And, as the Days go By…

…ephemera evaporates.

As a student I never particularly thought of schoolbooks as ephemera (not that I knew that word untill I ran across Prelinger and his Archive). They were part of the school and the school had been for decades, and seemed like it would never go anywhere. I do not remember my school books very well, even my college ones from the early days when I was looking around at different majors and taking gen. ed. courses. Some stick out as being particularly noteworthy, such as the edition of Patterns for a Purpose that was published right after 9/11. That one I no longer have, unfortunately. I fantasize about buying a used copy of it and rereading it.

Anyway, as I riffle through old matter from my grand mother who, I have mentioned in previous posts, worked at a public school for an even 20 years, I find these old educational materials she saved for one reason or another. Her tenure there was from the mid sixties to the mid eighties (before I was born) and so the tenor and style of the materials is of those decades. The matter she brought home were those type of things that school students now I suppose still regard as permanent parts of the background, like I did.

Previously I have featured a metric conversion notification card from the 1970s and wished for the past I was not a part of. Of course, I am more than happy to be living in the present when (to name one thing) AIDS is far better understood and treated than “back then”. Only I wish I could take a day trip back to the school when these books were in use and see the full panoply in use: teacher’s editions, student copies, workbooks, handouts, module tests, answer keys, everything. These alone would be amazing to see, along with the probably disturbing lack of employee screening for sex offenders.

Click any image for a full size view.

textbook1The philosophy of education of the times (which I only can guess at) seems embodied in these names. “Timetouchers”? “Dreamstalkers”? Were these learning styles? Characters in stories? Normally the names would be so outlandish I would have a field day satyrizing them, but I’m just too nostalgical for a time I probably shouldn’t be for. The cover looks like one of those notorious “1960s” jukeboxes. You know the ones that have neon and actual black records in them.

textbook2Linescapes admirably describes the cover art. The next image is from the back of this book and you will notice that, when put together, they have a feeling of movement from left to right. Almost a “whoosh!”. Spindrift is an actual word, describing the seawater blown off the tops of waves by the wind. Trajectories are of course the angle and direction of projectiles fired. I do not know what the number seven is. Book seven? Desk seven? The answer was ephemeral and is almost certainly beyond recovery. Question: Why is this resource book title set in italic instead of roman?

textbook3On account of the firm that published these, “The Economy Company” of Oklahoma City, dissolving or being bought out before the advent of digitization and especially the Internet, there is nothing on the books or publisher easily found. Only empty WorldCat files for them with no information. Do any readers of this blog post remember using these textbooks? Does anyone have an intact one somewhere? What happened to the company archives of this firm? Dumpstered?

textbook4This is the cover for Dreamstalkers. The size of the image is different because it was printed on smaller dimensioned paper. How I wish it was the actual book and not just the stripped cover! I have to admit the cover looks reminiscent of the logo of WikipediA’s Wikimedia Foundation. It also makes me think of scifi films and shows where the people’s jobs or positions in future society would be indicated by geometric patterns on their clothes. Maybe it’s a thistle head? Or… an opium poppy.

textbook5Here are some more. Earthrise is the name of a famous photograph taken from the Moon by an Apollo team and returned to Earth for development. I don’t know if that it what they are talking about here, but I wish it was. Sunspinners would be a good description of the cover, and spacestone I have a strong suspicion is about the Earth itself. Was the subject of these ecology? The cover art is wildly tortuous and seems to express tension. What does it say to you?

textbook6Here is an Annotated Teacher’s Edition… because a Teacher’s Edition wasn’t good enough? I don’t get the significance of both qualifiers. The cover and the name of the book, “Datalog”, conjure up the futuristic learning predicted in the 1950-1970s of computers providing individualized instruction to all in a Star Trek like utopia or semiutopia. Did this come with exercises on 5¼” floppy disks for the Apple II? I knew a textbook like that once, and had some fun with it. It was the only thing that I ever got running on that found Apple IIe found.

textbook7Sadly, the inside is a reminder of the then present day. This universal block that is probably still around and hasn’t changed in decades, if ever. When I was in school textbooks had this identical inside front cover. Of course, being the first thing seen, by a student when opening the book, they regularly got doodled on. A few things occur to me about this that I will save for another post. One question: Why are they telling “PUPILS to whom this book is issued” that they can’t mark in it? This is an (Annotated) Teacher’s Edition!

For my own mind, these torn up and shredded exercise books are visceral evidence that those times and philosophies, so caricatured and parodied when recalled and recounted, did exist.


2 thoughts on “And, as the Days go By…

  1. RavenHarte

    These were the teacher Resource books for the Level 14/15 readers in the Keys To Reading series by Theodore Lester Harris. There is kind of a “fan club” surrounding this series. It was used in many NY/NJ school systems for sure in the 1970s-80s, mine included in Orange County NY. The original covers were awesomely psychedelic 70s, but ruined at reprint. The books in order were: Level 2: Pug, Level 3: Sun Tree, Level 4: Zip, Pop, Go, Level 5: Green Feet, Level 6: Blue Dilly Dilly, Level 7: Curbstone Dragons, Level 8: Mustard Seed Magic, Level 9: Air Pudding and Wind Sauce, Level 10: Mysterious Wisteria, Level 11: Silver Twist, Level 12: Cinnamon Peaks, Level 13: Lavendar Skywriters, Level 14 – Linescapes Level 15 – Dreamstalkers, Timetouchers, Windchange

    Here are the covers if you’re interested :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FlowCoef Post author

      Hot damn! I live there now!

      Anyway, thank you for the information. That was before my time when they were in use, but I think they must have made for interesting education.



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