Where is the love?

Right around the time its workplace shootings made “going postal” a new catchphrase, I read something interesting about the U.S. Postal Service — that while Americans overwhelmingly disliked going to their post office, they liked their individual letter carriers almost as much.

I’ve found this to be true in my own case. When our last carrier in Fort Wayne would leave a package, he’d always put a dog biscuit on it for the member of the household who greeted him most enthusiastically. It got to the point Spriggy would recognize the uniform — I think it was the stripes down the side of the pants — and pull madly at the leash whenever we encountered a mailman or lady, expecting to find a treat in one of those pockets.

I thought of that when my former colleague Brian Tombaugh posted this picture on his Facebook:

Halloween was Mailman Mike’s last day of work before retirement. Yay, Mike.

How much sleep did you get last night? I got: Not nearly enough. So expect a train wreck today. And in that spirit, let’s reconsider a topic we’ve perhaps batted around here in the past, but is always worth another round, i.e. The ’70s: Haters gotta hate.

Rod Dreher takes a detour from his graphomania to throw out a little nugget to his readers:

I was watching the long “American Experience” documentary on Nixon the other night with my oldest son, and it was really something to see overripe crappiness everywhere. The hair, the clothes, the cars, the … everything. No wonder we got Nixon.

James Lileks has, of course, made ’70s hate a cottage industry, publishing at least one book and millions of words of irrational disparagement of the decade. I take issue, friends. It’s true that much of it looks preposterous in hindsight, but you can say that about all of them. And for every one of you cranks who reels off the list like an indictment — disco afros wide ties polyester leisure suits Loni Anderson metallic wallpaper hot combs — I can think of another. The Ohio Players, Ramones, Patti Smith, Halston’s cocktail dresses, the films of Martin Scorsese, the Washington Post Style section — all trends and people and institutions that got their start, or first flowering, in the 1970s. Show me a ’70s-hater and I’ll show you someone like Dreher, who apparently spent it in front of a television eating Cap’n Crunch, or Lileks, who spent it in North Dakota.

I wasn’t exactly twirling with Andy and Liza at Studio 54 myself, but I was young and attentive to the world around me, such as it was in Columbus and Athens, Ohio, where I spent the decade. The difference between Columbus and Fargo and whatever Louisiana hellhole spawned Dreher must be the watershed between love or dismissal of the decade.

So, with that in mind, I give you…my high-school yearbook:

I’m actually on that page twice. That’s me walking out the door of the all-night graduation party, squinting at the camera flash. Granted, those pants? Mistake. But I’ll stand by all the rest of it, including my Jane Fonda shag. (My high school was so large that I don’t recall a single other person on that page. The Superstars of 1975 numbered around 750, as I recall — the largest, then and now, in the school’s history. Damn baby boomers.)

OK, time to go. Bloggage?

No. None. (I told you I didn’t get any sleep.) Happy Wednesday to all.

Posted at 9:53 am in Friends and family, Same ol' same ol' |
 

69 responses to “Where is the love?”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 2, 2011 at 9:57 am

    You forgot to add “Bite me”! Hope the day goes calmly and quietly . . .

  2. adrianne said on November 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

    My 70s moment would be my senior prom pic, Class of 1979, Archbishop Carroll High School for Girls: My date, Darrell Hamerla, rockin’ the baby-blue tux (with ruffled shirt and dark-blue piping down the sides); me in a white polyester halter dress with a jacket trimmed in faux feathers at the sleeves and neckline. Stayin’ alive!

  3. Peter said on November 2, 2011 at 10:20 am

    You don’t recall a single other person on that page? I can relate to that being one from a class of 650: It wasn’t until my fourth year of college that I found out that THREE of my classmates in architecture were from my graduating class, and after a little more digging, found out that FIFTEEN students in the architecture program were from my high school, and NONE of them knew any of the others.

    Course, maybe those ’70’s strength medications had something to do with it…

  4. coozledad said on November 2, 2011 at 10:24 am

    At the senior prom they handed out certificates for “senior superlatives”. I got something like Most Likely To Be Beheaded By Police Shotgun While Committing Petty Crime. I went outside to stash the certificate in the glove compartment of the Grenada and the assistant principal wouldn’t let me back in because I was obviously high. The one time in several years I actually wasn’t.
    My girlfriend and I left and fired one up in protest at the injustice of it all.
    Is it just me, or was the template for men’s hair in those days Roger Daltry circa 1966?

  5. Deborah said on November 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Little Bird was born in 1975 so I have no memory of popular culture from then until 1980, unless it involved Sesame Street. I was 24 when she was born, hard to believe that now, having a kid at that young age is mostly unheard of except if you’re a Palin or from Texas. Snark.

  6. Connie said on November 2, 2011 at 10:53 am

    My 1978 wedding dress was made from Qiana. Slick disco fabric, what can I say?

  7. nancy said on November 2, 2011 at 10:54 am

    We needed Qiana so we could work our way to fleece. Ego te absolvo.

