My 1970s

My 70s

I was 13 in 1970, too young to be a hippie, and too far in the sticks to get involved in the "peace movement" even if I had been older. But I heard the slogans floating around. "Stop the war"! "Make love not war"! I was so dumb, I thought to make love rather than war was to just catagorically love everyone! To war with no-one! The idea that it was a physical mating of two individuals never crossed my mind. So the concept I bought into, hook, line, and sinker, was maybe just a little bit off what was being proclaimed by all those girls in granny dresses and fringed vests, and boys with long hair and bellbottoms. But I know I got it , in general. And buy into it I did!

I started collecting rock and roll albums, (by the late 80s I had close to 3,000!) I just knew Carol King was singing straight to me with her folk flavored compisitions the first time I heard her Tapestry album. I started hanging anything by Peter Max, (reproductions naturally), on my bedroom walls. His "Love" poster being my favorite. I made, gave away, and wore "love beads", and wore a black arm band on my right thigh when the four unarmed students at Kent State University were killed by National Guard troops. I went to see "Billy Jack", and later "The Trial of Billy Jack" at the drive-in. Cried because of how moved I was, and said "Right on!"

My emotions were completely wrapped up in the times I lived in. I was a child of the cold war at the dawning of the age of aquarius! A confusing, electric, hostile time of the Vietnam War. I remember sitting in front of the TV watching footage from the frontlines every evening on the news with my folks. It seemed to me no-one could explain what in Hell we were actually doing over there. And those young people all over the nation calling for peace, and demanding the vote, were depicted as everything from "commies" to "filthy bums", by many of the local "rednecks" I was familiar with. So my confusion grew out of a sense of injustice. Maybe the "establisment" really was the enemy.

The clothes of the 70s were great. The music was the best, (sans disco later in the decade). But the climate, the attitude was one of discontent, strife, with the bleed off from the 60s. How could the college students across the nation hope to accomplish peace in Southeast Asia, while so much violence was being perpetuated against them?

We children of the 1970s saw our president wallow in scandal due to Watergate. It may seem like small beans in today's world, but in 1973 it was a hard pill to swallow. We had to deal with an oil embargo at a time many of us were just learning to drive! We had friends with older brothers and cousins who were draft dodgers and away in Canada. And then there was Charles Manson. Who looked as much like a peace protester as a monster! So fear was there right along side the feelings of "peace, love, dove". And to be honest it was hard to know what to trust.

I luckily never witnessed any racial struggles in person. Where I went to school everyone simply got along. But the conflicts elsewhere were televised, and caused me to wonder sadly why people couldn't just live and let live. Why was the tiny little piece of the world where I lived the only place the races respected and befriended each other? I remember on hot summer afternoons, my dad going to the mailbox to meet the postman with a glass of iced tea. Our postman was black, my dad white. Why couldn't others in America just give each other a drink when thirsty? Or accept it in the vain it was given?

Looking back at the generation of my teenaged years, I see so many changes today. Styles have changed, and in many cases changed back. Politics have changed. War has changed. The way news is reported has chaged. Even fear and hope have changed. And I know life itself is change. Without change we would stagnate. But I miss the feeling inside me from the 70s. The belief that everyone could, just maybe, "Come Togerther", and "Let it Be", as voiced by the Beatles. That we might somehow learn how to get it right and learn peace. Because today, sadly, I doubt we as a nation, (or as a world), will be able to pull it off. And even though I was confused about the revolution, I feel at times that now... it lives only in me.

We worry about the economy, the environment, global politics, possible pandimics, scientific advances, (to the good, or evil of mankind), and so many other very important issues. While homelessness rises. While children go hungry. While the rich get richer, and the poor barely survive. There is no room for the ideals of the young people of the 1970s. But... where did they go? Were the covictions of all those I aspired to join merely acting on a whim of the moment? Was the Vietnam War the one and only issue that called out for peace and love? Was that a dream only comprehensive for one generation? What has happened with the vote so urgently wanted?

So I must ask myself... what can I do?

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Comments 16 comments

Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 6 years ago

Good hub and makes your wonder


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Good hub. What happened to the convictions of those from the 70s?


