Friday, September 6, 2013

Prairie Portraits: Take Two

"So have you found your senior pictures?  queried Prairie Eydie.

"Well, it took some searching, but here it is, " replied Prairie Sherry. 

"But where are your other poses?"

Poses????  I wish you could read this like I am saying it right now.  Really draw out the "o."  

This is it.  The pose, the picture, the photo, the everything...  This is what was put in the yearbook, on the mantle, and sent to the relatives.  There were no "poses."

This is the difference between 1985 and 1974.  Well, there are a number of other three presidents.  

When Eydie came up with this idea of posting about our senior pictures  I envisioned comparing two photographs--3/4 face, simple sweater, sepia background.  Then she hauled out her massive portfolio, and I knew that Eydie was not of my era. Twelve years younger, she would be my much, much...much younger sister.  Her graduation photo memories and mine do not jive.

I remember buying the turtleneck for this photo--100% polyester--the miracle fabric. The thing was so unnatural that when you would perspire, little balloons of liquid would form in the underarm area.  This was not the era of"breathing" fabric.  I think I still bear the scars of polyester burns on my thighs from those bell bottoms I had in four colors.  I later took this sweater to Europe for my "year abroad."  I ended up selling it to a guy from Turkey who was in Denmark on a worker's visa.  It is probably still being worn, because fiber like that will last forever.  

Back to the photo session.  It was in the 90's the day of my appointment.  I was excessively and increasingly dewy (one of those euphemisms my mom liked to use) as I drove my dad's VW bug through downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Remember those underarm balloons of collected sweat?  I had them.  When I got to the photographer, a tad wind-blown, the assistant slapped some blush on my checks.  It may have been called rouge at that time. Obviously, I wasn't into the "five minute face" as I am now.  Snap, snap, snap and we were done. In and out in 20 minutes or less.  I think we had ten proofs to choose from.  My mom said none of them really looked like me, so we chose the least offensive.

My whole package probably cost $39.95.  I think I spent $400 on my latest graduate's photographic montage.  We have the full length pose, the three head-shots (three different locations), the sport gear  pose.  I put my foot down when it came to the pet pose. Dragging two delinquent cockapoos into a photographer's studio was not in the cards.  There must have been 198 proofs to choose from because we were in the photographer's shop so long that my eyes were crossing.  I think they do that on purpose so that you don't realize that you are adding zeros on that check. 

Here's just a few of my classmates as they appeared in the high school yearbook of Eau Claire Memorial in 1974.  I wonder if Mary Hayes and Rachel Harry have pulled out their "poses" recently? They are the two girls in the midst of all of that machismo.  I notice that they wore those polyester turtlenecks as well.  I also notice that my haircut looked a lot like James Heideman's (center).  

My hat is off to my "little sister" Eydie and her 1980's classmates who broke the mold, threw off the polyester of conformity, donned the gaucho pants, and dared to demand two poses or even three.

Prairie Sherry  



  1. I think some of your classmates were also in my Class of '74 in Minnesota! You look kind of familiar too!

  2. I think we may have swapped the same sweater.