  8. Dorothy said on November 2, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I have no pages scanned from my high school yearbook but I did scan my graduation picture a few years ago. My hairdo was just a shag; if there was a particular celebrity who wore her like that, name is escaping me at the moment. I’ve gone to several of my class of ’75 reunions and always have a good time. Danced like a fool last year at the 35th. You guys have seen this before, I’m pretty sure but what the heck – it’s the topic of the day! (I’m really glad octagonal lenses went and STAYED out of style. I didn’t start wearing glasses until I was 14 so these were my first pair – pictures were taken during the junior year, right? I think the next pair I got were in 1976.)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/truvy57/3550936631/

    From the 10-year reunion, a shot of me with Gwen Jackson. This happened to be my 28th birthday in 1985 – I remember staying at home until I nursed my son so he’d go to sleep for the sitter, and then we dashed off to the party. We missed the dinner but had fun with the gang after dinner.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/truvy57/3554304456/

  9. Jason T. said on November 2, 2011 at 11:00 am

    As a child of the ’70s, I’ve done my fair share of hating, especially on the fashions, almost none of which have aged well. 1960s two-button suits, skinny ties and A-line dresses still look cool, but people wearing kipper ties, wide lapels and wild floral patterns look they’re on parole from Ringling Brothers.

    And I’m also old enough to remember gas lines and the nightly Iran hostage countdown on the news.

    Still, I’m starting to see the ’70s as the last hurrah for the American dream — an era when people didn’t act apologetic for being environmentalists or feminists, when one person’s salary could actually feed a family of four, and when we actually manufactured things in this country. (Albeit badly, in some cases.) TV shows were more daring — has any sitcom since tackled social issues head-on like “All in the Family”?

    I did a calculation recently. I’m making less money, adjusted for inflation, today, with a four-year degree, than my dad did in 1978 with a two-year degree.

    If I had to put up with wide-wale corduroy in burnt orange in exchange for keeping up with the cost of living, I think I’d take it.

  10. Jason T. said on November 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Also, too: I used to be a regular reader of James “Don’t Call Me Jimmy,” but he lost me during his post-9/11 hard-right turn into glibertarianism and endless war cheerleading. I do still check his site occasionally; we share the same love of pop culture kitsch, and when he’s good, he still makes me laugh.

  11. Kirk said on November 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I guess I should be thankful that I had no particular sense of style then (not that I do now), thus sparing me from ever wearing a leisure suit, a giant clown bow tie or a heavily flowered shirt.

    What gets me is when people rip on music of the ’70s (or pick your decade). Excellent music has been made in every decade; it was just harder to find in some of them (the current one being a good example).

  12. Suzanne said on November 2, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I’m sure I make way less with a Master’s degree than my dad did with only a high school degree. I think you are right, Jason. The 70’s, with all their strangeness (I know. I lived it!) were a time when you felt at least somewhat hopeful that things would get better. The 80’s ushered in the era of “It’s ok to be greedy and want to screw your neighbor!” and the 90’s gave us all the notion that God really, really wants you to be rich and if you have to screw your neighbor to do it, well, if your neighbor were in God’s favor, he wouldn’t worry cos he’d be rich, too!

    I had a Gunny Sax prom dress and wanted a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress in the worst way! Thankfully, by the time I got married, the frilly tux shirts with matching colored edging on the jacket fad had passed into oblivion, so my photos are not quite as funny.

  13. Jeff Borden said on November 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Count me among those who refuse to see any decade as magical or horrible. Each is a mixed bag. The clothing and the hairstyles of the `70s may not have aged well, but it was one of richest time periods for serious American films and music. And as a lover of American iron, the automobiles of 1970-72 were some of the most beautiful ever built. Consider the lines of the 1970-72 Camaros and Firebirds, 1972 Torinos, 1970-72 Challengers, for example, and you are viewing some automotive perfection.

    The move to sturdier bumpers in 1973 signaled the end of sexy American rides. And as the decade progressed, our vehicles became more and more ugly with huge, sight-blocking B pillars and bulbous noses and asses. Ugh.

  14. brian stouder said on November 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    And as a lover of American iron, the automobiles of 1970-72 were some of the most beautiful ever built.

    Absolutely agreed!! – 1972 Olds Cutlass, baby!

    One interesting thread that popped up in Adam Goodheart’s book about 1861, was the sudden fashion – indeed, almost a universal requirement – for all men to have facial hair*.

    He pointed out that up until the 1850’s, clean-shaven was THE LOOK for all the A-list men, and that was comprehensively OVER, before the war (and then during the war, the clean-shaven look was politically incorrect; politically squishy northerners would be labeled “dough faces”).

    Leaving the ’70’s aside, I’m still depressed that “the ’80s” has become an identifiable nostalgia decade (you know this has occurred when high schools have dances themed as “80’s”. When I was in high school [’79], they’d have ’50’s themed dances).

    *facial hair suddenly became a definitive indication of “manliness”, which was very important for awhile there (and we know how THAT came out)…but we digress

  15. alex said on November 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I remember the auto industry whining about how CAFE standards and safety regulations were going to put them out of business. They didn’t foresee that it would be employee health care costs.

    Compared to those deathtraps of yesteryear, beautiful as some may have been, we’re actually getting a lot more car for the money, albeit for a lot more money. You can walk away from an impact today that three decades ago would have left you maimed or dead. You can also make a car last for at least 100-200K miles more than you could back then without it looking too disreputable.

    As for decades being magical or horrible, they’re all a little of both, but as I’ve become less of a shallow consumerista/fashionista in my old age, I feel that I’m much less in touch with the zeitgeist because pop culture always seemed to be what defined it and these days I’m just tuned out. Or maybe it was just that I saw the ’70s through big rose-colored gradient lenses.

    On edit: Brian, I remember when the show “Happy Days,” about the 1950s, was a pilot — as a sketch on “Love American Style” in 1970 or ’71.

