Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flashback '70s Style

I'm working on something - and by working, I mean looking at a lot of old photos and talking and thinking and not actually writing, but the writing is just all that thinking put on paper. And sometimes that takes awhile.

In the meantime, I am loving the horrid decor choices of my parents during the 1970s.

Exhibit A, 1974:

Where to begin.

Firstly, I look adorable. Cute dress, cute hair, awesome watch. The kid behind me with the nice tan and unfortunate hair? No idea who that is. Raggedy Ann? Bitchin. I also got a matching Raggedy Andy that year, so I can only assume he is lounging on that amazing green shag carpet.

It's hard to pick what my favorite thing in this room is. The Fisher-Price castle to the right? The killer sound system perched atop the pillars in the background? The hanging tassel of what was no doubt one of my mom's fabulous macrame creations? Or maybe it's the preponderance of dried flowers? Look behind me on the right and you'll see those awful, tall, foofy things that shed like a dog and made your nose itch. I have no idea what they're called, but if you were alive during the decade of disco, you know what I'm talking about.

I would kill to know the titles on the stack of 8-tracks on the floor. I wore out my mom's copy of Elton John's Madman Across the Water. I remember...HOLY SHIT. There it is. My favorite thing about this photo - a life sized, golden plaster statue of a cobra. A golden cobra says you mean business. A golden cobra says, "Hey, I may have a shitty stereo, but did you notice my golden cobra?". 

Fast forward to 1979.
The times, they are a'changin'. We've moved to North Carolina, and my folks are missing their cowboy home, so they went Western. 70s Style.

In this photo we have me, dressed in a fashion forward stripey shirt, embroidered khakis and brown shitkickers. Seating next to me is my brother Shane, rocking the corduroy overalls and his own pair of boots. As a todder, Shane had curly hair. Which is weird, because no one in my family has curly hair, which leads me to believe that my mom was perming his hair. It is a trick to make thin hair look fuller, one she would duplicate on my poor father in the early '80s.

In 1979, my parents loved Waylon, Willie, weed, and the color brown. Not necessarily in that order.

The pile on the carpet is shorter, but the color is still delightfully pukey. The books on the mantle are a series of Time-Life books on the Old West. I spent hours looking at the miners, chiefs, cowboys and gunfighters. I was sure that one day I'd be flipping through them and see a picture of my dad.

This is around the same time my mom started painting statuary. Cowboy and Indian busts and figures came into our house an alabaster plaster and were painted and stained and fired and placed on every available flat surface, or hung on walls next to mirrors framed with horse collars.

When she wasn't painting, she kept macrame-ing. Sitting on the floor with the end looped around her big toe, smoking cigarettes and watching Gunsmoke. Our house smelled like Marlboros and jute for the better part of a decade. One her finest pieces can be seen in this photo, holding some truly lovely dried flowers.

Brown flowers.

And next to that, the brass spittoon that never held anything and the HOLY SHIT PLASTER RAM THAT GOES WITH NOTHING.

I don't know what inspired my mother to buy that monstrosity. I mean, I understand macrame. I understand shag carpet and plaster statues and I even understand the golden cobra (because cobras, by the very fact that they are motherfucking cobras) are badass.

But giant plaster rams are just weird. Even for the 1970s.

(Hey, while I'm working on this thing I'm working on, why don't you go to my review of Epic Mom and enter to win a copy. I'll pick a winner by this Friday!)


  1. Your house actually looks pretty nice to me. Is it bad that I'm starting to think Mindy's outfits on "Mork and Mindy" are kind of cute?

  2. We grew up in the SAME HOUSE. Oh the humanity! I cannot get ever how ugly everything was. And we totally had that rocking chair, Fisher Price castle (you knew that) and endless brown flowers. Bleck.

  3. The ram was not mine, it came in with my mooching relatives who stayed with us for what seemed to be an eternity......I hated that fucking ram! Love, Mom

  4. That cobra IS badass! And the unwanted plaster ram gift? Wow, just wow.

  5. Those photos are really spectacularly 70s. Just awesome! Brings back memories of "Disco Duck" and avocado-colored appliances -- or was that harvest gold? No offense to your mom, but I am glad the macrame phase is over.

  6. Hey! I had that stereo. I bought it (used) with money from my first job. I just pitched it and some 8-tracks into a dumpster a few years ago (while cleaning out my mom's basement).

  7. The gold cobra statue was the first thing I saw and now that it is etched on my retinas, it may very well be the last thing I ever see. I love it. I wish I had one. Now that's all I'll be able to think about. Does your mom want to macrame me some plant hangers? I need some and can't find the right jute anywhere. I'm dead serious.

    I love this post. I am fascinated by the insides of people's homes and by kitsch. It's magnificent.

  8. great pictures! we have that castle in our basement. i like to sproing the spring of the castle flag. i want to record it and send it to npr's lost and found sounds