September 23, 2009 / Noteworthy / What Yearbook Means To Me

Yearbook creates ties to a life spent on the move

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Yearbooks hold different memories for different people. I have come to a greater understanding of that during my time with Walsworth and as I age. For example, I barely keep in touch with anyone I went to high school with. Some of that lack of connection has to do with the fact that I was never really attached to my high schools.

My parents moved our family twice while I was in high school – in the middle of my freshman year and in the summer before my junior year. I had really wanted to graduate from Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati, and was happily on track at Delhi Junior High School when we moved the first time. I still keep in touch with four friends from that school, because I met them in elementary school.

At my next school in northwestern Ohio, I stayed a year and a half. What I remember most is that I woke up in fear every morning of my geometry and chemistry classes. It was the time in my life when I determined I was not cut out to be a nurse. But to this day, I have one friend with whom I still exchange Christmas and birthday cards.

Then we moved to Oklahoma, and even though I was in the Pep Club and on the debate team, I do not keep in touch with anyone.

I still own my yearbooks from grades seven through 12, and some from college. Through the years I have looked at those books often. I have looked up people to remember a name. I have shown my children that I was a teenager once, and the clothing and hairstyles of the 1970s. In fact, I’ve pulled out my books several times during “That 70s Show,” because I went to school with people who looked like those characters.

My favorite, though, is my brother’s senior picture and his hair. He washed it right before the photo was taken, and it was as if his hair barely fit in the frame. My mother was so mad. I still think it’s funny.

In more recent times, I have read my daughters’ yearbooks. I check out their teachers and friends. I look at the campus photos. I read what their friends wrote. Their books are like a coffee table book – we look at it and discuss the contents. Those are good times.

I wish I had counted how many times I have looked through my yearbooks since graduation. There’s real value there. Which is one of the messages Walsworth is trying to get out this year with our Student Scholarship Sweepstakes, in which students and their parents can enter to win one of three $1,000 scholarships. Just go to yearbookforever/win to enter.

I did not need strong ties to any one school to enjoy my yearbooks. It was the school year that I was tied to; it was a part of my life. That is enough to value each yearbook.

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.