By Linda Emley
On Sept 23, there was a party in Pine Valley. The whole town gathered ‘round while Tad Martin made a toast to all the people past and present that made Pine Valley one of the best small towns in America.
Adam Chandler, one of the town’s millionaires, proposed to Brooke English and everyone cheered as she said yes. But the mood of the party changed as Jack Montgomery headed for the door. Erica called out to him and expressed her undying love for him in front of everyone. Jack looked at Erica and said. “Frankly Erica, I don’t give a damn what you need.” Erica ran after Jack just as J.R. came out from his hiding spot and fired his pistol. The End.
Sometimes our lives are like a soap opera, well in my case, it is. Welcome to “All My Children.” On Jan 5,1970 it aired for the first time. After 41 years, it is now off the air.
Like many Americans, I grew up with Pine Valley. I was in high school and only got to watch it when school was out or I was home sick. You could always catch up on Erica and her many husbands by only watching it once in a blue moon. Even if you are not a fan, you probably have heard of Erica Kane. So how many husbands has she had? I think it’s 12, but only 10 count because two weren’t legal.
The first soap operas were on the radio in the 1930s but when TV came along, they really took off. They were referred to as “soap operas” because the early shows were sponsored by soap manufacturers. Many of us remember our grandmother saying ”It’s time for my shows” and knowing not to bother her because she was sitting down to watch “As the World Turns.”
Many things have changed since Erica Kane joined our world. On a Jan. 11, 1970, the Super Bowl was held in New Orleans on a wet Sunday afternoon and the Chiefs won. Len Dawson was the MVP as they beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7. No one in 1970 would have ever guessed that New Orleans would experience more than a few wet days when it was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
On the flip side, Lenny Dawson went on to become one of our favorite sportscasters. And who knows, the season is still young, maybe the Chiefs will surprise us with another 1970. (I must be thinking about soap operas, where miracles happen everyday.)
The Vietnam war was a major part of our lives in 1970. Our world changed on May 4 that year when 1,000 Kent State University students held an anti-war rally. It soon turned into a protest and gun fire left “Four Dead in Ohio” .
The first Earth Day was in 1970. Love and Peace were everyday words and rock music was everywhere. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix died in 1970 from drug overdoses. Both were only 27 years old, but their music lives on thanks to their 1969 performances at Woodstock.
The Tandy Corp. was the leading computer company and the future Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates, was still in high school. Bill and three other Lakeside students were working with the Computer Center Corporation finding bugs in their software, so he was already heading down the road to his future destiny. We were still two years away from the first video game system.
The best movie of the year was “Patton” and George C. Scott won for best actor. America’s favorite TV show was “All in the Family” with Archie Bunker. Simon and Garfunkel won song-, album- and record-of-the-year awards with their hit “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Most kids today don’t know what a record is, but it is still a category at the Grammy Awards.
In 1970, you could buy a new house for $23,000 and average income was $9,350 a year. Gas was 36 cents and a new car cost $3,900. A dozen eggs were 25 cents and Miracle Whip was $1.09. Why not throw in the kitchen sink because a nice porcelain one was only $9.88.
So what was going on in Richmond in 1970? The Spartans won seven out of nine games. The boys would go on to win state with Coach Tom Adams in the fall of 1971. The senior class won 1st place with its homecoming float that was titled “Spartan Flush”. It was a deck of cards and a huge toilet made out of toilet paper.
I pulled out a 1970 Richmond phone book from the museum collection and found a few surprises. I didn’t know that we had six taverns and six restaurants, including the Dairy Cream, Happy Hollow, Richmond Café, Hardwick’s Drive Inn, the 2-10 Supper Club and Depot Tavern, but I didn’t recall the Topic Inn, Watkins’s, Country Club, David’s Tavern and Town Tavern.
The business district was full of favorites like Gerald’s, The Clock Shop, Harold’s, Herford’s, Pointers, Mode-o-Day, William’s Shoes, J.C. Penny, Virginia’s Fabric Shop, Rader’s, Central Drug, Richmond Drug, Economy, Jones Store, Mattingly’s, Weary’s, Duvals, Smith Hardware, Cordrays, Jackson’s and Mansur Radio.
I didn’t use a picture for this story because if you don’t already know what Erica Kane looks like, I am sure you don’t care how pretty she is. As far as 1970 Richmond goes, one of the best ways to remember it is to close your eyes and remember what it was like to walk down the sidewalk on a nice fall afternoon as you shopped for everything you needed on the square.
You knew you lived in a small town because all the stores were named for a local family and you knew all the people who worked there. Thank goodness we don’t live in Pine Valley because it would be terrible to worry about being canceled and besides, real life is more fun because sometimes we get to help write our own script.
Write Linda Emley at firstname.lastname@example.org