If this picture of two preschoolers in leisure suits doesn’t make you laugh you might need to go on the Injured Reserve for a broken funny bone. The photo, which is I purchased for about $3, was taken in 1977. The little designs on the shoulders are these little chicken people-things (ha!) wearing bandanas and western wear. Too funny! After I posted it on Facebook, some people commented with their own little-kid leisure suit pictures from the same era. They are so hilarious.
The leisure suit, defined by Wikipedia as “…a casual suit consisting of a shirt-like jacket and matching pants”, was part of the 1970s fashion apocalypse. My brother and father both had one, and get this, they were homemade. My sweet, late mother sewed them herself on her old Brothers sewing machine. Dad’s was brown with tan top-stitching and Billy’s was butter-yellow.
I can’t remember a time in my life when there was more upheaval in the world. One book that has comforted me this week is Jennie Allen’s Get Out Of Your Head. Her words are so inspiring. I really loved this book and plan to go back and read it a second time.
All that to say, I’m not ignoring what’s going on, just trying to get through it like everyone else. I find joy in mothering and my hobbies of writing, blogging, and collecting old pictures. I’m not reaching back to simpler times or happier days through the pictures I collect. I’m just doing what I’ve done for 12 years and that’s document the trends and experiences of Generation X.
A Very Short True Story
By the way, in 1977, the year my brother and dad wore those leisure suits, I was in the 4th grade and living in a small West Texas town. Many of my friends were Mexicans who had crossed the Rio Grande with their parents. They spoke no English and I tried my best to teach them. That right there is a true story. I sat down with Juan on the floor of the library, between two dark rows of bookshelves, and I tried to teach him English so the teacher would stop being so mean to him. Later, the teacher scolded me for trying to help him. Even then, at 10 years of age, I knew what really bothered her was not that I had tried to teach him English but that I had been kind to him.
In The Basement of the Goodwill Store by Ted Kooser, 1985
…You’ve seen him somewhere before.
He’s wearing the green leisure suit
you threw out with the garbage,
and the Christmas tie you hated,
and the ventilated wingtip shoes
you found in your father’s closet
and wore as a joke. And the glasses
which finally fit him, through which
he looks to see you looking back—