Ten Things That Lived in My 70s Summer Backyard

Pull up a ridiculously uncomfortable lawn chair and sweat a spell

Kathy Copeland Padden
5 min readJun 7


Look! Children outside of captivity!

Being a kid in the 1970s was nothing short of perfection. Bands of unsupervised kids roamed the streets on their bikes from dawn to dusk. The grownups didn’t care where we went as long as we were out of their way. Darwin took care of the rest.

When I contrast and compare the life of a ten-year-old kid now with mine in 1975, I’m eternally grateful I showed up when I did. It’s worth being an old bag now to have enjoyed such a carefree youth. If you know, you know.

Here are a few of the tangible objects that made a 70s childhood backyard so dy-no-mite.

Above-ground redwood pool


Our pool was my happy place, my Shangri-La, and my home three months out of the year. My bestie also had a pool and we spent many a summer day running from pool to pool on the hot pavement. My pool had a slide and was good for diving. My bestie’s round aluminum pool was deeper and was perfect for whirlpools. We had the best of all possible worlds.

Our pool was also my dad’s pride and joy. He took immense pleasure in his crystal clear pool water and perfectly stained deck. He piped music out to speakers he’d installed on the deck. We had those cool as fuck multicolor plastic pool lights AND a blue slide. It was so magical on hot summer nights. Our swimming pool was totally pimped out.

The adults joked a lot about the power jet from the filter, but that shit went way over my head.

Tiny plastic pool for the little brothers

We also had a wee pool for the wee brother nuggets. It became slimy in less than five minutes and had more grass in it than Cheech and Chong. But at least they weren’t both running around risking all our lives with lightsabers. That was a nice break.

Webbed lawn chairs



Kathy Copeland Padden

is a music fanatic, classic film aficionado, and history buff surfing the End Times wave like a boss. Come along!