A 1970s Summer, But With Helmets and Seatbelts and Sunscreen

It’s hard to believe that one week ago today was the last day of school. It feels like much, much longer, but not in a bad way. We just got back from three nights at my parents’ lake house and it was wonderful. But of course! How could it help being anything but when everyone – including me and the dog – gets insanely spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa? If anyone needs me I’ll be detoxing from my wine and chip consumption.


There’s a lot of buzz around a certain theme this summer – a give your kids a 1970s style summer theme. I read the original article, smiled nostalgically, and was only a little surprised to find out a few days later that this idea, the idea of a free-range, lots-of-TV, drink-from-the-garden hose kind of summer had been taken very seriously. I didn’t realize that it was meant to be taken any way but as a heart warming nostalgia piece, but evidently, I misjudged the internet.

I don’t remember too much about the seventies – I was still pretty young – but I do remember watching The Dukes of Hazzard as a child. Age-appropriate shows weren’t exactly a thing back then, but fortunately, the law-breaking, moonshine-running plots went over my little bowlcut-sporting head. I was twenty-three before I realized that the underlying theme for Three’s Company was that Jack was pretending to be gay so he could live with two girls. I literally had no idea. I just remember feeling mild resentment that I, as a brunette, was forced to be on Team Janet. Add that to the Little House on the Prairie books – Beautiful Golden-Haired Mary versus Very Bad Brunette Laura – as well as the fact my best friend had thick, wavy, white-blonde hair, and it’s no wonder I have hair issues.

But back to the Dukes of Hazzard: while at my parents’ place, we went into town for the Canada Day festivities. A few blocks off the main street is this amazing place:


I did not go in, despite the exciting claims of “Daily Food” and “Patio Pool Table”. But oh, how I wanted to.

Sunday had pretty much the worst possible weather imaginable for late June – high winds, pouring rain, and a high temperature of thirteen degrees Celsius. And here’s where the 1970s summer comes in: in the absence of video games and other technological distractions, Mark and I played approximately one million games of Go Fish, only one of which I won. Jake and I played a 40 minute game of War, and the only reason it ended at 40 minutes is because I eventually put a time limit on it. It was like playing a low-rent version of Risk. Mark made up his own games by drawing Pokemon and making little cards, and Jake played a game racing various Hot Wheels against each other.


Eventually the rain stopped and we sent the boys OUTSIDE.




Clothing wise, it does seem like we are having a 1970s summer. Last week I took the boys to the local amusement park, and I felt like some kind of fashion anthropologist, pinning the year onto the styles all the kids were wearing. We arrived at the park and there were busloads of teens from surrounding rural areas, clearly on an end of school celebratory trip. The temperature was about eighteen degrees, but the girls were almost exclusively dressed in Daisy Duke short-shorts and tank tops. A few had sweaters around their waists that their mothers probably forced on them. The only thing that was confusing to this fashion anthropologist was that I counted four pairs of overall shorts and one pair of acid-washed short shorts, which seemed more eighties than seventies.

Since there were so many people arriving at the park, the boys and I made a beeline for one of their favourite rides, the Dream Weaver, which is basically a bunch of swings that go around in circles high in the air. The boys jumped into the very short line, and I snapped a picture of their angelically happy faces. Look at those angels!


They must be so excited and happy to get on the ride, one might think from looking at this photo. In reality, they are looking in an amused way at the swings that were stuck high up in the air. “EVERYBODY STAY CALM!” screamed the operator. “STAY IN YOUR SEATS WITH THE SEATBELT SECURELY FASTENED!” I’m not sure if anyone was about to quickly unbuckle and jump thirty feet down just to be free of the Dream Weaver, but in any case, we steered clear of the ride for the remainder of the day, even after the maintenance people deemed it ride-worthy.

With the Dream Weaver off our radar for the day, the boys chose to participate in a water gun activity in which they were paired against a couple of teen boys, and let me tell you, nothing gets my kids’ spirits up like the idea of a battle challenge. They didn’t win.


They were happy with their efforts, and didn’t complain at all about spending the day in soaking wet clothes. Later we had peanut butter sandwiches and bought cotton candy, which seemed ridiculously expensive. What is the markup on a $5.50 bag of cotton candy? I’m guessing $5?

Cotton candy, card games, and broken carnival rides – maybe it’s going to be more of a 1970s summer than I thought! In any case, a great first week. xo


  1. I always spring for the overpriced cotton candy too – nothing else says ‘amusement park’ quite the same way. Sounds like a great time – and I agree, the seventies were well and good, but let’s not get melanoma or head injuries or wear one-piece pantsuits in the name of nostalgia. Well okay, you personally might look pretty cute in a one-piece pantsuit. You could probably pull off Farrah Fawcett hair too. But I digress.

  2. I think you should have gone into that Hazard place. I mean, how often do you find an eatery that serves food every day?

  3. I swear to god I left a comment. I SWEAR. Where did it go?


    That Hazzard place looks a lot like a place in my hometown. The official name was “Tops’l Bar & Grill” but everyone just called it the tavern. It had a steak & eggs ‘daily special’ for 30 years. It had the same DJ for approximately the same time span. The walls were yellow from nicotine and the bathrooms were kind of like that swamp in The Never-Ending Story where the horse drowned.

    It closed last year. My Facebook feed was cluttered with “oh man, the tavern’s gone? WHAT?” posts. It was the end of an era. A grimy, beer-soaked, “your cheatin’ heart will tell on you” kind of an era.

    You should have gone in. 🙂

    • Awww, sad that it closed! Did the DJ play the same music for 30 years? I’m wondering if there was a lot of “Clap for the Wolfman”.

      • It was more of a country music kind of a place, so I daresay you heard a lot of “Fishin’ in the Dark” and “Boot-Scootin’ Boogie” and other songs where the letter G is carefully and deliberately dropped.

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