Reminiscences: The 1970s

 

1970sI confessed to my seven-year-old son recently that when I was his age I was usually out in the street playing with toy guns and eating a pack of candy cigarettes a day. “Where were your mom and dad?” he asked. I told him the truth: “Entertaining in the den with real guns and real cigarettes.”

Couples with children were seen as blessed, surrounded as they were by forgivable versions of themselves. Children weren’t coddled but cherished and I still remember the pleasure my dad took casually cracking hard-boiled eggs on my head. The term role model did not then exist nor, for that matter, did solar subsidies, the prevailing belief in those days being that Americans could never be cowed into paying for the sun.

Heh, good times.

Government, like everything else, seemed more expensive than today though it was actually cheaper, politicians not yet having discovered that their special brand of magic, like everything else, seems cheaper when paid for with borrowed dollars. Today, of course, Congress’ motto might as well be “We tax your children and pass the savings onto you.”

For conservatives the political landscape was indisputably worse than today, the current Trump-Clinton-Sanders unpleasantness notwithstanding. Gridlock, the next-best thing to freedom, was in scant supply. There were two political parties: the Democrats (liberal) and the Republicans (liberal). Working-class whites were the backbone of the GOP, though then the party still understood this. The explosion of regulations that accompanied Nixon’s presidency notwithstanding, government somehow seemed smaller. Banks were deemed too big to bail.

Nixon was not just in the GOP but of it, launching the absurdly ambitious war on drugs and instituting price controls. Price controls. The term white privilege did not then exist, nor did its attendant warnings about everything from gluten to peanuts. Privacy did not then rank as high among our list of concerns as it does today. And understandably so, given that an innocent online purchase now results in my browser filling up with countless ads for inflatable women.

Down the street from us was Disneyland which, though world famous and immensely popular, had not yet achieved the marketing gold standard of appealing to both Mormons and gays. The end of the Cold War seemed nowhere in sight and it was understood that if some naif chose to go hiking in North Korea that that was his problem, not that of the American taxpayer, who is now expected to facilitate to his return home.

Then as now, a large percentage of people believed that Elvis was still alive but only because they just saw him at the Vegas Hilton. Though hands-down the worst-dressed decade ever, the notion that one dressed up for air travel still existed to a certain extent, unlike today when being bumped up to first class means donning your “fancy” tank top.

Bill Clinton’s presidency was two decades away and Obama’s more than three, so the notion that a haircut and a shoeshine could only get you so far was still widely believed. Middle-class families like the one I grew up in weren’t threatened with bankruptcy by merely living a middle-class lifestyle. NASA was sending men to the moon and back, not issuing press-releases about finding signs of water. On Earth.

But between between inflation, long gas lines, obstacles to trade, Watergate, Vietnam and men like Rockefeller the face of the Republican party, I’m sanguine about my children’s prospects.

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  1. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble
    @DavidDeeble

    I don’t know if it was unique to the Seventies – or like so many it didn’t survive them because I never see it anymore – but we used to use wooden clothes lines to clip playing cards to the back wheels of our bikes for added audio excitement.

    • #91
  2. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Happiest Birthday wishes to Mike LaRoche!

    • #92
  3. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Robert E. Lee:

    TeamAmerica:

    RightAngles:I was once using a dressing room that Minnie Riperton had been in not 20 minute earlier. But I didn’t meet her. Does anyone even remember her?

    RA- Was she the country entertainer with the price tag permanently hanging from her hat?

    That was Minnie Pearl, bless yer heart.

    I remember Minnie Riperton – she hit extremely high notes and had a very pretty voice – she passed away young – she was the mom of Maya Rudolph, the comic on Saturday Night Live.

    • #93
  4. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    David Deeble:I don’t know if it was unique to the Seventies – or like so many it didn’t survive them because I never see it anymore – but we used to use wooden clothes lines to clip playing cards to the back wheels of our bikes for added audio excitement.

    I remember. How about:

    1. Trolls? (Not the kind on the Internet)
    2. Platform shoes unfortunately worn by both sexes.
    3. High-waisted jeans that would be defiled today as “moms.”
    4. Earth shoes. Ugh.. another ugly fashion trend.
    5. On a far cooler note, Earth, Wind & Fire.
    • #94
  5. OldDan Member
    OldDan
    @OldDanRhody

    EThompson:

    David Deeble:I don’t know if it was unique to the Seventies – or like so many it didn’t survive them because I never see it anymore – but we used to use wooden clothes lines to clip playing cards to the back wheels of our bikes for added audio excitement.