  16. Julie Robinson said on November 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    176 in the graduating class of Sycamore High School, 1974. Scandals? Well, some kids got caught smoking in the restroom. Winston’s. At the same time my hubby was just trying to avoid becoming a victim to the North Side High race riots. Metal detectors at the door. Poor guy.

    We may sneer at Qiana today, but it was much nicer than anything else available back then, at least in Sycamore.

    When I got to IU in the fall of 1974, I wanted to be a part of a protest march. Alas, they were over, and I had to settle for a Johnny Cougar concert in Dunn Meadow. This was very early in his career, and I left early.

    Edit: Deborah, I missed the 80’s the same way as you, I was just wrapped up in enjoying my kiddos, the first of whom I had at 24. I’ve been to a few 80’s parties, and I can’t answer any of the trivia questions.

  17. caliban said on November 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Uh, we got Nixon because the mentors and foul forebearers of Lee Atwater had devised the disgraceful but efficient Southern Strateg yby the late 60s, and because Sirhan shot Bobby Kennedy. Anyone that thinks otherwise is so seriously dimwitted breathing is probably a challenge. Lileks undoutedly prefers the 80s, but what does that say about his “tendencies” and Flock of Seagulls? And I believe the Nixon National Nightmare began in ’68.

    Leisure suits? Never knew anybody that wore one. And it was the colors that were truly egregious. In music, I think of the 70s as Procul’s decade, in large part. It’s all fine and dandy to mock the allleged excesses of Tull and ELP and Yes, but, ahem, those were virtuoso musicians, not Millli and Vanilli, or Haircut 100, or Ah-Ha, or the bullshit that passes for popular music these days. The 70s were also the years Bob Seger made scads of spectacular music and finally became a rock star.

  18. Connie said on November 2, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I was cool driver in the 70s. I spent my last two high school years driving a shiny brand new cool 1972 Nova. Then I spent my college years driving my fave car of all time, bought for $200 from the proverbial little old lady: a 1964 Chevy Belair with a turquoise metallic job. Gave it a quart of oil every Friday. But the car that followed that one (grad school and newlywed years) was an AMC Matador. Definitely not cool.

  19. John C said on November 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I went to high school from 1976 to 1980. Early in those years I BEGGED for a leisure suit. My mother and stylish older sister drew the line. They couldn’t fight the tuxedo trend, though. This explains my white tux with black shoes (and a date in a Karen Carpenter granny dress!) at my junior prom, and what may very well be the crowning achievement in my fashion life, the PEACH colored tux I wore to the St. Xavier High School senior prom in 1979 (not my high school). The prom was on a boat that wandered up and down Narragansett Bay to the rockin’ sounds of the Beaver Brown Band (inspiration for Eddie and the Cruisers, if memory serves), which means the prom picture is slightly foreshadowing. My 70s, part-down-the-middle helmet hair was spiky from the wind!
    One thing I’m already starting to say to my 12-year-old, though: I had stupid looking clothes. I do not have a stupid looking sleeve tattoo!

  20. Linda said on November 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    As a graduate of the class of ’76–Detroit East Catholic–I know that while it was the decade where every wedding groomsman looked like a pimp, it was also the apex of Parliament/Funkadelics. And wonderful, popular movies, like Chinatown and Serpico. Nixon came into power because the left had gotten soft, lazy, and incoherant in its own defense, and began a terrible slide. Conservatives will hate the current decade for the same (mirror) reason.

    ***edit***and yes, Dorothy, the Godfather movies!

  21. Sue said on November 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    The problem with the 70s (just like the 60s, actually) is that it’s a split decade. The first half of the 70s was leftover 60s, the second half was kind of pre-80s, and for some reason people associate the 70s not with some of the late 60s fashions and peace & love ideas but with disco and polyester clothing and oncoming 80s commercialism and greed. So that’s kind of sad to me, since I always identified with the 60s part of the 70s.
    It also marked the last time it was not unusual for an average woman to have the skills to actually make her boyfriend a tacky leisure suit. That lack of mad sewing skills is a loss which somehow never gets noticed, I don’t know why. Not that I think we need to go back to the days of “Foods & Clothing I” in high school, but it just seems like a loss of a practical and creative skill.
    Also something I’ve never really heard anyone talking about – disco was the first time in a long time that men and women held each other while dancing, and yet it never struck me as particularly romantic or sexy.

  22. Peter said on November 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Connie, I remember that ad campaign “What’s the Matador?” I was more inclined to like the Gremlin. You may make fun of Detroit but they put out better cars than Kenosha.

    Linda, the left had gotten soft? Maybe. Lazy? Perhaps. Incoherent? Number one with a bullet.

    Conservatives will hate the current decade for the same (mirror) reason? I can only pray.

  23. Bitter Scribe said on November 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Lileks is one of the two* conservative humorists who actually makes me laugh. On purpose, I mean. And it’s instructive that his funny stuff has nothing to do with politics.

    *P.J. O’Rourke is the other. You can have Christopher Buckley.

  24. Dorothy said on November 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Don’t forget the Godfather movies.

  25. Connie said on November 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Sue, sewing skills live. My grad school daughter just made herself and her roommates lovely dresses for a Halloween party. Much to the surprise of the mother who forced her to learn basic sewing. This is the same kid that has gone out for the roller derby team.

