Feel of today’s superior school students locked in pandemic purgatory. I’m guessing they would come across it quaint to find out the struggles of my classmates a 50 percent-century in the past.

Files just lately surfaced by a good friend that recalled my teenager years’ fixation with: costume codes. Fights in excess of which turned highly political.
In 1969-70, the Vietnam War was raging. Students were threatening grownup authority by demanding new political freedoms and education reforms. “SDS Exercise Surfaces in County Superior School” warned the Northern Virginia Sunlight in April 1969, a reference to pamphlets dropped off at Washington-Lee (now Liberty) Substantial College by the radical College students for a Democratic Society.

A countywide “Arlington Scholar Coalition” in spring 1970 submitted requires to the faculty board. It requested that administrators respect rights this sort of as “the freedom to sort organizations, freedom from censorship of faculty publications and P.A. bulletins, flexibility to distribute noncommercial literature, liberty to invite speakers to handle faculty groups, liberty to have on armbands, buttons and other accoutrements of self-expression.” Also: “the appropriate to dress in a manner suitable to the specific.”

At Yorktown Large University, demands expanded to the ideal to leave campus for lunch, a using tobacco court docket, elimination of hall passes and abolishing closing examinations.

Such was the context in which the gown code fight was waged, in an era of lengthening male hair, ladies shifting from Villager attire to pants, and boys abandoning Weejuns and buttoned shirts for jeans and Military jackets.

Mary Vandevanter of the class of ’70 remembers currently being sent dwelling by an administrator two times for carrying culottes. Classmate Murr Brewster, now a blogger, remembers the assistant principal calling her in for bra-lessness, instructing that “the flopping of the breasts towards the thoracic cavity results in most cancers.”

My very own clash with authority stemmed from my illegal practice of donning a fedora hat indoors (mimicking an previous-fashioned reporter).

But in spring 1969, Principal W. Ralph Kier, adhering to consultations with college, dad and mom and, of course, students, loosened the dress code. In reaction, conservative moms and dads led by Wesley McDonald and Dee Mitchell (each mom and dad of my buddies) shaped the Concerned Mom and dad Affiliation.

It decried the “social and political activism of the currently modern ‘youth rebellion’” at the expense of “academic excellence in accountable education,” their govt committee wrote in a Sunlight op-ed. They accused university student activists of staying funded “outside the county.” Much more ominously, they reported “the pedants” amongst Yorktown’s lecturers “should don’t forget that the bulk of the mothers and fathers who deliver their little ones to Yorktown are school-skilled, and numerous are extra discovered in professions and occupations than the regular trainer.”

They sought a dress code “that sets forth expectations of decency, cleanliness and flavor.”

One particular unnamed school member wrote to the Sunshine expressing bewilderment that “the relaxing of the costume code at Yorktown appears to be the focal stage of a lot more parental unrest and dissent than any other educational alter in recent memory.” She acknowledged that “there have been a couple of who abused the new code…But when the newness experienced worn off, the broad the vast majority of students dressed modestly and neatly,” she claimed. “Students have determined that fancy gown was no extended de rigeur, in order that their consideration could be centered on spots of a lot more important problem — like what does it suggest to be a human getting in this troubled age?”

Type of like today’s pandemic-era high schoolers, on the internet and dressed in sweats.


Concealed from street perspective driving St. Andrews Episcopal Church lies the Yard of Hope.

Saturday mornings you can obtain nine or 10 socially distanced and confront-masked volunteers from that church at Lorcom Lane and Military Rd., the neighborhood and Marymount University. I watched them lately tending crops of kale, cabbage, collards, radishes, beats, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans and carrots. All for nearby food banks.

The 14-yr-outdated program so far in 2020 has donated 1,942 lbs. of organically grown create, I’m informed by taking part environmentally friendly thumb Ted Edwards. Their most significant obstacle: hungry deer. The volunteers solved it by constructing a 10-foot fence.