For me, the 1970s was an age of innocence in a time that, when looking back, wasn’t that innocent. I loved East Pete Elementary School. I survived the awkwardness of middle school and spent my high school years calling my friends on the rotary dial phone in the kitchen, while wearing awful bell bottoms and ridiculous Candies wooden-heeled mules. Nobody could walk in those mules, yet we all wore them and thought we looked good.
My summers were spent at East Pete Pool, where I enjoyed 10-cent Chick-O-Sticks, root beer flavored bottle caps and, of course, Fun Dip – that great candy invention where you licked a candy stick (made of solid sugar) and dipped in into a bag of granulated flavored sugar –a dentists dream! We sunbathed sans lotion, hats or umbrellas, and jumped off the high dive without thinking about lawsuits. We played Spades and Crazy Eights – until we went crazy – and listened to the sounds of the Bee Gees, Electric Light Orchestra and Firefall.
One of the coolest things (at least we thought so) my girlfriends and I did was audiotape the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family shows on my friend’s red Panasonic cassette recorder, so we could listen to the shows AGAIN, late into the evening – you know, long after the networks signed off for the night – no 24-hour infomercials in those days!
The 1970s were host to other great shows like Happy Days (Heyyy!), The Walton’s (good night, John Boy), M*A*S*H, Good Times (DYNOMITE!), Love Boat and Little House on the Prairie.
At the movies, my older brothers were spending sleepless nights after watching Jaws, Deliverance and The Exorcist, while I was caught up in Grease (knew the soundtrack by heart) the “Herbie” movies, The Bad News Bears, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory –although I will admit by the end of the decade, I, too, lost sleep after watching the very first Halloween movie!
Speaking of my brothers – they were 7 and 8 years older than I, respectively. They spent the ‘70s in platform shoes – purchased at Hardee Shoes at Park City Mall. They had hair to their shoulders and, yes, middle brother was sent home from school because he was considered disrespectful for wearing a Rolling Stones lips shirt to school. Oh, how times have changed ….
On the music front, my oldest brother enjoyed playing eight-tracks of Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers Band, while middle brother was busy winning dance contests doing ‘The Hustle.’ For me, it was the Partridge Family in the early 1970s while the latter end of the decade, which saw me into my teens and the disco era, was Donna Summer, the Bee Gees (had a poster of Andy Gibb on my bedroom wall!) and Gloria Gaynor. I also distinctively remember Aug. 16, 1977 – I was 14, and in my pink and orange bedroom listening to my tan, plastic radio when the news broke…. “The king was dead at age 42.” Not sure why this memory lingers today – no Elvis fans lived at my house – but it obviously left an impact. I can remember it like it was yesterday.
Looking back, I remember my parents and brothers talking about license plates ending in odd or even numbers and who could buy gas on what days while Tropical Storm Agnes left her mark on Central Pennsylvania for four days in 1972. Although we escaped with no water in the basement, my neighbors vacationing at the beach weren’t so lucky.
Even worse than Agnes for many people in our community was the Three Mile Island disaster in March of 1979. I was in 10th grade health class with Mrs. Fairbanks when the news arrived. That was the first time I ever saw my parents scared and unable to answer my questions. Our car was packed and ready to head to my aunt’s home in Philadelphia, although we ended up staying put.
Now it’s your turn. What do you remember about the 1970s?