So the Summer is upon us, school’s out and the kids are home…the long hot summer of ’76 always springs to mind for me and no more so, than this Summer, when, whilst cleaning out a spare bedroom at my family home, my Mum found a box of old photos.
When I stared at the faces in these pictures (children long since grown up…. and the ‘grown-ups’ too!), I felt immediately mournful and contented at the same time. There was a longing to be back there in the warm care of my mum and stepdad without a worry in the world (reminding me of the weight on my shoulders now, from being a mum brings). But, running alongside that, was a feeling of deep happiness that brought back fantastic memories and a deep sense of nostalgia.
Aside from the obvious sentiments that one experiences when looking at old photos, there were the more superficial ones too! For example, I’m pretty sure that poking out of the long dress I am wearing in one picture; I spotted a white sock-clad foot in a sandal….eek! I giggled at my mum and asked her how she could possibly let me go out like that? Wasn’t that look only reserved for priests in the summer? Then there was the vast display of denim…I may be wrong, but I think we could’ve made a family parachute out of all those flares!
Not to mention the pointed collars (potential eye-popping weapons…ouch!), Adiddas track tops, t-shirts with no ‘give’ (lycra was just around the corner with the disco balls!), and those lovely nylon shirts that didn’t need ironing?! Unkempt, straggly, long hair and hair-clips…it’s beginning to sound like the chorus of a Katie Perry song..but it’s all there, in those honey toned snapshots.
I have had a deep longing for some time for the past and I thought it was even further back in my childhood. I had been searching for pictures of when I was younger (and spent a lot of time with my grandparents), in fact, I’d sort of focused on that. Memories of living with my mum and dad are distant (as they divorced very early) and I suppose you forget your everyday life….
So, when my mum found these and showed them to me, I realised that I had had what I was searching for all along! These were really lovely times with two wonderful people; Mum and Ken and my step-brother John to complete our modern family as we embarked on a brave new world – well…actually package holidays to the Costa Brava….but you know what I mean.
So, after lots of gawping at how gorgeous my mum was (Farah Fawcett Majors had nothing on her!), how much like real brother and sister my step-brother and I looked, and at how…well…..what can I say?! How, ‘Will Ferrell in Anchorman’ my step dad looked! I started thinking about our life today and how it compares to the life from those photos….Joseph is the same age as John in those pics (12)…my Mum is only 29, and my step dad is 49! (which is only four years older than me and my husband now!!!).
So, here is a quick comparison of the way we were and the way we are!
The 70’s family: drive around in a Toyota Celica. the mum, uses Carmen rollers to keep that flick real and the dad enjoys safari suits, flared slacks and stacked heels (yes you heard right –they were both on the platforms!). Kiki Dee and Elton John are no 1 and the long hot summer drought of ’76 is in full swing. They are probably watching ‘It’s a Knockout’, Morecambe & Wise, Mike Yarwood, Starsky & Hutch and Upstairs Downstairs on TV. Mum has come back from a holiday in Corfu so she’s gone all Greek and makes kebabs (souvlaki), pitta bread, taramasalata and lots of Greek salad (which she loves because it is all peasant like and roughly chopped (which is easy to prepare!). John is looking forward to watching Leeds football team and buying his new Umbro football boots. Jess is waiting for her Donny Osmond cap to arrive from The Osmond Fan Club (it takes up to 28 days), and she spends Wednesday nights watching ‘Charlies Angels’ and loves all things Snoopy. The family are going on holiday to the Costa Brava.
Today’s family: drive around in a Volvo V70, the mum blow dries then straightens her hair and has her eyebrows plucked and has just succumbed to botox. The Dad, funnily enough is wearing the latest Adiddas track top from Next and a very pointed collar Penguin retro shirt (also from Next), and Addidas trainers (no change from what he wore as a boy then?!). Party Rock Anthem is no 1 in the charts. The typical British summer is in full swing (i.e. raining mostly, flash floods etc). They are watching X-factor, Michael McIntyre, Bear Grylls and Downton Abbey. Mum has married a Greek so souvlaki and tsatsiki are part of everyday meals! Pavlos and Joseph look forward to watching Liverpool and have just bought some Nike T90 football boots which cost £100 a pair?! Their half sister Chelsey is on Facebook and ordering platform wedges to get the 70’s look that is currently enjoying a revival! The family are going to the grand parents summer home in Ibiza and Camp Bestival for their summer holiday!
So, what has changed? Will my children look back at these as their wonder years? Although they won’t find golden hue photos in my attic…they’ll stumble across discs and folders on the pc full of images of them growing up. Whatever they find, I’ve realised that the snapshots are only a trigger and once you push that button…the real discovery is what goes on inside and how much your family colour your life and your happiness.