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Postal Service Sponsors History Lesson With '70s' Stamp

September 19, 1998|HARRISON SHEPPARD

To students at Rossmoor Elementary School, the 1970s are a faraway time that exists only in their parents' tales and TV reruns. But they saw the '70s come alive Friday as the U.S. Postal Service sponsored a multimedia history lesson, complete with bell-bottoms, polyester and disco balls.

As part of its planned stamp series to commemorate the 20th century, the Postal Service chose six schools across the country to host events where students could learn about the culture and history of the '70s and then vote for their favorite stamps marking the decade.

The event's emcee, David Sidoni, a Seal Beach native who hosts Disney's "Mad Libs" show, arrived in full disco regalia: an Afro wig, avocado-green polyester pants, yellow-orange print shirt under a fringed vest, and gold medallions.

Sidoni, 28, had a simple explanation for the '70s scene:

"People were weird in the '70s," he told the kids. "The smiley face became huge. Why? Because people were weird."

The kids groaned and booed as Sidoni explained the absolute horror of living in a time before VCRs and cellular phones.

"If you missed a movie in the theater in the '70s, you never got to see it--ever," he told them.

The kids gave a thumbs-down to that.

Students were asked to come to school in '70s dress. Some didn't have to go far to find bell-bottom jeans and platform shoes: They dug them out of their parents' closets.

"They used to wear weird stuff and all that," said 8-year-old Jarod Julian, referring to his parents. Jarod was wearing his mother's purple fringed vest over a tie-dye T-shirt, along with his dad's peace symbol medallion, taken from his VW bus.

The Postal Service's Celebrate the Century program involves commemorative-stamp series representing every decade. The stamps for the first half were chosen by a panel of historians, but those for the second half will be voted on by the public.

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