Growing up in the 1970s was less complicated than today

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

If you still have an old transistor radio in the closet somewhere, you must have grown up in the 1970s.

If you still listen to records and have a stereo deck with a cassette player in it, you must have grown up in the ‘70s.

If you have fond memories of watching daytime reruns of TV sitcoms like “Bewitched”, “That Girl”, “Green Acres” and “Petticoat Junction,” you must have grown up in the ‘70s.

If you belonged to the Columbia Record Club, and so on… . It was a perfect decade to grow up in, from entering it in my early teen years to finishing it with a college degree and a job.

There were problems, of course, there always are, no matter when or where one matures. The Vietnam War was still raging in the first part of the decade, and those of us winding our way through high school were rooting that it would end before we got to be draft age.

Then they did away with the draft, and the war ended.

Twice we had trouble buying gas because of the Arab boycotts, but for the most part, we had no trouble fueling our junker gas guzzlers – in my case, a 1968 Buick Skylark with a 350 V8 engine that got on its best days nine miles per gallon.

The hippy movement was still going strong. I wasn’t into it, but some of it rubbed off, like not being materialistic. If it hadn’t, I would have chosen a field other than writing to make a living.

Not that writing has not been good to me. We have had a good run with The Bulletin, and there is more running to come. And I enjoyed working for daily newspapers before we started this paper.

But in the early days, right after college, I wasn’t exactly in the money. My small reporter paycheck barely covered my basic needs.

At the start of my career, an engineer buddy happened to mention how much he was being paid, and complained that it wasn’t enough. Compared to what I was making, it was an exorbitant amount. I could have lived well on half of it.

But it was the ‘70s. We didn’t need a lot of money to have a good time.

I still have records and cassettes, and I still listen to albums I bought in the ‘70s. It was a much simpler time technologically. We didn’t have cell phones, could barely afford the long-distance calls, used a paper map to find our way and even asked for directions. And we had no Internet.

We did have pinball machines and these fancy new electronic games called Pac-Man and Pong. But I wasn’t that good playing any of them.

I watched President Nixon’s resignation on a small black and white TV in the staff lounge of a summer camp, where I worked for seven summers – from my second year in high school to the end of my college days.

We had no locks on the cabin doors and never worried about anything bad happening. We took airline flights every now and then somewhere and were not that concerned about security.

We rode on trains and buses without once giving any thought about some nut shooting up the place because he was having a bad day or was ditched by his girlfriend.

We went to school without thinking that our safety might be in jeopardy just because we were getting an education.

Now, back to today’s news. Another shooting at another school….

It’s not supposed to be this way.