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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

Fads

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

daughter of the Old-Timer



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Trends come and go, and now that I’m almost 58 I’ve seen a few! Of course it goes without saying that when a trend hits Timesland it’s already run its course in bigger cities.

One of the first things I recall recognizing as a hot toy was a “Troll Doll,” an ugly little plastic doll with extravagant and wildly-colored hair. My friend “Patti” had the first one seen at Garfield elementary school and it created an instant sensation. Immediately a competing, almost identical toy sprung up called a “Wish-Nik.” A few years ago I saw a few in the toy stores again!

When I got close to junior high school all the girls were wearing nylon or chiffon scarves. They were pastel colored, and you wore them around your hair like a headband or around your neck. I had a green one that was my favorite. You got “scarf rings” to hold them in place. Who knows what made such a thing become hot? The good news on this one is I recall the scarves were around 99 cents apiece - so even the kids from less-well off families could participate in the style.

Meanwhile the hippest of the boys were wearing their belt-buckles off center toward their hip. No good reason for this one either, but hey, it was edgy.

My friend Carole had an older sister named Ruth who I thought was the ultimate in cool. She ironed her hair flat on an ironing board using a dishtowel over her hair, and a regular clothing iron. The utter glamour of her long, perfectly flat hair was amazing. Even hearing about how she’d burned her scalp a few times didn’t detract from the fascination I had watching her.

In around 1972 it was crochet vests made with multicolor yarn in a very loose weave. They were long, past your hips, and tied in the front. I am perplexed as I recall these - again, seems more suitable for little old ladies than hip teenage girls, but everyone had to have them.

We always wanted to wear our school-required skirts and dresses as short as possible, but you couldn’t push it too far because the teachers would have you kneel on the floor and measure the distance to your skirt - there was some number, I think 4 inches, that was considered the bare minimum of decency. You could roll your skirt’s waistband up once you left home to make it shorter, and unroll it later at school if you heard the ruler was in use that day.

This was also the time of bodysuits and hip-hugger pants. My sister had a pair of mint green pants that were quite sensational. Since we were the same size if I offered her enough bribes I could wear the fancy pants for a day now and then. These were best accompanied by a bandana over your hair and a pair of hoop earrings, the bigger, the better. These led to a lot of scary stories about “bad people,” who would rip the earrings out of your ear. No one I knew actually had this happen, but the stories were everywhere. However, you wore your hoops to live stylishly, if dangerously.

I remembered things like this when my kids began to test me, like kids always do, with “their” versions of such fads. Our son had to have a few bizarre haircuts and our daughter wore some clothes that weren’t my favorite. It helped to reflect back, and know that I presented quite a spectacle myself at the same age.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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