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Rather than the living room, these three kids seem to be heading towards the future. They move forward with a determined, determined pace, with an expression I dare not describe as childish.

Note that the children at the ends have a notebook and pencil in their hands. Only the center-goer (one of the three who didn't have time to tie that morning) carries his books and a case in hand. No one uses a backpack. No one used it at the time: we confirmed this by looking at the other characters in the photo. One of the women in uniform with an apron on the left, looking at the camera, keeps her goods in a market basket.

LIMA, April 1, 1958 Schools attend first day schools. Photo: Trade

I see the photo with the hustle and bustle of that morning when summer is over and it's time to go back to school. It was April 1, 1958. These were hard times. In the United States, nuclear weapons tests are conducted; In Russia, Nikita Khrushchev has just taken over as Prime Minister; In Cuba, Fidel Castro continues to lead a revolution against the Bautista regime. Meanwhile, in Peru, major events – revolutions in the center, droughts in the south – are alternating on the cards with events such as the image of the Immaculate Virgin Mary appearing in the Church of Jesus 'weeping' with wax tears. Mary.

But for the 400,000 children who returned to school that Monday, neither the world nor the country mattered. The world was their classroom. that day El Comercio published an information note titled “School year starts today”., concluded by saying that students “must face the responsibility of not letting their parents down.” The faces of these boys reflect the weight of that mandate. At the time, there was no concept of empathic parenting: a refusal in a bookstore could have painful physical consequences.

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I look at these three children and wonder who they are. The photo I mentioned earlier is from 1958. That means they are nine or ten years old in the picture. If they were alive today, they would likely be three retired septuagenarians. Did they live up to their dreams? That evening school no. How useful was what you learned in 65 (as indicated on a piece of paper taped to one of the windows)? What memories do you have of your primary school days when you wore a khaki uniform, black jacket and dark shoes? If any of them see this page, today, Sunday, March 17, 2024, will they recognize themselves? I also wonder if these guys hang around after high school. Will there be another photo of them together?

This postcard from the past – with other actors, apparently – repeats itself in Peru year after year, not in early April, but in mid-March, because holidays are less and less. What doesn't change is the family: With kids in school, parents can breathe easy again.

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