Decade of Dangers…

Just read a piece on being a kid during the 1970’s. According to this hilarious article, they should all be dead now. Major concerns from a lack of government safety regulations, (you mean there was a time when big government didn’t control every facet of our lives, really?) plus blaming lackadaisical parents on everything from smoking in the car, (guilty) Lawn Jarts that maimed, (guilty) no seat belts or car seats (guilty) no sun screen. Yada, yada, yada. You know where I’m going with this, right? Well I managed to check off having or doing all 8 accident prone, injury inducing, lacking good parental judgement things, plus a hundred more.

On the farm in 1976, Shannon 6, Josh 1…

I had all three of our kids during the 1970’s, spacing them evenly to maintain my sanity. I knew moms who could pop out a baby every year and keep their wits about them. I just wasn’t one of them. I needed one to be pretty self-sufficient, talking, potty-trained, able to cook a meal and do a load of laundry before I brought another newborn in our world. This proved to be about 4 years apart. I had bright kids.

Shannon our firstborn, slept in a 5 dollar Goodwill crib, painted in bright yellow, lead-based paint. With about 3 slats per side.



For Christmas as a toddler we bought her a rocking horse from hell. When she climbed on that thing and started rocking, had she ever let go of the reins, she would have easily flown through 3 rooms before landing.



Shannon 1, 1971. Kids and grands have made it out alive from demonic horsey…

Never had a car seat, never used seat belts. She was either on my lap, or standing up in the back seat so she could see what was going on in the world.

We bought an 8 x 10 rug to cover the linoleum in the living room when she started crawling. This was a mistake for a couple reasons. We had no vacuum cleaner. Every night I’d get down on my hands and knees to pick up the PLU-SHE’S (Dutch word for a fuzzy or piece of lint on the floor or clothes) so Shannon couldn’t add them to her diet the next day. Our neighbor Ida loaned me her 100 pound, thousand dollar Kirby once a week. That sucker was so powerful it kept trying to devour the piddly rug, plus I had to lug it back and forth to their house.

The stove in our kitchen was older than John and me put together. One day I was baking a tuna casserole. Tuna was a staple at our house for the first 5 years of wedded bliss. At 3 cans for a buck, we ate it often, though not happily or with much enthusiasm. Shannon was crawling around and tried to pull herself up by the stove. The small glass oven door window was the spot where she placed her hands, burning them as she slid back down screaming. I plunked her hands in cold water, called John at work 15 miles away, (of course we only had one car) called our pediatrician and waited forever with a writhing 11 month old. She had already rubbed a couple of the blisters open by the time we got to the doctor’s office. Whatever they used on those burns was amazing stuff for the pain, but it would take several weeks for her hands to heal. Both were wrapped in gauze, so crawling and her wobbly first steps came to a screeching halt for about a month.

Dressings had to be changed every week by Dr. Stauch. A very traumatic experience every time she caught a glimpse of her little hands. Only upside, that was the day she stopped sucking her thumb. She still bears a couple small scars of the ones she rubbed open.

Shannon was Daddy’s girl. Whatever John was doing, watching, eating, she was right there following his lead. The nights he wasn’t at KTIV, she stuck pretty close to him. One night we were watching our massive 13 inch color TV, John went to the kitchen, made a plate of fruit, crackers and cheese. Shannon was playing and eating.

Weeks later John went to her room to get her out of the crib from her nap. Came out said her room was stinky. Figured it was a poopy diaper he didn’t want to change, but no, that wasn’t it. A few minutes later the smell was gone. Happened almost every time we walked into her room. We searched high and low for whatever was stinking up her cute nursery. Might have taken these newly minted, totally inexperienced parents a little longer than necessary to figure out it wasn’t the room. It was our gorgeous toddler. What on earth was causing that horrible smell? She didn’t seem sick. We bathed and scrubbed her, but she still smelled skunky. Ok I’m stumped, called Dr. Stauch for an appointment. After a thorough exam, he spotted something in her ear. Asked the nurse to get a syringe of warm water. Nurse came back, said the water heater was broke, only had cold water. Clever doc took some hot coffee, added cold water until it was lukewarm, and squirted a syringe full in her ear. Out plopped a hunk of Colby. This of course was not her fault. She was much too young to realize that we were life-long Iowa Hawkeye fans. She merely thought we lived in Wisconsin and were cheese-heads…

One thought on “Decade of Dangers…

  1. After going without mandatory seat belt laws for my first 30 or so years of driving,I now find myself at the top of the driveway or already on the road before I remember to buckle up ( \”Click it or ticket\”). 😡


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