Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s
Lately, I’ve been a bit nostalgic. Perhaps it’s due to this free time we seem to have since, as my grandchildren say, “Earth is closed.” Or, maybe it’s because when senior citizen status is flashing its high-beams right in your face, it could maybe, possibly cause one to do some reflecting on one’s life.
Nevertheless, through my reflection, I’ve realized how very fortunate I was to have grown up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It really was a great time to be a kid. We lived in a nice neighborhood where the streets were lined with little cape cod houses full of families and sidewalks around every block. We left our doors unlocked and the windows open, weather permitting.
Our school year started after Labor Day and then we were out for summer, I believe it was just before just after Memorial Day. Either way, we got a full three months for summer break every year. I walked to school from first grade through sixth. It was a block and a half from our go-past-the-stop-sign-then-it’s-the-seventh-house-on-the-right residence. Every day after school I’d rush home so I could watch the Patty Duke Show and Larry Smith’s puppet show, both mostly in black and white, if memory serves. Hattie the Witch was a funny puppet on Larry’s show. After my brief TV time, I’d head outside to ride my bike and/or see what my friends were doing until it was suppertime. Mom would cook supper every night and she was a good cook, too! My absolute favorites were her stew made with hamburger, and her pork chops which she breaded and fried in an electric skillet. None since have compared to my mother’s chops, but I’ve cooked her stew many, many times.
Mom would make chocolate chip cookies from scratch in that classic 60’s green pyrex bowl that was white on the inside, and when she wasn’t looking, my sister and I would sneak a finger full of that deliciousness and gobble it up, raw egg and all. I want to say that Mom caught us a time or two, lightly scolded us, and grinned to herself. Maybe. At least I don’t recall ever getting in trouble for it. Ha ha
Summertime was a fun time with lots of camping trips, swimming at the public pool which cost twenty-five cents, riding bikes, wading in the creek hunting for crawdads, and lemonade stands. I would eat breakfast and out the door I’d go. We didn’t have to be home until the street lights started to come on in the evening, or until Mom would ring that big cow bell summoning us home for supper. By the way, we grew up calling it supper, not dinner. I think dinner might be a southern thing. I dunno. Until I was in junior high school, our street dead-ended into a corn field. My friends and I would ride our bikes right between those tall corn stalks. It was a shortcut to our neighborhood park, which we frequented quite often. We’d come back to the house parched and drink cool water right from the garden hose. When he had a little money, we’d go to the King Kwik convenience store or Conrad’s (I believe it was a cigar shop) and buy candy. Or, we’d ride our bikes across town to Bo Bo’s for ice cream. Bo Bo’s was awesome! There they’d give you a little dish of ice cream, then it was your job to go down the line and add all the toppings you wanted, which for me was always hot fudge, peanuts and sprinkles. Nowadays, it’s a common thing, with all the frozen yogurt places, etc., to make your own ice cream sundae. But, back then, it was a super special treat. At night we’d catch lightning bugs, or hunt for nightcrawlers (big fat worms) with a flashlight. We’d often have sleepovers at each other’s houses and sometimes pop a tent right in our backyard.
The movie Now and Then is an excellent example of how it was back then, riding our bikes everywhere between our town and the next. I realize I’ve mentioned bike riding a lot, but we really did do it a lot, like nearly every day, all summer long. That 70’s Show is pretty accurate, too, with its portrayal of teenagers in the 70’s, although I caught a blooper in one episode. Kitty made reference to a movie that didn’t actually come out until the 80’s. Still, it’s a good example and reminds me a lot of my teen years and “cruising” the country roads with my group of friends, sometimes doing things teenagers ought not be doing, but…c’mon. It was the 70’s.
Yeah, the 60’s and 70’s — what a great time to be a kid!!