Friday, April 26, 2013

Thrifty Acres: Better Homes and Gardens September 1978

Hello! Another blog post, a blast from the past again with the 1978 version of Better Homes and Gardens, this time from September of that year. 

From a historical standpoint, there were several interesting articles in this issue, such as:

What career recommendations were made? Well, the allied health field was considered good, as was secretarial work (thanks to such marvels as magnetic media, electronic memory typewriters, and sophisticated dictation systems), electronic repairers and automobile mechanics. These jobs are still relevant, of course, even if "electronic memory typewriters" aren't. 

However, it seems awfully quaint now to read that in 1978 "...a college degree won't always be necessary to break into the computer field..." Although today we hear of computer-whiz teens who have made millions, they are the exception rather than the rule.

Also noted: the article commented "...the demand for women engineers will continue for the next five years or so." Really? What was supposed to happen after that? My husband, who's an engineering professor, thinks that women are still under-represented to this day in engineering fields. 

"Electronic innovations are viewed as supplemental services", so bank tellers' jobs were still safe. This was before the rise of ATM's. 

Another slice of 1978 life is noted in this article:

The magazine staff had embarked on a survey regarding the state of the American family, and in this issue, they gave a summary of the over 300,000 replies they had received. It didn't take long for me to realize some things have changed very little since 1978, such as when the magazine opined their reason for setting the survey in the first place: "So often the calm, sensible voice of middle America is drowned out by special interest groups modest in size but gifted in the tactics of high-decibel hype." That sentence could have been taken from today's op-ed pages! 

Other things that have stayed the same? People worried about the negative impact of TV (only today we have the Internet as well)and the high cost of living. There was worry about "alienated, immature, selfish parents", "childishly greedy materialism", and so on. But people thought their own families were just fine. 

A common survey reply was that people felt guilty over neglect of the elderly. I'm not sure if senior citizens today are being neglected any less than they were in 1978. That's sad.

However, another magazine staffer is quoted as saying: "...common sense is still in goodly supply." There were few signs of "panic or overreaction" about teen drug use. And 80% of the survey respondents were in favor of teens having access to birth control methods and birth control information. 

Indeed, although people had strong feelings about full-time daycare, abortion, divorce, religious beliefs, overall they seemed to have a live-and-let live attitude on these issues. But there was one subject the respondents had strong words against - and that was television! "TV isn't fit for humans" was one such indicative statement. 

Okay, after a couple of articles, let's look at some ads:

Digging those fitness clothes? Could those red athletic shorts (on the man second from the right) be any shorter? The unicycling woman's shorts are just as short - but she's ahead of the male runners because of the snack in her hands - a Dole banana. 

Dole bananas not your thing? Well, then, how about Maganvox fine furniture audio "tricoustic projection"? 

Fine furniture? Ye gads, that thing looks as cumbersome as a tank! 

Check out this house:

"Twenty years ago, domes were considered far-out, but today's domes are way in." The article goes on to say that dome homes used to be for vacation and retire homes, but the majority of such homes were now primary residences. They were considered cheaper to build, more structurally sound, and more energy efficient than conventionally-built homes. But for all that, it would seem that domed homes are out again. I just don't see that many around. 

Nevertheless, the interior pics of the above home are interesting:

Because of the absence of walls in the first photo, there is a ton of floor space - they could have fit several Magnavoxes in there!  

Well, as with the issue I showed off in my previous blog post, there's a lot more I could discuss, but I think you get the idea: for a small sum of money, there's big fun to be had in reading older magazines! 


  1. Wow. That's the year my husband and I married. Thirty-five years ago this month. I'm sure I had that magazine.
    Since I thrift for longer than my long suffering husband can stand, he thumbs through magazines while practicing patience. And he learns A LOT.

  2. Times flies by when you're having fun, right? September 1978 is the month/year I left home to go to college!

    Congrats on your wedding anniversary!

    Yes, one can learn A LOT from reading old magazines - I love them!