“Simpler times.”


I remember growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s, I always heard grown-ups talk about the 1950s, which I don’t remember because I was born at the tail-end of that decade. People of my parents’ generation talked about how much simpler things had been in the decade of poodle skirts, The Honeymooners, Chuck Berry, and suburban conformity.

I remember my record player that I got when I was about 6. It was one of those boxy plastic affairs inside an aqua faux-leather box and had a pearlized plastic and chrome handle. It had a dial that said 16-33-45-78. Even back then, 16 rpm and 78 rpm records were pretty much obsolete, but one of my favorite things to do was obsessively play my children’s records on the various settings. My favorite was 78 rpm because it made everything sound like the Chipmunks. It made me laugh. The 16 rpm setting was scary because it made voices sound demonic–like the death metal which was still far off into the future. I used to wonder if there was even a such thing as a 16 rpm record? If so, I never saw one. I do remember a babysitter gave me a molded plastic album filled with her old records from her childhood, which included 78s. They were very small and came in colors other than black. I should have kept them; they would probably be worth something today.

My first album was The Monkees. I was obsessed with the TV show and in love with Mickey Dolenz. I used to play “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville” over and over, and kept scraping the needle back over the record to hear those songs again. All the other little girls I knew were in love with Davey Jones, but he just never did it for me. I look at old pictures of Mickey today and wonder what my 8 year old self saw in him. He really wasn’t that cute. One time a babysitter and her boyfriend played a joke on me. She had her boyfriend call and pretend he was Mickey. She handed me the phone and with a twinkle in her eye, said “it’s for you.” I half-believed it was true. I wanted to believe it was true. But when she told me it was a joke, I just said, “oh, okay, I knew it was a joke anyway.” I’m not sure if I did or not. I was so gullible back then. I went back to my room to play my Monkees album again.


I remember the orange and white plastic AM transistor radio I got for Christmas that same year. I was so proud of being able to keep up with all the hit songs. It made me feel so grown up, almost like a teenager. It seemed in those days new songs stayed on the radio for a shorter period of time than they do now–the maximum was about 3 months. “American Pie” was one of the few that remained in rotation for 4 or more months. I lost my radio about a year later when I failed to rake the leaves. When my father found out, he took me out to the garage, told me to bring the radio with me, and as I stood there, he smashed it to bits with a shovel. I was inconsolable. I would have rather been beaten.

I was in my teens during the 1970s and graduated to a real stereo. It was a one-piece console but still a stereo and I could get FM radio, which was considered much cooler than AM. Stereos were a big deal in the 1970s. Outside of fancy stereophonic equipment and color television, we didn’t have a whole lot in the way of entertainment technology. That wouldn’t happen until the 1980s with its VCR and personal computer revolution.

The advances made since the 1980s have been staggering. In the 1990s the Internet was introduced to the public and at first people dismissed it as a fad that would soon pass. Ha! Little did I know that in two decades, it would completely change my life. The Internet was like manna from heaven for socially awkward introverts like myself.

There were also the first cell phones (which almost no one had due to the expense and they didn’t work too well). The turn of the century ushered in the communications revolution, with cellphones beginning to supplement or even replace the old landline phone. The Internet is barely recognizable from what it was in the 1990s. When I look at videos now of the early Internet, it looks so primitive, like something from 100 years ago. It’s hard to believe it was only 20 years ago it looked like that. Things are changing with dizzying speed and time itself seems compressed.


When I look back on the 1960s and 1970s now, they seem so innocent. Kids didn’t have computers and TV was still pretty limited because so few people had cable TV yet. But what we did get was free. Watching TV became a something families did together after dinner, instead of each family member going off to watch their own show or play a game on their own TV or computer. Kids played outside, because, well, there was nothing else to do. In a technological sense, the 1970s weren’t a whole lot different than the 1950s, even though attitudes had changed pretty drastically.

The 1970s to me seem like another lifetime, not merely 40 or so years ago. Now I hear people talk about “those innocent 1970s” and I laugh because when we were in them, no one thought they were that innocent at all.

With all that said, I’ll leave you with this:

18 thoughts on ““Simpler times.”

  1. I remember getting a panda bear radio. I had a cassette player. My first 45 was Dancing in The Moonlight. I use to play records so much. I had rock flower dolls heather and lilac. They came with a bright yellow and a bright orange song.

    I remember the lyrics.

    Where do we go from here
    Do we go on a plane to London
    What are we gonna where
    Were gonna be happy
    Singing a song
    you can sing it along with me

    Sing a song
    Sing along
    It won’t be long
    Till you sing it with me

    I also had bozo under the sea
    The chipmunks

    God,…wasn’t it easy back then
    Let’s go back in time…lucky 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember being in jr. high and listening to “I’m a Believer” over and over and over and over again on my dorky little plastic turntable, which I must have inherited when one of my older siblings upgraded to something fancier….. Wow, it seems like about a million years ago.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post. I taught a class on the history of Rock n Roll. I don’t know if the students learned anything, but, at least, they were introduced to some of the music you wrote about.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. OMG! I was a huge Monkees fan, and the album you had was the first one I ever got. I loved Davey Jones the most, even though he was short, and I’m tall. The 70’s were mostly a blur for me as I was quite the pot head, (among other things). Lots of good memories. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was going against the grain! I don’t think I knew anyone who said Tork was their favorite, lol! Later on Michael Nesmith became a musican in his own right and was actually respected as a legit artist. I’m not sure what happened to Peter Tork. The only two Monkees you ever still heard about were Mick and Dave.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep that’s me. My middle name is “Against the Grain.” LOL.

        From what I know, Michael Nesmith was usually pretty pissed off on set because of the music they did play. He wanted to write and they didn’t let him. I’m not sure of all the details. My roommate is kind of an expert about music history and he told me something about it once but I’ll have to ask again. He’s just as good as google when it comes to rock music history.

        I liked Mickey because he was the funniest. And I liked Davy too but he was more of a little boy cute. Mike was funny too, but more of a deadpan…maybe that was the underlying anger.

        BTW: Both Mickey and Peter are alive. I found Peter Tork’s facebook page and the two of them are playing together. Dates are set for end of July and in August.


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  5. I remember using the internet in 1996 and it looked just like that and there were no blogs or forums, just message boards and a bunch of websites. It was also slow to load. My dad used cell phones back in the early 90’s and they were big. I have heard of the 90’s kid meme and I was a 90’s kid. I can remember when DVDs were new and how there was only a small selection of them and cassette tapes were still being sold in stores and I remember VHS and we had a laser disc player. Before we had texting and before kids started to carry cell phones, they did note passing. I remember that. I also remember when video games were starting to look 3D.

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  6. I love ’70s music! My mom gave me her record player when I was in middle school and I enjoyed listening to all her old records. You sound like you are a Generation Jones’er (between Baby Boom and Gen X)? My mom is a Gen Jones’er. So is President Obama. I have been working on a post about generations and how I am a Xennial (between Gen X and Millenial) so I found this post very interesting.


    • My mom tells me Davy Jones was her first crush! Mine was Rick Astley (“Never Gonna Give You Up”) from the ’80s. LOL


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