16 Things Only People Who Grew Up in the ’70s Will Remember

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Are you feeling nostalgic for simpler times? You’re not the only one. Everyone who lived through the 1970s can agree on one thing—that decade feels like it happened just yesterday. It’s hard to believe that the ’70s, with its 8-track cassettes and bell-bottom jeans, was fifty years ago. For those of us who experienced it, that groovy yet challenging time is forever etched in our memories. Here are 16 things only people who grew up in the ’70s will remember!

Caring for Pet Rocks

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In the ’70s, kids asked their parents for $4 to buy a rock. It might sound like a trick, and maybe it was. But the kids didn’t care. They fed the pet rocks, took them for walks, and even cleaned up after them like they were real pets. You might think it’s silly—but children loved their rocks. Life was simpler back then.

Singing along to Schoolhouse Rock

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These fun educational cartoons would appear during our Saturday morning shows. Their songs were so catchy that we didn’t even mind learning something new. With hits like “Conjunction Junction” and “Three Is a Magic Number,” Schoolhouse Rock probably taught us more than our teachers did. Ask anyone who grew up in the ’70s how laws are made—they’ll probably start singing “I’m Just a Bill.”

Playing Pong for hours

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Even though it may seem old-fashioned now—anyone from the ’70s will always have a soft spot for Pong. This video game, released by Atari in 1972, was one of the first of its kind and totally revolutionary. It was supposed to be like playing table tennis on a computer, but it was just a white dot bouncing between two lines. The sounds of a Pong game can still mesmerize any ’70s kid.

Rocking tube socks fashion

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No ’70s kid would go to gym class without wearing tube socks, ideally pulled up to their knees. We all believed that tube socks made us look sporty—even if they actually looked a bit silly. At least we weren’t alone in this. Everyone from Farrah Fawcett to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wore them and made us think tube socks were cool.

Waiting impatiently for the phone

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In the ’70s, every household had just one phone. It was a rotary phone, usually placed in a central spot like the kitchen or living room, and it had a cord that only stretched so far. If someone was using the phone—you had no choice but to wait your turn. This often led to family members arguing over who got to use it next. Many sibling battles were sparked by someone hogging the phone. 

Imagining being bionic

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If you’re a true ’70s kid, you already know what it means to pretend you’re bionic. But it’s super easy for those who don’t: you start running in slow motion and make a robotic sound with your tongue. Even years after The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man ended, pretending to be Steve Austin still makes us feel strong and cool.

Enduring gas station lines

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Back in 1973, an oil crisis caused a lot of panic across the country. People waited in long lines at gas stations that barely moved. Some stations used colored flags: Green meant they had gas, but red meant they were out. Every car ride with your family in the ’70s felt tense—like you might run out of gas at any moment.

Enjoying sunny days without sunscreen

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Nowadays, most people who care about their health won’t step outside without covering their skin with sunscreen. But back in the ’70s, you could stroll around shirtless on a scorching summer day, and nobody would even mention sunscreen. Oops, sorry, we meant suntan lotion. Sun protection was pretty basic back then, just lotion to help you get a tan. And if you didn’t tan, you got a sunburn—which nobody really worried about too much.

Boasting about Tupperware

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Even though people still use Tupperware now, it’s quite different from what it was in the ’70s. Our Tupperware was bright and eye-catching—something you’d proudly show off when you opened your lunchbox at school. The older generation even had parties just to sell these popular containers. Back in the ’70s, it would’ve been easier to walk into someone’s house and take a lamp than to leave with their Tupperware.

Squabbling with siblings on road trips

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Back in the ’70s, when everyone packed into the station wagon for a long journey, kids didn’t have today’s distractions. There were no smartphones to keep us busy. The only way to pass the time was to see how much we could bother our sibling sitting in the backseat with us. It was either annoy each other or get annoyed—and the latter meant always asking your parents in the front seat to solve the problem.

Anticipating Saturday morning cartoons

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If you wanted to watch Bugs Bunny or any of your favorite cartoon characters, you had to catch them on Saturday morning. If you missed it, tough luck! Those fun hours of cartoons were only there for a short time—until the next Saturday. It taught us about waiting patiently for things we wanted. Unlike today, where you can watch any cartoon anytime with a click, it wasn’t possible back then.

Keeping up with Watergate news

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Even if you didn’t care much about politics, you probably knew something wasn’t right in Washington. People talked about it at every dinner party, and the news covered every bit of it as if the Watergate scandal might ruin everything. Watching Richard Nixon leave the White House for good and get into a helicopter was one of those moments on TV that nobody in the country could forget in the ’70s.

Growing up with Darth Vader

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In the ’70s, someone could wake up not knowing who Darth Vader was, but by dinner—they’d be thinking about the Dark Side, black helmets, and lightsabers. Star Wars changed everything so quickly for all of us. It split the world into “before Star Wars” and “after Star Wars,” and life just wasn’t the same after that.

Knowing all the words to “Rubber Duckie”

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Back in the ’70s, there weren’t many good TV shows for kids, so when something clicked with us, it really stuck in our minds. Sesame Street was one of those special shows that left a lasting impression. Even now—way past the time when we were playing with toys in the bathtub, we can still remember every word of Ernie’s song about his rubber duckie.

Considering hitchhiking adventures

Man Walking on the Road Holding Black Luggage during Sunset
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No car? No worries! Back in the ’70s, all you had to do was stick out your thumb and wait for a friendly stranger to pick you up. It might sound crazy now, but for a free-spirited ’70s person who didn’t have money for a car or was too young for a license—hitchhiking seemed like the perfect solution when walking wasn’t an option.

Chuckling at Saturday Night Live sketches

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If you were too young to stay up for Saturday Night Live when it started in 1975, chances are, you had an older sibling or parent who did. The next morning, you’d bug them to tell you about all the funny parts, even if you didn’t get all the jokes. But watching Mr. Bill get tortured by clay felt like the best thing ever—no matter what.