    My boyfriend had a tacky fuzzy light blue denim leisure suit. He’s been my husband for many years and has not been allowed to buy his own clothes other than jeans and shoes,for some time.

  26. Linda said on November 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Peter:
    Look at the All-Star pundit team for conservativism, and tell me they aren’t a sad bunch. And when Paul Ryan is one of your intellectual Young Guns, you may as well hang yourself. They are stuck defending their funding base against all comers, even when they sound stupid. In the 70s, the left was defending big government, even when it wasn’t a solution, which does happen. The right’s response to OWS has been a search for anything to throw against the wall to defend big money, while praying it doesn’t fall down.

  27. jcburns said on November 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Boy, those fancy Upper Arlington kids sure couldn’t paint banners. What’s with that ‘7’ in 1975?

  28. Sue said on November 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Connie, I mentioned to my husband last weekend that I didn’t see one obviously home-sewn Halloween costume in the dozens that came through our neighborhood this year. I know sewing skills live but sewing doesn’t seem to be a natural part of a kid’s learning curve into adulthood anymore.
    Although the last time I was in a Joanne’s fabrics it sure as hell wasn’t the usual visual and tactile experience that is part of what makes sewing worth the time and effort, so maybe there’s nothing inspiring to keep a beginning sewer interested. Crappy fabrics crammed into one side of the store with the rest of the space devoted to equally crappy ‘crafting’ items. The astonishing amount of plastic shit coming out of China never ceases to amaze me.

  29. Catherine said on November 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Did anyone else think that the movie “Dazed and Confused” might as well have been a documentary about their high school daze, I mean days?

  30. caliban said on November 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Kevin Durant, the anti-LeBron. Playing flag football, bored with the lockout. What a natural. I imagine his coaches aren’t too happy about this.

  31. paddyo' said on November 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    HS class of ’70, college of ’75, and somehow through it all, I managed NOT to own or ever dress in a leisure suit. I did, however, have a polyester sportcoat-and-pants combo that was disco-ready, and thoroughly cringe-worthy then (1974) and now: Navy blue-and-white plaid jacket, white pants, navy blue shirt, white tie, white belt, white leather shoes and white socks. TV sign-off test pattern, meet racetrack shifty. No wonder I started growing a beard the year after I got out of college.

  32. coozledad said on November 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Catherine: Sample dialog.

    “Man, that breath spray is harsh.”
    “It’s not breath spray. It’s Ozium.”
    “Sheesh. That stuff is probably poisonous.”
    “Says not to inhale it, I think.”
    “No shit. Are you breathing alright?”
    “Tastes horrible. Am I going to die?”
    “Stick your head out the window and breathe. That ought to help”

  33. Sue said on November 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Early each November I commemorate the end of gardening season by making something using stuff from the summer gone by. I just pulled out 8 pre-breaded and fried zucchini slices from the freezer, for zucchini parmesan tonight. Last summer’s annoying zucchini that got away is much more welcome right now.
    Sad to say our peach tree finally gave it up this year and has been taken down. What a beautiful little workhorse it was; friends and relatives who shared the bounty are in mourning and sending condolences. The volume of peaches we got every year is actually working against the thought of planting another one. There were years when we canned peaches until midnight, and the harvest coincided with Tomato Time, so double the work.
    But oh, those canned peaches, and jam, and salsa…

  34. Dexter said on November 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    The magical 1970s. I came of age the day Jimi Hendrix died , my 21st birthday, started the decade in California and ended it secure and married with a child. What a ride it was in the seventies, great concerts , a few old VWs in which to ride around, many trips to Chicago for museums and sports and fine dining .
    Cheap beer and freedom, lots of friends, party like crazy, and 1975 was the apex of it all, as I was laid off with unemployment compensation and a hefty supplemental check to boot…laid off from March to October, perfect timing, pizza when I wanted it (several times a week), and the year had started with a new love who I adored and am still with.
    I was having so much damn fun I didn’t get involved with the designer drugs with the letter combinations…MDA was one, I think…and I left angel dust (PCP) alone except for one time when I was dosed (bad experience). Cocaine became the craze at the end of the decade, but it was wine and weed in the early 1970s. Weed. Take it or leave it, no big deal…certainly not at the forefront of my worldview and fast-moving kaleidescope of young healthy adulthood.
    I had a brand new car and a couple VWs, a bus and a bug…gas was cheap and I never got a DUI…1975 was my perfect summer.
    Once at a party we ran out of beer and the stores were closed, so I drove to the bar and bought four cases of beer and since I was just a quarter-mile from the party, I just left those bottles atop the car in the luggage rack.
    The town cop stopped me . I told him I was just supplying a dry party…he was gonna run me in, but I told him the day cop was the one who sent me to the bar. The day cop was my friend and he covered for me … we finished the four cases and I drove back to Ohio. What the hell, it was a different time. 🙂

  35. KLG said on November 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    The 70’s were great (Class of ’73 here). Completely fitting that the Eagles broke up in 1980. My high school ride was a 1966 Chevrolet Caprice Classic with a 327 cubic inch V8 under the hood. Could hold 8 people, easy. 10 if necessary. Got 12 mpg, but gas was 33 cents a gallon while I was in high school. My minimum wage job paid $1.60 an hour. Worked about 16 hours a week and NEVER ran out of money. College in the other Athens starting in September 1973 was sweet. The Great Streak in May 1974 had about 1500 nekkid students running across the bridge at the football stadium. Later saw Bonnie Raitt and the Allman Brothers for free in the park. Marcel Marceau in the theater one night for $5 IIRC. My philistine friends wouldn’t go with me to see one of the greatest artists in history, probably because he didn’t talk. Drinking age was 18, though no one cared, and unless you were naked and directing traffic across the street from the Arch, you could NOT get arrested. And even then, the first reaction of the police officer on the scene would have been, “Does anyone know this jackass, and can you take him home?” And except for the blue jeans, the clothes did suck. As for the long hair, we didn’t hide it in pony tails. Good days all around.

