Like wow, man, do you remember being eighteen?

Me at age 18

My brothers and me (Tim, Kathy, Scot)

I have had SO much fun this morning!  It has been a total blast, like wow, man.  (Shades of the 1970’s, don’t you remember how we talked?) 

First, I’ve had my eye on a friendly printer/fax machine which offers the capability to scan.  It’s not ours.  But it’s available and the price is right.

So I headed to this faithful scanner clutching an ancient photo album from the mid-1970’s.  Half of the photos are stuck in the book, adhered together, turning terrible colors, splattered with unwanted white star-like patterns.  Remember those albums onto which you plastered down the photos and then forgot about ’em for years?  When you try to open these albums a quarter century later, they grunt and squeal and misbehave terribly, wrecking our groovy pictures.

Fortunately, some of the photos still look halfway decent.  (Some of us featured here may disagree.  But I’m saying the photos look halfway decent.  It’s not a commentary on the photographic subjects.)

And that would be my dad with us

Ahhh…the days of wine and roses.  Back in those days, Michigan passed a law saying eighteen year olds could partake of alcohol.  You know, if you could go and die for your country, you could have a mug of beer.  (Don’t get me started.)  The law lasted maybe two or three years, before they decided you could die for your country, but don’t you dare sample a glass of wine.  (Don’t go there, Kathy.  This is a friendly, respectable blog from days gone by.)

And that's Mom with us

In some ways, I grew up in a Leave-it-to-Beaver house.  It was a good childhood.  Mom and Dad were great, we kids never misbehaved, nobody abused us, and we emerged from our early years with only the regular neuroses, indecisions, despairs, remembrances, forgettings, loves and joys.  In other words, we were an ordinary family. (And if you believe all that, I’ll tell you another one.  I’m sure we misbehaved.  I’m sure we did, if I could only remember.)

Meet Grandma and Grandpa Orton
As I’ve mentioned to several others recently, I’ve mostly forgotten my childhood.  It’s kind of like a past life.  When people ask you, “Do you believe in past lives?” I always say yes.  I’ve lived dozens of them.  All in this lifetime.
Maybe that’s an effect from moving so far away from my childhood town, but I don’t think so.  Some of us are destined to remember the name of our teacher in 3rd grade (Mrs. Story!) and our best friend in second grade (Carol Noble) and the name of our first dog (Buttons, followed by Chopper, both wire-haired terriers.)
Unfortunately, some of us can’t remember much more without prodding or the accompaniment of those who remember what happened with Mrs. Story in third grade.  (I do recall we memorized poems.  Winken, Blinken and Nod one night sailed off in a pea-green boat.  I do not recall if those are really the words to the poem.)

And Grandpa and Grandma Sheldon

I recall being happy and sad.  Very shy.  In Kindergarten someone dared to ask–out loud, in front of the teacher–if I needed to ride the bus home.  (We had just moved to the “big”  town of Yale in Michigan’s Thumb from the country.  No, I didn’t need to ride the bus home, but thanks for asking.)  Instead I sat paralyzed and speechless in the seat, humiliated and blushing, afraid to say one single word except slowly shake my head “no” from side to side.
Your blogger has changed a bit since Kindergarten…

Tim and me in Florida, 1976

These photos were all taken between 1974-76.  I graduated from high school in ’75.  (We’re the class of ’75, aren’t we glad to be alive?    Did we actually say that, or did I dream it?  How about the Yale Bulldog song, “Sail on for Dear Yale High, the Blue and White Shall Live or Die, and every man in every way shall fight for…”  Live or die?  Every man?  I’m sure those aren’t the real words. Like, no way!  Bogus! )

And then along came Barry…
I went off to a small college called Ferris State in the fall of 1975 (after traveling to Switzerland as an exchange student during the summer) and studied journalism.
See the handsome editor of the Ferris student newspaper?  Yes, indeed.  It was our Barry.  And he invited this reddish-hair chick to a party at his dorm and we ended up sitting on a single bunk bed and talking–yes, talking–for five hours.  Five straight hours, can ya dig it? 
The rest is History.  We ended up going to Michigan State together to finish up our journalism studies, followed by…yep, moving ‘way up north to Alaska–I mean the Upper Peninsula of Michigan–where we intended to be homesteadin’ back-to-the-earth tree-huggin’ natural earth folk who read the Mother Earth News and burned wood and baked bread and…well, it sort of turned out like that.
What do you remember about being eighteen?  What ways are you similar and what ways are you different?
Good night, John-Boy…  (only you 70’s readers will get that one…unless you have cable…in which case, you all know.)

And we're still together, all these years later. (We look a little different, though.)

P.S. Hoping all immediate family members will forgive me for this blog, including the grandparents looking down from the afterworld and saying, “Did we really look like that?”

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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24 Responses to Like wow, man, do you remember being eighteen?

  1. oh, the good old days! Pulling out the old photo albums and giggling and blushing about how we were then…

  2. No, I don’t remember a lot of the details about the seventies, one of the reasons I started my blog was to jog my memory and to set down in writing my current life.

    It is a small world though, I spent a lot of time in Big Rapids in the seventies, one uncle had 320 acres just west of town, another had 80 acres just east of Paris, and he worked at Ferris part time. A friend of mine also attended Ferris, and I went to a couple of parties in the dorms with him. Who knows, we may have bumped into each other back then. What was the name of the local hotspot for the Ferris students, was it the Sawmill?

