The Days You Will Never Forget. Wait. What?

FOML4 is graduating from High School tomorrow. His big day has brought back memories of what was happening in my life, and the world, back when I graduated from High School.

Not really. I hardly remember anything from that day in May of 1979.

I’m sure my commencement speakers would be devastated to know that I don’t have the faintest recollection of what they said – or who was saying it. I vaguely member attending. Ia tribute it to getting older and/or apathy. Most of my graduating class would attribute it to being stoned or drunk.

I do remember wearing a bright orange graduation cap and gown that I’m sure you could see from space. Our school colors were orange and black – the girls got to wear black. It’s slimming, you know.

Thanks to the internet, I was able to go back and relearn my circumstances from that era. It isn’t all pretty. For example:

The #1 song in the country on that day was “Reunited,” by Peaches and Herb. (One more week, and I would have been typing “Hot Stuff,” by Donna Summer.)


Somewhat unfortunate, considering 1979 brought us things like “My Sharona,” “Renegade,” and “Sultans of Swing.” (Full list here) I think it bothers my kids that rap’s first big song “Rapper’s Delight,” by the Sugarhill Gang, took rap mainstream when I was still a kid. And I am old!

One good thing about the music in 1979 is that – if you listened closely – you could hear the beginnings of the death rattle of disco. Some of us had already moved on to New Wave and were to the point where the Bee Gee’s were causing us to break out in hives.

A few weeks after I graduated, Sony released the first Walkman. It was crazy cool. And if you had a couple hundred dollars, you could get one! If you weren’t there, you have no appreciation of how the Walkman changed our relationship to music.

As far as movies go, the top box office when I graduated was the original “Alien.” Yikes. That was scary stuff. I don’t thinkI told my parents I saw that one. I did tell them that I saw “The Muppet Movie” a few weeks later. Strikingly different movies.


Oscar winner that year? “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Some of my favorites from that year? “Breaking Away,” and of course, “Rocky II.” “The China Syndrome,” came out that year, and ironically, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant melted down, freaking out most of the world.

The top TV shows were a wee bit more innocent back then: “Laverne and Shirley,” “That’s Incredible” and “60 Minutes.” The top new shows that year were ‘The Facts of Life.” and “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Thankfully, they were both offset by Erin Gray’s riveting portrayal of Wilma in “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” (Cut me some slack – I was 17!) Meanwhile, my parents watched “Knot’s Landing.”  To this day,  I still do not know why.

1979 was during the Carter administration. There was a lot of angst. Inflation was at 11% There were gas shortages where people would have to line up and wait for hours on the hope of getting gas.

Gas shortage

If you did get gas, the price was a staggering 86¢ a gallon! Can you believe it!  Of course, two years earlier, when I got my license, it was around 51¢. Mind you, I didn’t need much gas, as I was driving my mother’s blue Datsun 510 station wagon. Yeah, I was ballin, but felt better than those who drove Ford Pintos that could explode at any moment.  (Danny: Did I use “ballin” correctly? Wouldn’t want to embarrass you, you know.)

This was the First Presidency n 1979:

1st presidency 1979

Presidents Spencer W. Kimball, Marion G. Romney, and N. Eldon Tanner. I still think back to President Kimball as “my” prophet. And yes, we did have color photography then. Thanks for asking.

1979. I DO remember one thing about graduation:  I was so ready to be done with Scottsdale High School, that when we threw our caps in the air, I never went and found mine afterwards.

But I do still have my yearbook.



Congrats to my son. May his memories be happy and not include Peaches or Herb.





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  1. My frugal father offered to take us all out to eat instead of attending my graduation. I was quite anxious to leave Los Lunas High in the dust, so I accepted and missed the sudden rainstorm on the outdoor event. (Think soggy mortar boards.) I still don’t regret it.

  2. I was born in 1979! Which made driving a powder blue Datsun 510 (regular 2 door not station wagon) to high school in the mid 90s extra fabulous. Go Datsun! None of my friends had even heard of that make of car. Ha ha In the car’s defense it had working ac (a must for Az), it was an automatic (I can drive a stick but so don’t like it), had something like 50,000 miles on it, and was rear wheel drive. Took me through high school, college, and into marriage.

  3. AuntSue
    Congratulations! May this be a Joy in Your Posterity time of your life. I also went to a HS with Orange and Black as the school colors. Made decorating easy for Homecoming, at Murray HS. Go Spartans! In 1973, I drove out of a gas station because the price was too high, 33 cents a gallon! Ah if only I could have that chance again.

  4. I was serving a 2year mission stint in the south of France from 1977-1979 so I missed most of the disco movement (thanks heavens). Remember how the summer of ’78 included the incredible change of allowing all worthy males to hold the Melchizidek Priesthood? Because France was 6 hours ahead of Salt Lake, we believe we ordained one of the very first black members to the priesthood, our little claim-to-fame! Good times, those 1970’s, would love to go back and appreciate them even more – life was so much simpler and the music so incredibly better!! Thanks for reminiscing…

  5. FOML5/last graduates this afternoon. He had his interview with the stake president last night and is now anxiously waiting for that letter that should be here in a couple weeks. I am a couple years behind you. My kids are amazed at the mid 80’s and gas was $1.09. And still saddened and excited that I have one of the first (hundred?) mission calls signed by Pres. Benson

  6. And now Scottsdale High School itself is just a memory. 🙁 Congrats to your son, and to you as parents!

  7. Girls were the gold in the green and gold of my high school. And not a lovely shimmering gold lame, more of a urine gold. and we had a streaker…Go Class of ’75!

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