I never thought the day would come when I’d say, “Wish I could go back to my childhood”. I seemed to spend my youth willing the years away until I was an adult. Being a grown-up would surely mean an abundance of money, not being hounded to clean up my bedroom and, basically, doing whatever I wanted, with no one to answer to. Well, that was the naivety of a kid’s mind. If only life was as simple as when I was young – the days when mortgages and multi-tasking were words from a foreign language!
I wish I could return to the 70s and 80s when all I had to worry about was getting back from school in time to watch the Flintstones! Here’s a glimpse of our precious past. I’m sure you’ll remember these images as if they were from yesterday.
1 Training Bra
Why the hell did they call it that? It put, even more, embarrassment on us. It was bad enough going to the store with mom to get a bra, never mind the whole queue knowing it was your first. I went bright red at my first purchase and it was made worse by the fact the smallest size was too big for me, so I stuffed tissues down it!
When my friends used to discuss what size bra they were wearing, I had no alternative but to lie through my teeth. I felt I would otherwise be bullied or left out. Strange how something like that could affect your early teenage years.
2 Patterned Soap
Most households would have had at least one bar of patterned or picture soap. It was probably stored at the back of a drawer or cabinet, after being received as an unwanted gift! In fact, I was guilty of buying such a soap for a friend’s birthday, along with an unknown brand of talc. Well, it was cheap!
Especially around Christmas, these soaps were all over the place, in gift sets or in packs of 3. They were almost as boring as scented bath cubes – do you agree?
3 The Streak
Each of the 3 verses starts with a news reporter, played by Stevens, commenting on a streaking incident, trying to interview a witness, who also turn out to be the same person, played by, you guessed it, Ray Stevens. The video was much more entertaining than the record.
I don’t think he could get away with releasing a record like that any more. The same would go for Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-A-Ling”. It would be wrong on so many levels. Has the world gone mad now? Are we over-sensitive or have we lost our sense of humour and left it stuck in the 70s?
4 Card Games
There was nothing I liked better, on a rainy day, than to get out a selection of card games and try and beat my opponent. My favorite was Old Maid followed by Happy Families. Some of those families had names that were certainly not politically correct – I’m sure you know what Im talking about, without me having to spell it out!
We would have about a dozen games and never tire of playing it. The loser had to put the cards back neatly in the pack. It was a 2 minute job but always caused an argument.
5 Whip ‘n’ Top
They say the old ones are the best and this was certainly old. I can just about remember chalking the top of the spinner with different colors so, when you whipped it with the stick, you had created a lovely pattern, as it went round.
The stick had a thin leather strap for whipping (it was innocent, honestly !) and, when it eventually snapped, we usually replaced it with a shoelace, which didn’t have as good an effect.
Also known as Chinese skipping, this was quite a skilful game. We would either use a long piece of elastic, from a roll or, if we were desperate, we would join loads of thick elastic bands together. Two of the participants would face each other a few feet apart, positioning the elastic so it was taut around the ankles. The jumper would jump in and out, doing various moves. The height of the elastic goes up until it is up to their shoulders. Most times, the jumper manages this height. We often did this in the playground and it was very popular, mainly with the girls.
The height of the elastic goes up, until it is up to their shoulders. Most times, the jumper manages this height. We often did this in the playground and it was very popular, mainly with the girls.
7 Friendship Pins
These safety pins were really cool. I’d use the gold colored pins and load them with tiny beads, Then I’d attach them to backpacks and purses. They became friendship pins when you gave them to, or traded them with, friends and classmates.
I gave away many, many more than I ever received so I worked out that the more I made and handed out, then surely someone would reciprocate.
8 Candy Cigarettes
It was cool and grown up to smoke. If you were a child growing up in the 70s, especially, this statement wouldn’t have made you even bat an eyelid. Pop stars and movie icons were often seen, poised with a cigarette and so us kids wanted to follow suit. Candy cigarettes allowed us to live out the fantasy, without striking a match.
I would pretend to inhale and puff out pretend smoke, before devouring the candy stick. Manufacturers stopped painting the orange bit on the end, making it look less like a lit cigarette, as it became apparent that real cigarettes were a health risk.
Not that we had much use for suitcases in our household – it was a rare occasion to go on holiday. Our cases were mainly used when we were visiting relatives in another State. Dad would get down these cumbersome, hard, colored suitcases, which always had newspaper as a lining.
It was a squash to get them into our family car. Sometimes, me or one of my sisters would have to sit on it for the long journey and it always caused arguments.
10 Final Net
Some say this was the best hairspray, whilst others swore by Aqua Net. Anyway, they both had amazing hold, whatever hairstyle we were wearing. In fact, the hold was so great that it took a good comb through to release the strands of hair. When I was sporting the Farah Fawcett look, I used to borrow mom’s to keep my curls facing outwards, just like Charlie’s Angel!
The unscented version came out a bit later and thank goodness for it as the scented one often made my scalp itchy. Sometimes I would take the hairspray to school and re-apply it so much, my hair became like two wings at each side of my head!
11 Pocketvision 3
1985 was a year we couldn’t forget as it was the year Pocketvision 3 was invented. This compact TV allowed us to watch all our favorite programs for up to 10 hours on 4 small batteries. This was technology at its highest and it was the must have gadget. I desperately wanted one, but as money was tight in our house, it didn’t happen straight away. We ended up getting one to share with me and my sister and brother.
We drew up a rota as to when each of us could use it. I still remember the arguments we had about the Pocketvision. As with all gadgets, once the novelty had worn off, we were looking at the new, next best thing.
12 Fairground Ride
When I first went on a ride like this, I would have been 13 or 14 and, to be honest, I thought I would die!! I never expected the bottom was going to drop down and I screamed for dear life. When I got off the ride, which I thought was never going to happen, I felt as sick as a dog. However, I did venture on again, a while later, and starts to actually enjoy it.
We never had the stringent safety measures in force, back then. It’s a wonder there weren’t loads more accidents! These days, I’m a real scaredy-cat and leave the rides to my kids. I might go on the waltzing teacups but that’s my limit!