70’s Flashback – Bruce Invites You To Remember When
It was a passing conversation in the hall with Jay Walker, the Voice of Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns. Jay lamented on the half hour drive he makes into the office only to find that he had left his telephone at home. That meant another half hour there and another half hour back. All so he could have the convenience of his telephone. We both laughed at the idea that something designed to save us time had literally stolen an hour.
That started our discussion of time, time saving technology and how we as gentlemen of a certain age had learned to adapt to having it, but quite often longed for the days when it didn’t exist.
I was born in 1962. The world got a lot of good things in 1962. St. Jude Hospital opened its doors and the miracles began to happen. The Navy SEALS were commissioned and the world got a lot safer. Jamaica was born and things really started to get laid back. So you see I wasn’t the only incredible creation of the year. What being born in 1962 did for me was set me up to be a teenager in the 1970’s.
Here are some of my memories of that time. I wonder if you share similar ones or would do me the honor of adding yours to my list. I believe to move forward we must always know from whence we came. Lets shake off the cobwebs and go back in time, want to?
What was on TV? Rabbit Ears. You needed that antenna so you could watch The Monkees, Hee Haw, and Marlin Perkins in Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. I always thought it was funny how Marlin stayed in the truck while Jim Fowler had to go wrestle the rhino.
When we went outside, boys wore really short shorts and really long socks with stripes at the top. We rode skateboards with metal wheels and the girls needed a key for their skates. Bicycles had banana seats and we all made ramps so we could fly like Evel Knievel.
Pro Athletes weren’t millionaires they were sort of pudgy guys who smoked like Len Dawson, Billy Kilmer and George Blanda. My down the street neighbor, Bailey Howell, was a tall white guy who played professional basketball for the Boston Celtics. His claim to fame was holding the NBA record for most fouls in a season. Oh, and he is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame too, if you want to count that.
Our mom’s collected S&H Green Stamps, Quality Stamps, and saved receipts to get Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia’s from the A&P Grocery store. Fast food was a grilled cheese sandwich. Summer lunch was a tomato picked from the garden. Clothes were dried on a line in the back yard.
As far as fine dining, we had a ten cent hamburger joint. It was kind of like White Castle or Krystal but without the glitter. Luxury transportation was a bike, everyday transportation was your feet and in the Summer you developed a layer of tar from walking the bubbly blacktop roads that festered in the hot midday sun.
Hi-C was the beverage of choice when Kool-Aid wasn’t available and at least once a Summer you went into to business with your friends by opening up a stand. We played baseball and kickball with four on a team. We rode our bikes behind the mosquito trucks. We thought Frampton Comes Alive was the greatest record ever made.
We shopped at Woolco, Gibsons, Woolworth’s, TG&Y, Western Auto and Otasco and dreams arrived in the mail with the Sears Christmas Catalog. We passed notes to our friends at school, we tried cigarettes at sleepovers and we all knew someone with a big brother who could buy us some beer or Boone’s Farm.
Such was the world as seen through my small town eyes and now nostalgically remembered through the filter of a few decades. It wasn’t perfect but it was perfect for the time and place, just like today. It is exactly the way it is supposed to be and we are simply living at the speed of life as it needs to be. Sometimes I wish that speed would slow down just a little and we could all ride our bikes down to Tibbee Creek and spend the day splashing in the water and climbing trees.