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I recently opened up my chest of childhood memories, faced a decade I had long since forgotten, and wrote these words:
"It was the hippest of times. It was the funkiest of times. It was the 1970s."
And I grew up right there in the middle of it. I won talent shows. I went to camp. I fought the school bully for the honor of the girl I loved. I lost my father.
But having just turned 50, I decided the time had come to take an honest look at those years without the tinted lens of nostalgia, which allowed me to remember so much more. I never told the girl I defended that I loved her. I barely survived camp. No amount of talent show victories brought my father back and, to be honest, my memories weren't as accurate as I thought they were.
The '70s were a swirling minefield filled with a family destroyed by poverty and divorce, horrible TV shows, bad disco on AM radio, and wretched food, and the only saving grace a child like me had was Pong. My teachers tried to put me on drugs. My sister taught me the art of shoplifting. My best friend was Burp Boy. Life was a series of constant setbacks, a barrage of defeats, embarrassments, and false starts.
And I wouldn't change a thing.