When Thongs Were Footwear – Remembering My 1970s Childhood

…A short list of some of my favorite 1970s things that have either disappeared or are next to impossible to find. Oh, and the photo is from this classic era. I’m the fine girl with the pink polyester pantsuit that mom made on her Singer.






Ok, these haven’t disappeared, but their name did. Long before the days of Victoria Secret, we bought plastic “thongs” at K-Mart to protect ourselves from getting athlete’s foot from the shower at camp. I never got the memo that they’re now called flip-flops. Thongs just sound better.



Jiffy Pop
It was a big treat in the Trade household when Mom would buy a Jiffy Pop. We’d fight over who would get to shake it on the stove, and of course, the bottom would burn and emit noxious fumes throughout the 1400 square feet of our tract home. Good stuff!  

Of course, I’m the official expert in all things Ronco and K-Tel. Their heyday was definitely the 1970s. The disco compilations were jam-packed with hits, and I had them all. I’d shove one into our Fisher stereo and practice my best impersonations of Thelma Houston and Gloria Gaynor. We didn’t need video games back then to stay entertained.

Creature Features
On Channel 2 KTVU in the Bay Area, we had a wonderful show called Creature Features. Hosted by a rather creepy guy named Bob Wilkins who looked like Artie Johnson, the show featured classic horror films that used to scare the cr** out of me. Strangely, we only had five TV channels, but there was always something interesting to watch.


Mister Salty Pretzels
These were the best pretzels hands-down. Nabisco – please bring them back!



To us kids of the 1970s, a giant bottle of fluorescent yellow Galliano was a symbol of adulthood. Every household had one perched high on a shelf. Parents would bring it out from time to time usually to mix a celebratory Harvey Wallbanger. Yep, I got my hands on my parents bottle in high school and found out quickly that it was the most putrid thing I ever tasted.

Soul Train
Oh, how I wanted to dance on Soul Train! The American Bandstand dancers were dorks in comparison. I loved Don Cornelius and everyone they had on the show. If it’s still on, do you think they’ll let me audition?

The Pro Bowlers Tour on ABC
I dislike watching golf on TV immensely. However, I used to religiously tune in on Saturday afternoons to the Pro Bowlers Tour. I have no idea why, actually, but it was one of my favorites.

Hickory Farms
The familiar smell of summer sausage used to fill the air of every shopping mall. Free samples, Christmas catalogs, tubs of artery clogging fake cheese. Where did they go? 

Playing Outside
As kids, we were always outside playing. Bikes, Hippity Hops, Hula Hoops, Frisbees, roller skates, Pogo Sticks were what kept us busy. Parents weren’t shuttling kids to classes and activities and hardly anyone was overweight. We played hard and had fun. Yes, I got into my fair share of trouble and had lots of scrapes, bumps and bruises, but so did every kid. Now, with kids of my own, I wonder why mine are the only ones playing outside. Where are the others?  Today, Rex has a playdate with a friend, and I hope they’ll go outside and have some fun! 


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3 responses to “When Thongs Were Footwear – Remembering My 1970s Childhood

  1. Mister Salty pretzels were the best! A salt lick in a bag. Mateus wine was usually right next to the bottle of Galliano.

    • Scott

      Wow ! You’re killing me. You didn’t live down the street did you ? My friend’s dad had the HUGE bottle of Galliano with a tap on the bottom. (my search for Galliano is how I found this site)
      The bowlers. I actually recognize Earl Anthony as the guy in the pic and yes thongs were for your feet.
      Mister Salty were the best. Especially the thin sticks=more salt less pretzel.

  2. Matt

    I also remember watching Wide World of Sports on Sunday afternoons with my brother. Then in the evening in our pjs we’d watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom followed by Disney. That was about the only tv we were allowed to watch.

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