When thinking about our prompt today of “favorite decade,” my mind when back to the 70’s, mostly because I was a kid at the time and it’s also when Star Wars came out and I’m a huge geek. Deciding what to paint to depict the decade was a bit tougher, so I just went with the first image that popped to mind. In this case it was our wood paneled station wagon, which provided quite a sense of pride for my dad. Though this was indeed an iconic car of the time, it looks extra bizarre when viewing it today. Why on earth would someone think to put wood paneling on a car? Well, it wasn’t really any leap in creativity. The fact was, nothing was safe from wood panels back then. Entire rooms would end up covered in the stuff. Walking into someone’s basement would feel like you’ve just entered a room-sized sauna without the heat. Our recreation room had walls with wooden shingles half way up them. It looked like the house had sneezed violently and inverted itself, leaving the roof on the inside. And I adored it! Some of the shingles were a bit loose and I had one that I found I could remove and replace so I could hide my little treasures behind it. It was amazing!

Our rec room was one of my favorite parts of my childhood home. It was a split level home, which meant there were not two full stories, but still an impressive number of levels. Below the rec room, there was a basement down a short flight of stairs and this was where my mother had her sewing machine and that was her domain. Thinking back, my dad didn’t really have a man cave in the house, as he didn’t have a lot of hobbies that I remember, save the time he tried making moonshine in the garage. But my domain was the rec room and so many happy memories happened there. It was there that we spent many happy Christmases together and where I opened a box to discover my Atari 2600, where I came downstairs to find a tree filled with teddy bears, and where I’d find the next little matchbox with Mom’s clever clue to the location of my advent gift for the day. There were not just one, but two pianos down there. Neither were traditional pianos as my dad had just gotten a deal on them. One was a former player piano that could no longer play itself and the other was a former church piano of some kind. The latter had little switches on it that didn’t do anything anymore, but I had fun flipping them anyway.

And best of all, that little room was where I first began drawing, writing and inventing things. I made elaborate contraptions where I could send marbles down their own fantastic amusement ride. I invented little games for my friends and I to play. I played both of those pianos, though not at the same time, and created my own little songs. When that once in a lifetime ice storm happened I wrote silly little mini-mysteries by a kerosene lamp. Then the 80’s came and I was becoming a teenager, and I realized I wasn’t a cool kid. I started to wonder and worry about things instead of just experiencing the wonder that came to me naturally. I was growing up, and that wood paneled station wagon was replaced with a more modern mode of transportation. And I would breathe a sigh of relief, because it was so embarrassing. The wood shingles didn’t hold their fascination for me anymore, and I’m not even sure what the future tenants discovered there when triumphantly ripping them off the wall. I was so busy looking forward back then, that I never took the time to look back. But now, I realize everything that made me who I am today happened during that time. So, I have loving memories for that particular decade. And I always try to remember and honor that little person and all of those crazy dreams he had back in the 70’s.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio! Click Here To Purchase It!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Wood Paneled Station Wagon Illustration - Doodlewash


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24 thoughts on “Back In The 70’s

  1. Your rec room sounds like a marvelous place! My grandparents had a wood-paneled station wagon and it was pink besides. I actually rather liked it, as it’s the car we always went in for picnics and family outings. And it reminded me of Pepto Bismol. I’ve always had a strange fondness for Pepto Bismol.

  2. Oh the memories you bring back! It makes me smile to think of that little boy hiding treasures behind a wood shingle on the wall – not to mention wood on a car. Now we say what were they thinking, though at the time it was so cool.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this! 😃💕 hehe.. yeah… there are so many things from that decade with the “what were they thinking?” badge. But I still wear that badge with pride. It was a wonderful decade to be a kid!

  3. One of our houses was a split level too…the basement was where my brothers and I hung out. Chemistry sets, model airplanes, woodburning…I can only imagine what we inhaled. But those are good memories aren’t they?
    Does anyone still have a rec room? (K)

  4. Your rec room sounds like a magical place! In fact, your entire childhood sounds pretty magical. It’s no wonder you turned out to be a creative person. That station wagon looks really sharp!

  5. Ahh, the ubiquitous station wagon. We had one too. We kids got to lie in the back and do what kids do. We also got to sleep there on long trips. Still, my favorite car had a wide area under the back window where I got to tuck in and look straight up into the leaf canopy. I loved that!

    I was a teenager in the 70s. I got my driver’s license in 1976. Because I was the oldest kid, I pretty much got the car whenever I wanted. Pretty heady stuff for a country gal who had never really been out on her own. Of course Sturgeon Bay was a small town, and cruising the main drag was four blocks, but we did make the best of it. And tried our darnedest to raise hell and get in trouble. I think if there was a 10 year stretch of time I got to relive, it would be 1976 to 1986. The end of high school, then college, and grad school. Just the best time to be young.

  6. Charlie says, ” I was so busy looking forward back then, that I never took the time to look back.”

    I still have my son’s Atari 2600 and 4 or 5 of the many cartridges he had…don’t know what
    happened to the dozens of others. He was a star wars geek too. Chewbacca’s voice was his
    specialty. Oh, the memories you bring back! Thanks you.

  7. Nice car!! You were lucky to have such a large car. We were a family of 5 and squeezed into a vw bug. Lol I am having troubles figuring out which decade is my favorite. Each filled with wonderful memories and not so wonderful. Still pondering, but at least you got me thinking.

  8. Beautiful doodlewash..I also have fond memories of 70’s …the first Campa Cola and Fanta bottle ..and collecting marbles in an old blue plastic water bottle when our front yard was cleaned.

  9. Great job on the wood paneled car and the colors you used. Love it! Everytime I see a car like this I think of Chevy Chase and the “Christmas Vacation” movie. So funny, even today. I grew up in an old farmhouse without a basement but had a fun attic and a lot of little hidden rooms upstairs.
    Great for hide and seek and mystery hiding places for our little trinkets. I remember the wood paneling in the “TV” room downstairs and the day my dad put it up. Actually was pretty cool looking.
    Fun you had a place under the shingle for your
    treasures. It was a great time to be a kid.

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