  3. You haven’t changed a bit, Kathy!! 😉 I am absolutely diggin’ the styles – I missed all of that (I wasn’t born until 1976)!! If you ever need a break from the UP, come on down to my neck of the woods, and we’ll hang out. We only got a dusting of snow this morning, and it’s already gone!

  4. Reggie says:

    That was utterly delightful, Kathy! I was giggling along with you… Thank you so much for this trip down your memory lane. You clearly have a lovely and loving family – so lucky you are! 🙂

    And so THAT’s how you met the dashing Barry! 😉

  5. holessence says:

    GREAT photos and remembrances. And then along came Barry… Hubba Hubba!

  6. Carla says:

    I used to play cards with my friends in high school too, usually in the company of assorted parents and grandparents. It was so much fun! All the other kids liked someone else’s parent better than their own. I think that’s normal.
    Thanks for the memories.

  7. Brenda Hardie says:

    This was so fun! I loved seeing the pictures of you and your family members from way back when 🙂 I’ve been going through old pictures too and finding some real gems! lol I grew up in the 70s, graduated in 81 so everything you mentioned brought back a flood of memories for me too. And Laurie is right..”and then, along came Barry hubba hubba!” 😀 You two were and are a great looking couple. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

  8. Susan Derozier says:

    What fun this was. Now I have to hunt for my old albums to see what they bring up. Your pictures are great and you really haven’t changed that much! Thanks for sharing your memories!

  9. Susan D says:

    What a rad, groovy 70s fam! Adore the pictures of all of you. What fun to see them! I’m from the ’68 is Great class, but it seems like everyone in college played cards except for me .. I couldn’t sit still long enough … too much ultra-cool stuff happenin’, Man. I was a little politico dynamo, running for office and getting elected. I still have dusty dreams of being a Senator. Ha!

    I remember just about everything from my childhood, which is a blessing, truly, including all of my teachers. I had a Mrs. Story, too, but not until the 9th grade. She was the Home Ec teacher, and I made a D in sewing … my first and only bad grade ever! How fortunate for me that I was allowed to transfer to Industrial Arts (with all the boys!) and I was darn better at drafting and copper tooling!

    Thank you, thank you for such a FUN blog today. I’m smiling from ear to ear. Love you!

  10. What a great post, Kathy–totally fun. I love looking back at old photos, which I’ve been doing a lot of recently. I suppose I’m very little like I was at 18, but I don’t know for sure. (By the way, I graduated from high school in 1980.)

  11. gigi says:

    Memory is a tricky thing (as I opined on my post this past week).

    Love your pictures.

  12. tim says:

    OH BOY! What the dickens was that??

    Very cool, your favorite bro

  13. Kiah says:

    Diaa couldn’t believe that first picture wasn’t me! ha! We are twins!

  14. john says:

    Wow … just Wow … We thought anything was possible, we could achieve anything. I remember an old man telling us that WE were the only thing that could stop us from achieving anything WE wanted. I remember thinking he was a little crazy and now I know he was right.

  15. Even in this digital age, there’s just nothing like an old-fashioned photo album. I LOVE looking through old (and new) pictures!
    I don’t remember a whole lot about my childhood, either (that was too long ago), but I do remember being 18.

  16. Carol says:

    Class of ’75? So you are but a babe in the woods (giggle). I remember bits and pieces, which is why old photos are so great – they remind you where you’ve been and what you were. A couple of years ago I scanned in a lot of old photos and made albums for my kids – so much fun, so many memories.

  17. KathUsitalo says:

    Fun. I’m Class of 72. We’re reconnecting and reminiscing via a Facebook page set up for the purpose of planning our big reunion next year.

  18. susan says:

    Oh what fun! Yes looking back I think everyone laughs/grimaces at how we looked. Fortunately we all wore pretty much the same things, hair the same etc. so at the time we fit right in. Well, some did. That was my hippie era, followed by the “Rhoda Morganstein” look, remember THAT show? 🙂

  19. Karma says:

    This post is very cute! I was 6 in 1975, so I guess I can qualify as a 70’s reader! Would it bother you to know I can remember pictures of my dad looking kind of like Barry with the long hair and thin mustache? I also remember an episode of “Sesame Street” with a couple of characters trying to figure out how to take care of a wilted plant. When they finally get it, one of them says “Like wow, man, plants need water!” It has become a silly catch-phrase in my family when the plants need watering.
    I was just thinking I wanted to write a blog post today and didn’t know what I wanted to write about. Perhaps if I have the guts, I will follow your lead.

  20. sonali says:

    Oh my god! Kathy, I must say you looked very pretty during your teen age. Nice pictures of the olden times, good you’ve kept them safe.

  21. Christine says:

    You had that fun little sparkle in your eye even back then! Enjoyed the photos.

  22. Christie Eagan says:

    Love, Love, Love this blog as it brought back many fond memories of Yale back in the 70’s. That was when I could walk down the street and knew everyone. Now I walk down the street and know only a few..

  23. Kathy says:

    I am glad you all enjoyed this! I had an absolute blast learning how to scan & writing this blog. It was a fun trip down Memory Lane–and Mom, Dad and brother Tim and oh, yes, Barry, even liked it! Brother Scot is off hunting somewhere; hope he sees it one of these days.

    Sorry I am not responding to everyone individually–really far behind in responding to blog comments. It was lovely to see everyone here. (Hi Christie! Back in the days…)

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