Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I found a few samples of 1950 eighth grade poetry that I must share with you. I was interviewing a man when he slipped a small memory book out of his stack of papers and proudly showed it to me. It was bound with a plastic spine and small enough to slide into a back pocket. The front half was made up of pictures of his class, about six to a page. But the back half was blank, with room to write notes or autographs or poems. And write they did. Sixty years later, fun to read.

Ah, the stuff memories are made of...

There are styles that show the ankle,
There are styles that show the knee,
But the style they wore in the Garden of Eden
Is the style that appeals to me.

When you get married and your wife has twins,
Don’t come to me for safety pins.

When days are dark and friends are few
Remember me and I will you.

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece we need not mention,
For since they wear their skirts so short,
The calves get all the attention.

When you get married and live down south,
Remember me and my big mouth.

One not so poetic young man:

When you get married and live down south,
Me and my big mouth will always remember you.

If you get to heaven before I do,
Bore a little hole and pull me through

And my favorite:

If you see a possum climbing a tree,
Grab him by the tail and think of me.

Catch of the day,



  1. This is precious, really captures a lost simplicity that charmed. I can't imagine eight graders writing these verses today and that's not all bad, just wish there were more splashes of simplicity that charmed.

  2. Ah ha ha! These made me laugh - especially the possum one. Thank you!

  3. thanks for sharing these. annuals and memory books are great for those of us reseaching the "past!"

  4. I was searching for a certain poem on Google to see if it had survived the passage of time and came across your site - the first poem you mention here seems to be an abbreviated version of a slightly naughtier poem, one which I came across in a little pamphlet from 1919 and feel I ought to share on the off chance you will see my comment:

    There are styles that show the ankle
    there are styles that show the knee
    There are styles that that make a fellow wonder
    What the women meant the world to see
    There are styles that have a naughty meaning
    That would make a blind man want to see
    But the style that Eve wore in the Garden
    Is the style that appeals to me

  5. Thanks, David, for posting the full poem. Interesting how eighth graders picked up a poem and spread it by signing in the back of autograph booklets. I don't think that's the modern way of signing annuals, but wasn't it a wonderful tradition while it lasted!