I Love the 70's, Man

The 1970's were shaggy looking guys, chest hair, Disco, no bras . . . That's just a sort of surface evaluation. The way I see it, from the memories I had in those few years after just being born, were of a time organic, girls with long hair, whole wheat bread, Bubble Up pop in bottles, Baseball games, Pontiacs, nature, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Dinah Shore, walks through the forest, untamed land, men in suits standing on the street corner in town, little stores, Catherine Deneuve.

I remember the whole bell bottom thing, locked in my mind because of one intense moment. I had been riding my bike up and down Franklin Street, when all of a sudden the hem of my wide corduroy pants became caught in the chain--the very chain which, by the way, was always popping out at the worst times. The event stopped all motion, throwing me to the just-paved street in an act of bicycle violence. There I was, lying on the ground in the middle of Franklin, yanking away at thick corduroy and snaggle-toothed chain, with neither one budging in the least. I yelled for my mom who was five houses up the street, watching Julia Childs make a poached salmon. It must have been a good recipe because Mom never came to my rescue, leaving the job to someone else, who came out of their house and extracted the fabric, sparing me from having to chew my leg off before some wild Le Mans came speeding down the hill. I don't recall wearing bell bottoms much after that event. The 80's came and it was time for cuffed jeans anyway.

The long hair. Kathy Collette was the girl up the street who had hair so long it reached all the way past her butt. It was shiny, a beautiful chestnut brown, matching her demure, wide-brown eyes. If I remember anything about the 70's it was her; she was the epitome of that natural world before Madonna came to rip apart innocence with her lacy bustier. Kathy spoke softly, yet was sure of herself. Her parents were two hippies, with measurable tresses themselves. One trip to her house revealed brown kitchen appliances, shaggy carpet and rainbow stickers on the refrigerator. When they moved out of town, I felt the world change with them; riding away on the bumper of their VW van.

Perhaps I have a slightly different version of the decade due to living in a small town. I didn't know that people were snorting coke at Club 54 and having their own version of Wife Swap. The only thing I was conscious of was running in bare feet in a big field and the sun was bright and everyone seemed real.

It all changed so fast, and I soon found myself in another era without quite knowing how it had happened. People were embarrassed with honesty and brown countertops; they wanted convention and cutting edge. They took whole wheat bread and injected it with saccharine, then threw it into a blender with some Vodka. No more crying Indian, no more Marcia Brady. Somewhere in the US, Kathy Collette had cut off all her hair and was drinking a Tab cola dreaming of Luke Skywalker. And I was back in Springhill, trying to tune in Blondie on my dad's old transistor radio.


  1. I love this walk down memory lane -- thanks! I, too, had the bell bottom in the bike chain debacle. And Blondie never was Paul Simon.


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