Thursday, September 11, 2014

Growing Up Groovy

 I was just a little girl in the sixties, so my memories from the "groovy" era are sketchy at best. I have a vague recollection of black lights, station wagons, white GoGo boots and psychedelic Jimi Hendrix posters on the wall. There were only a handful of channels on the TV, and afternoons were spent playing kick the can or riding our Schwinn Sting-Rays until our mothers called us in for dinner once the street lights came on.

I do remember my older sister wearing bell bottom jeans, love beads and a peace sign necklace. Her bedroom was adorned in rock band and anti-war posters, the lingering scent of sandalwood incense permeating the air. Those were the flower power years, and although my memories are cloudy, it's pretty cool to say that I was alive when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

By the time the seventies hit, I was happy to shed my adolescence to step into my teen years. It was the "far out" era of CB radios, waterbeds, muscle cars, 8 track tapes, lumpy bean bag chairs and STAR WARS. My biggest problems in life were wondering if the cute boy in B lunch would wave to me or how I was going to memorize all those formulas for my geometry test.

Here's a glimpse of what it was like growing up groovy in the 70s:

 The median household income was $11,800; a gallon of gas was .57 cents; a dozen eggs cost .77 cents, and a gallon of milk was $1.57. The average home cost $22,000 in the early seventies and rose to $62,000 at decade's end.  The U.S. population in 1975 was 216 million and the life expectancy was between 68-76 years of age.

POPULAR TV SHOWS:  I loved racing home from school to watch reruns of oldies such as Twilight Zone, Outer Limits and Dark Shadows. But the popular shows of the decade included M*A*S*H, The Brady Bunch, All In The Family, Laugh-In, Happy Days, Three's Company, Marcus Welby M.D., Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, American Bandstand, The Carol Burnett Show, Johnny Carson, and  Saturday Night Live.

BOX OFFICE HITS: I'll never forget catching a taxi to downtown Ft. Lauderdale with my boyfriend to attend the premiere of Jaws. Movies cost $2.00 back then, and the theatre was packed. Needless to say, our beaches were a little less crowded after Jaws made a splash on the screen. Other big hits included The Exorcist, Rocky, American Graffiti, Blazing Saddles, The Deer Hunter, Saturday Night Fever, Animal House, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Grease, The Godfather, Deliverance, and the mega hit STAR WARS.

FASHION: The early 70s clung to the hippie mindset of the 60s, so people were still rocking mini skirts, afros, flared bottom jeans, big belts, peasant blouses, smock tops, afghan coats, rock t-shirts and granny dresses. Women wore their tresses long and straight while men kept their sideburns thick and their hair well past their collar. Once disco was ushered into the mid 70s, polyester, platform shoes and shiny, metallic   clothing became popular. Men wore leisure suits, wide lapels, and painter's pants while sporting mustaches the size of giant caterpillars above their lips. Women gravitated toward wedge shoes, halter tops, hip huggers, tube tops, satin pants and big hair.

IN THE NEWS: We started out the decade with Richard Nixon as our president until the Watergate scandal occurred, placing Gerald Ford in the oval office after Nixon's resignation. Next came Jimmy Carter, and we never looked at peanuts the same way again. As a family, we gathered each night around our Zenith TV and watched the news unfold.  In the 70s, the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, Roe v.s. Wade legalized abortion, terrorists attacked the Olympic games in Munich, Elvis died, Jimmy Hoffa went missing, Patty Hearst was kidnapped, Mikhail Baryshnikov defected, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was finished, Iran took American hostages in Tehran, the first test tube baby was born, Nadia Comaneci scored seven perfect tens, the Jonestown massacre shocked the nation and the Three Mile Island catastrophe left America in fear of a nuclear holocaust.


WHAT WE DROVE: The cool kids in school drove the Trans Ams, Corvettes or Mustangs. Dodge Chargers and Challengers were also popular, but most of the kids I knew drove explodable Ford Pintos. If those were out of their price range, they borrowed the family Pacer or Gremlin. Which makes me wonder what the people at AMC were smoking when they designed those cars.

