Through the eyes of a Boomer

My column is one man’s take on life — a baby boomer’s life.Those of you whose parents are baby boomers might find it hard to understand what our generation has been through because I had a tough time understanding what my parents went through.

Unless you actually experience something, all the reading of textbooks won’t change a person’s perception of reality when it is experienced in real time.

We grew up in a time when there were only three television stations. We all watched the same shows at the same time. There were no computers growing up, at least not personal computers. For many of us if we actually needed to make a phone call we had to go through an operator because we shared “party lines” where we had to wait for someone else to finish their phone call before we could make ours.

The world was also a pretty scary place. We had just completed a major world war and then we wearily went through another one located in the frozen tundra of Korea.

The first wave of baby boomers followed World War II and then many of our fathers raced off to the second war and came home to the loving arms of their wives and created the next wave of baby boomers.

Another friend of mine passed away two weeks ago.

Her name was Barbara. She had just turned 60. About 12 years ago she beat breast cancer. She was married to my good friend Don. Don, Barbara, my now former wife and I had great times going down to Bajamar and playing golf along the Pacific while the mist of waves splashing against the rocks would cool our brows with its spray on a warm summer day.

We would wander into Ensenada for a night of margaritas and good food. We had our moments of life that can never quite be duplicated.

That is life. Life is fleeting and we have the indelible memories. Barbara is gone now. Just a simple stomach ache forced her to see her doctor.

It turned out to be a large mass on her stomach and two weeks later Barbara was back home in heaven from whence she began. All that is left is a sense of loss by those left behind. Her son David saw many of his fellow soldiers lose their lives on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. But, losing one’s mother is a different story. Barbara was only 60.

Just before Christmas, my friend Ted Weeks lost his father. Ted Sr. was a character and a very giving and generous man. He served during WWII.

Ted Treadwell, is home with Ted’s mom Nellie, now. They too are young again in Heaven and ready to plan their future up there.

Yes, our lives seemed so much slower and simpler many decades ago when we baby boomers were just children, but in retrospect, we worked hard getting through school, doing our duty to defend our country for those who either voluntarily or not so voluntarily served their country.

Remember, we baby boomers had to deal with the Selective Service draft. Our lives were not entirely our own. There was an ugly war in a very strange place in Indonesia and that too was scary because every night, one of those three, if not all three, television stations were showing our boys being killed in jungles with rain and 100 percent humidity.

We live in a fast paced world today.

We live in real time. It’s hard to imagine what 50 years from now will be like. But, despite the draft and the craziness, we were able to pursue our dreams without too much interference.

Today it seems like everything we do has something to do with the government.

I wish that my grandkids generation knew what it was like to live under personal responsibility instead of “shared” responsibility. I’m too young to see the world change as much as it has, and then I’m too old to honestly believe that the world could be the way it once was.

We live in a dynamic world, not a static one. We go with the flow and we live to find our peace.

May peace be with you Barbara and Treadwell.

Our day will come too, but until then, may our days be filled with good memories, good friends and family and peace.

 

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  1. Wes Noel says:

    Joe, I remember in 1967 while at the Univ. of Mo. after supper one evening seeing the reaction of two of the house members screaming as they watched their older brother walk past the camera located in Vietnam. A year later I was drafted into the Army and a year after that, in ‘Nam for a 15 month tour of duty.

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