“sharp statistical increase represented as a bulge in an otherwise level pattern.”
Picture a python that has just eaten a pig. We are the bulge in that python’s belly. We are the baby boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, we were part of the phenomenal birth rate increase following the end of WWII. Life in the USA was good. It was a time of jobs, prosperity, security, enforced peace, a resumption of families supported by dads returning from the sacrifices of war time.
We grew up with the images of “Ozzie & Harriet”, “Leave it to Beaver”, “Father Knows Best” teaching us how life should be. Beginning in 1959 we watched 14 seasons of the Cartwrights on “Bonanza” showing us how ‘real men’ lived. Back then the “Nightly News” was a reporting of factual events rather than an attempt to entertain or politicize.
Our parents intended for us to have it all, a better life than they had. Job security was the norm enabling dad to spend his entire career with one employer. Mom stayed at home keeping house, prepared great home-cooked meals for her loved ones, chaired the local PTA, drank socially with her Wednesday afternoon card club. Junior and Sis went to segregated schools, attended sock hops on Saturday night, dreamed of being the prom King and Queen, prepared for college and an independent life with families of their own.
Remember those days? Me neither. Here’s how it really was. Bobby’s dad was escaping to the city on ‘business trips’ to meet the young, hot secretary from the office for a few hours of sex. Betty’s mom was sneaking martinis every afternoon before the kids came home from school. Junior was getting high with his friends and Sis was given to bobbing in the back seat of her boy friend’s car.
And we became emancipated. Woodstock, the Beatles, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war protesters, the political corruption all met within the 1960s to create a generation of young people unwilling to accept the status quo. We were called radical and degenerate for rejecting ‘Ozzie & Harriet’ and the ‘Cartwrights’, following, instead, a desperate departure from our parents’ dreams. Much of that idealism was relinquished with the passing years, and most of us settled into responsible adult relationships and behaviors just like mom and dad. But, a few of us became ‘forever dropouts’.
My name is Larry and I am a baby boomer. Today marks my 73rd birthday. Still haven’t figured out if I’m still a dropout or just an anti-social senior citizen.