Reflecting on the 1970's






Looking back after all these years it's interesting noticing the differences between 2015 and the decade of the 1970s, it’s almost as if sometimes you could have been born on another planet completely! So much has changed in society. Sure, there are certain things that have remained the same. But in many ways, the way people live their lives is changed because of influences like, computers, the Internet, relatively cheap Air Travel.

But for me the most interesting changes in society are attitudinal. Growing up as a person who has a physical disability during this time was challenging. Not only did you have less in the way of technology to help you, but attitudes to people with physical disabilities were far less enlightened than they are today.

I have been blessed with a family that treated me well, but it was a different story sometimes outside of the home. Society expectations were very negative sometimes. Some members of the public still have the expectation that anybody with a moderate to severe physical disability should be protected to such an extent that they shouldn’t even go outside (I should say at this point in the narrative that the views of express are solely my own, from my own recollections at the time and the child).

I have had a sense when I was growing up within my home any way that disability was really emphasised strongly; it was only when I ventured out hearing the opinions and comments from others, then I truly got a sense that I was different from the norm.

I cherish my memories, my family has supported me while I was growing up extremely well! We were lucky enough to be able to go on holidays regularly (memories which I still cherish today).

Some interesting things I remember are:

In the 1970s you could only get margarine on prescription from your doctor if you had a heart condition or something like that. Margarine was considered to be very expensive. The majority of people I knew used butter exclusively on just about everything, or fat or lard. I can remember quite distinctly enjoying the taste of fat, when mum had finished cooking the roast on Sundays we would often get to’ lick the pan’ on the remnants and that was nice especially when everything was still hot. The same went for cake tins when the baking was first taken out. It wasn’t particularly hygienic I suppose, but it was really fun and I enjoyed myself

2. Going to the beach was one of my most favourite activities! In the days before I had my first orthopaedic operation on my legs in May 1976 I did really enjoy my excursions to the beach because, I was able to flex my legs easily (meaning that I can easily sit down on the sand moving in the direction that I wanted to. I felt a real sense of freedom while I was doing that, and in retrospect I really feel that it was such an important part of my childhood experience. Like most kids, I didn’t seem to have a sense of fear while I was doing a lot of things – I just had a real sense of adventure.

My school days were really spent a lot of the time having the various treatments are needed (physiotherapy) which was ongoing (occupational therapy) and in the very early days of my schooling speech therapy, plus there was swimming. Primary and intermediate schools were enjoyable for the most part (apart from physiotherapy) but that’s another story for another time perhaps.

In 1979 I was involved in the Abbotsford slip disaster (where there was essentially a landslide because homes were built on the wrong kind of soil! That was certainly something very different, scary and exciting at the same time.