I looked around my room, saw my Mac on the table and my cellphone right by my pillow side. I then fell asleep to the sound of cars speeding and my mom talking on the phone, while watching TV with the volume blasting. As I started to drift off, I wondered what life would be like if I was born in a different time period, a time where internet was not available in the palm of my hands or when I’m not able to call up any one of my friends whenever I want.
I thought about the 1970’s, a time of wonderful celebration after the chaos and turmoil of the previous decades. A decade that had enormous advancements in fashion, communication, electronics and music.
So lo and behold I had a dream I woke up in the 70’s. Instead of waking up to the sound of my cell phone beeping or my mom talking on the phone. I woke up to the sound of my mom in the kitchen making breakfast with the new microwave and oven that we got and my brother rushing out the door to meet his friends right before school.
I decided to get out of my bed and I saw a record player placed in the corner with posters of singers and bands all across the wall. After seeing my room, I decided to walk outside to see how everything else was different.
When I first stepped outside I saw people wearing the grooviest clothes I’ve ever seen. Girls wore wild bell bottom pants and hip huggers that were decorated with beads and glitter. Someone else wore a really bright one-piece jumpsuit with a zipper in the front and a wide belt wrapped around their waist. I also saw what looked like a granny dress, that I thought was paired with a unique large peace sign necklace. I also found that a lot of their shirts were either flowy or halters. Something I found interesting, was that most girls seem to pair all of their different outfits with platform shoes that added at least 3-5 inches in their height.
How the girls did their hair really surprised me, it turns out they prefer hairstyles that require low maintenance. So they ditched the rollers and opted for long and straight hair with a colourful bright ribbon wrapped around their foreheads.
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Similarly, guys’ clothes were just as bright and bold; their pants were brightly coloured and decorated in every way possible. A lot of their shirts were in solid colours in loud prints with really long printed collars. Guys also preferred their hair will the simple brush of a comb.
After seeing the extraordinary 70’s clothes that everyone was wearing, I made my way to a local college. On my walk there I noticed people running to the mailbox to mail letters and others running to catch up to their friends. No one had a cellphone in their hand or headphones in their ear. People were knocking on their friends’ doors waiting for them to go to school together. It was surprising to see people communicating without cell phones.
When I showed up on campus I saw something called the college notice board. It had flyers posted all around about upcoming events, it even had personal flyers students posted addressed to one another. It was like an actual Facebook newsfeed wall that everyone could see. I learned that the notice board was one method of mass communication.
There were not a lot of other methods of communication that was used during this time. Letters were a common method of communication, but were not the most efficient. They could take weeks or months to get around, and getting a response back takes double that amount of time. As landlines were not prevalent in all households, most were limited to one per house as the cost of a landline was quite high. There was not much privacy when someone wanted to have a conversation. If someone wanted to have a private conversation they would go into what was called a public call box. Public call boxes were phone booths across town where people would go to have long private conversations. But of course, the alternative of that was going to talk to someone face to face.
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Music in the 70’s was also a big surprise. Most teenagers listened to soft rock and disco, which was known as the musical movement by the baby boomers. Rock music also grew in popularity, like The Beatles.
Downloading music was not at the tip of my fingers anymore. If I wanted to listen to music I would have to go to the record store. Record stores were extremely popular with the younger generation, they were a place people could go to hang out with their friends and listen to music. These record stores also provided these teenagers with a chance to listen to new records in open booths. Not everyone could afford many records, so a lot of friends would lend and borrow them instead.
So I decided to borrow a record from someone I met at the record store and took it home to listen to. I saw one stereo in my house that was in the living room, but those were pretty expensive so I was not allowed to have one of my own. So I took my record to my room and listened to it. Vinyl records were a lot more difficult to use than I thought as the needle had to be placed precisely and carefully for it to work. Do not get me started on trying to go to a specific song, it drove me crazy. Out of frustration, I decided to go downstairs and sit in the living room to watch TV in colour with the rest of my family.
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All of a sudden I realized all advancements that the 70’s brought. Everyone who lived in the 70’s was living in a transition from post wars to the modern world and the beginning of the revolution. These teenagers witnessed more changes in their lives than any other generation since the industrial revolution. Most importantly, the music in the 70’s was like social glue that binded different cultures together and created diversity.
And then I woke up. I was no longer in the era of funky clothes and vinyl records. I was not in the decade of peace and quiet. I was in 2017 with my phone beeping and my mom still talking on the phone.