In 1973, a group of students signed up to take a year-long class mysteriously titled, “Yearbook”. We represented every major taught at A&D, from advertising to silkscreen. The teacher that year was Mr. Korzaan, who had come to us from the advertising field and package design field. He announced that we were going to design a yearbook like no other, and that it would be a breakthrough in yearbook design that it would represent the creativity and spirited design work of A&D students. Mr. Korzaan said our yearbook wouldn’t be a book, but instead an envelope that captured the brilliance and innovation of our school.
The plan was to create a collection of nesting envelopes that collectively represented the school. Each envelope would represent a major, a club, or aspect of life at school, and each would contain multiple sheets of paper covered with examples of student work, candid photographs, poems, etc. The envelopes would flatten out into a cruciform sheet, on which there would be class photographs of students and teachers. Finally, all the envelopes would fit into a master envelope, and the whole set would be our yearbook. It would be spectacularly unconventional and expensive. The cruciform die-cutting would push the price way up, but for creativity’s sake, the school administration was willing to give it a shot. By the end of the year, we had created all the envelopes, collected the artwork, photos and poems, produced layouts and production boards complete with color separations, friskets, and hand-drawn crop marks, etc. (ah, yes, life before Quark and Illustrator). Mr. Korzaan was taking them to a printer. All we had to do was wait. So we waited and waited. And waited.
Then we got the bad news. A printing contract had never been signed and the project had been resting on a handshake. The cost of die-cutting had pushed it over the edge. There would be no yearbook.
The yearbook was a real “love project” for us. We had all grown very close to each other, sometimes we worked after school and sent someone around the corner to bring back pizza. We were crushed when the yearbook that we all worked so hard for was left where it began, an idea. Mr. Korzaan taught us a hard lesson in contract law.
Our class had a “reunion” of sorts one year after we graduated. Most people would say that it was pretty ridiculous, but looking back it went to a deeper issue because we were an extraordinary group of students who had been brought together by virtue of not having our existence acknowledged. The principal’s office had a shelf filled with A&D yearbooks, minus one…ours. The top question at the reunion was, “Can we still get the yearbook printed?”
Over the years, I tried to keep in touch with anyone who knew anything about it. The boards were stored in a closet at school, and for a period of time they lay wrapped up under Eddie Perten’s bed in Washington Heights. There were periodic rumors about him shopping it around to get it printed. Life intervened and I lost track of it. Thirty-something years later, members of the Class of ’73 started to track each other down. The first “real” reunion happened in 2007, and again the key question was, “Can we get the yearbook printed?” It wasn’t until the next reunion that we truly started to wonder if we could actually get our yearbook printed and it was then that the Class of ’73 came together to make it happen.
Joe Notovitz got his hands on the boards. He and Laurie “Missy Moss” Fried took on the task. Lori Halpern-Miroddi, Jackie Hoffman-Chin, and others joined in. A renewed collection of images from alumni started pouring in. A website/blog for the Class of ’73 appeared. I got calls about identifying people, and if I could provide input on the original plans. Suddenly, the Lost Yearbook seemed as though it might actually become a reality.
This resurrection is important. It validates us, it records us, and like the handprints on the cave walls at Lascaux (I guess I DID pay attention in Art History.), it tells people that we were here. It came at a time in our lives when people started to seek out old school friends in an act of introspection because our children had begun to graduate and receive their high school yearbooks. It came at a time when we realized that there was no more High School of Art and Design.
To all who helped make our yearbook a reality, thank you. You didn’t just bring back the Lost Yearbook, but you brought back the spirit of the Class of ’73.
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