Years ago, one of my best friends sent me an email, long before we had Facebook and Pinterest, that listed things a child of the 70s would instantly recognize. As a child of the 70s, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the ridiculous things we latched onto as “cool” and it brought back a flood of other core memories. Now in 2023, it also makes me wish for the simplicity of that time.
So without further ado here is a list for all the GenX babies out there. The text, bolded in black is from the original email, and the text in italics are my thoughts.
IF YOU WERE A CHILD OF THE 70S…
You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it. Or at least if you were my best friend you did. If you were me, you had a bright red one, with chopper style bars and a red and white striped seat that your Dad made. At the time, I was mortified. 34 years later I’m grateful for such an amazing father.
You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels. I first owned the type that strapped on to your shoe. Inevitably, my shoe would come loose and I’d end up tripping face first onto the concrete below. Didn’t deter me one bit. After the metal roller skates, and proving that I could indeed stick to something for my parents, I graduated to rollers skates with fancy rubber wheels with the big rubber toe stop. I spent every Saturday morning at Wheels Roller Arena thinking I was all that and a bag of chips.
You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute (admit it!) So embarrassing, but yes, yes I did. I was also insanely jealous of Vicki Stubing who got to live on the boat. I think this was where I got the travel bug from.
You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island. There was this one episode in particular with Annette Funicello that to this day lives rent free in my head. I also have an unhealthy fear of ventriloquists. You just never know what will haunt you in your 50s from the 70s.
You had either a ‘bowl cut’ or ‘pixie’, not to mention the ‘Dorothy Hamill’. People sometimes thought you were a boy. Oh dear lord, yes, I did have a Dorothy Hamill. Also, do you remember Short & Sassy shampoo? And we also can’t forget the other iconic hairstyle of the 70s from the incomparable Farrah Fawcett. I had that haircut too for a time. For the record, I pulled off neither of them.
You had rubber boots for rainy days and Moon boots for snowy days. Moon boots rocked. Even though I never had a pair, I just envied the cool kids that did. Of course everything old is new again, so moon boots are back in style if you want to get a pair, or you can grab this vintage pair off Etsy.
YEAH! You owned a ‘Slip-n-Slide’, on which you injured yourself on a sprinkler head more than once.Thought about buying one of these for my kids until I remembered my own personal experience with wedgies and skin getting caught on dry surfaces and face plants. Ouch. This has stood the test of time though, so of course you could get a new one, but why not grab a vintage one for the memories.
You owned ‘Klick-Klacks’ and smacked yourself in the face more than once! More dangerous than nunchucks. Can you imagine putting these things into the hands of your child today? Honestly, it’s impressive that any of us survived the 70s.
Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession. It wasn’t just the sleeping bag though. It was the lunch box, the Thermos, the t-shirts, the mugs, the candles, the books, the cards, and the purse. I mean Holly Hobbie was everything to little girls, and to be honest, I have no idea why. What did she do, aside from stand there wearing patchwork? If anyone knows, please tell me. You can get that sleeping bag here by the way.
You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers. Sadly, yes to all three for me. I don’t believe gauchos have ever had a comeback and let’s hope they never do. Just say gauch-no
You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon. This game rocked and, bonus points, it had loud beeping sounds which drove parents crazy.
You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple satiny shredded outfits, or the sunshine family. Yup. Guilty as charged. I could also never decide who was prettier, Donnie or Marie.
You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad; you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck in at least one school picture; and you despised Nellie Olson! Yes! Yes! Yes! There have been many times in my life that I felt certain I could have survived the Oregon Trail because I absorbed every Little House on the Prairie book as if it was gospel. Knowing how to make maple taffy on snow, check, grind wheat using a coffee grinder, check, use the tarp from the covered wagon to cover the house, double check. I am a survivor because of Laura Ingalls Wilder. And to this day, I can’t stand Nellie Olsen. Was there anybody more detestable?
