What was your life like in the 1970s? As far back as your memories go. Do you think it was a good period?
I was a small child. Kids pretty much LIVED in the street, and this was N.Y.C. There were very few fat people and even fewer fat kids.
Home video games are responsible for all the overweight kids today. There were only 2 or 3 fat kids in my elementary school. If we wanted to play video games, we had to ride our bikes to the arcade. I always think it was cool growing up when I did. I got to see the all the new technology that everyone now takes for granted. I only knew one family with a push button phone (they were also the only people with a remote-control TV).
As kids in the '70s in L.A., we walked or rode our bikes unsupervised everywhere (to school, to the corner market, to a classmate's house), we played outside with the neighborhood kids and stayed out until suppertime. We played on jungle gyms and slides made of solid steel that baked out in the hot sun, and if we slipped, the only thing to break our fall were thin rubber mats on hard concrete. We rode in cars without being belted down. Sometimes we'd sit on dad's lap behind the wheel and assisted in driving. Today, all of this might be considered child endangerment, but, you know, it was a lot of fun to be so carefree.
I grew up in Northern California in the 60s/70s. Yes, we walked and rode our bikes everywhere. If it was too far to bike, I jumped on the bus (for nearby places like Palo Alto/Stanford) or even the train (to go to San Francisco). Bus/train fare was nominal, and when the train reached the ramshackle depot in SF, the bus to get downtown cost 5 cents for kids.
As a little kid, my mom would buy a municipal pool pass and sew it on my swimsuit at the beginning of summer. I basically swam and biked around all day with my brothers and sisters and friends, having adventures. When I was little, I had a neighbor who locked her kids out of the house after breakfast, let them back in for lunch, and then kicked them out again until dinner. She had babies inside and was busy doing housework all day. Nobody batted an eye, but I was glad that my mom had no problem letting us come inside to get a band-aid or a drink of water.
We all went out again after dinner to play until it got dark or our moms called us in. We generally didn't watch any TV on weeknights, but we were allowed to watch The Wonderful World of Color/Disney every week. I remember how creepy I thought it was when Walt died and then he still kept appearing every week to introduce the show. We were also allowed to watch the broadcasts when astronauts were launched into orbit or onto the Moon. My dad worked for NASA.
Every mom in my neighborhood was a stay-at-home mom, and every dad had jobs elsewhere and would not lift a finger to help with housework, which was much more time-consuming then when things like cloth diapers and three meals a day cooked from scratch were the norm. Many families we knew from church and the neighborhood were quite large because they were observant Catholics.
If your father happened to be a bully with anger management problems, it was bad luck and you just kept it to yourself if he roughed you up. In my family, we got major whippings with belts and electrical cords on bare flesh. If he was in a bad mood, look out. It never occurred to us to complain, because really, who would listen? The father was the master of the house. I envied my friends who had kinder, gentler dads.
Teachers were allowed to use corporal punishment, too. I remember the day that changed. A 4th grade teacher slammed a boy's head into the blackboard really hard, he sustained injuries, and immediately afterward the elementary school's policy toward corporal punishment changed. It was a big deal at the time for us kids because it was so humiliating to be physically disciplined by a teacher in front of the class.
Nobody wore a helmet biking or skateboarding. The only bad accident that happened to one of the kids I knew was that he sneaked into an empty swimming pool behind a vacant house to skate with some guys, and he fell and broke his arm.
Another thing that stands out in my memory is that most kids were really healthy and it was unusual to miss school unless you had measles or chicken pox or something like that. HOWEVER, if a kid got leukemia, it was pretty much a death sentence. Several kids I knew went into a swift decline and disappeared forever, killed by leukemia. Not like today when it is so treatable.
I was a young kid in the 70s. What I remember was the socializing my parents did. You always had people over, or you were always going somewhere. There was always the Friday or Saturday night get-to-gether with food, games, music... The adults visited upstairs, and the kids went downstairs to play. I don't know if young couples with children do that anymore. It doesn't seem like they do.