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Oh, Cathi-

How we seem to have been sisters. And we were not dumb, not in the least. As you pointed out, it was a confusing time, and we were 'in between' the hippies and the disco lovers. Where did we belong, exactly?

I was born in '56, graduated HS in '74 and watched Nixon resign in my senior year. What a time.

Thank you so much, Cathi, for reminding me of the wonders and the horrors of the era.

Laurel


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago Author

Thank you all! As I often look back at my younger days, I am still amazed by all the changes I have gone through, and how different the world is now! I appreciate you all reading!


quicksand profile image

quicksand 6 years ago

That was the best era for music. The Rolling Stones, Led Zep, Jethro, Chicago, Three Dog Nite, Bee Gees ... oooh! :)


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago Author

Yeah, the whole decade was lived out on a sound track. Some of those bands came out of the 60s rocked through the 70s. and on into the 80s and beyond. Thanks for reading.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

Thank you for the trip down memory lane. Well done.


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago Author

Thank you for reading!


msannec profile image

msannec 6 years ago from Mississippi (The Delta)

Excellent hub! I came along a little later, I was born in 1969. My earliest memories of the times in our country begin around the mid-70's. I remember how wondrous these times were, and I marvel at how much things have changed, right down to fundamental values and ideals. So much has become so advanced, and it seems like the convictions we had then have all but died. Thank you for reminding us of this important time in history.


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago Author

Thank you for reading, and for the thoughtful and insightful comment!


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Both of us got married near the beginning of the 1970s. People don't get married so young these days (or maybe don't get married at all). That is a big difference between then and now.


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago Author

You're right. Traditional families have become less and less common. And really ... it's a shame. Thanks for reading and commenting!


Literature Fairy profile image

Literature Fairy 5 years ago from England, UK.

I often think I should have been born in the mid to late fifties, so that i could have been a teenager in the 70's. I identify so much with that era, the fashion, the music, and the political revolution! I hate that my generation are a bunch of ignorant, lazy idiots, who care so much about reality TV and computer games than they have on pride in the world around them!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA

Cathi,

I graduated high school in 1967 (the year my wife was born!) and I was there for all these now historical times.

It's true that much of the idealism we felt then has been tattered and torn by the disappointing realities that followed, but much of what we believed in and protested and fought for is the world our children take for granted now.

I AM the Woodstock Generation and proud of it. Civil rights, gender equality and medical marijuana...just look how far we've come.

Sure there are always sinister forces at work inventing new and nefarious ways to screw it all up, but the battle never ends. It has always been thus.

We must educate our children about the way it all was and how we DID make a difference, and then hope that, for at least a part of their young lives, they will be idealistic and passionate and willing to try to make a difference too.

Pass the torch...the sangria, and the smoke.

We ain't done yet.

Peace,

CP


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 5 years ago Author

Literature Fairy, please don't give up on your generation. It is each new generation that the one before strove for. We knew you were coming, as you know you too will be followed. So learn the lessons you can with the hand you are dealt. And always embrace life with as much gladness as you can squeeze out of it. And at the same time, know it is okay to dance to the beat of your own personal tune. May peace be the journey.

Christopher, I love the determined hope and wisdom you sent in your comment! And you're right, who'd a ever "thunk" there would be legal pot anywhere, all races in the same classrooms, or intergrated neighborhoods with no-one blinking an eye, and women making important strides in the "man's" world. We have alot to be proud of. Thank you for reminding me!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I was 15 in 1970. But I looked older, tall and with facial hair. I hung out with older people because I was playing music professionally with guys in their 20s.

"Billy Jack" was a phenomenon at the time. And I collected albums, as you did. The music before disco was and is awesome. I was listening to Yes (Fragile) yesterday.

I bought into the large parts of the Hippie idea, not all of it. I didn't like the War protestors, didn't like the violent students. I did live in a commune for a while but it didn't work. Eventually, everybody figured out that a few guys were doing all the work, supported everybody, while others lay around getting high and screwing all day. Resentments and jealousies rear their heads. The drug laced dream was exactly that—a dream. A dream that is not practical in reality. But it was a good dream.

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