Long before Facebook, Instagram and the like, young girls had other ways of measuring their popularity …
For example, when I was in Year 8 it was all about how many Christmas cards you received from your classmates. I bought, signed, and gave out HEAPS in the last couple of weeks of school for the year, and my efforts were rewarded with about 100 cards that I proudly hung up on strings tied to my curtain rod.
When Christmas itself arrived, a very popular gift was an autograph album – a little book with a hard cover, filled with pastel coloured blank pages where you could collect the signatures and sentiments of your friends and family (and famous people too – if you happened to meet any!).
It’s one of those hobbies or interests that (like Christmas cards) seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur …
While I treasured my autography album in the 1970s, they must have been around a lot longer than that because I remember reading the classic “What Katy Did Next” – first published in 1873 – about Katy and her sister Clover asking their friends at boarding school, to sign their autograph books.
All sorts of little rhymes and sayings were immortalised in those pastel pages, here are just a few examples which surprisingly still linger in my memory:
“11 was a racehorse,
22 was 1 2.
22 1 1 race, 11 1 1 2.”
(If you’re shaking your head in puzzlement over that one, try reading it out loud as “one one was a racehorse” etc)
“I oughta sing,
I oughta laugh,
But in this book,
Or how about …
“2 Y’s U R
2 Y’S U B
I C U R
2 Y’S 4 me!”
(Again – read it out loud!)
“First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes (insert your name here)
With a baby’s carriage.”
Or, how about an album page with a lone dot in the middle, and the caption underneath – “A lovely spot”?!
And I’m sure you’re familiar with the perennial …
“Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you” … and other, not so polite, variations!
Did you have an autograph album? Do you remember any of the funny little phrases we used to write in them?