  36. Scout said on November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Another Class of 75’er here. Preferred clothing were platform shoes with elephant bell hip huggers and midriff tops. Being short of stature, I mourned the end of the platform shoe era. I wore my hair long, straight and parted in the middle. I will never be sorry I came of age during the era of Supertramp, Steely Dan, Robin Trower, Dave Mason and Wings. I snubbed the disco culture at the time, but have retro appreciation for alot of that music now.

    Although Home Ec is long gone as high school curriculum, the youngs of today seem to have a renewed interest in domestic arts. My 12 year old granddaughter asked for (and is getting) a sewing machine for Christmas.

  37. Dave said on November 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I feel positively old reading everyone’s remarks. I knew everyone in my class, almost everyone in most of the rest of the school, to some degree or another. Of course, my graduating class was either a class of 54 or 56, not sure which, and last summer, our reunion was a joint Class of 67/68. I thought most of us looked surprisingly good, considering, but I’m sure I’m biased.

    1968, where I was, wasn’t yet drug infested. I don’t know of anyone who was smoking any grass, let alone anything else, but the biggest deal was to get someone to go to the Pour House in Reynoldsburg, OH, and buy a quart or a gallon of beer, I don’t remember which. You must remember that this is still in the days of 3.2 % beer for 18 year olds. Still, I didn’t really partake of that, that came a little later when we discovered North High Street by OSU. I looked for the Pour House recently and discovered there’s a bank there now, no sign that it was ever there.

    North Berg, anyone? Also, maybe, the Agora, or it may have been named something else before that. There was the Sugar Shack near campus. There was a place in Lancaster, too, Siggy’s, I think, that we’d go to, run by a local DJ named Johnny Garber (know him, MarkH?), and Jeff TMMO, hot spot in your town was Kno-Place, or maybe it was just No-Place.

    Never had a leisure suit, the only person I ever knew who had a leisure suit was my wife’s uncle. He was wearing it in the mid-seventies. I did have several pairs of plaid pants, including one boldly patterned blue and white pair, of which I was fond. I’m sure I have a picture somewhere, it would most likely make me cringe today.

  38. Chris in Iowa said on November 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Haven’t read every comment yet BUT I have to disagree with Connie at 18. In my college years in the late 1980s, I drove a 1974 AMC Matador that I bought from a widow for $600. OK, it didn’t look very cool, my friends all made fun of it and I didn’t much like it at the time. But it had its advantages. For one, it would flat out move. I easily did 120 mph-plus in it. Cops would pull me over and ask to see what kind of engine was in the thing. And you could lay rubber with both back tires. It also had a fully reclining front seat, which was a bigger attraction to me then than it would be now. But I wish I still had it.

  39. brian stouder said on November 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Although Home Ec is long gone as high school curriculum

    Au contraire! Although nowadays they call it “Nutrition and Wellness”, or some such, and it is a required class for everyone (and not segregated by gender). Grant loved that class, last year, and became quite confident (and competent) in the kitchen, too.

  40. Kirk said on November 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    North Berg may have been the first place I had a Rolling Rock, which I liked pretty well for a long time — until Anheuser-Busch bought it and turned it into swill.

    Saw several great shows in the Agora, including at least a couple with the Blogfrau. She somehow managed to get in early and save one of the balconies for about 10 of us one night. I think Larry Carlton and John McLaughlin were on the bill. I think I remember her missing one of the small steps on the floor one night at another show there and taking a monumental tumble. Can’t remember which show that was. Pretenders, maybe?

  41. Scout said on November 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    @Brian – Good to know! I stand corrected. I’m glad to hear it is a gender neutral class at your son’s school. I would love to take a woodworking or welding class myself, and I’m guessing that “shop class” is now gender neutral as well, when it is offered.

  42. moe99 said on November 2, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    best takedown out there of why the criticism of Cain is not racist:

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_11/the_race_card033238.php

  43. Hank Stuever said on November 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Nancy, this picture of you leaving the SuperStar Club is better than if there ever was a picture of you, David Cassidy and Bianca Jagger sharing a spoon at Studio 54.

    There are about 100 obvious reasons why the right seems to have a standard-bundled animus toward the 1970s, and then there are probably 100 other possible theses that would be fun yet fruitless to write about. I think it’s too easy to hate on any one decade in a general way.

    I love every decade I’ve had the pleasure to partake in, and some that I wasn’t alive for yet. I felt like I had a front-row seat to the ’70s, from the perspective of a highly-observant child (I turned 12 in 1980). My parents were in their 40s, still married, my sisters graduated from high school in ’72, ’74 and ’77. It was a swirl of activity that centered on the adults and teens around me: cars, guitars, boys, record albums, curling irons left plugged in, L’eggs hose drip-drying from the shower rod, proms, weddings, fights, campouts, cookouts, sunshine, John Denver, LOST CONTACT LENSES, folk Mass, opening a can of new tennis balls.

