Back to school, back in the day: Eight old photos of the first day of classes

For most kids in Maine, this week is the first week back to school, after more than two months of wanton, irresponsible summer fun. You remember the feeling: that mix of dread, resignation and excitement. New clothes and supplies. Seeing other kids you haven’t seen in a little while. Having to get up early again. Though school in 2016 is a very different beast from school in the 1950s, it’s still a big deal. Here’s some fun pictures I found in the BDN archives of the first day of school for kids back in the day. Did your kid go back to school today? Post your picture in the comments.

StartingSchool.jpgSix kindergarten pupils were photographed in September 1951 at St. Mary’s parochial school and all seem happy to return after a long summer of play. They are (left to right) Kevin Vickers, Betty-Jo Rogan, Mary-Lu Gibbons, Mary Ann Hessert, Charlene Harris and Ronald Spears. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY SPIKE WEBB

Back2Sch.jpgWith vacation over, second-grade pupils sitting on the fence at Mary Snow School in Bangor wait for the bell to ring on the first day of school 1953. Recalling the summer fun were (from left) Velma Keaton, Harriet Bourgoine, Josephine Alley and Patricia Gerrish. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY EDDIE BAKER

Football56.JPGCoach Norman “Cy” Perkins greeted a big squad of Bangor High School footballers yesterday in the season’s first heavy-drill at Mary Snow Field on Aug. 27, 1956. . The Ram staff drove the Ram squad at full power and by the end of the day, the aches and pains were showing in large school numbers. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY SPIKE WEBB

Shots.JPGTB SHOTS AT HAMPDEN Tuberculosis shots, sponsored by the Bangor and Brewer TB and Health Association, were given in Hampden schools Monday, in Sept. 1957, to the subprimary, eighth and senior grades. Here Bethany Eillingwood receives her shot from Dr. Hadley Parrot, while Nancy Bartlett awaits her turn. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY DANNY MAHER

(Vaccines. Still important today, right?)

Kids.JPGGIRLS’ STUFF — Maine’s little girls on the first day of school proudly displayed for one and all to see their perky new dresses. Here, girls of Mrs. Natalie Potter’s 5th Grade Room at Vine Street School left to right, Carol Brown, Nancy Magby, and Margaret Hughes, exclaim over the stylishness of Nancy’s dress. Bill Noel, in the foreground, shows no interest in the fashion show, and, like Maine’s typical boy, he is probably thinking disdainfully, “That’s girl-stuff.” BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY DANNY MAHER

(“Perky new dresses.” “Girl stuff.” Well, some things certainly have changed for the better.)

Brwsch.jpgThe first day of school in September 1954 was an exciting experience for children at State Street School in Brewer. Taking part in a painting class are Marie Goode (from left), teacher Helen Grotten, Faith Stubbs and Russell Woodbury. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY DANNY MAHER

And then, some newer photos…

KEN TATE 4 LCOSecond-grader Allison Chambers stares out the school bus window on her way to Morison Memorial in Corinth for the first day of school Wednesday morning, Aug. 27, 2003. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY LINDA COAN O’KRESIK)  

First day of School KBAl (left) and Erica Tripp swing their daughter, Tanner, between them as they head for the Fruit Street School in Bangor on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2004, Tanner’s very first day of school. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN BENNETT)

Hey, guess what? The above two photos are of kids that were in Kindergarten in 2003/2004. Now they are most likely either high school seniors or have graduated already. Just to make you feel a little bit older. Hey now — don’t cry!

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine.