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‘An Abundance Of Love:’ Families Got By With Less in ’70s

June 26, 2014
By SARAH HARMON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MOUNDSVILLE - Many parents who raised children in the 1970s might agree that less distractions for kids four decades ago meant more quality time spent with family.

Glen Dale resident Marilyn Myers has many fond memories of raising three boys in the 1970s with her husband, but said raising children was much different when she was a young parent.

One of the biggest differences she has seen is children often made their own fun back then.

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"Kids played outside a lot then," Myers said. "Even in the heat, they played in people's yards. My boys would take old trash can lids and use them for bases for softball games, and the neighborhood kids would come over to join. They went outside and played games and rode their bikes a lot. Inside, they played pool and we had a ping pong table. There was a lot of home entertainment besidesjust watching television."

Since children then didn't spend time on the Internet or texting on their phones, Myers said children interacted more with each other and had more one-on-one conversations.

Although she worked part-time, Myers was always home when her sons got off school and served dinner at 6 p.m. Everyone in the family knew when to be home for dinner, she said, and everyone was expected to be there to catch up on each other's days.

"We sat down and had dinner together unless there was work or a ballgame," Myers said. "It think it's a rarity to have dinners like that today, unless the parents grew up with it. People now go to the TV room and eat while watching TV. We'd sit around the table and ask the children about their day, if they did well on a test or when their next practice was."

Myers said families tended to have less money in the 1970s and were more frugal. She said young girls didn't spend as much money on prom dresses and big-name clothing labels weren't as prevalent - or necessary.

"It wasn't necessary to have certain clothes to be part of the group," Myers said. "There wasn't as much peer pressure as today."

Bullying and problems at school also occurred less often back then, Myers said. When her sons were going to school, Myers said they didn't have bomb threats or students bringing guns to school.

"Contraband like knives and guns just weren't (an issue) then," Myers said. "If you had them, they were probably in a gun cabinet and probably no one knew you had them. There were no gun threats and there weren't police officers in schools that I remember."

For Myers, one of the best parts about raising children in the 70s was watching them enjoy simple fun instead of being glued to iPads or cellphones.

"On the rare occasion I see kids playing in yards now, I wish I could go back to those days," Myers said. "My boys were always playing outside, swinging on a tire swing tied to a tree. Fun then was going to the creek."

Watching her sons grow up in a decade where quality time was abundant has made for some great memories, Myers said.

"It was a good time in my life," Myers said. "The thing that was the most abundant was the amount of love. It wasn't about the money then. It's about love and faith you were doing the right thing for your kids."

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