” (female plural)? It drives me crazy when a reporter writes about some woman and mentions that “she is an alumnus of so-and-so university”. NO woman is an alumnus of ANY university! “Alumnus” is male. “Alumna” is female.

See? Latin IS useful! It turns its students into cranky old know-it-alls who no one understands.


Next up – MATH!

Math – especially algebra – was easy (until I got to calculus in college):


Behind the middle book is this:

Apparently, it was corrected by another student (signed under my name). The problem I got wrong is on the other side. I’m sure Dad didn’t mind signing this “A” test. “2G” was my sophomore class.



Not a lot of respect given to this beat-up old book. I don’t remember if there was an option to buy new books. Given the tuition that had to be paid, it probably made $en$e to keep recycling these books:


Things you always wanted to know about receiving Holy Communion (this is not my handwriting). I had to look up “Viaticum”, which is the Eucharist given to a person near or in danger of death (Good news! You don’t have to fast!):



No – not a book about humor (though that would have been an interesting class). Some of the images in our schoolbooks were custom-made for developing teenage senses of humor. The religion book was no exception.

Take, for example, this handy guide to good personality traits for boys and girls. Though they’re all, um……..wonderful, I found the “For Tired Eyes” girls tip and the “For Well-Toned Muscles” boys tip to be particularly useful for……….well, no one:


These next two were there when I got the book……………honest!


HISTORY (Part 2)

Here’s that other history book I mentioned earlier:


Given my upbringing, it’s possible that the second image’s notation could be mine:




Another not-exactly-new book:


Everyone’s two favorite bio lab experiments:


This is definitely my high school handwriting:

(and Procter & Gamble owe me about 60 years of advertising royalty payments)




I absolutely do not remember this class, this book or anything about either:


Someone had to write 3 letters on the page edges to remind us what class this was:

It was all stories and poems that no one cared about or retained. Somehow, we navigated life just fine without them.


Its slightly more-interesting sibling:


I found a couple of beat-up, old notebooks under it all:


This was a compilation of previous 3-hour exams to prep us for finals (I think), put together by the school’s baseball coach (who I also had as instructor in a Business Law class). The second pic shows a General Science test from the school year before I started there:


These last 5 images were quite a surprise to find because they were from that year before I started at BC, when I was in 8th grade at Holy Trinity in Hackensack.

Let’s start with this book(let?) that I don’t recall. The note inside was written in May of 1961, so it’s from 8th grade. It shows that my vocabulary was sufficiently built up enough to be able to substitute a word I knew I could spell correctly:


Next up is this very strange, stapled-on book cover that has the word “Science” handwritten on it. It also says “8A” – my class at HTS – on the bottom.

I can’t draw to save my life, so I’m wondering if this was a used book whose artwork I inherited. Unfortunately, only my name is on it, so…………..?


Pulling back on the ugly cover revealed what the real cover looked like. Seems harmless enough…………….why cover it?


The inside the cover info:


A confident student’s note found inside:

Hey, I had handwriting just that like back then – what a coincidence!


So why did my mother preserve my school books? In case I flunked and had to repeat the class? Why didn’t she just sell them to a next-year student to further deface them?

And why am I asking YOU?


Anyone need some six-decade-old school books?


Didn’t think so………..


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