I was recently invited by an old family friend to join a nostalgic Facebook group – Willowdale in the 70s. The group is based on the suburb I grew up in Willowdale, Ontario and it’s a fun page taking a look back at the days of our teenagedom growing up in the 70s. So many fun and nostalgic posts on ‘remember this?’. As a memoir writer one can see how attractive this invitation was to liaise with people who grew up in the same era and area together, and many who went to my same schools.
Whodathunk how much fun it is to laugh and commune with others who’ve experienced the same things in a time back in school days from looking at images of swings lifting us high toward the sky where the swing posts lifted up out of the ground the higher we went as we reached for that sky, to contraptions of yesteryear – all great conversation starters and a feeling of comradery with others who lived the same. It’s amazing how a single photo of a simple step stool or plastic wrapped couches can stir up so many memories.
What a gift to be able to grow up as a teenager in the 70s and to be able to spend my 20s – the 80s, lost in some of the best music of our times, big hair, shoulder pads and fearless freedom. A time when we didn’t lock our doors , and cars left running for a quick hop into the local convenience store. Everything is locked now, even our cars as we fill up our own gas tanks.
The brazen girl of the past got me through so much in my younger years. I was unstoppable, daring and not afraid of much – a glaring opposite to how the years have changed me to a more cautious person rather than my old tossing caution out of the window. This group reminds me of those days when working in an office became unchallenging, and I went from a desk job to a salesperson traveling around my province by car, alone, despite weather conditions or distance. I traveled to towns that sometimes weren’t even on a map – and Ontario is no small province. Heck, I even blew the transmission in my first car from the over-spinning tires from my many daring accelerations when desperate to get out of snow piles with no aid in sight.
Wow, I shake my head just remembering some of the crazy things I’ve done. I know I certainly have lost some of the chutzpah I used have back then to get by in life. Traveling to Greece alone for a 3-month sabbatical from life was just another brave thing I did as a young woman of 25 in the mid 80s. Where did I get my gumption? And where has it gone?
But I digress, there’s just something warm and fuzzy about revisiting the past with a page full of images of gizmos that no longer exist, save for the things we kept or passed on to youngsters, or those that have yet to ever be opened, collecting dust in the back of a storage shelf; gifts which once brought us so much joy. And the people, the people who were all there, felt the same pleasure, heroically did the same stunts on their banana seat bikes, played with their Easy Bake Ovens and never wore watches or had cell phones when we played outside. The darkness setting in and the street lights coming on was our clock, letting us know it was time to retreat to inside the house until tomorrow. So many tomorrows as we look back on yesterday.