I thought about rescanning this photo. But after staring at it for a while I found it too poetic to do so. There is something about the fact that the image is partially hidden.
I thought about this and about the history of Garfield Elementary School here in Pasadena. It’s one thing to know that it existed, another to know that many of the children that attended Garfield were later sent to Junipero Serra, one of the two schools that were often referred to as Mexican schools.
Some supported this since they thought it was best that children be “with their own”, others felt this was a way that the children might learn to become Americanized and better be a part of the larger community, and other felt that since the wouldn’t graduate from high school they go to this school and learn the manual skills that would serve them in their adult lives.
Segregation can have complex roots, but segregated they were – by language, heritage, and identity.
Many brought together by language, heritage, and identity – for some the segregation was an opportunity to not have to feel like the “other”.
|Courtesy Archives of the Pasadena Museum of History|
The text on the back is written in three distinct handwriting styles and reads:
No one to talk to I am all by myself
Written in pencil is number 27.
Who wrote this?
I wonder if she an older woman remembering feeling isolated from the other girls in the picture?
Does she speak limited English or limited Spanish and is with girls with whom she can’t share a bit of little girl gossip or good joke? Were there things that she wanted to share and couldn’t?
Or is she a woman, at the other end of life, and feeling alone because her friends are no longer here?