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Visitors to the site had quickly caught on to the idea of commenting not only on the photos but also on each other’s comments, and I found lengthy exchanges tacked under some images. Under a picture of a boy in a garish brown-and-orange plaid jacket and a white tie, taken at Pacific Beach Junior High’s ninth-grade graduation, the following appears, for example:

  • Reesa H.: So 70’s
  • Dan Siskowic: this is a great picture. looks like brandon is about 6’4” in ninth grade. i wish i had kept the tie i wore to that ceremony. it was a psychadelic multi-colored 4” wide number that i wore with a print shirt…something like what one would wear to a ‘clash’ party. i’m pretty sure it was the first non-clip tie i ever wore.
  • by the way, does anyone remember that someone had glued a quarter on the steps on the left side of the stage and many people stopped and tried to pick it up as they went up for their certificate?
  • Several comments follow in which the conversation turns to identifying other individuals visible in the photo, and Ed S. demurs that his eyes are growing old. Reesa H. then retorts, hey ed, with all your getting old talk, are we going to see a wrinkled up, grey haired old man wearing specks at the reunion? It’s not bad eyesight just hard to see pictures. At least that’s what I tell myself.
  • Ed responds that gray hair is not likely, as my dad didn’t turn grey/white until he was in his late 60’s. Specks are possible I now have trouble focusing on small print. Yes the pictures are hard to see.
  • Brandon, the main subject of the picture, then contributes, Boy, I wish I still had that jacket and tie…not that the jacket would fit or anything. Heidi, thanks for digging this one up!

I found that dozens of classmates had also discovered the website’s “News” section, where more thematic conversations were unfolding. Cynde L., an enthusiastic participant since early March, had challenged her classmates to reveal the objects of their school-age crushes, and in some of the 40 responses, you can almost see the writer blushing. “I find that I am still hesitant to mention a few names,” Dan Siskowic admitted, adding, “Of course, I have the added pressure of being married to a ‘childhood sweetheart’ (who still gets jealous).” (With characteristic openness, Dan then provided a thorough list of his love interests from 2nd through 11th grades.)

When Dan posted a list of the top 25 singles from the ’70s (see sidebar), a lively interchange had ensued.

“It’s downright embarrassing to be associated with that list,” Dan had griped. “I think the era of 69–72/73 was the best. If we play music at the reunion from ‘our time’ it should be from then. 1975 represented the midpoint of a long slide downhill, culminating with disco in 76/77.”

“Dan, I couldn’t agree with you more!” Mike L. chimed in. “I really don’t want to hear any of this top ten list at our bash if we can help it. Maybe you and I can come up with some old discs to spin and a play list for the reunion.”

The subsequent recommendations triggered more comments, but I won’t try to reproduce them here. In his recent book, Me Talk Pretty One Day, essayist David Sedaris includes a diatribe against computers in which he dismisses the much-touted virtues of e-mail, sneering that it “isn’t real mail, but a variation of the pointless notes people used to pass in class.” Plenty of the comments on the Class of 1975’s website — brief, exclamatory, and of little interest to anyone outside the writer and recipient — do suggest that medium. They abound in the conversational threads about music, favorite TV shows, teen idols, even streaking (at least two memorable incidents of which took place during the group’s senior year).

But other topics seemed to take their writers deeper, to resurrect memories that offer glimpses — even to an outsider — of the world they shared as teenagers a quarter-century ago. Consider the following (somewhat edited) selections:

  • Favorite/Worst Teachers
  • Cynde L. [responding to a comment from Dan about Mr. McGucken’s “unbelievabably boring” physics class]: Mr Mcgucken was the one with the scaley arms and hit his ruler on the desks. I had him for BOTH PYSICS AND GEOMETRY! He used to yell at me for not understanding geometry. I don’t remember who it was, but in physics, this guy used to sit in the front row and ALWAYS fell asleep. Mr. McGucken let me tie his shoelaces together so when he hit his ruler on the desk and he tried to get up he fell down. I know it sounds mean, but this guy was always sleeping….
  • Philonise W.: Worst teacher, Mr Horton-french. he was more interested in what they did in Paris and Marsielle(sp?) on Saturday and eating escargot than really teachng us the language. And what about his toupe? never in the same place twice and always a 5 o’clock shadow. He gave me the creeps.
  • PBJr HIgh- Favorite was Mr Dickson world history- very funny man, always had a joke and tried to make it interesting. Mr. Johnson’s class on the other hand was a riot. He’d bring in the paper and read us to sleep. Then he’s put on a film and fall asleep in the back of the class himseld while various students would spend the time clinmbing out of the windows, smoking under the curtains and blowing the smoke out the windows or sleeping themselves. I considered that class a rest hour and a joke.The worst teachers of that time spent at PB I can’t rememeber thier names and as such won’t try!
  • John C.: The best teacher in my book is Ms. Porter, English. She was fun, creative and current with the times. A special mention goes to Mr. Marshall (Spanish/Watergate) [He] had us watch the Watergate impeachment hearings during Spanish class. His influence may be why I live in left-leaning Santa Cruz and continue to enjoy bodysurfing here (though my Spanish could be mas mejor).

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