Argentine Experience: Leandro, The 1970s-80s

Figure 1.--This is the formal portrait of of our First Communion. We boys wore our school uniform, but without the blazers. The girls had special white dresses, like little wedding dresses.

My name is Leandro and Iím from Argentina. I was born in 1974, in Uruguay, but my family moved to Buenos Aires when I was only about about 1 year old and so, I went to school in Argentina.

Historical Background

In order to make a little historical introduction, in 1976 Argentina lost itís democracy and until October 1983 we had a military government and some kind of coup díetat here. My parents and history teachers later told me that this was "Argentinaís black age". A lot of people disappeare during this period, most killed by the police. The Government's resources were mainly used in military armaments and the Fauklands (Malvinas) War with Britain occurred during this period.

As you can imagine, due to all I said before, every government institution had little resources assigned, so, every state institution, including hospitals, libraries or schools were in bad condition and many families that could afford to pay sent their children to private schools. Kids that could not pay private schools lost the year and they had to study home with their moms or big brothers/sisters.

My Family

Luckily, as I came from a wealthy family, I went to a private catholic school, and I did not even realize all this was happening in my country. I thought that everything was great. Today though I was really young, I can still remember those days since March 1979 when I started kindergarten until December 1991 when I finally graduate from secondary school. I wore school uniforms since I entered kindergarten passing through primary school until I graduate but it had a small evolution and three different stages can be distinguished.

My Clothes

Boys in the 1980s usually only dressed up for a few special ocassions, like weddings, social parties, etc. But my situation was different, I used to dress like that not only for those events but also until I was aproximately 7 or 8 years my mom dressed me like that when her friends come home (generally in the afternoon to drink tea, play cards, etc.). When we had mass at the school, obviously, I used the school uniform and otside the school, generally formal clothes (like a dressy pair of short pants, a shirt, pullover and kneesocks and shoes) but not a short pants suit.

School Experiences (1979-91)

I entered kindergarten in 1979. From the beginning we wore school uniforms. In kindegarten it was a smock. Afterwards it was a uniform rather like those worn by British boys wore. I was rather proud of my uniform, especially in primarily school. As an older boy we boys in private schools sometimes were teased by the other boys who attended state schools and did not wear school uniforms.

First Communion

We boys wore our school uniform, but without the blazers. The girls had special white dresses, like little wedding dresses. Here is the portrait of my First Communion. I told you that in return of their stamps kids get money, well, the only real present (not money) we received when we took First Communion was a big Bible that had this picture. We got this present from the college authorities.

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Created: June 5, 2002
Last updated: June 9, 2002