Living in the 70's
was a fantastic experience in the midst of a unique culture. These were the days of pet rocks, mood rings, water beds, crystals, incense, and wild color. There were fads, changing times, and a few troublesome events. The fact that I was older, and more aware of the world, contributed greatly to my 70's awareness. With that said, what exactly did happen in the 70's? Women's liberation, more awareness toward nuclear activity, environmentalism, more sophisticated rock and roll, and oil crises for starters.
1975 brought an end to the Vietnam conflict with the fall of Saigon. Lots of wars were being waged on the planet involving Russia and Afghanistan, and Arabia and Israel. People's awareness and anger over the Vietnam conflict resulted in massive anti-war protest marches that often turned ugly. Kent State University ended with four deaths. Mandatory busing was initiated in an effort to desegregate schools. This too led to, and often resulted in violence.
Microwave ovens, home VCR's,the first general microprocessor, and C-programming language appeared in the 70's. The discovery of "Hippiedom" which began in the mid-60's, waned by the mid-70's. The discovery of "black holes" by Steven Hawking elevated peoples' awareness of our universe. The Disco movement reached boiling levels in America in the latter half of the decade. The 70's culture seemed to bring out a more mindful generation that, by and large, were open to newer thinking and revolutionary ideals. Though unemployment and inflation was high, the era was a grand party time for many.
Color exploded in the 70's.
Styles were electric and the whole world looked and acted as if it had been plugged in. Furniture styles, quite unlike the sixties, lost the space age look, and returned to more conservative styles only splashed with loud color and wild design. Oranges, browns, rust, and other earth tones were engaging and quite popular. Swag lamps and bean bag chairs were found in many homes and apartments. Bean bags were found in many households of young and lower income people because they were inexpensive and considered cool. They were also easy to move, and could be tossed into different shapes like fluffing a pillow. Like water beds, bean bags were the thing to have. In my household, my parents would not permit bean bag chairs, but they did go for the swag lamps.
Color, contrast, and volume.
Giant consoles invaded the planet bringing us Magnificent decorative cabinet-like sets. Some even came with doors to close so they could virtually double as cabinets. They featured easy-to-use controls on the front-often behind a little door-hence the name console. These handsome show pieces for the living room were wonderful beasts that took up a fair portion of living space were great. You could buy black and white TV's in the 70's, and many people had at least one in their home as a secondary TV for the kids, or bedroom.
The prices of televisions of the 70's ranged anywhere from the $300 to $500 range, and the black and white TV's cost anywhere from $88 to $150.
Everybody in the world it seemed had one of these clock radios. These were a signature of 70's, I had one, my friends had them, and even my parents had one.
The great 70's experience
included bizarre inventions and crazy cultural icons.Fads included some of the most unforgettable items ever. Lava lamps, adhesive daisies for cars, clogs, pet rocks, mood rings, and crystals were a part of the whole 70's experience. My friends may have had a lava lamp or two, and all the girls wore clogs, but the rest, I never engaged in. Water beds were new and all the rage. It was popular to cover one with a giant tapestry spread. Custom carved headboards were likewise the thing-some even had built-in black lights.
"Have a nice day!" became a slogan that earmarked the 70's. Accompanied by the simplistic rendering of the happy face It's quite possible that this little icon could define the entire 70's decade by its mere presence alone. Sickeningly sweet, happy faces appeared everywhere; they were spray painted on buildings, finger-drawn in the dust of automobiles, drawn on the pantlegs of levis, or simply over-marketed in stores. A second runner-up in the "I get a cavity just hearing it" category would be the classic Coke commercial stating "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony."
Streaking! Ray Stevens even sang a song about it. Streaking was the fad of dashing naked through a very public place. This fad became very big in the 70's. The most memorable moment was a man who streaked the Academy Awards while David Niven was presenting.
70's clothes: say it with color!
Fashions in the 70's took off like rockets. The weirdest array of styles and fashions received a major jump start in the 70's. Geometric patterns of circles, stripes and blocks of color jumped out at us from clothes racks. Shorter guys had it made with shoes sporting giant heels. Polyester was a key phrase in any household; the dread leisure suits reigned; giant sunglasses balanced themselves on the bridges of 70's noses. The world of fashion had a stroke, and it had it in living, blazing color.
Big hair was in! It was stacked, packed, teased, moussed, curled, permed, and large enough to hide a Volkswagen Beetle under! Big hair was the statement for many 70's gals. The trend carried on even toward the later 80's, but nothing was as wild as the 70's big hair days.
More on 70's fashions here.