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In the Year 1977

Updated on February 27, 2012

10 out of 30

My youngest daughter is Graduating this coming June. Looking back to the year 1977 when I graduated High School I am taken back to a simpler time in my life and the numerous changes that have transpired since then. Look below and see some of the changes that have taken place in the past 35 years.

The legal age was changed from 21 years old to 18 years old. I was one of the 1st in my class to be of legal age and was able to vote. That's when the peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy Carter became the US President

For the first time in United States history oils flows through the Tran Alaskan Oil Pipeline.

Elvis Presley dies of a heart attack at the young age of 42. Though he has passed away Elvis will forever remain The King.

The cost of living then and now:

1977 the inflation rate was 6.8% -- today it's 2.93% if you're going by the inflation rates as they are today then the economy should be better off it would seem.

The year end Dow Jones in 1977 was an average of 831 and as of today the rate is 13000 -- not positive what that means but I do know that over the years the Dow Jones have taken quite a few hits.

The average cost of buying a house has risen from $49,300 to $142,900. Of course that is the average across the US but that rate can be different from state to state and from town to town or city to city. Just imagine though, back in 1977 houses basically cost what a luxury car costs today. The normal rent in 1977 was $240.00 a month. Compare that to today's rent for a decent apartment are going for from $950 to $1050 for a 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom. The high end apartments go anywhere from $1300 to 1600. I know, I'm in the process of checking the costs for when I move this coming July and am amazed at the asking prices. These prices are for units never mind the cost for townhouses, duplex, two families and single family homes. Of course I can understand if these are privately owned because they have to figure in what it costs them and add a bit to cover possible repairs that may be necessary. The average home owner has the mortgage, taxes, insurance, water and sewer to figure in if they choose to rent. And if it's a townhouse or condo they also have the association fee on top of all that.

The minimum wage then was $2.35 per hour and today it's $5.15. The average income per year was $15,000.00 and now is approximately $49,445.00. Of course this will differ from state to state. They also say in the news that there has been a drop in the average household over the past 10 years due to inflation. The cost of living increases has put a dent in what the average person brings home. The average income is based off what is made before taxes, social security and medicare, that is about $250 taken out of my take home pay each week. That on top of my medical benefits of $79..97 means that I have $329.87 a week comes out of my take home pay. I take home roughly $800.00 every two weeks. In fact, from last year to this year my take home went down because my medical cost went up. I lost $40.00 a week based off this time last year.

We all know that the cost of food has increased. Between the average cost and the cost for eating healthy food has risen dramatically over the past few years. As has the cost of gas, cigarettes and pretty much everything else. The cost of milk per gallon went from $1.25 in 1977 to $2.89, bread was $.96 with today's average being $2.00 if you purchase a name brand. I buy the store brand which is anywhere from $.99 to $1.25 depending on which store brand I purchase. Gas in 1977 went for $.65 a gallon, a $3.00+ increase or more in some areas. What about cigarettes? Can you imagine that they went from $.36 cents a pack up to $9.50 or more in some areas. Is it really worth the money or for that matter the health risks?

Now, I've done some research via Google and found some major events that occurred in 1977. They seems surmountable then yet in comparison to what we've experience since then not so much. Here's what I found out.

New York City survived a black out that lasted 25 hours. On July 13th between 8:30pm and July 14th @ 10:39pm there were lightening strikes at 3 locations, power loss from Indian Point nuclear plant.The loss of the transformer caused overloads in others and resulted in more outages. Con Edision who provided power to New York at that time tried to start fast - start generation which with no one manning the station at that location the start failed. Not only did the outage effect thousands of homes, it caused both LaGuardia & Kennedy airports to close for 8 hours. They also were daunted with the task of evacuating 4000 people for the subways. All television stations in New York City were off the air. I remember the headlines this created and the utter chaos they had to deal with. Between the homes and business affected by the issues this caused the local authorities had to deal with looting and crowd control. There was wide spread looting, vandalism and arson. Approx. 1600 stores were damaged during the outage and 550 police offers were injured trying to bring about civil order. They arrested 4500 looters. I recall that after they finally restored the power on July 14th @ 10:39pm.

165 people die in Beverly Hills Supper Club fire on May 28th 1977. This is considered the 3rd deadliest nightclub fire in US History. There were over 200 injured as a result of this fire. Apparently the fire went undetected for quite some time. The moment is was discovered the fire department was called and the first fire engine was there within 3 minutes. However the night club was over crowding, not enough fire exits, no firewalls, no sprinkler system or fire alarm. In fact in June 2011 there were 30 boxes of slides that were taken the day after the fire and weren't accessible to the public. As per the Freedom of Information Act they were ordered to return those slides to the Ky state archives for public accessibility. In fact, a busy boy and eye witness stated that they were kept private because they indicated there were unethical wiring, timers and other devices in the basement. It's believe this could possibly have been arson and would then be considered a mass murder. I know there were numerous lawsuits though I have no information on the outcomes.

On January 3rd, 1977 Apple Computer incorporated by Steve Jobs and Steve Woznia. On April 16th the new Apple II included a case, keyboard, power supply, nearly all you needed except for a screen. This was introduced at the West Coast Computer Faire. On June 5th it goes on sale anywhere from $1298 to 2638 depending on the installed memory. Just look at how far Apple has come from 1976 to 2012. Steve Jobs has become an icon in the technological industry from the sale of that first computer, to the creation of the Ipod, Ipad and iphone. His genius lives on. More on the apple computer later.

In 1977 our President was Jimmy Carter. -- Who granted pardons to the American Draft dodgers during the Vietnam War period. Today it's Baarack Obama, in fact when he was elected he made history not for only being elected President, for being the first black person elected President. This is something I never expected to see in my life time and I am very proud that I was alive to witness this moment in history. The Medal of Freedom was awarded posthumously to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Amnesty International. Seattle Slew becomes only the 10th horse to win Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The World Trade Center in New York, is completed and as we all know in 2001 they fell to the hands of terrorist. The US Population reaches 216 million and today it's nearly 3.3 Million. Voyager I and Voyager II are launched unmanned to explore the outer solar system. NASA space shuttle makes its first test flight off the back of a jetliner.

Now, here's comes the Pop Culture. See where we were then to where we are now. Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols were dumped by their record company EMI. Star Wars opened in Cinemas and we lined up for hours. The mini series " Roots " on ABC winning top audience figures and 9 Emmy's. Punk rock seemed to take over for awhile with such groups and individual singers like the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Clash, Elvis Costello, The Stranglers and the Sex Pistol, who's lead singer Sid Vicious murdered his girlfriend Nancy Sturgen and eventually overdoses. Films that caught our attention in 1977 were, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Rocky, Smokey and the Bandit, A Star Is Born, Saturday Night Fever, King Kong, The Deep, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Annie Hall. The songs and or singers that top our chart and got our attention, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder with " I Wish ", The Eagles with " Hotel California", The Bee Gees with " How Deep is your love , Barbra Streisand, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney & Wings and Hot Chocolate. In tv land today we have been inundated with reality shows back in 1977 it was nothing but laughter and tears, Love Boat, Soap, Eight is Enough, Name That Tune, Chips, Lou Grant, Circus With The Stars and The Incredible Hulk. The following stars were born in 1977, Orlando Bloom, Shakira & Sarah Michelle Geller.


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