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Memoir Byte: – Reminiscences of the 70s and 80s – Fun and Fearless

 

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.

 

Willowdale 70s Greg Melanson
Thanks to Greg Melanson for creating and sharing this image

 

Whodathunk how much fun it is to laugh and commune with others who experienced the same things in a time back in school days from seeing 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.

 

girl on a swing

 

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?

 

cherish the past

 

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 store; 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.

 

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

36 Comments

  • Stevie Turner

    Sam and I always say we were lucky to have grown up in the 1970s. We escaped WWI and WWII, and we had total freedom to roam about as kids in the 1960s. There was no online bullying because we didn’t have mobile phones or computers, and we grew up self-reliant and able to make our own decisions. I look back with fondness to the 1970s, and sometimes wish I could turn the clock back!

    • dgkaye

      I know exactly what you mean Stevie. That’s why I so enjoy this group with people who all grew up the same. It was a different era – a good time for childhoods. 🙂 x

  • Adele Marie Park

    The 70’s for me were perfection. Growing up on the island, we didn’t get electricity pylons until the 70’s so we all had generators. I still find it difficult to sleep without that thrum. Watching Top of The Pops and laughing at Tommy and Adeline’s comments and laughter. I will always remember Tommy calling Alice Cooper “Witchy” ,and all the glam, oh the glam. T Rex, Slade, Showaddy Waddy, Wizard I could go on and on. lol. My bike I went everywhere on it and fell off it a few more times than I should have, damn dyspraxia. lol I hope the link works, it’s the Sweet Ballroom Blitz, I loved this band. <3

    https://youtu.be/ewFBuYHldeY

    • dgkaye

      Loved reading your reply Sis! Oh yes, no doubts, the best era! And who didn’t love Alice Cooper???????? – Welcome to my Nightmare, lol Hugs <3 thanks for the link too. xox

  • Jim Borden

    what a great trip down memory lane. I’m guessing I’m a few years older than you, but those were great years to be growing up. Have you written about your 3-month sabbatical to Greece – sounds quite intriguing. And I’ll have to say the music from the 70s was the best… 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Jim. Something about those 70s, even the new generation loves that music. And yes, I’ve included a few stories from that experience across a few of my books, but in particular, there’s a chapter about it in my first book, Conflicted Hearts. 🙂

  • Vashti Q

    Wow! That’s so cool. I wish I could find a group who grew up in the same era and area that I did. That would be so much fun. Thanks for sharing this, Debby! 😀 xo

  • Debbie D.

    The older we get, the more nostalgic we become, I think. Our memories give us a warm glow. 🙂 You’ve had some great adventures, Debby. Three months in Greece! Can’t get better than that. 💖 It took courage to drive all over Ontario by yourself, especially in the winter. We were just talking about the 70s on Facebook earlier today. Such fun times!

    • dgkaye

      So true Deb. I do believe the older we get the more nostalgic we become, especially in the volatile world we live in today, giving us more reason to pine for the good old days sometimes. <3

  • Annika Perry

    Debby, there is a lot to be said for not knowing any better! To feel totally free and not worry! Your sense of joy in revisiting these years with your new online friends shines through, as does the reflection of times gone. However, as for losing your gumption!! That is so not true! As you write ‘ So many tomorrows as we look back on yesterday.’ … living life just as it should be!

    I was a child in the 80s and loved all the American programs… I still have the tape I made from all the theme music I made of them all.

    A great post, my friend! 😀

  • Diana Peach

    I grew up in the same era, Debby. Your post brought up so many memories of my youth as well. Though I wouldn’t want to do it again the same way, it is fun to reminisce. I wouldn’t mind reliving the exhilaration of youth and that feeling of carefree adventure with all of life ahead of me.

  • Hugh W. Roberts

    What a lovely trip back to the past, Debby.

    I’ve heard it said so often that we should never look back, but should only ever look forward. However, looking back at the past can bring back so many happy memories (like the ones mentioned in your post). Why let those memories go when they can bring us so much warmth, comfort and put a smile on our face?

