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Harris Blackwood: A few all-time greats from yearbooks
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

High school yearbooks were in the news recently. I lost the ones I had several years ago when water came into my garage. To be honest, I haven’t missed them.

For the first three years of high school, you get your picture made in whatever you wore to school. Some people dressed up for the occasion. Some guys just wore their cleanest dirty shirt. Then the photographer puts you through a series of poses. “Sit up straight and pull those shoulders back,” he would say, followed by an assortment of head tilts.

All of this was in hope that your mama was still keeping one of those scrapbooks that had a place for you photo from each school year. I remember in both my kindergarten and first grade photos, I succeeded in having a nasty scrape on my forehead. I looked like I had been in a fight — and lost.

In your senior year, you put on this fake formal wear, a ruffled overlay that made you look as if you were wearing a tuxedo. The ladies wear some kind of drape that is supposed to look like a fru-fru dress.

I don’t know anything about high school yearbooks these days. I’m afraid I would find out that they just email it to you to be read on a smartphone. By the way, who coined the name smartphone? There are a lot of people who have one that aren’t.

I really don’t remember writing anything profound in anyone’s yearbook. I think I just signed “Best Wishes” and my name near my sitting up straight, chin up picture.

But there are some yearbook signatories that have endured. A few examples:

“Stay the way you are.” The good Lord knows that I am eternally grateful that I did not stay the way I was in high school. I do wish I was as svelte as I was in high school and that’s about it.

“2 nice 2 be 4 gotten” That’s got more cheese on it than an extra-large pizza. It was usually written stacked up like a math problem, which leads me to my next one.

“It was great being with you in algebra class.” There was nothing great about being with me in any class, especially algebra. The only thing worse than being with me in algebra class was being in a physical education. I remember when we would try to complete the presidential physical fitness award. After I tried, I got a letter from President Nixon suggesting that I resign from the competition.

“Good luck with (name here)” I never got this one, because I really never had a high school girlfriend, but I saw it in other people’s yearbooks.

As I have traveled across the state, I occasionally see people I knew from high school and married their high school sweetheart. Sometimes that doesn’t work out. I no longer ask about someone’s spouse by name. That can get you an angry response about who got the beachfront condo.

There were always those boys who would write drug-laced messages, such as “Smoke Dope Dude.” One guy wrote “Rock and Roll, Leonard Skinner.” I assume he was trying to write “Lynyrd Skynyrd.” I was impressed that he spelled Leonard. I’m sure he asked someone for help.

I always was amused when girls who had an “I” or “j” in their name would put a little heart instead of a dot over the letter. I guess nobody does that anymore, because no one knows how to write in cursive.

And there are more, but time does not allow me to delve further into yearbook history.

Well, until next time, stay the way you are.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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