    My boyfriend and I recently watched the 1976-77 season of “The Bionic Woman” on DVD (hey, what we do in our bedroom at night is OUR business) and in spite of its undeniable awfulness, you know what comes through? Sincerity. Even in something so schlocky as that, I feel like the ’70s were strangely sincere. “Dazed and Confused,” so celebrated in stoner culture, is to me more of a documentary about my sisters. It’s also a valentine to them.

    I also think that cultural historians years and years from now will detect an authenticity and sincerity in the ’70s, where people least expected them to find it, and they’ll be intrigued by how we disparaged the decade and shaped it into cliches and cheap jokes. What will really floor them — and this is not a complaint — are the ’00s. The hair flattened and streaked Big Bird yellow; the orangey tans; the muffin-toppage and tramp-stampage over the low-rise denim; the high-wattage dental veneers; the plasticity; the Donald Duck lips; the steroided physiques and ballooned boobage; Snooki and the Situation. Even our older people today look somehow prefabbed out. The ’70s look quaint next to now.

    But again, I’m so glad to be taking it all in and would love to live all the way to the 2070, to take notes on as much of the story as I can.

  44. Randy said on November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    My dad drove a chocolate brown 1974 Chevy Bel Air, with removable skirts over the rear wheels. Sadly it was totaled on the way to the beach in 1976. I think we were listening to “Silly Love Songs” on the radio. Luckily, the car was big enough that nobody was hurt too badly.

  45. Jolene said on November 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Feeling seriously geriatric here. I graduated from college in 1970; it helps a little that I was just past 20th when I finished.

    After that, I spent five years in Seattle. It was a great time and place to spend a while figuring out what to do next. Ther e was a great tavern scene (taverns served only beer and wine, so they attracted lots of young people) with live music and plenty of dance partners. There’s lots more–jobs, lots of camping and bicycling in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, a long trip around the US in my Chevy van–but it’s the taverns and dancing that stick w/ me.

    After that it was back to the Midwest for a long stretch in grad school at Northwestern. Never so carefree again.

  46. Dexter said on November 2, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I was really going to impress a waitress, and I bought a leisure suit. And platform shoes. The year was 1974. Oh what a night. 😉
    Why, I really did the 70s up right…I actually bought a Pinto, brand new.
    Highlights were watching “Taxi Driver” and “Young Frankenstein”.
    I also drank a few sixers of Billy Beer (it was made in Louisville by Falls City Brewery, as I recall).
    I bought a couple bicycles and began riding again, and never stopped for very long…I hate winter because sometimes it stops my cycling for weeks on end.
    When I hit the Powerball tonight, I am off to warmer climes….:-

  47. caliban said on November 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Jeez, I didn’t have a car in high school. So much for the privileged private school kid. The car I got to drive on dates, though, was a midnight blue ’63 TBird that was my mom’s car. That sucker could beat a curfew without breaking a sweat on the John C. Lodge, burning through Southfield like it wasn’t there. Can anybody think of a more pathetic swansong than the Hermanator claiming it is all those racist liberals out to get his ass. And since it’s the absolute subtext, does anybody actually believe that Anita Hill was not absolutely forthright and truthful?

    Kirk: -30- We always figured it was Arnie’s brew of choice, which of course made it , dare I say, “iconic”. Well if you can’t use the word for Arnold Palmer, it is has ceased to have any use in English.

    Jolene, Carey get out your cane. The wind is in from Africa. This song is the first thing I thought of with the rhapsodizing about taverns and dancing, that and the European sojourn in 2666. I’m not thrilled with this cover of a great song, but I can’t find one by the genuine article. The “beach tar on my feet” line is so good it gives me goosebumps. Of course, in the first place I was conflating Mermaid Cafe with Mermaid Tavern. We get a little older and a little bit more confused. Mermaid Tavern was Walt Whitman’s local, and he woud have foresaken boys if he’d been confronted with a gorgeous Canadian chanteuse who was a “pretty good cook, sittin’ on her groceries.” How in God’s name did she create a line so trashy and so perfect. As you might guess, I’d pretty much kill for Joni Mitchell, in large part because, how many women has anybody ever seen that could haul away on a concert size Gibson and whale away on it Like she thought she was Steve Stills?

    edit: Like she was sure she was Steve whanging that guitar. Those dirty 70s hippies. No talent among them according to a guy, Lileks, that needs a high colonic and a long march worse than anybody that ever lived. Or buxx ’em and fuzz ’em. This is an unrenerate shitheel that He may have succeded in having sex in Singapore, but Godaamighty what a prune-faced ahole. Guy is the classic “War is heck, but it’s a necessary heck along with that little Swift-Boat weasel in the seersucker suit. They can’t believe they missed everything, and it pisses them off no end. Why did Nixon hate Kerry so inordinately. He did what Milhous thought you were supposed to do. I think I know. Kerry was thoughtful. Nixon never imagined. Kerry was an actual hero without giving it a whole lot of thought. He did what was required and rescued his friends. Nixon’s little weenie could not have done that in a million years. That’s why Nixon loved him and hated Kerry.

    edit: What a perverse POS.

