THERE'S NO COOL LIKE AN OLD COOL
We Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are the largest generation born in American history making up nearly 30% of the US population. Our era encompasses historic milestones like the Vietnam War, The Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Liberation, Woodstock, Landing a Man on the Moon, and the assassination of a president; we even saw four Boomers become president. We ate cereal that was “Grrrrrr-reat” and immersed ourselves in spellbinding TV shows like Bonanza, The Munsters, I love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, and Gilligan’s Island, all decades before they became classics.
I often see our generational symbols at yard sales: drive-in-movie speakers, transistor radios, skate keys, mini-skirts, record players, rotary dial phones, and boxes of peace beads. Recently at a flea market, my eyes fell upon a lava lamp. My mind took a nostalgic vacation as I became mesmerized by its warm, soft crimson wax lazily swirling inside the glass globe. Without considering the potential consequences, I plopped into the avocado green bean bag chair placed next to the lamp. After several minutes of flailing like an upside down turtle, two strong young men hoisted me back onto my feet. (Note to Self: Get an “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up Button.”)
I was born in 1948, on the early end of the Baby Boomer generation. Aging is actually, not so bad. Once you get used to it, and embrace the process, you find there are lots of perks. Half price Metro fares, movie discounts, grocery home delivery, social security, early bird dinner specials, Medicare, and saving a fortune on haircuts were all worth waiting for. And what’s more wonderful than retirement?
My carefree days are filled with fun events like playing Bingo at the Senior Center, watching the weather channel, and checking my blood pressure while waiting for prescriptions at CVS. Could life possibly get any better? Well, shorter, maybe but certainly not better.
This year marks a major milestone in my life. I will be going home to Atlanta for my high school reunion. It's the BIG ONE ~ the class of 1966. Remarkably, I still have my North Clayton High School senior class ring, and high school annual, which is helping to jog memories of my classmates. The photos of the boys on the basketball and football teams look out with optimism from those glossy pages. The girls smugly wore the boys' letter sweaters that came down to the hems of their dresses.
As I flip through the pages of my 1966 annual, I am reminded of classmates with popular names like Betty, Susan, Nancy, Ann, and Linda. Most of the boys were called Michael, James, Charles, William, and Tom.
I don't know what will happen at the reunion. Most likely we will listen to songs by Elvis Presley, Petula Clark, Sonny and Cher, The Supremes, The Righteous Brothers, Billy Joe Royal, and The Beach Boys. We will enjoy a dinner together, share pictures of grandchildren, talk about our most recent health challenges, and take a few moments to remember the ones who are no longer with us.
None of us will look like the teenagers we were fifty years ago, but I suspect there will be enough resemblance for us to embrace one another, smile, and say to each other, "You haven't changed a bit!"