Hell yeah, it was a good time to be a kidI was born in 1970.
I remember hearing something about a Watergate in Washington, DC when I was ~4.
The only gate I knew about was the chain link fence on the side of our house. I thought, “That doesn’t make sense…water would just flow through it.”
I asked my mom what they were talking about, and she said, “It’s something where a bunch of people got caught doing something they weren’t supposed to do, and then they lied about it.”
“So did they open the watergate when they weren’t supposed to?”
“That is a better explanation than I have heard from anybody…”
“Well, that’s bad.”
“You’re right, that was bad! So don’t do stuff you aren’t supposed to and don’t lie and you won’t get into trouble.”
I grew up in a small town south of Fort Worth. A lot of things were blurry, not because it was so long ago but because I needed glasses but didn’t know it until 1983.
-Bad clothes for the most part.
-Good Outlaw Country
-I knew several old people who were born in the 19th century.
-We rode our bikes or roller skated constantly.
-We “chopped” our bikes to make them look like chopper motorcycles. Dad could weld, so he made us really cool-looking long forks and high handle bars for our Schwinns.
-Willie and Waylon and the Boys.
-People were afraid of my dad because he had a very neatly trimmed beard and rode a Harley, even though his hair was short and he wasn’t in a gang.
-We all had BB guns. By the time you were twelve to thirteen, you graduated to a 410 shotgun or a 22 rifle—usually single-shot. It never crossed our mind to shoot another person, but we were Hades on cans and crude homemade paper targets. Kenny, who lived around the corner, shot birds constantly until my dad told him to stop, psyching him out that he was breaking some kind of hunting law. Dad wasn’t against hunting, but he was against indiscriminate killing of animals for no reason.
-We rode in the backs of trucks (that went on until the 90’s!)
-Charlie’s Angels and Fantasy Island and All In The Family and Sanford & Son
-My Beagle (Lady) was my best friend, but was never allowed in the house unless there was snow or ice on the ground. We had a lot of adventures in the back yard.
-Peter Seller in the Pink Panther movies
-The original cast of SNL. I didn’t get half the jokes then.
-My aunt gave me a cheap little pocket knife when I was 4 or 5. My dad’s best friend gave me a good knife when I was 9. I still have both of them. We all carried pocket knives or fixed-blade knives to school, even when I was in high school in the 1980’s. Nobody thought about using it as a weapon.
-The high school had a smoking area for students—it wasn’t closed until the end of 1984, (halfway through my freshman year)
-Poorly edited/censored highly inappropriate movies (violence, sex) shown at 9:00 on the local independent TV station (channel 11). I got sent to bed pretty often less than ten minutes into these films.
-Walked to school or rode my bike to school from second grade. It was about a mile.
-KISS and Alice Cooper were the weirdest thing we’d ever seen on TV. I thought that *had* to be the most hardcore music, like death metal or something…then I heard them and thought, “That’s not nearly as wild as I thought it would be!”
-Roger Moore (the worst Bond) Bond movies on ABC two or three times a year.
-The Dallas Cowboys, especially Too Tall Jones, Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett. Randy White was the most fearsome man I’d ever seen on TV, but one of the nicest guys I ever met in person. Of course, we hated the Steelers.
-Joe Walsh was the coolest guy I ever heard on the radio.
-I saw my first in-person punk rocker in Dallas in 1978/9. Green Mohawk hair and a studded leather jacket. He literally stopped traffic just walking down the sidewalk, because nobody had ever seen such a thing in person.
-Steve Martin was a wild and crazy guy.
-Mom and Dad let my older brother and I walk to the Homecoming Football game by ourselves—about a mile and an half away. We walked home alone in the dark. We were seven and thirteen.
-Dad often had a beer between his legs while driving.
-Tom T. Hall
-People who smoked did it everywhere.
-The Von Erichs!
-The Armadillo World Headquarters was talked about a lot, but it seemed like a mythical place because my parents weren’t gonna drive halfway across the state to take us to a Honky Tonk.
-Iranian Hostage Crisis and people putting signs in the back of their car/truck window with Mickey Mouse flipping the bird and the caption, “Hey, Iran!”
-I vaguely remember Nixon, remember Ford better and definitely remember Carter (first-hand memories).