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Have you opened the box containing the switch? A single cable with black/white/ground and no other?

I am guessing that your setup is, in effect, switching the neutral. You have supply going to one wire of the fixture. The other wire of the fixture is attached to the black wire going to the switch. The white wire from the switch is joined with the other white wires at the fixture box. At least, this is my guess.

My assumption is that this would not meet code if doing it today. I have always assumed that the preference to switch the hot side is to avoid having power at the fixture when the switch is off. Furthermore, I assume that this is considered preferable so that one does not shock oneself if working at the fixture and assuming that there is not power because the switch is off.

A lot of guesses and assumptions. Hopefully, you can confirm this theory with a volt/ohm meter.
 
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