You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends, Blueberry Muffin and Huckleberry Pie. The Prairie Parade continues with Strawberry Shortcake. There was definitely an obsession in the 70s with pinafores and bonnets.
You carried a Muppets lunch box to school and it was metal, not plastic. With the thermos, inside some were glass and broke the first time you dropped them. The Muppets rocked. Still do. Totally owned this. Still wish I did.
You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend.
No. Not really. I was more of a Hardy Boys girl. I would however faithfully gather my chips, dip, and Pop Shoppe Cream Soda every Friday night and watch them torment Boss Hogg. Also, I’ve always liked the thought of getting in the car through the window.
It was a big event in your household each year when the ‘Wizard of Oz’ would come on TV.
Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags! Sort of but those flying monkeys terrified me. I would pull the afghan my Aunt crocheted, you know the one with the zig zag pattern, over my head and watch that part through the holes. It was an equally big event when The Ten Commandments came on. Now that kept me glued to the TV. Today though, I wouldn’t last five minutes.
You often asked your Magic-8 ball the question: ‘Who will I marry. Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, or David Cassidy?’ D’uh, no I didn’t. I used to imagine they would all fight over who was going to marry me! I’m kind of thankful these were only childhood fantasies. Did you see how Leif Garrett turned out?
You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack record album.
I most certainly did. Grease especially. I played out that part when Olivia Newton-John stamps out the cigarette at least a thousand times. Maybe I should blame them for my early smoking habit?
You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker. The trick here was to have one finger on record and one on play and try to press them at the exact moment the DJ would stop talking and then shut off again before the commercials cut in. This was a real art my friends. Here’s a picture of my cousin Sherry with hers on Christmas morning. Sherry was the coolest, you can tell by the way I’m admiring her from the far left.
You learned everything you needed to know about girl issues from Judy Blume books. (Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret.) Oh my god, I remember reading these and thinking “My mother would have a kitten if she knew I was reading this”. This is probably why I loved them so. If you can get your hands on an original copy of this book, or you have one stored away, they’re worth a couple of hundred dollars now.
You thought Olivia Newton John’s song ‘Physical’ was about aerobics. It’s not about aerobics? What?
You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or rainbow designs. Yup. On my white leather running shoes. With my Pentimento or Jordache jeans.
You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer. I was more a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader wannabe, but I watched Solid Gold faithfully. I also thought Denny Terrio from Dance Fever was super cute. Oooh, oooh and remember Captain and Tenille? Sonny and Cher. Ah, the good old days of the Variety Show.
You drowned yourself in Love’s Baby Soft – which was the first ‘real’ perfume you ever owned. Were you really a child of the 70s is you didn’t have Love’s Baby Soft? I could not get enough of this stuff, even though now I’m sure the scent would gag me. Also, I look at these ads through an entirely different lens in 2023 and holy shit, this is messed up. For real, watch this ad and tell me you don’t get the heebie jeebies.
You glopped your lips in Strawberry Roll-on lip-gloss till it dripped off. (Kissing Potion, I believe it was called) Upon reflection, this was probably the beginning of my addiction to lip products. Lip balm, lipstick, lip gloss, it’s the one thing I can’t go live without.
Ah, the 70s, a decade that bestowed upon us the magic of bell-bottoms, the allure of disco balls, and the simple joy of riding bikes with banana seats. As a child of the 70s we danced to the beats of ABBA, got lost in the adventures of “The Hardy Boys,” and found comfort in the wrapped in Holly Hobbie. It was a time where our biggest dilemma was choosing between Donny and Marie or the Bay City Rollers, and where our Saturday nights often involved dancing in front of the TV to “Solid Gold.”
So, as we wrap up this trip down memory lane, I invite you to linger a little longer in the sweet memories of yesteryear. What was your quintessential “child of the 70s” moment that still instantly takes you back? Share your stories, your memories, and let’s keep the vibrant spirit of the 70s alive in our hearts and in the comments below. After all, aren’t the memories of those carefree days a treasure trove we all love to revisit?