As a matter of perspective, in 1953 the Korean War was entering a truce. Technically a conflict rather than a war, albeit this made little difference to those actively involved, there was in fact no real start to the conflict, and because the truce is still in effect it is considered to have ended in 1953. Like all US wars, things were pretty good for those on the home front, but not always so good for those in uniform. Fortunately, the class of 1953 was mostly spared from direct involvement, and by the time the next conflict erupted in Vietnam, most were exempt from the draft.
Otherwise, the world continued to be dominated by a Cold War, and at home one had to be somewhat careful what they said. Being declared a communist could have serious consequences, and a senator named McCarthy could make life genuinely miserable for anyone that caught his attention. The USSR was a mystery to the US, and would provide military and economic competition for the US for close to 45 years. Children of all ages ducked under desks, and went into the hallways in a pathetic attempt to prepare for a nuclear bomb going off anywhere nearby. By 1957 it appeared the US could not compete with the supermen in USSR. But it's now clear that what were deemed legitimate concerns at the time were in fact mostly staged hoaxes. Much of the fear in the US was a result of the mystery created by the penchant for secrecy in the USSR, historically a very paranoid region of the world, and distrustful of outsiders.
But within all this life was mostly good in the US, and the prospects good for Godwin graduates. The housing boom was in full swing, farms were going under the blade everywhere for new housing tracts, and the US still had much of the world's economy, as a result of WWII. Jobs were mostly plentiful, and the late 1950s and early 1960s were some of the most prosperous times in US history.
Of course not all of this could have been foreseen from the perspective of 1953. At any point in time the future is mostly a mystery for most. But in hindsight, the class of 1953 lived through an era of almost continuous prosperity. Materially, it was something of a golden era, when land in the US was still cheap and plentiful, and many people had at least two cars, a new home, and perhaps a cottage or summer home, and a boat. More often than not, there was a single wage earner in a household. And of course all of this was expected at the time.
The early 1950s are a time now fading from the collective memory of most in the US now, and for this and other reasons it's both fun and amusing to look back and see what the world of a member of the class of 1953 was like, and how it might differ from that of a Godwin student of 50 years later.
What's known here about the class of 1953 is what is contained in the class annual. A copy was generously supplied by Don Bowen ( related to the founder of Bowen's Roller Rink? ), and much of it is presented here. Lewie and Phyllis Start, class of 1948, passed the annual along to me.
For some reason the annual did not use the more typical high clay content, shiny pages that most annuals used, and as a result the photographs are often softer, as opposed to crip and sharp. This was no doubt a decision made by the annual staff, but of course it does make it harder to see some details, and the scanned copies can do no better than the originals.
But for those who might have lost their own copies over the years, or for Godwin students in other class years, the material still provides a decent way to see what highschool life for the class of 1953 was like. As the editors of the annual intended. Note that the underclassmen and sports sections are not included.
The cover of the 1953 class annual.
Left click on the image for a larger image.
The entire 1953 class annual, made available for scanning by by Shirley (Vanden Bosch ) Van Oostendorp, class of 1953, is presented below. To view the pages, simply left click on the page numbers or thumbnail images. Each page has been scanned at about 150% of its original size in order to make some of the details easier to see. You might have to move the image around in your browser in order to see it all. Be sure to make your browser full screen size for easier viewing.
Also be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of each page; comments and notes are included on some of the pages. Use the "Back" button on your browser to return to the main menu. People should consider contacting me if they have additional information, or comments.
If anyone has any other photographs pertaining to the class of 1953 they'd like to see included here please contact me.