Wow, R5. My ex had social parents like yours. I would have loved that.
My parents went out two evenings a year: once on Election Night to vote, and then again on Parent/Teacher Night, which was strictly an adult function. I think they also went to a restaurant for dinner on both occasions.
We kids stayed home with a sitter, which was a big deal because it only happened twice a year.
Otherwise, my parents stayed home at night, at opposite ends of the house. I can only recall one guest of theirs: My mother had a girlhood friend who drank, and sometimes she would hide in our garage so her husband wouldn't catch her and beat her. his lady looked exactly like Dusty Springfield. Eventually, my father forbade my mother to see her friend with the drinking problem anymore. Other than the drunk friend, an adult guest to the home was extremely rare.
Lots of kids from the neighborhood would drop by, but we did our playing outside the house.
It was a lot f fun. I was a kid and didn't care about the oil embargo or the lousy stock market.
I don't remember much from the early 70s, but the late 70s are similar to other's memories. Playing outside in the summer, able to stay up late (8:30 or 9:00!). Riding bikes with the neighborhood kids. Playing kickball or kick-the-can or wiffle ball or swimming. Good times, no stress (until I hit junior high in the 80s).
I was listening to Casey Kasem's Top 40 flashback to the 70s last weekend, and the played the Top 40 from this week back in 1977. I know many of the songs are cheesy, but that's when I was getting into music on the radio for the first time, so the bring back good memories:
1. Dancing Queen - ABBA
2. Don't Give Up On Us - David Soul
3. Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
4. Rich Girl - Hall and Oates
6. The Things We Do For Love - Ten CC
12. Maybe I'm Amazed - Wings
13. Fly Like and Eagle - Steve Miller Band
15. Right Time of the Night - Jennifer Warnes
19. I Like Dreamin' - Kenny Nolan
20. Sam - Olivia Newton-John
Sucking off my fellow teens in the Sears bathroom every free afternoon. They usually wore long socks and short gym shorts. And thankfully, every fucking one of them was circumcised and clean.
It's more than just video games keeping kids today fat. People are afraid to let their kids play outside like they did back then, I don't blame them. When I was growing up, kids were all over the place, even in bad neighborhoods.
I'm so glad I grew up when I did.
I was born in 1970, I was 6 when the big bicentenniel happened. I remember red white and blue decorations for what seemed like the whole summer! Transistor radios with WABC playing! My older sister's disco LP's like Carol Douglas, Gloria Gaynor, Salsoul Orchestra, Barry White, Norman Lear TV shows....
I know the decade seems tacky, but I remember it fondly. It really ended on a dull note though, by 1979 most of the sexy exuberance was slipping away.
My parents went out, perhaps even more than I recall they did. Then again, during the summer back then we had an au pair ("babysitter" as those gals were called then) for the 10 weeks we lived at the beach. We had babysitters at night during the school year, too. They didn't have people over that often, but once in a while.
We kids went all over on our bikes, playing who knows how dangerously, no helicoptering ... I can recall playing A LOT of "Kick the Can" and "Hide and Go Seek" back then. I went to a private school that had a lot of homework (though at the time it seemed normal to me), so very little weeknight TV; none to speak of during the summer really.
I listened to WABC on my transistor radio, too.
Another thing is that there weren't Hampton Inns and such all over, and neither we, nor our relatives in New England, had room to put up each others' families, so I rarely saw my mom's family much at all until I was in high school. Airfare was very expensive until the 80's so flying off for vacations was costly as well. My friend across the street got to go to Florida each spring vacation, because his grandparents had retired down there, but it wasn't common in the 60's/early 70's at all.
We could SMOKE in high school! There was a boys & a girls smoking bathroom, plus an area outside where kids could smoke. It seems unbelievable now, but it's true.