CELEBRITIES: I kept up with celebrity news through a subscription to Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine. While sipping Tab soda, sucking on Blow Pops and making gum chains, my girlfriends and I poured over glossy photos of David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb and The Osmonds. Other celebs in the news that caught our attention were John Travolta, Farrah Fawcett, Mr.T, Burt Reynolds, Olivia Newton-John, Tom Selleck, Gilda Radner, Cybil Shepard, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Chevy Chase,  Cher, Jack Nicholson, Jodie Foster, Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Susan Sarandon, Jim Belushi, Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Henry Winkler, Raquel Welch, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Jane Curtain, Sylvester Stallone, Marlin Brando, and Steve Martin.

PARTYING IN THE 70s:  When I was a teenager, the drink of choice to smuggle into a party was Boones Farm Strawberry Hill Wine. We chugged it right out of the bottle in many a driveway before entering a house party. If we were lucky, someone would have a flask of Bacardi in their pocket that we could add to our colas before a rousing game of ping pong or pool. We snacked on deviled eggs, potato chips and onion dip, rumaki, Jiffy Pop, cocktail wieners and deviled ham on toast points. We lined up on the dance floor for The Hustle, The Bump, The Bus Stop, Pogo dancing and The Latin Hustle, while the adults sipped on Harvey Wallbangers, Manhattans and vodka screwdrivers.

BIG NAMES IN SPORTS: I was never one to follow sports, but I do remember being caught up in our town's frenzy after The Miami Dolphins went undefeated in 1972. Popular sports icons of that time period include John McEnroe, Larry Bird, Bobby Riggs, O.J. Simpson, Bruce Jenner, Billy Jean King, Muhammed Ali, Jack Nicholas, Hank Aaron, Joe Frazier, Bob Gibson, Dorothy Hamill, Arthur Ashe Jr., Mark Spitz, Roger Stauback and Pete Rose.

THE SOUNDS OF THE SEVENTIES: Music is what put the 70s on the map. I had a round transistor radio that hung from a chain in my bedroom, and I kept it playing for hours. When my friends came over, we brought out the vinyl records to spin on a portable turntable. I had hundreds of albums, which I'm convinced is where the majority of my allowance went when I was a teenager. I could never get enough of The Partridge Family, Abba, Donna Summers, Elton John, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight, The Eagles, John Denver, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, Foreigner, James Taylor, Led Zepplin, The Bee Gees, Chicago, Frank Zappa, Linda Ronstadt, Harry Chapin, Creedance Clearwater Revival, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, Simon & Garfunkle, Journey, The Grateful Dead, Genesis, Meatloaf, The Guess Who, KC & The Sunshine Band, Styx, Supertramp, Carole King, The Carpenters, Earth Wind & Fire, YES and Eric Clapton.

The seventies were a magical time to be a teenager; a decade of simplicity, change, and the freedom of expression. People were kinder, less self-absorbed, respectful of others and worked hard for what they earned. Families shared dinners around the table, watched g-rated TV programs together, and made each other a priority. We didn't have cell phones, iPods, computers or social media.

And we grew up just fine.



Want more Meno Mama? This week you can find me on The Huffington Post dishing on being "Over The Hill." You can read it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcia-kester-doyle-/over-the-hill-and-away-we_b_5788378.html And you can also find another featured post of mine this week on BA50: http://betterafter50.com/2014/09/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-menopause/







66 comments:

  1. I was a teenager at the end of the 70's, although I grew up with a crazy ex step mother, I remember the early 70's as being fun as my two sisters and I were free to go around our city for the day and seeing all the sites. No one worried, we never had to call, we would just come home in time for dinner. How thing have changed... I love technology but it did change things... great post Marcia

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  2. Wow - we had some great movies in the 70s!! My sister had the polyester disco dress with associated uncomfortable shoes... for dancing, which is really funny! I used to watch the Love Boat/Fantasy Island Saturday evening line-up. Yep -no social life there!

