My, how parenting has changed over the decades. I’m certain I am creating all sorts of insightful adult therapy moments for my children, and that’s without even trying. I was reminded of how insane the 1970’s were when writing the post where I revealed that my mother kept bowls of fresh cigarettes in every social room of our house. Shut up. A bouquet of cigarettes can be just as festive as flowers. I don’t recall any bowled fresh cigarettes in my sister’s bedroom or mine, but there are a lot of things I don’t remember about my childhood. I do remember the following, some of which still seem unbelievable:

Surviving Childhood in the 1970’s

  • My mother smoked in the car. Yum.
  • When my mother smoked in the car, she cracked the car window 3/4 of an inch if I was lucky. I would get nauseated from the second-hand smoke build-up as an involuntary back seat passenger. If I complained, she hand-cranked the window down another 1/4 inch.
  • Dad became highly annoyed at me when I gagged after eating a pocket of fat gristle from my grilled steak. “Just eat it!”
  • Porn was delivered to our house in brown paper packaging.
  • Ours was a “clean your plate” household and I was a maddeningly picky eater. I recall many nights where I was made to sit at the table for hours until I consumed whatever atrocity I was expected to eat.
  • Here a can. There a can. Everywhere a can, can. Canned food is great when you want to prepare for the zombie apocalypse but it renders any food canned into something that is fun to squish between your fingers, like snot. Canned asparagus. Canned pears. Canned fruit cocktail before they added cherries. Canned peas. Canned green beans. Canned hominy. Canned pasta. Canned Campbell’s soup. Canned peaches. For years I didn’t know they made these foods fresh.
  • Why apply sunscreen when you can bake in the sun using iodine mixed with baby oil? It was beside the point of tanning if you used sunscreen.
  • Infant car seats were when your dad maybe put a lap belt over you. I remember reminding my parents to wear seat belts, which they only occasionally did.
  • Drinking and driving was frowned upon, but commonplace.
  • My dad sometimes picked up hitchhikers when I was in the car with him.
  • Sometimes we didn’t lock our doors.
  • Kids played outside, after dark.
  • I was allowed to wander by myself in the neighborhood when I was 5 years old.
  • When we had a question about anything, we had to “ask people” instead of googling it.
  • My parents bought a set of encyclopedias, which I looked at twice for a book report, and then never again.
  • Without cell phones, you could actually be untraceable for hours because no one knew for sure where you were.
  • You had to pay attention to where you were going because there was no GPS safety net in your pocket.
  • We never wore helmets, ever, for any reason. Maybe on a motorcycle on the highway, but even that wasn’t a certainty.

What did you survive from your 1970’s childhood?