Thursday, June 2, 2016

I Am History

Last week I attended a granddaughter’s graduation from preschool at a community center.

Kindergarten here she comes!

After the ceremony everyone adjourned to a large room for snacks, pictures, and goodie bags filled with a school T-shirt, yearbook, and months worth of schoolwork.

I wandered around, looking at bulletin boards announcing events for members of the community center.

One particular item caught my eye. 

 Suddenly I am history.

My entire generation is history. People – historians, sociologists, psychologists and others - study us.

I speculated about the instructor. An old geezer like myself? Or a fledgling historian with no idea what it was like living through the 60s, aging from a generation of innocent kids and a nation recovering from war, lulled by increasing economic prosperity and the relative calm of the 1950s, to a nation by the end of the 60s weary of an Asian war and transforming politically, economically, socially, culturally.

I started the 1960s as a kid attempting to live with such difficulties as one hard-wired wall phone in a house of four people…one black and white TV, no cable, 7 channels…one bathroom…no dishwasher (or microwave or computer or cell phone or DVDs).

I could tell stories -

About President Kennedy’s Cuban missile crisis speech. Unfortunately I was gossiping on the phone with a girlfriend …

About the music. Almost everyone of every age is familiar with Beatles songs, but I could describe taking the train along with girlfriends to Shea Stadium, witnessing the group perform amidst a mob of screaming teenagers.

About the assassination of President Kennedy and an eighth grade science class listening in disbelief as the school principal announced the tragedy over the school’s PA system.

About the first men on the moon, raging inflation, the escalation of a war baby boomers did not understand, how wardrobes changed when my high school dress code no longer required girls to wear skirts or dresses.

Staring at the sign I felt old. In the minds of the kids and parents milling around, celebrating four- and five-year-olds, the 1960s are the Stone Age, an era before Amazon, Google, Netflix, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, Instagram, Starbucks and Nutella.

And I am a relic of that primitive era.

A couple of days later I took my nine-year-old granddaughter Hailey clothing shopping for her ninth birthday. We shopped at her favorite store, Justice, catering to kids and young teens, then walked around the mall and wandered into Chico’s, a favorite clothing store of mine.

Afterward Hailey announced to the grown-ups – her parents – that I shop at an old lady’s store, fuddy-duddy one of the eloquent terms she used.

OK, I accept the description, but my outfits are very different from the housedresses my grandmother wore or my Mom’s clothes. I don’t think Mom ever wore jeans.

The 1960s are history, occurring over half a century ago, and I am older than half a century. It is therefore time to, as the humorist Erma Bombeck stated, to “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.”

And just in case this post got you a little down, I conclude with a couple of cartoons that hopefully will put a smile on your face –