R12 -- in high school, seniors who had parental permission, could smoke in designated courtyard.
My first period was in the 70s and it was definitely NOT so good.
R14, your school was more strict than the schools I attended. I went to three different high schools in the 70s (one on the east coast and two on the west coast) and all of them allowed all grade levels to smoke cigarettes and nobody needed a note from home. It was kind of bizarre.
I was 8 and I'd realized that my dad was not coming back. He died.
I spent every waking moment thinking, wanting, fantasizing about what it would be like having a dad.
Not just a father, but a dad.
The rest you can probably figure out.
lots of loud rock music, the stuff that is called "oldies" now.
aunts would have a really STRONG smell of patchouli in their apartments
[quote]Sometimes we'd sit on dad's lap behind the wheel and assisted in driving.
I remember that
R16 - I went to a private high school.
I was in college in the 70s and it was amazing.
I was in an active GSU (gay student union) with men and women.
We'd all do homework till 9 and then go to the local gay bar. The bars was very mixed by gender, race and age.
Disco was alive and well.
Aids hadn't hit yet and there was young love everywhere.
The cars were enormous.
There was room on the floor of the back seat to build enormous Lego cities.
There were shelves behind the back seat that were large enough for two kids to lounge. It was fun to tumble down onto the seat at a sudden stop.
It wasn't uncommon to have two adults and two kids in the front, bench-style seat, and five or more kids in the back seat.
No one wore seat belts.
Only infants used car seats, which hooked over the front seat and had a kind of padded roll bar (like a roller coaster had) that swiveled up to put the baby in, then down.
By the age of 2, I was sitting on the folded-out, back-seat armrest, to get a better view of where we were going.
The minivan of the day was the station wagon, which had extra seats in the "way back" behind the back seat. They would fold up out of the floor. Some were in like a third row, parallel to the back seat, either facing forward or facing backward. Others had a set of fold-up seats, perpendicular to the back seat, that faced each other.
I never remember anyone remarking negatively on drinking and driving. It must have happened all the time.
All decades should be like that. Of course, we wouldn't live very long as a result but, hey, that might not be all bad.
1970 – 1979 (I was age 11-20). What a blast. A lot of what others have said here. Spent a lot of time unsupervised outdoors. Walking or biking to the 7-11 for slurpees, taking turns on who’s pool you would be swimming at in the summer. We had plenty of freedom to roam but had to be within calling distance around dinner time. After dinner, we’d go back out but had to come in when the street lights went on. We never really heard much about crime…I’m not sure if that was because we were sheltered, or there just was not a lot of it. Across 15 homes on a street with a cul de sac, there must have been 40 kids +/- 4 years of my age. One of the neighbor women was always pregnant; few had new cars in their driveway. Families would have cook-outs and adults would gather in their ribboned lawn chairs in someone’s front yard. Drinking age was 18. At 15, I was riding in cars of older friends, going down the shore, and going to parties at friends houses where the parents knew we were drinking underage, but our parents were more grateful for the parents of the party home for their supervision than the ridicule those same parents would face today. Those with money had the bigger console TV and Stereo cabinets. Slowly the antennas began to disappear from rooftops, and cable arrived. The transition from 8-Tracks to Cassettes…. Everywhere around my neighborhood, there were new homes taking a place on what was once woods or farmland.
r22 You knew about the way back? I thought that was something my sister and I thought up.
R24 -- what part of New Jersey are you from? We must have been not all that far from each other back then. Although in the neighborhoods I lived in (we moved a few towns away in '73), people kept their cars in the garage.
We had an open campus high school. You could come and go as you please. People kept ditching within moderate levels, but everybody did at least some.
r24 answer him at r26! How cool if you guys knew each other back then (not back in the day, I refuse to say that). Man, I miss the 70's so much. It seems like there were either a lot more pedos or a lot more pedo awareness because that is when the "don't take candy from strangers" and the x-raying of Halloween candy was born.