My life experience is very much rooted in the 1970s. I graduated high school in Great Falls, Montana in 1973 and certain events of that period inform my memories. From 1970 onward, a fund raiser was in place, selling bracelets for the soldiers MIA, as a result of the war in Vietnam. It is an interesting recollection that contextually, it was a very different matter to be a Canadian in this place and time. When I look at That ’70s Show, I see myself and my family. It is entertaining, but it is also a curiosity.
Being a Canadian, living south of the border through my high school years, I studied American History, Ancient Civilizations and experienced a huge focus on sports, clubs, expensive field trips, some racial segregation, even in the west, (although I was very naive about this and crossed boundaries of every sort), and a leaning toward a particular type of art. Here is an example…a calendar that I still have, silk screened by my high school art teacher, Mr. Dwight Winenger and a piece of his work titled, Seriously Centric displayed at the Charles M. Russell Gallery in 1972. Silkscreen was big at the time and I enjoyed the process.
This is where I went to high school, graduating in 1973…Charles M. Russell High School.
This is my bestie, Ramona. We did the photo booth thing after one of our epic walks around the city. We walked everywhere and this was great preparation for the lifestyle I took on once moved to Lethbridge, Alberta. University was across the Oldman River from the city and so I bought myself a pair of gators and hiked in routinely, when the river was frozen and took the long hike over to the bridge (only one bridge in the day) when the river was open.
I had a crush in high school, but only one date, and not with the crush. Dick didn’t have me out again because at the Drive-In movie, Castle Keep, I didn’t ‘keep him warm’. I’m laughing as I type this. The movie was fantastic! My only regret was that my Mom had spent money on such a fabulous pair of lilac coloured bell bottoms. I have hunted for a photograph of the Drive-In, but am having some troubles with that.
Someone found a photo for me!! Whoot! Thanks goes out to Rhonda M. Potts!
My family moved east again; Dad, transferred from Malmstrom Airforce Base back to North Bay, Ontario. I liked the dry air of the west, the vast expanse of sky and really wanted to remain west, so having done my research, landed myself up in Lethbridge.
I don’t want to get into a huge narrative about life in Lethbridge, but I do want to say that it is my favourite place in the world. It might be that this is because it was/is such a sleepy place, but something about the people in my life and the landscape, remained in my bones always. These were years of formation for me. I hiked those coulees until I knew them through and through. I harvested cactus berries and rosehips, made tea in my room, listened to Valdy on my friend’s turn table. I wore ankle length embroidered jean skirts and Progress store work boots. Times were good.
Robert Waldren has kindly shared some archives with our common friend, Ed Bader, and has given me permission to use them here, so with gratitude, I share them. I’m also including here a few coloured photographs that really pick up on the ’70s.
A hundred years later…Pauline and I share time out in Argenta. I love and miss you, Pauline.
One of my favourite people, Larry Weaver, ceramics prof…a man who has fathered me on more than one occasion. Grateful always to him and to his beautiful wife, Nina.
I don’t think I have a single photograph of me from ’73 until ’77. It was not the age of the selfie. IT WAS THE TIME FOR LIVING. A short musical interlude at this time…a tune coming out some time around 1968. If this isn’t enough for you, I’ll point my readers in the direction of the song, Time for the Seasons by the Zombies. Same time, same sentiment. Just not such a self-focused world at the time. This is what I grew up with.
Recently, I attended a fantastic event, Art on the Rocks, a figure drawing experience hosted by the Glenbow Art Museum and taught by a friend of mine, Tim Belliveau. I told him that I would give him feed back about his workshop to share the differences between his approach to figure drawing and the practice he has been taught and the experience of my own practice, coming out of the ’70s. As I was drawing gesture, contour, negative space and focused on the model, I was swept back in time…the whole reason for this post.
This was the University of Lethbridge, the year that I graduated with a B. Ed degree in 1977. The architect, Dr. Arthur Erickson, is no longer with us, but this particular building, its residence, academic rooms, landscape surroundings and people, had huge impact on my life.
My bedroom in residence…overlooking the coulees; and YES, that IS macrame!
The art and physical education buildings were separated from the main block by ‘the worm’. Freezing cold in the winter and stifling hot in the warmth of other seasons, I walked up and down this structure more times than I could ever guess.
It’s time to take Max for a walk, but it’s been really wonderful looking at the impact of the 1970s. I am grateful to my friends and teachers of the time. I developed a real hunger for experiences in nature, a desire to create in both written form and in art. Great professors caused me to teach more than anything and so I did.
Here are a couple of tunes. My very first concert wasn’t a big name band, but rather, Bruce Cockburn, sitting on a stool center stage at the Yates theater. It wasn’t until years later that I heard Valdy singing in a community center here in Calgary, but his music was a part of my creating back in the day.
Coaldale Farm House 1973-1974.