  48. Maggie Jochild said on November 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    For me, the 70s were the best decade ever. I graduated high school in an extremely rural and dangerously conservative North Texas county on the Red River in 1973, a sundowner county. But in 1968 was women’s liberation, 1969 gay liberation, always fighting the war and racism, and my brain was constantly being blown and reformed. Never took drugs, didn’t need to. Wore jeans and T-shirts, carried a gun in my pocket, ready for the revolution. Idealistic, yes, but in a way I work hard to keep. I believe(d) we can break it all down and clean it up. Met and loved the finest women on the planet, save for my current true love whom I had to grow up to appreciate, and lived communally, with total income sharing, serious cleaning up of race and class lies inside, and the gleeful chaos of existing outside the box. I’m too tired to do it again but I wouldn’t trade a day of it — it’s why I am so happy now. Busted and all.

  49. caliban said on November 2, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Seriously, the racist liberals out to get the Hermanator? Does this shitheel realize how asinine this is? He’s delusional. And he’s a major league asshole.

  50. caliban said on November 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    He actually, I’d bet thought he was MLK. What Julian Bond said to me about King. His poem. See that girl, shake that thing, Too bad we all can’t be Martin Luther King. No, he was repulsive. MLK was not. He was attractive. Just fuck off Herman.

  51. caliban said on November 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    What you just ignore about these assholes just ignoring dangers. The fact is beyond consideration. These people can screw the human race.
    Try to say that isn’t true? Kiss my ass. These people are not joking when we find them bigtime liars.

  52. Rana said on November 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Man, I feel like a wee little whippersnapper about now. I was 5 in 1975!

    My litmus tests for change are therefore different, but here’s one I find rather telling. Last year or so D and I ordered up “Sesame Street: Old School” on DVD, for fun and nostalgia; we both grew up watching the show, four years apart, and it’s amazing what odd little pieces of memory break loose when a long-forgotten skit or bit of music jostles them. But here’s what drove home the idea that then and now are different: it comes with a warning label. Apparently the kids’ programming that we grew up on, the educational program that was aired on PBS and held up as an epitome of good television? Is now considered “unsuitable for children.”

    Good gad.

  53. joodyb said on November 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    gabardine+qiana=decade of static cling. i spent the 70s trying hard not to be/look stupid. it rarely worked.
    forgot to ask: is that little dog chewing that postman’s shoulder or arfing on him?

  54. alex said on November 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Rana—

    The reason they’re unsuitable is because the world has gone nuts.

    Those innocent scenes where kids are romping on old bedsprings and tires and playing in tunnels made out of garbage cans? Big no-no. You’re a bad parent if you allow that and CPS will visit you and give you what for. Somebody’s kid imitates it and there might be litigation.

    Sesame Street mimicked the old NYC where things were, shall we say, unfussy. It actually humanized the place. These days, in the sterilized, Disneyfied Big Apple, those who can afford to live there would never let their children roam free, befriend effeminate guys with afros teaching them to sing and get aerobic exercise in a junkyard.

    There was an article a while back remarking on how sanitized Sesame Street has become and how much sensibilities have changed in just a few decades.

    It seems that the people of my generation, whose parents trusted them and weren’t looking over their shoulders while they were experimenting with drugs, sex and rock’n’roll, are the ones who are helicopter parents today. They should remember these lyrics from the ’70s: Paranoia will destroya. They should stop watching TV so damn much and quit believing that the rare freak incident that gets a lot of hype applies to them somehow and should be a lesson for everyone to live by.

    Elizabeth Smart was probably helpless because she had helicopter parents. Why can’t they get it?

  55. 4dbirds said on November 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Maggie, we were neighbors, by Texas standards. I graduated from Mineral Wells High School, Mineral Wells, Texas in 1973. Off topic I’ve been suffering for a few days and was just diagnosed with bilateral kidney stones. “Almost” as painful as labor.

  56. Maggie Jochild said on November 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    4dbirds, what a trip! I went to Mineral Wells once or twice for regional UIL competitions in ready-writing and one-act play — it felt like a bustling metropolis to us. Our class motto was “Vodka, beer, and Texas Tea / We’re the class of 73.” Gold-Burd ISD, in Stoneburg, 10 miles north of Bowie. So sorry to hear about the kidneystones — can they treat with meds or lithotripsy? I hate it that we are programmed to disintegrate once our breeding years are over.

  57. 4dbirds said on November 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Mineral Wells was considered a metropolis? 🙂 I’m on painkillers and after a CT tomorrow, they’ll let me know if nature can take its course or if intervention is needed.

  58. Deborah said on November 2, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    4dbirds, ouch. I’ve been there a few times. Nature always took it’s course, I never had to have surgery or that sonic deal they do now. I had to pee through a seive for awhile until they passed. Not fun, but effective. It really, really hurts when they’re up high in your system, but before they get to your bladder they don’t hurt anymore. My father and my sister both had them so they may be hereditary.

    Edit: And it’s not necessarily something that comes with age. The first time I had them I was a freshman in college.

  59. Laura Lippman said on November 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I’ve been recycling my 70s memories through so many novels now, I’d be a real hypocrite to be a hater. The movies alone earn the decade its keep. The late ’70s had punk and I have a soft spot for disco, which seems very inclusive and democratic to me. Anyone who cared could learn to hustle. Heck, I could probably work up a rant in favor of Welcome Back, Kotter AND helicopter parents, but it’s late and I want to go back to watching Top Chef.