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    1. I did the same thing----LOVED those shows!

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  3. Seems we're the same age. I saw the moon landing when I was 6 on our neighbours B&W. I loved to hunker down in the basement with ripple chips & onion dip and coke and watch Starsky and Hutch then Charlie's Angels. Bell-bottom jeans and polyester knit tops ala the Brady Bunch were my favourite clothes. And playing Shaun Cassidy's album on my little turntable in my room and dancing to Hey Deanie. Ah, nice trip down memory lane. Thanks for that!

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    1. I loved Ripple chips!---Remember the commercial with the little baby who said, "Ruffles have ridges"??? Too funny!

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    2. I do remember that! Prefer Old Dutch myself :)

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  4. You are absolutely groovy! I was ahead of you, but remember those days clearly. What a great way to put myself back there!

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    1. Wasn't it fun? I felt lost in the 70s while I was writing this for a few days!!

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  5. Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane! Right there with ya!

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  6. This was so awesome! I mean GROOVY! I'm jealous. I was born in '72, my sisters were born in the 60's and they REALLY were born in the BEST TIME to be a teenager! I grew up watching them in their bell bottoms, go-go boots, listening to the best music! I mean, the 80's were ok, but not like the 70's! This was such a fun post!

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    1. I loved the disco era and even more---early 80's when punk rock came out. What a blast!

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  7. Marcia, as always, you hit it right on the head! Born in '62, I remember the seventies well. Loved your picture with the flute. I learned on my dad's flute, but never took band, just summer 'band', which was more of a ploy to keep me busy than anything. I got my first french kiss under Mister Twister, the big wooden roller coaster at Elitches in Denver, then proceeded to neck with him all the way through Star Wars, with my sister sitting behind me flicking the back of my head! (I'm the baby, I think she felt the need to 'protect' me...ha!). Your post brought it all back for me. I'm happy to see I wasn't the only David Cassidy fan, and I loved the mention of disco. I really fell hard for disco, because hot little seventeen year olds could find their way into an 18 club as long as they smiled at the right bouncers and winked! My kids are horrified when I clean to disco I listened to back then, but I still love it...just secretly! Thank you for making me smile as I begin the day, Marcia. You're the tops, sister!

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    1. Thanks, Dawn! The drinking age here in Florida was 18 while I was growing up, so I remember sneaking into bars easily at 17---they never carded us back then. What fun!

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  8. Thank you Marcia for so aptly taking me back to 70s - a great era indeed. My entire allowance was also always spent on music albums back then. There were so many great artists to listen to. I'm glad personal computers, cell phones, video games and social media didn't exist back then. We were always out and about making friends and sharing great times with them. Your post and the memories it brings back to life have me missing the 70s all over again. Thank you!

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    1. Awwww…thanks so much, Marcia! Yes, the only "social media" we had was passing notes in class or using snail mail to keep in touch with far away friends. I remember the thrill of seeing an envelope in the mail addressed to me---and also the thrill of receiving a long distance call! Man, those were the days!

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  9. Thank's for the "Blast from the past." I had 3 kids in the seventies, so I missed most of it.

    I would have waved in B lunch! Maybe not a good thing.

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    1. Hahahahahaha Joeh, you crack me up! If it makes you feel any better, much of the 80's is a blur to me, but not because of having kids…..I was a party girl….

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  10. I wasn't quite a teenager in the 70's, but I remember it all (well, except for the Boones Farm wine)! This brought back so many memories. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Ahhhh but to be a teen in the 80s was also quite AWESOME, Lana. I LOVED that decade!

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  11. So much of this sounds familiar. I was born in 1952 so I'm imagining we're around the same age?

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    1. You're a bit ahead of me, Stephen, LOL but those were some cool times for sure!

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  12. thanks for making me feel old again......

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  13. WOW. What an excellently written blog of growing up as a teenager in the 70's. This blog is a time capsule and an accurate historical perspective of a teenagers life at that time. Well done.

