Dress code

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

My mother always enforced a fairly strict dress code. Some of the other boys in my elementary school classes wore jeans – I knew them as dungarees – to school.

My mother insisted on something “more dressy” for school, such as corduroy pants. I had “school” pants, “church” pants, and “play” pants and shirts.

T-shirts were popular – we called them polo shirts – long or short sleeves and bright stripes. We wore the nicer ones to school and played in the other ones. I don’t think we had shirts with messages on them like the ones that are popular now.

Our mother always made sure that we didn’t stay out to play after school wearing our school clothes. In a picture I have of my third or fourth grade class at McKinley School all the boys were wearing long pants and several boys were wearing polo shirts.

I was in the front row of that picture and I was wearing the kind of shirt that my cowboy movie heroes wore for dress-up occasions – button-down front, plain middle and a different color collar with the same color in a v-shaped area at the neck and shoulders.

I think my belt may have displayed ruby and diamond “gems” on the buckle. One thing my mother didn’t seem to be able to control was the “high water” length of my trousers.

I was no doubt placed in that first row because I was among the shortest of the class members. In the first row with me were two other boys and five girls.

We were all about the same height. Three of those girls, and at least two from the other rows, I considered as girlfriends during my early school years.

It must have been cooler weather – some of the boys wore flannel shirts, sweaters or long-sleeve polos. The girls all wore dresses. Short pants were popular for younger boys in warmer weather.

And that’s what they were – short pants – not short-shorts or Bermudas. It was war time and little boys wore sailor suits and other military inspired clothing.

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