What was once . . .
Our current age of instant digital information has proven easy access to not-so-important knowledge. We now have unending accesses to most media, access to more gossip avenues, and exposure to way too much useless information. All of this instant access makes history a bit more accountable – or maybe it’s lost in the shuffle? Which is why history through TV seems so precious; it’s a time capsule of what was once simple. Mork and Mindy, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat – simple. Raise your hand if you miss SIMPLE.
This current information overload seriously has me waxing nostalgic for the days when we only had three main TV networks, “instant” Polaroid cameras, and Pong was the only game that interfaced with your TV. What was once simple has become overly complicated. I hate complicated.
Ever wonder what young, bored in suburbia girls REALLY did in class? They might have looked like they were dutifully taking notes on the days topics, but what they were earnestly concentrating on was writing the name of their one and only true love, over & over & over & over . . .you get the idea.
And in this case of MY one and only true love, it was Chuck, as you can see by my binder ramblings. I actually have at least three pages of the same thing, “I Love Chuck” written so many times I HAD to have run out of ink at some point. Funny thing about Chuck – he was one of three, a triplet. Yup, there were three Chucks, so to speak. Why all the girls seemed to fall for only him, way back when we were all 13, I can’t explain. But damn, did he have it good! I think we all loved Chuck.
Wrangler Jeans and feathered hair. Serious situations that describe my not-so-serious life, back in the late 1970’s. Oh, yes, the feathered hair meant so much back then. My hair, the boys’ hair. Feathered. If the boy could flip that feathered hair, even better. Seriously – I think the boys had the better feather! Us girls would spend WAY too much time getting that flip just right; boys seemed to just have it without trying. Did they use gel? Did they use mouse? Hey, guys, we HATED you for that!!! Case in point: my saidies date has THE BEST FEATHER EVER, and I spent at least 45 minutes trying to get my feather oh-so-perfect, his looks so natural. Then again, I have no way of knowing how long my date actually spent getting that flip. Hey, John, how long DID it take you to get that perfect flip?
‘Way back’ in the 1970′s we had Archie Bunker, the Fonz, Maude, Laverne and Shirley, Mary Tyler Moore (a hold over from the 60′s – yikes!) and absolutely NO whiff of ‘Political Correctness’. White girls working the line at a Milwalkee plant, white men who used to work the line at Ford or GM, trying to find their voice in a new world. A new “1970′s” world.
Economic times were BAD here in the U S of A, and TV gave us a glimpse into the America that exposed bigorty, lying politicians, class wars and an unrealistic ideal of life that never really existed. Were we dupped?! My family was. “Buy American!”. So we did. “Support your local union!” And we did. But to what end? Well, by the end of the 1970′s we had unprecedented levels of unemployment, jobs lost due to cheaper goods produced outside the US of A. Are we better now? What would Archie say?
Anyone else remember Junior High? Those were the EXTREMELY AWKWARD years youth spent inbetween grade school and high school. If you ask me, I think it was a brilliant idea that, for whatever budgetary reasons, was snuffed out way too soon. Think about it; gangly, socially inept sputtering pre-teens all hang out for two years at the same institution. What better way to identify the nerds and indoctrine the popular? Social mores are kept in tact, kids knew where they stood in terms of the pecking order. And if they didn’t like it, they could do what I did – beat the shit outta’ the popular girl. Yup, I did that. And yup, I rose in the ranks. I was the ‘bad-ass’ chick. By the time I ‘graduated’ 8th grade I had a flock of boys following me around. Still not sure if they liked me or just wanted me to protect their ass . . .?
Ahhh, avocado. What an AMAZING marketing invention! Who knew that burnt green-colored appliances would be such a hit! The frenzy started in the mid 60’s, but didn’t really take hold until the early 70’s. Along with Cornflower Yellow and Brilliant Orange, these 3 color combos could be found in almost any kitchen, bathroom, or in my case, bedroom in America. Of course, my mom added her own flair to the color fad – white daisies! Our bathroom, our kitchen (my bedroom) – all Avocado Green, Cornflower Yellow, Brilliant Orange and White Daisies everywhere! Oh, yes, along with gold fixtures. Gaudy much? Love that Avocado appliance!
Gotta love 70’s style. Down vests and jackets, velour sweaters, corduroy bell-bottoms, Chemin de fer Pants, platform shoes, angel flight suits, puka shells, and Gunne Sax dresses were just a sampling of what we wore. Stylin’ jackets too – like the ones on the left. I believe my jacket (right) was blue and white while my friend’s jacket (left) was bright yellow, orange and red. And we quite possibly may have been wearing Ditto Jeans!
The Great American Novel Part II
Seriously, what else were bored kids in suburbia to do during the summer? There was only one mall, and it was a small one at that. We had “free swim” at the local high school during the day, the rope swing in the creek, and boring, hot summer nights to get into trouble. And boy did we try our best to get into trouble. I could say that I was influenced by my older brother to be the vandal that I inevitably became, but that would be a lie. I think I influenced HIM to be a vandal. Being a rebel felt liberating. Doing ‘bad things’ felt good. And the fun that ensued was only the tip of the rebel life I was sliding into – I can look back on it now and say “aha! THAT’S were it started!” but at the time, I had no idea WHAT I had started.
What was suburbia really like for a teenage girl in the 1970′s? In a word, sheltered. Although my friends and myself liked to think of ourselves as rebels, we were really just bored teens looking for a bit of fun in a largely unexciting environment. While urban areas were bustling with disco, punk rock and gender bending explorations, suburbia was asleep with banal shopping malls, 3 channels for your TV viewing pleasure and shag carpets.
At times a bit of the real world did edge its way into our quiet neighborhood. I remember hints to the Watergate scandal (my dads’ ever-increasing bad mood and outbursts of profanity while watching the evening news), the gas crisis (we bought a compact, gas saving foreign car, much to my dads’ dismay) and the ominous shadow of nuclear power plants melting down, thanks to the accident at Three Mile Island. But all of this was so far removed from my teen-aged concerns. Boys, Bubblicious, Loves Baby Soft and 8-track tapes were foremost on my mind.
Someone had given me this ‘girly’ rose stationary for Christmas when I was around 9 years old. It smelled like roses too. Was I supposed to write love letters and send them to boys? Well, I didn’t do that, but I did use them as inserts and updates to my daily diary entries. So, WHO DO I LOVE? (The pages no longer smell like roses, btw).