Talkin’ ’bout my generation..

May 8, 2024

my-generation

When I was younger, I had neither time nor the inclination for nostalgia. There was no past–just the present. The young present. The “now” of my generation.

But now, I find my thoughts drifting back to the world I grew up in. A world that’s now long gone. And a world that, for better or worse, was far more innocent than the one kids come up in today. When I think of the complexities of today’s world, how many kids live almost their whole lives online,  it makes me sad. They’ve missed so much that my generation were lucky enough to have.

Floating on a cloud of optimism

For one, we grew up in a post-war cloud of optimism and prosperity. The national mood was positive, as we left behind the stresses of World War II and then Korea. It was short-lived positivity, but very real and I think it set the tone for how we grew up.

Our lives were very low-tech, back then, but very “high-touch.”

We didn’t have a 24-hour news cycle that kept us in a constant state of tension. Three TV networks, that’s it. And later, a public television channel. TV was black and white in our early days and 15 minutes of nightly news was given without analysis or opinion. That was it: 15 minutes of news.

One ringy-dingy….

Our phones had a dial tone and actual dials. Way at the beginning, an operator connected us. Long distance was “expensive”, especially if we called “person to person.” That meant you didn’t pay unless that person got on the line. No voicemail. It didn’t exist.

We read books. There were no Xboxes or streaming or cellphones. We developed our imaginations in the pages of the classics and then such fun books as Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys. Would our jaded youth of today even appreciate these wholesome classics? Certainly not the same way my generation did.

Pedophiles didn’t lurk around every corner. We were free to ride our bikes, play outdoors at least until dark and were never disturbed.

Family life

The family sat down together to dinner every night. Athletic practice didn’t usually extend past dinner time. We belonged to the Scouts.

The family car didn’t have air conditioning. Oh, I remember six of us crammed into a car for the three-day drive from western New York state to Florida in the heat of the summer! Actually, our home didn’t have air conditioning until maybe the mid 60s, when my mother decided she didn’t want to suffer the heat any more. Of course, in Rochester, NY we only had heat and humidity during the summer, but my mom appreciated her creature comforts.

When I look around at what kids must contend with today, I am so glad I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. The following meme is how someone else depicted it:

OUR GENERATION IS PASSING.

We are…
A generation that walked to school and then walked back.
A generation that did their homework alone to get out asap to play in the street.
A generation that spent all their free time on the street with their Friends.
A generation that played hide and seek when dark.
A generation that made mud cakes.
A generation that collected sports cards.
A generation that found, collected and washed & Returned empty coke bottles to the local grocery store for 5 cents each , then bought a Mountain Dew and candy bar with the money.
A generation that made paper toys with their bare hands.
A generation who bought vinyl albums to play on record players.
A generation that collected photos and albums of clippings.
A generation that played board games and cards on rainy days.
A generation whose TV went off at midnight after playing the National Anthem.
A generation that had parents who were there.
A generation that laughed under the covers in bed so parents didn’t know we were still awake.
A generation that is passing and can never return.
I loved growing up when I did.

4 comments on “Talkin’ ’bout my generation..
  1. Laurie Stone says:

    We’re also amazing since we’ve seen several new decades, a new century, and even a new millennium. Something so special about that. And yes, I also look back at the 60s with incredible nostalgia.

  2. Abbas Abdulmalik says:

    My brother and sister and I “secretly played our transistor radios under our pillows at night to listen rock and roll when we were supposed to be asleep. I’m sure the folks knew, but didn’t let on.
    All three of us had brownie cameras, and we each had Zebco one-piece fishing rods.
    We wore shoes, not sneakers, and clamped on Chicago roller skates. The concrete sidewalk wore down the steel wheels to nubs after a while.
    Thanks, Carol, for bringing back the memories!

  3. Diane says:

    So many good memories! I love this!

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