June 21, 2014
Happy Baby Boomer Recognition Day
For years I thought I qualified as a “Baby Boomer,” but I don’t. I’m too old. I was born in 1943 when the official birth years are 1946-1964.
Even so, the fifties made a lasting impression on my life. For one thing our family acquired our first television set for our very own living room. Before this we shared a community one perched on top of the meat counter in the mining camp’s commissary. Mother, as store manager, sold sandwiches to the always-hungry crowd.
And before that tiny black-and-white graced the meat counter, it was toted up to the top of the tallest mountain around, wrapped in a soft quilt no less, and hooked up to an enormous antenna. I had to imagine the thrill of being there because only the hearty men and women made that climb. Mother and Daddy were among them. They didn’t return until the station signed off and the next night they would do it again.
When we had our own television, maybe a Philco, what did we watch? Anything from boxing to Laurence Welk to the Little Rascals. If our neighbors joined us on a weekend night, we fixed cheese and crackers and sweet pickles and maybe passed around RC’s and peanuts or homemade fudge. Good times.
If we were lucky, we caught a glimpse of Elvis gyrating on stage and singing Love Me Tender, You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog, or Jailhouse Rock. Daddy’s older brother, Uncle Vic, said this vulgar man would be the ruination of America. We laughed at the time, but maybe he was right. Did Elvis start us down a slippery slope?
Elvis’s moves were shocking at first--until we got used to them. Now they are nothing compared to what others sometimes display today—their crude sexual behavior in front of millions of people. Will we come to accept that as normal too? Do you ever wonder how far our behavior will go?
Don’t get me wrong. I loved listening to Elvis and enjoy his music even more so today, especially his hymns. But I guess he thought he had to get our attention first. And he did.
What do you remember about those years? Did you love the Beatles? Were you a flower child or wish you could have gone to Woodstock?
Are you a “Baby Boomer or, like me, are you too old to qualify?”
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