Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

High School - 1957 vs. 2014

I don’t think I’ve ever posted something I received via email, but this comparison is so true that I’m posting it.  This was on the internet, so many of you may have read it.  As a former high school teacher myself and a student during this time frame, I find this comparison to be accurate.  If you went to high school sometime during the ‘40s or ‘50s, you will see the truth in this.  I’ve even had the obligatory fist fight after school and always made friends with former adversaries, as depicted in this piece.  

In past posts, I’ve alluded to the “feminization of our culture” and I think this is a prime example. 
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HIGH SCHOOL -- 1957 vs. 2014
Scenario 1:
Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack.

1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2014- School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2014 - Police called and SWAT team arrives -- they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.

1957 - Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2014 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.
2014 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse; Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 - Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.
2014 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English.

1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2014 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, and blows up a red ant bed.

1957 - Ants die.
2014 - ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents - and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny's dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2014- Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.
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I might add that my dad had a razor strap he used to correct misbehavior.  It hung ominously in the bathroom as a reminder.  “Time out” was only heard in athletic endeavors.  I think my generation turned out just fine.


  1. That is right on the money Ralph. Remember when we could take our cap guns and caps to school, carry them in a holster and play cops and robbers or cowboy and Indians at recess? My God, if that took place today, there would be people running around in circles biting their tails, schools would be in lock down, Psychiatrists would have a field day. Swat teams would be over joyed to the point of wetting themselves, etc......
    And , I remember one day in grammar school another kid and I were chasing John around the school yard. John had an ice cream cone and during the chasing he dropped it. And stepped on it. And slipped and fell. And broke his arm. John had to go to the hospital or somewhere and have his arm splinted and the other kid and I had to visit the principal. He chewed us out royally, then sent us on our way. Nothing was ever said about the incident again, and we learned a hard lesson. And, our parents were not held responsible. Can you imagine what would happen today?

    1. Bob -
      That's amazing. I was with you when John Henke broke his arm. He calmly walked up to me and held his arm up stating, "My arm's bent!" That's all he said. I'll never forget that. His arm was bent between the wrist and elbow at almost a 90 degree angle. He seemed bewildered by his strange arm, but walked to the school nurse without complaining.
      Thanks for bringing back an old memory.

  2. EVERY word is TRUE.

    I remember my Dad snapping his belt, before using it on one of us four children, when we were out of line.

    Look what Society is now exposing our children and grandchildren to through the media, movies and television.

    Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child - is now called Child Abuse.


    1. Right is wrong. Good is bad. Black is gray. Everything is relative. The rudder is off the ship. The inmates are running the institution. We're now in free fall. Hang on for the ride.

  3. I was whipped by Mr. Mack, the principal at Union Elementary School in Los Gatos for swearing. Several times I was made to grab my ankles while my high school metal shop teacher whacked my ass with a 3 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick wooden paddle that was about 4 feet long. The paddle had holes drilled through it for less wind resistance on the down swing. He did this to anyone who came to class chewing gum. Gum was popular and a lot of us got the paddle. Funny thing is, we all loved the guy, he was a great person and teacher. Obviously some of us were slow learners regarding gum chewing. I remember Mr. Mack unexpectedly calling for an assembly of the entire school. He said he called the assembly for a special purpose. He then invited the two prettiest 8th grade girls to join him on the stage. The girls were all excited. Mr. Mack then explained the girls have been putting thumb tacks on other students chairs thinking this is funny. Then one at a time he spanked them with a yardstick in front of the entire student body. He would probably get life in prison for that now days. Jimmy Loar, class of "57"

    1. Holy Cow! I don't remember anything close to that at Los Gatos Elementary school. I think spanking those girls in front of the student body is over the line. I have two daughters and I if that happened to one of them, I think Mr. Mack would regret being born.

      I have a couple of friends in Canada who worked at a prison in Vancouver. At that time the prison had a mechanical paddle that had a strong spring and was used to keep inmates in line. The inmates were more afraid of that paddle than the gas chamber. One swat with that thing would usually cause the inmate to pass out.

      Back in those days the "nanny state" was still in the planning stage. Comparing your principal's approach and the "feminized" culture of today, makes you wonder if there is something in between these extremes.