Why I Gave My Daughter a 1970’s Summer



If you’re like me, you crave simplicity. The kind of pleasures we had when we were kids growing up in the 1970’s. No bike helmets, no seatbelts, no food allergies, no DVR’s and no mobile devices, no worries and no restraints {unless your mom was mine and she used a pink leather leash on you when you were one-years-old, but that’s another story.}

The 70’s were amazing. We rode our bikes all over, all day long. Occasionally we came home to get a snack like a soda pop and some Cheetos. Maybe a Twinkie or a Hostess Cupcake {you know the chocolate ones with the pretty white swirls on top?} When it was dinnertime, our mom yelled our name and our sibling’s names out the window until eventually one of us showed up. Then she asked where the others were and you were sent on a mission to find them if they didn’t return. Your guess was as good as hers, but eventually they turned up. After dinner we were told to come home “when the streetlights” came on.

When it came to TV, we didn’t have cable television or even a VCR. We had “appointment television,” meaning if you wanted to watch something you better be home at the time it was scheduled or you were never going to see it.  Never. Ever.

We played board games not video games. We ate dinner together as a family, at home. We used a rotary phone with a 12 -inch cord, forcing us to stand in the kitchen talking on the phone for the entire family to hear until our legs got so tired we had to hang up. No privacy and no texting, or for that matter, walking and talking.

We are Generation X and we are a product of the 70’s. At some point, this simplicity, this togetherness, it wasn’t enough for us. We craved more and we made a decision that our kids were not going to grow up in the simple ways we did. And now, ironically, it’s the simplicity we crave, the simplicity I wanted my daughter to experience, so we went back to the 1970’s this summer.

Because in today’s world if you wanted a Barbie Dream House and never got one, you made sure your daughter has two. You probably have cable {unless you recently got rid of it seeking, you know, simplicity} and in fact have multiple “boxes” around the house. “Appointment television” now means an appointment with your DVR whenever you want.

You haven’t played a board game in years and your kid doesn’t know what one is because they have their own mobile device, playing video games to their hearts content. Who has time to menu plan, grocery shop and cook? So you may eat out a lot. Still angry about the rotary phone and its too short cord, you gave your 6-year-old a cell phone.

Our kids now ride their bikes with helmets and supervision; we know that not wearing a seatbelt in the car is dangerous, and soda pop, Cheetos and Hostess Cupcakes have moved from snack du jour to snack du never. Now we know better, so some things changed for the better. But with change, life got very busy, cluttered and over-stimulated.

We are slowly realizing some things didn’t need to change at all. Because what I realized about our 1970’s summer, was that it had less to do with the 70’s and more to do about giving my daughter a childhood. A simple and worry free childhood, regardless what decade she was born. And we enjoyed it so much, we’re having a 1970’s Fall as well.




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