Were you born between 1946 and 1964? Then, like my husband and I, you are one of the nearly 75 million Americans in the Baby Boomer Generation. Think of all the changes you have seen!
You were born just after the end of World War II, saw the Korean War begin and end and were there when the Vietnam War was waging. You were born during the term of one of these US presidents: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower (remember “I Like Ike), John F. Kennedy (“Camelot”) or Lyndon Johnson (“Great Society”). You could buy a brand new car for just $1,400 and gas for that car cost 21 cents a gallon and milk was 70 cents a gallon. You could even buy a new home for $12,500 – with that amount, you can barely rent a house for a year now!
Those were the days when families were larger and lived in closer proximity to each other. Grandparents were nearby. Aunts and Uncles were close. Family holiday dinners would often include a large table crammed with food and people. When you went on a family picnic to the lake, you didn’t worry about locking your home when you left or locking your car when you were at the lake. Kids were allowed to go off and play without their parents worrying about them.
But the world has changed since then. Some changes have been good and some not so good. Back in the “good old days” we had to wash clothes using a wringer washer and hang them out on the line to dry. Now we have washers and dryers that are electronic and can do the washing and drying on their own. Can we buy a house for $12,500 now? Not hardly – we can’t even buy a good lot to put a house on for that amount of money. The average house price in the US is now $300,000! A new car costs around $30,000 and gasoline is nearly $2.50 a gallon. Good and bad, we have seen many changes.
What about entertainment back then? Back in the beginning of our Boomer generation, hardly anyone had a TV. Sitting around listening to the radio was a common evening occupation. When you got your first TV, you needed “rabbit ears” or an antenna to bring in a local station. Now, watching TV means watching a cable channel or even playing a game with your Xbox or PlayStation. Phones used to be large black monsters that sat on a hall table or hung from a wall. You shared your phone line with others – this is why it was called a “party line”. Now phones are pocket-sized, work from a satellite tower and act like a computer. Come to think of it, computers, which were non-existent in the “personal computer” form at the beginning of the boomer generation, are in the homes of most Americans today. All of these changes have led to Americans getting instantaneous information about activities around the world. Are these changes better or not? Sometimes we tend to think we are on “information overload”. I think the first time I saw so much information about just one subject was when President Kennedy was assassinated. If you are a Boomer, you probably remember exactly where you were and what you were doing on that date. I was in grade school, reading aloud from our Bible History book when the Nun who was the cook in the convent, came in and told our Nun what had happened. We all got down on our knees and prayed. Come to think of it, even prayer has disappeared from our schools in the name of “Political Correctness”.
The world of instantaneous information has brought with it information that gives us chances to think about, as well as fear for our safety. Random attacks occur around the world and we begin to wonder if we are safe anywhere. Our kids are killed in schools. People are killed in shopping malls. There are random shooting in almost every community. Entire families are devastated by these losses. We worry about our families and how we can protect them.