Tag Archives: adolescence

Shock therapy

Two readers took me up on my offer yesterday to share a personal story about a 70s fad. So here goes.

The year was 1973 and a wild trend was sweeping the nation. The fad and the name—streaking—had begun centuries earlier, but for some reason it made a big comeback in 1973.

During the time of this craze, my job as a seventh grade girl was to spend as much time as possible on the telephone. My girlfriends and I talked for hours after school and on the weekends. Literally, hours.

Our household phone hung on a wall in the kitchen. Like many houses, there was a circular traffic pattern joining the foyer, living room, dining room and kitchen, where my brothers used to chase each other pushing Tonka trucks. The phone cord reached from the kitchen to an arm chair around the corner in the dining room, where I spent the bulk of my adolescent years.

One Saturday afternoon my parents tried everything to get me off the phone. Little brothers yelling and screaming, pots and pans clanging, nothing fazed me.

Just then, my very clever parents paraded in and ran the foyer-living room-dining room-kitchen circuit. All they had on were novelty hats, which they held over their frontal regions. The phone receiver I held instantly crashed on to the floor.

Parental streaking: The fast-acting remedy for your difficult teenager.


Filed under Family and Friends, Hearth and Home

School’s out

In about a week, the schools in our area will close for the summer. Where you live, kids might already been out. Here, it’s always the latter half of June.

I no longer have a kid in school, so I don’t keep track any longer; yet, the fact that the last day of school is just around the corner is acutely evident, for two reasons. One, the ice cream truck is coming around in the afternoon. Two, Alice Cooper is on the radio. A lot.

It was the summer of 1972; I was in my final days of elementary school, when “School’s Out” hit the charts.

Don’t pretend you don’t know it. I bet you can tell me exactly where you were on your life’s road or where the song takes you when you hear it today.

For me it was Annandale, Virginia. I felt so grown up, saying good-bye to the school with the little chairs, and facing junior high with excitement and anxiety. Mostly, “School’s Out” meant spending seven days a week at the Wakefield Chapel pool and having sleepovers where we listened to music and called our requests in to WPGC radio.

By 1972, I had outgrown David Cassidy; Alice Cooper was a real rocker. He sang rebelliously about the fantasied obliteration of school (not such a realistically dangerous notion back then) and we could relate to it. I understand that, in 2004, Rolling Stone named “School’s Out” one of the 500 greatest songs of all time. I never owned an Alice Cooper record, but if I had it to do over, I would have snapped one up at Rainbow Tree.

I confess, when that song comes on the radio, I still crank it up and sing along. Belted it out it just yesterday, as I pulled out of the grocery store parking lot, after stopping for Activia.

To this day, while far from poetic, my favorite verse is:

Well we got no class
And we got no principles [play on words, perhaps?]
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

Please don’t think less of me.

So, where were you when you first grooved to this song? And hearing it on American Idol doesn’t count.


Filed under Family and Friends, Movies, Television and Radio, Music