This weekend (8/8) my parents, "Denny & Sherry," are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. In a society where divorce has become the norm, not the exception, and with some people having two, three, or even more weddings/divorces, this is certainly an admirable feat. I know it wasn't always easy for my folks. When I was a young kid (and through most of my early years) my dad was an over-the-road truck driver and was usually on the road for a week or more at a time. He was out earning a living to support our family, while my mom was at home caring for an ever-expanding family (I have four siblings) on a day-to-day basis, while also attempting to maintain a small farm in Iowa with various livestock.

They met in their junior/senior years of high school (from neighboring schools). They got married a month before my dad shipped off to the Vietnam War in the summer of 1970. He got sent home from Vietnam with an honorable discharge when both of his parents died in a tragic house fire. Right from the start, their union was probably off to less-than-ideal circumstances. I honestly don't know a lot about those early days in their relationship, and I plan on asking them about it this weekend when me and my siblings get together at their place near Bozeman for their 50th-anniversary party. From what I can gather, the party is mostly going to entail me and my brothers helping dad build a new fence around their property. Classic dad move.

Thinking about their wedding and what else was going on in the world in 1970, here are some fun facts in the way-back machine:

  • Most Popular Car. While Chevrolet had the top-selling vehicles for nearly three decades, Ford edged out GM due to a UAW strike in 1970, allowing Ford to sell more units. That made the Ford Galaxy the #1 seller in 1970, according to Motor Trend.
  • Top of the Music Charts. The week they were married, August 8, 1970, the top five songs on the Billboard Top 100 were: #1 The Carpenters - (They Long to Be) Close to You, #2 Bread - Make it With You, #3 Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, #4 War - Spill the Wine, #5 Freda Payne - Band of Gold. Three Dog Night was close to breaking the top 5, coming in at #6 with Momma Told Me Not to Come, still a staple on Classic Rock Radio.
  • Top Movie. The first week of August 1970, the #1 movie at the box office was Chisum, starring John Wayne, according to Playback FM. The Numbers.com says the top-grossing film of 1970 was Love Story, starring Ali MacGraw and  Ryan O'Neal.
  • In the News. August 8, 1970 wasn't a particularly busy news day, but in the week leading up to the date, a bill to create the independent USPS passed in Congress. A Pakistani airplane crashed shortly after take-off, killing 29. Rubber bullets were used for the first time (in the UK). The first jumbo jet was hijacked, a flight between New York and Puerto Rico with 360 passengers on board. Source, wikipedia. 
  • Cost of Goods. Stuff was WAY cheaper in 1970, but so were the wages. According to 1970's Flashback, the median household income in the US was $8,734 a year. A new home cost $26,600!! Gas was $.36 a gallon and a dozen eggs were $.62. Inflation was running at 6.5% and the federal debt was only $360.9 billion. The National Debt Clock website says the current debt is over 26 TRILLION and rising at about $200,000 per second. Yikes.

Here's a pic of my parents today.

Credit: Dennis & Sherry Foth ~ used with permission
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