Monday, May 4, 2009

A Unique Time

My wife and I have talked about it many many times.
What was it about the late 60's and early 70's? Was it because we were impressionable teenagers? Does every adolescent think they grew up in a unique time in America, or the world?
Or does this time period truly stand out in history, and we were just fortunate enough to be a part of it? We tend to believe the latter.
There was nothing unusual about Blacksburg then, not to us anyway. Need shoes? Go to the shoe store. Need aspirin? Go to one of the several drugstores. Need a hammer? Which hardware store downtown is closest to your house?
The only thing unusual in Blacksburg might have been from the perspective of the long time residents. The college students were changing. Their hair was long, their clothes were strange, they talked funny. They were protesting against a war that had taken many of their friends or young relatives. They were questioning everthing about the status quo. It didn't take long for the look of downtown Blacksburg to reflect those new ideals. Record stores started selling "head shop" gear - like bongs, rolling papers, pipes, and roach clips. Soon it was easy to find blacklight posters and day-glo paint, leather goods made into sandals or headbands, waterbeds, homemade jewelry, books and magazines about being self-sufficient on the land or about other cultures and religions to consider. And music .... oh my God the MUSIC .... it was as if true musical artistry and expression was exploding and showing up week after week on black vinyl with often surreal outer jackets. The world started changing after 1965 and the ball was still rolling steadily forward into the 70's.
I hope some of you might enjoy the upcoming trips down memory lane (aka College Avenue, Main Street, and others) as we continue to talk about the times, and the shops, that made up our little town in the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia.


  1. Me, I was there from 1969 to 1973. School enrollment was around 10,000. So many things that I remember. The freshmen beer bash on Brush Mountain. Having to walk from O'Shag to my night Geology lab. In January 1970, it was so cold my face was frozen by the time I got to the lab. I was just getting the feeling back when class ended. Playing football teams like Fla. State, Houston, Oklahoma State and more. Demonstrations against the war. The university finally allowing students to shut your dorm door with a member of the opposite sex in there. Rotating Happy Hours. Caving at the New River. The Sewer, Greeks Cellar, etc. National fraternities/sororities coming to campus. The drive to Radford University. The changing of the name of the university to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Great concerts that included Jethro Tull, Loggins and Mesina, Doobie Brothers, Kristofferson/Coolidge, Chicago and Grand Funk Railroad (my ears are still ringing from sitting too close to a speaker). A lot of students kept guns on campus to go hunting and no violence. So many things, so many great memories and so many great friends. Glad I was there then. Thanks for the blog Dennis.

  2. A great blog Dennis, hope it keeps going. I understand that a lot of current and recent students are finding it and intersted in the history (well, recent history) of the 'Burg. I was there a bit before you ('66-70) but still keep in contact with a few friends from those years and will send them a link to your site.