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Posts Tagged ‘1970s’

Farrah Fawcett as Jill Munroe circa 1978 (public domain)Oodles of words have been spilled about the deaths this past Thursday of both Farrah Fawcett, at age 62, and Michael Jackson, age 50, and oodles more will be said. There’s little I can add, except perhaps this. 

When I think back to my youth in the 1970s, I will fondly remember one gift among the many that these pop icons gave us, and that is their hair.

Ah, Farrah’s mane. Long, thick. My God, did she ever have thick hair! And all different shades of blonde on one head.

She was Jill, the sexy athletic Angel. Sabrina (Kate Jackson) was the smart Angel and Kelly (Jaclyn Smith) the girl next door. But we all wanted to be Jill. Or at least, most the girls in my graduating class did.

We knew nothing of “blow-outs” then. Why today, with the right cut, I could replicate a Farrah Fawcett hairdo in no time, thanks to styling gels, leave-in conditioners, multi-sized barrel curling irons, diffusion blow dryers, and round bristle brushes. But back then we had few tools at our disposal.

Class of 1979, high school graduation portrait, me donning a bad Farrah Fawcett hairstyle, 1979, image © 2009 by ybonesy, all rights reservedNonetheless, I tried my best to turn my frizz into Farrah’s layered mane. As seen in my high school graduation photo, I managed to feather my bangs, which I did by slowly pulling out (and in the process, singeing) the strands of hair clamped in my curling iron.

I settled with partial feathers, a sort of ready-for-take-off look that alone required hours to achieve. The rest of my curls I left be, except for the very ends, which I halfway straightened.

Some girls were excellent at emulating the ‘do, and I was excellent at hating them and their blonde streaks. But most girls, like me, failed miserably at transforming their natural waves into Farrah’s sexy look. And then there were the girls, in hindsight the courageous ones of our day, who didn’t even try to, through their hair, be anything other than who they were.




Class of 79, classmate who had the Farrah Fawcett hairstyle down pat, streaks and all (I'm sure I hated her in high school)

                      Class of 1979, a classmate who tried the Farrah Fawcett look (with mixed results)

                                                  Class of 1979, a classmate who went with her own hairstyle




Michael Jackson 1979 (public domain)My hair was probably better suited for the male ‘do of the time, which in the late 1970s was donned by Michael Jackson, pre nose jobs, skin bleach, dimpled chin, and straight wig. 

In 1979, his song Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough was in the Top Ten. We danced to his music and tried his moves. And the most fashionable guys — the foxes, as we called them — wore polyester shirts, vests, and slacks.

Not every boy could pull off a Michael Jackson ‘fro, but this had to be about the only time in the past 30 years where men yearned to possess curls worthy of clown wigs. For some, the ‘fro came naturally. For others, it was just a bad perm away.




        Class of 79, a classmate with the Michael Jackson afro and polyester shirt AND vest

                            Class of 79, a classmate with the Michael Jackson afro and polyester shirt




You gave us many gifts, Michael and Farrah. How can a legacy in music and dance compare to the short-lived afro that even you, Michael, discarded once you hit mind-blowing fame and fortune? It is minor, I admit.

And Farrah, you were much, much more than the sum of the seemingly infinite hairs on your head. But in the late 1970s, those hairs were the goal of every female my age, and I don’t think we have ever worked in tandem to achieve a singular style since.

Thank you both. For being the ones who impressed us most when we were at our most impressionable.

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Peanuts letter


Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
You.
You who?
You who, take a look at what a dork you were as a teenager!



Have you ever received a Box of Life from your parents? You know, the box they’ve been storing in their garage for the past two or three decades.

I got mine two weeks ago. It’s Box #3. Boxes 1 and 2, which I got ages ago, contained early childhood to elementary school: report cards, spelling bee awards, the story I wrote about Grandma and the one Bucky Mulvaney wrote about his horses. Box #3 holds within its dusty, greasy cardboard walls my inner life from ages 13 to 18.

It has Peanuts and those big-headed doll-kids from Betsy Clark and Hallmark. Loopy handwriting. Endless talk of which boys are cute and who likes who and how we weren’t invited to the prom (again). Sorry so sloppy and Always a friend.

Betsy Clark image from a letter, 1975You see, my Box of Life was filled with letters I received in junior high and high school. Not two or three or even ten letters. Inside the box, there were (to use an over-used term from that time in my life) really a lotta letters!

Letters from cousins Suzanne and Kathy in Long Beach, from Lisa who moved to (yuck) Lubbock, from Andrea and Thecla, both of whom moved less than 20 miles away. Even my two best friends, Lori and Laurie, mailed me letters from down the street!

Right now I’m trying to figure out what to do with all these letters. I could donate them to a library, the way presidents and other important people do. Decades from now, some graduate student will come across this piece of Americana that Laurie wrote me from Social Studies class:

Are you going to dress up on Friday in your peddle pushers? They’re very, very foxy! Pinhead will find them amusing! (noy) I wonder if Pinhead will dress up? He doesn’t have any hair to slick back but he does have high water pants. Haaaaa! (like a crow) Oh Boy! Mr. Cook is soooo foxy! Boy, his wife must be madly in love with his cowboy boots and high waters.

I’ve also considered writing a screenplay. In one scene, I am sitting on my pink-and-white bedspread with Laurie, reading to her this snippet from Thecla, who recently moved one town over. Our hands fly to our mouths over how loose and fast Thecla has become, and we walk out of the room whispering that we really need to start testing out new methods for getting the guys:

The problem is most of the foxes are older guys who hang out in the bars. I’m only 16 and don’t look 21 so we just stand in front of the door and every time someone comes out or goes in we take a look in with our tongues hanging out. Not really! But the foxes are really in the bars.

Scentables letterSo far my most plausible idea is to use the letters as material — quotable quotes — for red Ravine. You know, for those days when I have nothing more interesting to post; no salient information for writers or artists, not even some fascinating tidbit about the turkeys or Baby.

Excerpts from the letters might become quasi-writing prompts in and of themselves. Or maybe, like this gem from Lisa, recollections of a time when letter-writing was what teenage girls did instead of email or texting, when we used P.S. and P.S.S. as if they were going out of style (they were), and when we really didn’t have much to talk about except the weather:

I bought $20 of clothes. Pants and 2 shirts. I wore shorts and short sleeves all day, and its in the middle of Jan. Do ya’ll still have snow? If so send me some O.K.



          Sorry So Sloppy

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