    I remember. How about:

    1. Trolls? (Not the kind on the Internet)
    2. Platform shoes unfortunately worn by both sexes.
    3. High-waisted jeans that would be defiled today as “moms.”
    4. Earth shoes. Ugh.. another ugly fashion trend.
    5. On a far cooler note, Earth, Wind & Fire.

    6.  Blaxploitation movies, a good parody of which is one from the Eighties: I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.

    • #95
  6. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    OldDan:

    EThompson:

    David Deeble:I don’t know if it was unique to the Seventies – or like so many it didn’t survive them because I never see it anymore – but we used to use wooden clothes lines to clip playing cards to the back wheels of our bikes for added audio excitement.

    I remember. How about:

    1. Trolls? (Not the kind on the Internet)
    2. Platform shoes unfortunately worn by both sexes.
    3. High-waisted jeans that would be defiled today as “moms.”
    4. Earth shoes. Ugh.. another ugly fashion trend.
    5. On a far cooler note, Earth, Wind & Fire.

    6. Blaxploitation movies, a good parody of which is one from the Eighties: I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.

    I loved Foxy Brown, didn’t you?

    • #96
  7. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Mike LaRoche:

    OldDan:

    Mike LaRoche:Speaking of the ’70s, this was the #1 song on Billboard’s country, pop, and adult contemporary charts 41 years ago on April 25, 1975 – the day of my birth.

    Happy Birthday, Mike! Today’s my wife’s birthday as well!

    Thanks, OldDan!

    Finally… old enough to drink.

    • #97
  8. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    RightAngles:

    RyanFalcone:I was born in 74′ but have so many wonderful memories of the 70’s.

    I mostly have memories of ugly clothes and all the men having mustaches and looking like porn actors.

    You might say that in the 70s, the porn actors still looked like men.

    • #98
  9. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Born in ’76, so few memories of the 70s.  Much better memories of the 80s when it still felt good to be AMERICAN!  Still could (and did) ride my bike all over creation.  No memories of the 1980 election, but boy the ’84 landslide was fun to watch.  Fashion was odd by today’s standards, but it was neon bright, and the music was cheerful.  Video games were prevalent, but more casual and less immersive, and what a line up of action cartoons, with GI Joe, Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, and He-Man – all with guns, axes, swords, and lasers to terrorize my sister’s Barbies and My Little Ponies.  It was still a time of clear, bright lines between right and wrong, communist and Free (no one use “capitalist”).

    • #99
  10. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Mike LaRoche:

    Douglas:

    BrentB67:

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    I think that is a 24-hour suspension of your Ricochet Man Card. You are banned from the tree house until Monday.

    You get a pass for hot Swedish chicks.

    Heh, thanks.

    Regarding ABBA, my dad owned a 1979 Chrsyler LeBaron with a built-in 8-track player, and it came with a complimentary cassette with late ’70s hits, “Dancing Queen” among them.

    That explains a lot.

    • #100
  11. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    skipsul:Born in ’76, so few memories of the 70s. Much better memories of the 80s when it still felt good to be AMERICAN! Still could (and did) ride my bike all over creation. No memories of the 1980 election, but boy the ’84 landslide was fun to watch. Fashion was odd by today’s standards, but it was neon bright, and the music was cheerful. Video games were prevalent, but more casual and less immersive, and what a line up of action cartoons, with GI Joe, Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, and He-Man – all with guns, axes, swords, and lasers to terrorize my sister’s Barbies and My Little Ponies. It was still a time of clear, bright lines between right and wrong, communist and Free (no one use “capitalist”).

    Now we need an 80’s thread!

    • #101
  12. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    EThompson:You might have given me some advanced notice here, Mikey.

    Best of birthdays to you!!!

    Thanks, Lizzy!

    • #102
  13. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Front Seat Cat:Happiest Birthday wishes to Mike LaRoche!

    Thanks, Front Seat Cat!

    • #103
  14. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Douglas:

    Mike LaRoche:

    OldDan:

    Mike LaRoche:Speaking of the ’70s, this was the #1 song on Billboard’s country, pop, and adult contemporary charts 41 years ago on April 25, 1975 – the day of my birth.

    Happy Birthday, Mike! Today’s my wife’s birthday as well!

    Thanks, OldDan!

