1976 – The Best Year Ever?

A recent news report confirmed categorically that 1976 was THE year.I have to say that I smiled when I heard that. And then I started to drift back and I smiled even more. I really do think that 1976 was the best year of my childhood years.In 1976, I was 13 years old and my life couldn’t have been better. I was the second child of Ron and Frances Buckley. My dad was a farmer and my mother cleaned at the school that I attended. My older brother Stephen had left school the year before with a stack of grade A O-Levels (when exams were hard…)In 1976 I didn’t have a care in the world, it was the much talked about “long, hot summer” and all I had to worry about was whether it was going to rain or not, (it didn’t of course!), if I had 37 pence on a Tuesday (this was so I could go to the local record shop and buy the single of my choice!), whether I’d done my maths homework (I usually hadn’t…) and I looked forward to my 14th birthday at the end of summer. I used to love getting cards in the post, I knew that in two of them at least there would be postal orders – from my Nanna and my Great Auntie. A first class stamp in 1976 (a posh one with a picture on, was 8 ½ pence. That is how uncomplicated my life was.If friends had fall-outs in 1976, we simply stopped speaking to each other and until one or the other held out an olive branch, that is how it stayed. Once we left the confines of the school gates, apart from a bit of name calling as we walked home, or waited for the bus, that was the extent of our arguments.We didn’t have to worry about receiving an email, text message, being berated on Facebook, or worse, deleted on Facebook – apparently these days, being deleted from Facebook is tantamount to divorce! No, we resorted to good old fashioned arguments and once we closed our bedroom doors, that was it – we could listen to our 7 inch singles on our portable record players, (leaving the arm over so that we could listen to the same song over and over and over again!).I know that in the last few years my job has changed considerably with the use of the internet, social media and it is fair to say that the digital era does allow even more creativity than ever before, but if someone had told me in 1976 that 30 odd years later, I would be able to read a newspaper on a computer screen, not only that, make a comment on it immediately, I would have laughed, and then ran off to get another ice lolly. Nowadays I often wonder how the libel and slander laws worked back then and how many more cases there are now than in 1976, because after all, what was written in a newspaper on a Sunday was read and digested by many, but by Tuesday that same paper would be wrapped around a portion of fish and chips, which incidentally would have cost 80 pence in 1976 (that information comes courtesy of a fish and chip shop in Edinburgh – the owner must have thought I was mad when I rang to ask him how much his fish and chips cost in 1976!).With hindsight, the fashion in 1976 was perhaps questionable, but at the time I thought that the bottle green trouser suit with flares that I tripped over regularly looked pretty damned good! As a result of the platform shoes I wore during the 70’s I now have very weak ankles having fallen off them more times than I can remember, but at the time it seemed worth it!In 1976 life was simple, it really was.I look back on this year with such fondness and if I could go back in time and live it all over again I would.

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