Friday, March 13, 2009


March 12, 2009 mod
I'm not sure when the word mod found its way into the dictionary. Modernizing has been going on since Eve first discovered fire and decided to cook the squash she pulled from the garden. To me though, mod was the hip word of the early 1970's. Maybe a little before then, it's all sort of a blur, not for reasons the 1960's and 70's were a blur for most young Americans, however. I was a clean and sober Christian girl. But I did know who Peter Maxx was, the artist who created colorful psychedelic posters that the coolest kids had taped to the inside of their lockers. And I had a midi-coat and a pair of red paisley fabric covered platform shoes that hid under the cuffs of my bell bottom pants. Our dad, in a moment of uncommon fatherly normalcy, took us to one of the big Pittsburgh Department stores like Hornes or Kaufmanns or Gimbles and not only bought us those beige midi-trench coats, he also got me a pair of black and white saddle shoes, just like the cheerleaders wore. Man, I loved those shoes, too. If I wanted to look cute I put my hair in a pony tail and wore my saddle shoes with a mini skirt. But if I was feeling mod, it was hip-hugger bell bottoms with my platform shoes, my midi-coat floating around my calves when I walked; my hair in a pair of braids hanging gently in front of my shoulders and my brother's flat brimmed boy scout hat pressing my bangs against my forehead. By 8th grade I had reached the height of my mod-ness. I think the last time I felt really hip was in the halls of Pleasant Hills Middle School, sitting on the floor near the choir room with Betsy Gerson, our backs leaning against the wall and our knees holding the weight of our guitars as we practiced Dust in the Wind and every Gordon Lightfoot song in Betsy's songbook. It's been downhill from there for me, in terms of coolness. But hey, I had my moment.
During that time we knew if we were hip by watching Mod Squad on TV. They were like the Peter, Paul and Mary of crime solving. One white guy, one black guy with a super afro and big dark sunglasses, and that laid back chick with long blonde hair that flowed in slow motion when she ran across the dark asphalt between the two guys. I secretly thought I was particularly blessed because my hair was naturally blonde and straight like that, though in the Pennsylvania humidity it got a bit frizzy and did not flow quite like that girl-whose-name-I-do-not-remember did. But I could pretend on Tuesday nights that I looked just like her, or at least I would when I got older. The hippest of the cool hip cats was Lincoln, though. The black dude. He was totally mod.

Here’s a link to the opening scene of the Mod Squad show. Coolness relived!

1 comment:

  1. Actually, "MOD" happened in the late sixties. It was Yah-dly cosmetics and lace at the wrists of both male and female; it was white lipstick and poor boy sweaters, starkly graphic flower jewelry, metal-chain belts slung low over one hip. At one point (until Tom Monahan found out and tried to set it on fire) it was paper dresses. I think the squad was in the 70s. Mod was shopping in the basement of Korvette's where they kept the psychedelic junior department - lit with black lights, Quinn the eskimo and those hot top forty song shows on Sat. morning and knowing things were going on in the world around you that you didn't understand and were kind of afraid to find out about.

    I had a pair of purple herringbone hip hugger bell bottoms that I used a wide white vinyl belt with. And a poorboy sweater - tucked in.

    Oh, yeah.