I’m considered a Baby Boomer – supposedly the largest generation born in the USA post WWII between 1946 and 1964. According to some demographic experts, Millennials (ages 18-34) will surpass the number of Boomers in the U.S. in the near term, followed by the Gen X’ers (ages 35-50) in 2028.
Although generations are considered “analytical constructs,” groupings of births in a specific country during a specific era for the purposes of study by social scientists, we often overlook the fact that the labels we use to create generation members, disguise the fact that they are composed of living, breathing human beings.
For Boomers, more has been written about my oftentimes maligned cohort than any other generation. I won’t recount that here. However, recently I have been pondering the privilege of being a Boomer – of having lived during this particular epoch in human civilization. Here’s some things that have come to mind that only Boomers can truly appreciate – as we have lived it – together:
- Remember the “party line” on your parents’ home telephone service?
- Black and white television – with three channels and tin foil wrapped “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna.
- VHS v. Beta
- Smoking was allowed on airline flights.
- Practicing “atomic bomb/civil defense drills” as a student in school – covering your head beneath your desk with your teacher and fellow students.
- Gasoline was 23 cents a gallon.
- A movie was 30 cents.
- A lift ticket at a ski resort was three bucks.
- The milkman
- There was no such thing as a microwave oven or a remote control.
- Carbon paper.
- The day your rotary dial phone was replaced with a push button phone.
- A carton of milk at school was two cents.
- Vinyl 45 RPM records with the big hole in the middle.
- Drive-in movies.
- The term “communist” was heard frequently.
- Automobiles had no seat belts.
- Garbage trucks had nothing to lift the garbage cans with – except garbage men.
- A dishwasher was a human – not a machine.
- The mailman walked to every home to deliver the mail.
- The term “software” referred to pajamas, sweat pants and sweatshirts.
- Police cars had red flashing lights.
- Nurses wore white outfits with white caps.
- An eye pad was something one wore over an injured eye.
- There were only about a dozen different kinds of beer.
- Hubcaps were standard on all automobiles.
- Tattoos were seen only on men – typically those who had served in the U.S. Navy.
- Portable music was solely available on a transistor radio.
- Amazon was a rain forest in a far away place.
Be kind to Boomers. Perhaps you might use this article as a tool to stimulate interesting dialog with the Boomer’s in your life.