Monday, April 20, 2009
Things We Did in Middle Class Suburbia in the 70s
We threw everything out. Everything. There was no recycling. We threw out plastic, aluminium, steel, glass and paper & cardboard. If paper and cardboard didn't fit in the 'one size fits all' bins, we burned it in the incinerator. Sometimes even plastic bags would be burned. That can't be good. Clouds of smoke would belch into the atmosphere all across the suburbs on an otherwise peaceful Sunday afternoon. Large items that wouldn't fit into bins or the incinerator, would be taken to the tip. Who goes to the tip now? We used to dump car batteries at the tip. Fridges, TVs.
Diet was interesting. Lots of white bread. Plenty of meat. Sweets freely available at 2 lollies a cent. Everything was high fat, sugar or salt. Tab was the first diet soft drink but hardly took the market by storm. I also remember a low sugar version of Solo called Rhondo. Not a huge hit in those days. Low fat milk? I don't think so. My mum used to cook roasts in deep pools of fat. Not oil. Certainly not olive oil. Not even canola. It was lard. Lard that would be re-used over and over again. It would sit in the fridge, a hard, white, greasy lump waiting for next Saturday night's roast. It would last months, perhaps years. Who knew.
My lunch orders at school would consist of a super sausage roll, a jam donut and half a litre of chocolate milk. The bikini-clad Big M girls worked their magic on me in those days. The milk running down their chins and dripping onto their firm, luscious breasts. I wasn't yet 10 but there was something so erotic in this that it didn't matter that I hadn't reached puberty. That scourge, light beer, was introduced. Carlton light. Fosters light. Piss in a can it was. Piss in a can.
I was allowed to roam free. There was bushland a kilometre down the road from our house and I would go there with my brother and friend (coincidentally a contributor to this blog) and we wouldn't return home until tea time, sometimes after dark. We would talk to strangers, ride our bikes without helmets and, when in the back of the car eating weston's wagon wheels, refuse to wear seatbelts because we didn't have to.
There were more fights at the footy both on and off the field. There was a final 4, then 5. There were several easybeat teams (Footscray, St Kilda, Fitzroy, Melbourne) who would win 4 or 5 games between them for the year, and that was only when they played each other. Now it's a socialist game, where the difference between 3 and 14 is almost indiscernible. Socialism has its place but, goddamn it, not in football!
People smoked at home, at work, in the car. In front of their kids, next to their babies, at restaurants. People watered their gardens freely. They even hosed down their concrete driveways. They took 10 minute showers and continuously filled their Clark Rubber pools from the backyard tap.
Men proudly wore moustaches and dodgy sideburns. Yeah they're cool now, but they were real then. Real men drove big, petrol guzzling cars with bench seats and 3 on the tree. Men had hairy chests.
I miss the 70s.