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In 1971 Things Were Different Than They Are Today - Not Better or Worse

Updated on August 23, 2017
Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.

Remember when:

As we get older it becomes easier and easier to look back over the early years of our lives and only remember the good things. Some may say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But I suspect it is more accurate to say the grass is always greener the further you get away from the fence

Those teenage years. That unique time of life when we experience the highest ratio of freedom to lack of responsibility we will ever enjoy. You are beginning to venture beyond the reach of your parents, but you have few if any of the burdens of responsibility that characterize adulthood. It's easy to look back and long for those days. But before we que the violins and unleash the child within to roam among our cherished memories, allow me to remind you of some of the harsh realities of that simpler time, which for me was the early 1970s.

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this hub is to make us feel good about where we are now - not to send us looking for the nearest ledge.

In 1971 the big technological breakthrough in the office was correct-o-type to erase mistakes on your typewriter, or more specifically the sheet of paper and possibly carbon paper over a second sheet of paper in your typewriter. Typewriters were electric, at least most of them. If a document had to be free of any corrections, you probably had to start over several times.

Most families had a color television and might have two. But they remembered having only black and white, if they didn't still have one. Oh, and there were only three channels, and you only saw full-length, commercial-free movies in the theater.

Gasoline was less than fifty cents a gallon, but they were just building interstate highways. Seatbelts were optional, and there was a national campaign to curb the common practice of throwing trash out the car window.

If you got cancer, you died.

You could get a laugh with a joke about beating your wife.

Nobody had ever heard of a microwave oven, a home computer, owning a copy of your favorite movie, or any kind of mail other that what you sent or received via the mailbox in front of your house.

College cost about $3,000 a year. And most everybody finished in four years.

We lost fifty thousand in Vietnam in half the time we've been in Afghanistan.

You could buy a brand new corvette for $4,000, and it was common place for a person to buy a new car every two years. But you'd be lucky to make $12,000 in your first job out of college.

Everybody subscribed to the newspaper because there wasn't anything else. Well, we did have news magazines that came once a week by mail or on the newstand. If you missed the national evening news, your next shot at it was 7 a.m. the next morning.

Presidents, presidential candidates, and social reformers got killed, sometimes on live television.

Everybody knew who you were talking about if you mentioned seeing Johnny or Walter last night.

You dressed up to fly on an airplane, but they crashed more often than they do today.

Girls wore dresses to school.

Stores were closed on Sunday.

There was this new thing called pantyhose so you no longer had to deal with garter belts.

Eight-track tapes were being replaced with cassettes. If you were really keeping up with the times in sound systems, you had reel to reel tapes.

"Bridge Over Troubled Waters" was new.

People smoked everywhere.

What have I missed?


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    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Roger that.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      If we are really friends, then please don't search too hard. :)

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      And we were friends even way back then! Searching for pix of you in bellbottoms!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Nehru jackets and obnoxious bell bottoms, often in an unearthly electric lime green! :(

      Youth oriented worship music and bands playing at the Sunday evening service in Baptist churches.

      Things with VELCRO on them - developed for military applications and then applied to consumer products.

      The "Day Old Bread Store." Outlet Stores in general.

      Stockings and knee highs in any patterns and colors.

      Great fun Hub and SHARING.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Welcome to my hubs flower child, I mean, Green Lotus. Thanks for commenting.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Nicely done. It all seems like yesterday and I remember thinking that my generation would create peace in the world. Im thankful for the strides in technology and medicine, but Im still a bit of a flower child inside.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Welcome Justsilvie! Wasn't it just yesterday? Whenever my 31 year old daughter finds dresses she doesn't like in a store, she asks, "Why won't the 70s go away?"

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Hub!

      I remember owning a Granny Dresses, short shorts became Hot pants, and the short girls dream come true, Platform shoes, in assorted colors were in my closet. Funny it seems like this was just yesterday.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks for joining in!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I so enjoyed reading through this hub and had a good chuckle over some of your mentions. I love your disclaimer. I remember when people thought cancer was contagious by touching and avoided people who had it. I am so thankful for the computer and glad we don't have to use those clunky typewriters. Voted up!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I'd forgotten some of those. Thanks for the contribution and welcome to my hubs.

    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 

      6 years ago from Bantam, CT

      Thank you both, Kathleen and Wayne. Here's a few more.

      Women's Consciousness Raising Groups were big.

      Hospitals were just beginning to offer pregnant women Lamaze classes and a midwife was someone who practiced out in the hills.

      Communes and Political Houses were big, where people lived together in order to change the culture or go march for Civil Rights.

      Gays and Lesbians were just beginning to come out.

      An able-bodied man could get welfare. (The late 1960s and early 1970s, and the 1930s are the only times the welfare rolls have expanded, apparently due to government fear of civil unrest.)

      People mostly died in hospitals or nursing homes. Hospice was still in the future.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Groovy! Thanks for playing Wayne!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Bias-Ply Tires were still in vogue.

      John Fogerty was fronting Creedence Clearwater Revival

      Santana was new to the music scene with "Black Magic Woman"

      Elvis was not long for this world

      The Beatles as a group were history

      "Mod" was a form of dress employing paisley, plaid, bright colors and big long colors

      The "Leisure Suit" was in style.

      Merle Haggard was in his prime.

      The Space Shuttle had not yet flown though man had been to the moon.

      The Cold War was still in full swing.

      Inflation hit double digits.

      Interest rates hit double digits

      A peanut farmer was president

      "Billy Beer" was invented.

      There's few more for ya! A fun read...thanks much! WB


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