I was asked this question in an email. Why were the 70s great? I am sure my parents didn’t think it was that great with the price of inflation and gas shortages. They had to cut pennies where ever possible, like most families then, to make ends meet. But for a kid, for me anyway, it was fantastic.
I think not having accessibility to things made it seem more magical. I didn’t have access to 24 hour cartoons stations, so Saturday morning cartoons became special to me. Occasionally mom would bake chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for me. Holy cow what a special time that was. A cold glass of milk, warm chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, and sitting on the floor watching Saturday morning cartoons. (You had to sit on the floor so you could change channels to see what was on. We didn’t have remotes back then.) Those mornings had become so magical for me that I can remember one time that I went to bed early on Friday night just so I could start Saturday morning quicker. To my dismay, I woke up with the flu the next morning. 🙁
The accessibility issue applies to many things. For example there weren’t any computers, video games, or cell phones. We were outside as much as we could get. Everyday was an adventure, especially during summer break. I can’t even think of a time when I said there was nothing to do. Living in the country gave me endless opportunities to explore and explore I did.
Soft drinks were definitely a luxury item. But that is what made it so great when we did have one. I will never forget those Sunday nights when dad would take us to A&W for an ice cold mug of root beer. We weren’t missing out by not having soft drinks in the house and we gained quality family time in return.
You can add fast food into the luxury item mix as well. Rarely did we eat out or bring fast food home. We ate home cooked meals as a family twice a day and three times on the weekends. (Oh yeah, no TV in the kitchen either. We only had one TV in the living room.)
Speaking of TV, there was limited access to stations in the country. I joke about only getting four stations which is kind of true. We also picked up a few religious stations and a PBS station, but I rarely watched them. I wonder if limited access to TV caused the stations to have better programming. I see a lot of people these days screaming out for quality family entertainment when back in the 70s there were a lot of show that we watched together as a family. The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Women, The Hulk, Wonderwoman, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, The Man from Atlantis, BJ and the Bear, and many others. I get it that not everyone thought these shows were great, but you didn’t get an uncomfortable feeling when watching these shows with your parents.
So does convenience lessen the quality of life we have today? In a way I think it does. I do enjoy the convenience, but the magic is gone. Is it because the kid inside me is gone? Did my dad, back in the 70s, say to himself that this was a magical time for his family? Or was this just another day for him as it is for me now? I do know that I would almost give up my right arm for a chance to relive that simpler life again.