    I always love to think back to the Christmases of the 1970s before my parents separated. Of course, at this time of the year, those memories come flooding back, but I love travelling back to that time at any time of the year.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for sharing some of yourself here Hugh. I know the old saying, but I apply that to the ‘spilled milk’ syndrome. I don’t look back on what I shoulda woulda coulda done, but nothing wrong with reminiscing over the good times. 🙂 xx

      • Hugh W. Roberts

        I agree, Debby. Now, if only we could do that with the bad memories of our future? But then, when does a memory become a memory? Are our memories only ever born in our past? As you can see, your post has me thinking.

        • dgkaye

          Lol, good points Hugh. And yes, I can see exactly where you’re writing mind is going with this, lol. But if you’re asking. I believe we have incarnated from previous lives, so when something unfamiliar suddenly feels so familiar, I believe that familiarity comes from another life. Is that confusing? Lol <3

          • Hugh W. Roberts

            No, not confusing at all, Debby. I’ve written and published a post about a previous life I believe I had. However, I didn’t make it clear in the post. It got a lot of reaction, although I do still firmly believe that I have no idea what happens to us when we pass away. Now, how confusing that that sound?

  • Deborah Jay

    Ah, the 70s. People now look back with derision on the fashion, the lifestyle, the latter days of the hippie era. If only they’d lived then! I will always believe the 79s were just the best time to be a teenager, for the freedoms you mention, and the drive to explore and experiment. Younger people have NO idea what a thrilling time it was to grow up in. I’m so glad it was MY teen era, I wouldn’t change it for any other.
    ❤️

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    I felt your enthusiasm Debby and remember well those years way back in the 70’s my own late teen years, and I smiled at not having watches or phones, our own home didn’t have a phone, most of the village used the local telephone box. And yes we played out until our stomachs told us it was tea-time..
    I
    You dear Debby were braver and more fearless than I…. 🙂 And those three months in Greece must have been magical at the time..
    I got married aged twenty in 75 and grew up with the mini skirt and maxi skin tight boots of PVC and platform soles.. Those were the years my friend, …. as the song says… We thought they’d never end…..

    And now look at the technological leap we have made… Communicating via our laptops, and phone apps… lol..

    But in looking back as we grew up, I felt we felt safer then.. we never locked our door, and neighbours would always just walk right in…
    Unlike today when we lock our doors behind us when we enter our own homes…

    Loved reading my friend.. And thank you for igniting my own inner memories of that time.. 🙂
    Much love dearest Debby <3

    • dgkaye

      Oh, so happy to ignite some of your memories Sue, and great to have you stop by on your ‘semi’ break away from technology LOL. Oh, sounds like we did love the same fashions – of course, the UK was always ahead in fashion first, lol. They were truly the best times and era. Those definitely were the days my friend! <3 Hugs xoxo

  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Debby – I missed out on the camaraderie of locals … being at boarding school, and then going to see grandparents each holiday … but I enjoy the memories – and having joined a memoir group we write snippets based on someone’s prompt … it varies each month. I’ve written most of my travels in South Africa down – but missed those earlier days … but as I have no children – I guess then I don’t really have to worry … but can craft stories and ideas from the grey cells somewhere at the top of me! It’s one thing I do miss – growing up in a community – but there were others over the years and still now. Cheers Hilary

    • dgkaye

      Hi Hilary. Thanks so much for sharing a bit about those days for you. I totally get what you mean about your growing up years. Until my early teens we wee sent to our grandparents’ house since we were babies every weekend. I missed a lot of childhood weekends with friends being ‘held hostage’ as I used to call it having to stay at what we called then ‘our boring grandparents’ jail’. Okay, it wasn’t torturous, but I was born rebellious and just wanted the freedom to be with my friends on weekends after being in school all week. The mid-late 70s were a great reprieve. 🙂 x

  • John Maberry

    Guess I’ll have to give in–one of these days, and check out the World’s most populated site, Facebook. I’ve held out this long. You know what they say though, “nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”

  • Liesbet

    Fantastic memories, Debby! I love your closing quote: “So many tomorrows as we look back on yesterday.”

    I was born in the seventies and grew up in the eighties and nineties. You are so right, the music of the eighties is the best and just listening to some of my favorites now, brings back feelings, emotions, and memories like nothing else could. I loved playing outside as a kid! Carefree…

    Like you, I had more gumption in my twenties than I do now. I think age brings cautiousness. And, maybe some smarts? The year I went backpacking by myself in Southeast Asia and down under when I was 24/25 is the best year of my life. 🙂

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