Group Pictures

Of all of the memorabilia that we keep in boxes, the group picture is a likely survivor of the land fill.   A school group shot had a reason for being created, it was to show that these people were together at that time and place.  It’s not a random, accidental thing; those 35 fourth graders didn’t wander off the playground and assemble themselves for the camera on their own.  This is was not a natural occurrence, it is completely artificial.

Mrs. Armstrong's Room, 4th grade, Alexander School Row 1: John Hiscox, Jerry Matlock, Richard Dolbeer, Truman Page Row 2: Randy Pettigrew, Nancy Fesmire, Carol Van Dyke, John Jennings, Linda Yates, Randy Fields, Carolyn Stewart, Judy Estes Row 3: Mrs. Armstrong, Sharyn Beck, Lavona Cathey, Hilda Russell, Carol Jean Williams, Mary Ann Metts, Patricia Ross, Dianne Jacobs, Paula Tate Row 4: Sharron Thompson, Charles P. Taylor, Charles Smith, Ray Kilzer, Billy Spicer, Billy Layman, Charles Hickerson, John Reitzammer

(click on any picture to enlarge)

That’s what makes it so much fun to look at closely, that’s where you can see things beginning to get out of control.

The teacher, Mrs. Armstrong, a remarkably patient person, is thinking that the photographer better hurry and get off a shot before this situation deteriorates completely.



If you look carefully, the first thing you notice are ears.  For some reason 4th grade boy’s ears grow at right angles to their head, like car doors left opened.



Ray has made a hat and displays it proudly to the camera.  Billy has been watching television and sides, for the moment, with the Native Americans.  Billy has also made an origami contribution to the photograph, on his wrist.





Randy has either arrived late or is preparing to leave early.





Truman has timed the eyes and tongue to the flash so the photographer never noticed till he made the print.



But my personal favorite is John who looks like he was sent in by central casting as an agreeable kid.

But the most intriguing thing about this picture is the red nail polish applied lovingly to 4 faces, as well as her own 8 year old face.  Linda has no idea. today, what drove her to mark these men, still red after almost 60 years, for life.  Strong feelings are apparent, but she says she’s sure they were positive feelings for everyone.

She went on to neatly write all the names on the back of the print with her freshly painted red nails.

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John Reitzammer

New Bridge Bio Films

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