  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 2, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Dave, I didn’t get to Licking County until 1989, so I’m not sure about No-Place, but I think it was across from White’s Field on Western Avenue? Where I was walking along knocking on doors a few weeks ago looking for a mom and two kids in all the houses that looked occupied and a couple that didn’t. The president at Denison (my wife’s boss) told me about a place students went when he was a student back in the 50’s, that sounds very like the Pour House in general ambiance, but right off 11th St. in Newark.

    I agree with Hank’s assessment up to a point, but I think it was not entirely sincerity in the 70’s as much as it was earnestness. Painful earnestness. A desire to please without thinking about why you’re wanting to satisfy, let alone who. Which set up the 1980s very nicely. The 1970s were very good to me, but mainly in a warm bath of Tolkien, James Joyce, Heinlein, Clarke, Shakespeare, the Claremont & Byrne X-Men, and Sam Sheppard. Then I joined the Marine Corps, and it took me much of the 80s to recover from that decision. But I went for years thinking the 60s were nicely summed up by Penny Lane & Winchester Cathedral (not the CSNY version, either).

  61. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 1:41 am

    THERE WERE PASSION PITS IN TEJAS? SAY IT AIN’T SO. WHAT A SCUMBAG STATE. What a crock o’ bullshit. Could anybody be a bigger liar? Whatevever. What lying bastards. How were the 80s exactly sperate from the 70s? I’m prettyy sure there were still leisure suits?

  62. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 1:58 am

    Carried a gun Maggie? Never did but I couldn’t say why. I did show up at Grant Park. in 1968. Kicked a cops ass or teo. That was bad. and those people were without a doubt the enemy. If you don’t get that, you had to be there. There is no way to describe the brutality. And anybody that wants to paint Richard Dailey as a liberal, kiss my ass. He was one unregenerate fascist pig. Oink, you idiots.

  63. Dexter said on November 3, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Nothing illustrates the passage of time like this does: I took my family to see the touring King Tut (from The Field Museum site: “When Howard Carter uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922—its dazzling golden treasures intact, the mummified body remarkably preserved—the young pharaoh became a worldwide sensation. When King Tut’s treasures toured the world in 1977, the term “blockbuster exhibition” was born.”)
    exhibit in 1977. I had to order tickets months ahead via snail mail, of course.
    However, I am mentioning how time changes everything, and my point is that I had loaded up wife & kids in the 1968 VW Microbus and had parked on a service road with a thousand other cars, and we all were ticketed…and my ticket for illegal parking in Chicago was ten dollars. Now those tickets are minimum 50 and up to $100.

  64. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 5:02 am

    http://www.ohiobobcats.com/ These boys can play. Serious football. Spectacular pass. How can you not love this? Football rules. Right now. Ohio rules. That other Athens is really pretty lame. Athens is the Hedges and the entry to the University. Oldest land grant in the country. Real school. No shit. Ohio plays serious football. Sort of. Football rules. There is a great deal to be said for the sport. It’s fun to play and what can we say? Your team wins. Just face it. Football is excellent. Why in God’s name does anybody dislike it? Go Ohio.

  65. coozledad said on November 3, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Good caption:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/11/picture-of-the-day-mens-wearhouse-stands-with-occupy-wall-street/247782/

    Herman Cain’s meltdown is vintage Perry Mason.
    “Yeah, I did it. I touched every one of them in an inappropriate way. I made this gesture Courtroom gasps. And this one bailiff vomits, faints. And not only that… not only that… I’ve left a trail of dead up and down both coasts. You’ll find my aunt stitched up in an old laundry bag behind the snack machine in the lounge at Crain’s Lube & Muffler. I killed her with these two hands. These two hands.
    Sings “Sometimes I feel Like A Motherless Child” while Mason looks on with mixture of pity and disgust.

  66. Lex said on November 3, 2011 at 9:35 am

    We got Loni Anderson, but we also got WKRP. I’d do that deal again in a heartbeat.

    In 1998, the day after my daughter was born, my mother-in-law left a roast in the oven before coming to the hospital to visit the fam. She forgot to turn down the oven. It set off the smoke alarm. Our letter carrier heard it, alerted the next-door neighbor (who had my cell number), and disaster was averted.

    Made that man chocolate-chip cookies. Offered a bottle of Champagne to go with it, but he had a route to do.

  67. coozledad said on November 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Lex: They always told us not to mix carbonated drinks with our “route whiskey”.

  68. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Probably the funniest thing Steve Martin ever did, and I always thought he was a better actor than a comedian. Funky Tut. I think, for instance, that Parenthood is one of the best movies anyone ever made. And I loved LA Story. And Grand Canyon is one brilliant movie. But born in Arizona moved to Babylonia. That is funny.Not quite Susannah Hoffs brilliant but pretty clever. And if the Bangles were 70s, I’d sure take that rather than Gaga. Better music by a mile.

  69. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Wow. WKRP wasn’t as “hilarious” as How I Met Your Mother”? or Big Bang Theory? Who watches these entirely dreary excuses for comedy. There ar Mash reruns on, you idiots. And Loni Anderson’s character on WKRP was brilliant. In case anybody missed that. <a href="Very strange.“>Modern Family is better than this? Not close.

    The slur on Loni Anderson is really bullshit. Her character on WKRP was supperb. She melted men to jelly by simply being statuesque and mysterious. That show was better than all of the alleged sitcoms on TV these days. By a mile.That’s another thing to say for the 70s. Actual TV comedy that wasn’t brain-dead smut. What sort of assholes actually tune in to How I Met Your Mother? Incomprehensible to me.