    Finally… old enough to drink.

    Yep, the blessed day is finally here!

    • #104
  15. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    BrentB67:

    Mike LaRoche:

    Douglas:

    BrentB67:

    Mike LaRoche:I do, however, remember this:

    I think that is a 24-hour suspension of your Ricochet Man Card. You are banned from the tree house until Monday.

    You get a pass for hot Swedish chicks.

    Heh, thanks.

    Regarding ABBA, my dad owned a 1979 Chrsyler LeBaron with a built-in 8-track player, and it came with a complimentary cassette with late ’70s hits, “Dancing Queen” among them.

    That explains a lot.

    Haha!

    • #105
  16. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    RyanFalcone:

    skipsul:Born in ’76, so few memories of the 70s. Much better memories of the 80s when it still felt good to be AMERICAN! Still could (and did) ride my bike all over creation. No memories of the 1980 election, but boy the ’84 landslide was fun to watch. Fashion was odd by today’s standards, but it was neon bright, and the music was cheerful. Video games were prevalent, but more casual and less immersive, and what a line up of action cartoons, with GI Joe, Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, and He-Man – all with guns, axes, swords, and lasers to terrorize my sister’s Barbies and My Little Ponies. It was still a time of clear, bright lines between right and wrong, communist and Free (no one use “capitalist”).

    Now we need an 80’s thread!

    I am proud to say I never got one of those Louis XIV perms.

    hair

    • #106
  17. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    louis_xiv

    • #107
  18. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Happy Birthday, Mike!

    • #108
  19. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Kate Braestrup:Happy Birthday, Mike!

    Thanks, Kate!

    • #109
  20. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    RightAngles:

    RyanFalcone:

    skipsul:Born in ’76, so few memories of the 70s. Much better memories of the 80s when it still felt good to be AMERICAN! Still could (and did) ride my bike all over creation. No memories of the 1980 election, but boy the ’84 landslide was fun to watch. Fashion was odd by today’s standards, but it was neon bright, and the music was cheerful. Video games were prevalent, but more casual and less immersive, and what a line up of action cartoons, with GI Joe, Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, and He-Man – all with guns, axes, swords, and lasers to terrorize my sister’s Barbies and My Little Ponies. It was still a time of clear, bright lines between right and wrong, communist and Free (no one use “capitalist”).

    Now we need an 80’s thread!

    I am proud to say I never got one of those Louis IV perms.

    hair

    @RightAngles- “Louis IV perms? Sheesh, I’m old enough to remember seeing  women  with beehive perms, which  I thought were bizarre, even as a ten-year old.

    • #110
  21. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    RightAngles:

    RyanFalcone:

    skipsul:Born in ’76, so few memories of the 70s. Much better memories of the 80s when it still felt good to be AMERICAN! Still could (and did) ride my bike all over creation. No memories of the 1980 election, but boy the ’84 landslide was fun to watch. Fashion was odd by today’s standards, but it was neon bright, and the music was cheerful. Video games were prevalent, but more casual and less immersive, and what a line up of action cartoons, with GI Joe, Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, and He-Man – all with guns, axes, swords, and lasers to terrorize my sister’s Barbies and My Little Ponies. It was still a time of clear, bright lines between right and wrong, communist and Free (no one use “capitalist”).

    Now we need an 80’s thread!

    I am proud to say I never got one of those Louis IV perms.

    hair

    I’m ashamed to say that I did. I idolized Stevie Nicks !

    • #111
  22. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    EThompson:

    RightAngles:

    RyanFalcone:

    skipsul:Born in ’76, so few memories of the 70s. Much better memories of the 80s when it still felt good to be AMERICAN! Still could (and did) ride my bike all over creation. No memories of the 1980 election, but boy the ’84 landslide was fun to watch. Fashion was odd by today’s standards, but it was neon bright, and the music was cheerful. Video games were prevalent, but more casual and less immersive, and what a line up of action cartoons, with GI Joe, Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, and He-Man – all with guns, axes, swords, and lasers to terrorize my sister’s Barbies and My Little Ponies. It was still a time of clear, bright lines between right and wrong, communist and Free (no one use “capitalist”).

    Now we need an 80’s thread!

    I am proud to say I never got one of those Louis IV perms.

    hair

    I’m ashamed to say that I did. I idolized Stevie Nicks !

    Pictures please!

    • #112
  23. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    RA: Fortunately for all concerned, there are none!

    • #113
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