‘As Others See Us’: Columnist reflects on 1950s manners

Natalie Johnson
Humor Columnist

In the 1950s, a short film called “As Others See Us” starred the well-behaved students of ancient WGHS. I am sure their behavior was not at all influenced by the Mickey Mouse looking 1950s movie cameras filming in the hall.

This film was created to reflect an idyllic example of etiquette and common courtesy for teens.

The creepy narrator in “As Other See Us” says, “Good manners must be practiced as an everyday part of living, until considerations for others becomes as much a part of you as your right arm, or your two feet.”

Would modern WGHS have a student body of footless leftys?

The opening scene is a high school dance. The boys are all wearing identical suits and the girls are wearing fluffy chiffon dresses. Although they are dressed considerably more modestly than most girls at a dance today, there are shoulders showing! It’s amazing how the boys were able to maintain their fine manners at the dance considering said exposed shoulders. Girls and boys sway gently to what is now considered elevator music.

I wonder if in 63 years from now, “Turn Down for What” will be playing quietly in the foyer of the Ritz? Future in the doctor’s office? The Chainsmokers in the elevator?
The narrator asks, “What better place to see you as others see you than the school hall between classes?”

Personally, I would rather not be seen in the halls, and I don’t want to see you in the halls either– get out of the way. Our school could be so much more efficient if there were those moving walkways like in airports in each hall. Want to hold a three minute conversation with your friend? Too bad, the walkways never stop, so spit it out in the five seconds you see them before they are carried away.

I am pretty sure there was a plan for these to be installed, but Propositions S and W did not pass.

On to lunch. “If you have a choice of foods, look at the menu before you come in, so you won’t hold up the line while you make your decision.”

Hot cheetos? Fuze? “Chicken” sandwich? Fruit cup? Chocolate milk?

“Learn how to chose a lunch that will keep you as bright as you are today, and in all the days to come.”

Thank you, Chartwells. The menu displayed in the film lists dishes commonly seen at family dinner at grandma’s house, such as spiced beets, cranberry sauce and pork with sauerkraut. Today, students can choose from meat pizza, cheese pizza or triple meat pizza.

Much has changed since 1953, but the students at Webster still undoubtedly make up a stellar student body. Although our strongsuit may not be nutrition, Webster does a standout job regarding manners.

“As Others See Us” says the basis of all manners is the consideration of others, and despite the crowded halls and wimpy lunch menus, WGHS provides a safe environment where students can eat flamin’ cheetos and not show their shoulders.

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