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    1. Thanks, Daniel! We share a lot of the same memories from PBHS! :)

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  14. So many great memories. I LOVED Dark Shadows and Rocky Horror Picture Show. The only thing I could have done without in this post was the Boone's Farm mention. That memory still makes my stomach lurch.

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    1. Hahahahahaha! I got sick on that junk once, too. Nasty when it repeats…..

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  15. You just re-created a decade! What a clear glimpse back in time. This brought back a lot of memories!

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  16. I was a teenager in the 70's too, it was awesome! Thanks for the memories.

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  17. The round transistor radio! Those were so cool!

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    1. I had a red one and thought it was so futuristic looking!

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  18. I don't remember the round radio, but I remember tons of these things, still think those muscle cars are cool, and oh my goodness David Cassidy was cute. :)

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  19. Great stroll down memory lane. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been swimming in the ocean since Jaws!

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    1. Hahahahahaha I live by the ocean and NEVER swim!

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  20. Linda postagem amei bom final de semana.
    Blog: http://arrasandonobatomvermelho.blogspot.com.br
    Canal de youtube: http://www.youtube.com/NekitaReis

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  21. Lovely photos. The 70's were a great time to be a teenager! Groovy memories. :)

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  22. Such an amazing summary of an interesting time. Remember the oil embargo and waiting in line at gas stations hoping to fill up before the gas ran out? I loved MASH, though I was confused as a child about it being in Korea when it seemed to be so much like what I was hearing about Viet Nam. Now I am sure that confusion was not unintended...

    Great post! Thank you!

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    1. YESSS I remember that! Those long gas lines! And I had the same confusion about MASH, hahahaha!

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  23. I was in elementary school in the 70's and miss the carefree days of "be home by dark," watching MASH as a family because we had one tv and watched shows together. When the phone rang during dinner, we did not take the call, and had no idea who was calling. It was a magical time and I love that you wrote about it and especially love the photo of you at the end!!

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    1. The good ol' days of Farrah Fawcett hair and big-belled pants!

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  24. Hi Marcia! I loved every precious photo here! Your prom dress looks like one I had made for my dance. It was blue gingham!!! Seriously, what was my issue then?? (I thought it looked great though. )
    James Taylor is still the man, and I LOVED Carol Burnett. We would all gather round to watch that show, along with MASH and the Man from UNCLE. Ahhh. Yes, we turned out just fine! ( in spite of the gingham, and the dirndl maxi's I wore in high school!)
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Hahahahahaha I love that! Hey, I was a HUGE fan of man From Uncle, too!

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  25. That is a terrific pop history lesson. I was more of a teen of the 80's ( the best decade! ) but do remember some of these things. The 70's music and tv shows were great though, and those hair and clothes styles! Whoa!

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    1. Phil---I LOVED the 80's and am thinking of doing a post on that era as well!

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  26. Oh man, what a blast from the past! Love it! I was a flute playing band geek too!! Soul sistas!

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  27. What a wonderful dose of nostalgia! Ah, the music, films and fashions; it seems like only yesterday. A feel-good post, Marcia. Thank you for rekindling some fantastic memories.

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    1. I'm glad you liked this little trip down memory lane with me!

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  28. What a fun post! And you're right, you didn't have all the technology kids have to day, and you were just fine. There's no need to spoil our kids now heh.

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    1. I LOVE technology---but yes, I'm afraid people are going way overboard with it. But I am just as guilty now as my kids for desiring some of the newest gadgets out there, LOL!

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  29. This was so much fun, you took me straight down memory lane!!!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the memories! Thanks, Lisa!

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  30. What a fun post! I was born in 1979 so although I think of myself as being born in the 70s I don't remember anything about it...LOL

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    1. Ahhhhhh….. but what a great decade to be born in!

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  31. I'm with joeh. We were raising three kids in the seventies, too, so my perspective of those years is a little different from yours. But thanks for the walk down memory lane; I enjoyed the groovy trip.

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    1. Thanks, Susan! Glad you had fun traveling back in time!

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