70s Childhood

I know there is a fine line between living in the past and just relishing the memories. I’ve always loved to close my eyes and think about the way the world used to be, when I was young and had my whole future ahead of me, with no clue how complicated and painful adulthood could be. I think we’re all this way to a certain extent, and whatever decades we spent our youth in, those are the bits of nostalgia we treasure the most. I spent my childhood in the ’70s and my teenage years in the ’80s. Here are some of my fondest memories of my childhood in the ’70s.

My younger sisters and me before first day of school Fall 1978.

The First Microwave I Ever Saw

I guess it was around 1978 that my neighborhood friend, Dorothy’s parents bought a countertop microwave. I’ll never forget her saying, “Come on, I’ve got something really neat to show you.” We went into her kitchen and she explained that this strange contraption was like an oven, but that it cooked stuff really fast. She got out a couple hotdogs and a couple slices of Kraft cheese from her fridge, wrapped the hotdogs with the cheese, plated them and stuck them into this mini oven. She turned the knob and after what seemed like only a couple minutes, the cheese dogs emerged cooked, complete with melted cheese. I must have just stood there gasping at this marvel. “See? There all done already. So you don’t have to boil them anymore. Go ahead! Eat one! It tastes really good.” I reluctantly did as she said and to do this day I think those are the best hot dogs I ever ate (and I have always hated hot dogs!).

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The Long Hot Summer

We really had no Spring this year in the lower half of Indiana and it’s been Summer since about mid-May, with temperatures staying steadily in the upper 80s to mid 90s.  Everything in my herb and vegetable gardens went from being tiny to gargantuan overnight.  I don’t remember ever having cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and peppers so early in the year.  For the first time in my ten years of growing tomatoes I have experienced some type of tomato fungus that has yielded us mottled, thick-skinned tomatoes that look and taste terrible, with most rotting and falling off the vine before we can harvest them.

My cucumbers seem to be babies one day and look like the Hindenburg the very next week, so big and full of seeds I’m not sure how to use them.  I have always been of the mindset to “let nature take its course”, but now I’m understanding that this resolve is not without its consequences.

I’ve been negligent and let my cukes get way too big!  But maybe I can make them into pickles or something…

As with everything in life, we have our good years and our bad years.  I am truly thankful for a great harvest this year of sun gold cherry tomatoes, beautiful grape tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, tomatillos, summer squash and cucumbers, as well as the usual abundance of herbs (which yield so much goodness with so little effort).

 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.