Essay: The Teen Turning Point (Growing Up in the 1970s)

Sisterhood of any age...

I have a weak spot for chick cinema revolving around best friends such as “Terms of Endearment,” “Steel Magnolias” and “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” I’m in my forties now and can boast two friendships that began during my teen years and still flourish today. Perhaps fate brought us together since we all came from nomadic backgrounds (military families) and all of us represent women of color spanning the rainbow of Hispanic, Asian, and African-American. We didn’t think much about this at that time.

I don’t think we realized when we hung out at a local playground sharing our dreams of the future that we’d still share a friendship during midlife. And as we scattered to other places around the globe, at times it seemed that we’d lose contact, but thanks to long distant phone calls, letters, and now e-mail, we shared our deepest secrets, our darkest hours, and supported each other through times where we made difficult life decisions. I truly believe that we love each other unconditionally because we chose this friendship and bonded in our own type of sisterhood with childhood memories fueling it.

Laughter, love of music, spirituality, and food also fueled our three-way friendship and in time, our circle grew to include spouses, partners, and children, who I can say I also feel affection. This sends me on a nostalgic trail back to the disco-ripe seventies when my friends, Daphne, Marjanii and I would ride our bikes around the small community, end up at Daphne’s house where we listened to Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder and other soul music. Daphne would show off the new clothing she bought on a trip to Seattle, and Marjanii placed dibs on the clothing. Then we’d sneak a peek at Daphne’s older sister’s Cosmopolitan and Vogue. We knew a more glamorous life existed outside the confines of a small town, but would any of us ever become so urban?

We discussed the boys we liked at school and were too shy to approach them. I think we also chose our designated roles, Daphne, the straight-A student, Marjanii, the athlete and class clown, and I took the role as a story keeper/dreamer. As the years passed by quickly I witnessed all the changes in our lives, the travel, the birth of children, relationship breakups, and children growing into adulthood. I never had children myself, but live precariously through my friends who have and I collect their stories. Who knew that we’d graduate from Earth, Wind & Fire, to new age spirituality? Who knew we’d enter the Age of Aquarius with a friendship still intact?

My friends remind me of my core, though the years have transformed me. I relish my role as the designated story keeper and this is our story, not unlike the story of thousands of ethnic American women growing up in the seventies and eighties. Perhaps we never lived glamorous lives, but I’d trade friendship for tinsel any day.


6 thoughts on “Essay: The Teen Turning Point (Growing Up in the 1970s)

  1. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside when I watch movies about life-long friends, or hear stories of friendships that last the tests of time.
    I have not kept any of my friendships from younger years… but it’s okay. I do still have my sister. 😀

    Great post.

  2. Hi Darlene,

    I’m amazed that I could keep friends from my childhood, at least my teen years, because I grew up in a military community. I did not keep in contact with the friends from my early childhood. Sometimes I remember and think about them, but they disappeared so long ago. Families came and went, such is the nomadic life of military families.

    I also realized how similar my two posts are, the one on music of the 70s and the one of friendship. The newest post was something I wrote for the This I Believe site that I never posted. I was reminded of the essay yesterday when I waxed on about 70s soul music. So I end up repeating myself. Some things like friendship are worth repeating.

  3. Love Dreams
    Your the voyageur of my heart
    my love for you is timeless never ending
    my gentle response is of aw an tolerance
    you can do any thing an be forgiven
    there no limit to the love for you in my heart

  4. Friendship represent something very special in our life. Some friends slip out of sight while others seem to be with us forever. And it’s those latter that bring so much joy and laughter and trust into our world. Thanks for sharing your story.

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