The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


January 31, 2014

High school correspondence: '68 and '88


The only difference in the letters is that the 1968 ones were hand written in very pleasant penmanship and the 1988 versions were typed via computers. Those with penmanship were surprisingly prolific writers and half of the class finished three pages.

The students from the past described their music, games and their boredom with a little town, and that their parents didn’t understand them. The “past” thought that the “future” would laugh at their slang, clothes and hairdos, and they did, as they looked them up in the old annuals. However, there was no laughing about the many sobering thoughts about poverty, overpopulation, the Vietnam War, and approaching adulthood. The students went to church, worried about offending their parents or getting in “hot water” with them.

The girls wrote of music, skirts above the knees, and that many of the girls had boyfriends, while one said that she “wanted to have a boyfriend.” David Winn conjectured that “I am getting out of class at 12:10 and then I’ll go to the carnival and watch the ‘weirdo’s’ and then I’ll go to Marcucci’s and bother Bob Johnson and Jim Pitts with my friends, Schroeder and Forney. It’s spring, so tonight we’ll go down to Riverfront and do some ‘bushwhacking’ and then on Sunday I’ll go to church like the ‘little angel’ that I am.”

Nancy Leu said, “I know we look primitive to you as we get spiffed up to go to Y-Teens, Pep Club, Nee-Hi’s, or listen to music.” Marsha Knutsen dreamed of “going to the island, water-skiing, learning to golf with my father, and then going to Riverboat Days.”

Mike Donehy was a real political guy, as he reflected on “racial hate riots and materialism,” but then thought of escape from boredom by driving cars up Second Street, as it was the “only thing to do.”

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