When did baby boomers get so old?

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events. The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general. 
The  Grandma replied, "Well, let me think a minute, I was born, before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact  lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There was no radar, credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. Man had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, clothes dryers, and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and man hadn't yet walked on the moon.
Your Grandfather and I got married first-and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother. Until I was 25, I called every man older than I, 'Sir'- and after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, "Sir.' We were before gay-rights, computer- dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy. 
Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.
Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege. We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent. Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins. Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends-not purchasing condominiums.
We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt,  or guys wearing earrings. We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President's speeches on our radios. If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan  ' on it, it was junk. The term 'making out' referred to how you did on your school exam.  Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of. 
We had 5 & 10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards.
You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for under $1,000 but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was 30 cents a gallon.
In my day, "grass" was mowed, "coke" was a cold drink, "pot" was something your mother cooked in, and "rock music" was your grandmother's lullaby.  "Aids" were helpers in the Principal's office," chip" meant a piece of wood, "hardware" was found in a hardware store, and "software" wasn't even a word.
And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. How old is Grandma?

This woman would be only 60 years old!
While grandma's memories have apparently distorted some history, her story accentuates the era that older Baby Boomers and their predecessors (the Veterans) recall when they reminisce about their youth.  It contrasts sharply with the childhood that Gen X and Gen Y remember.


Ira S Wolfe


  1. Andrew Odom Jr October 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm -

    Well, he kind of liked to be called that but the Baby Boom generation lasted until 1964 and arguably aspects of it carried on for those of us born slightly later and saddled with that silly “X” moniker. So he was the tail end of the baby boom….
    Nice article. A bit on the light side but gets at some key differences. I’d trade a lot about today’s world (not everthing) for the 1950s.

  2. Ira S Wolfe June 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm -

    I agree with you about the two waves of Boomers. But I don’t agree with your Big Band and Jack Benny reference. I’m 58 years old and very much remember watching Jack Benny (and Rochester) on TV. I certainly wasn’t a big band fan in my childhood but the music was certainly played. So for the even older Boomers, Big Band and Benny may even be more relevant.

  3. gelosgrapos June 10, 2009 at 3:07 pm -

    Big Bands! Jack Benny! no way is she 60 years old or a Baby Boomer.
    Sounds more like the Silent Generation so try 70 years old and you might get closer.
    Also remember that there were two waves of Baby Boomers – those born immediately post WWII and remember rock ‘n’ roll, and then a second batch in the mid 50s weaned on the Beatles.

  4. Terry L. Johnson May 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm -

    As a “boomer” myself, I was thinking the other day about how poorly we fared in national politics as Clinton and “43” are our only “boomer” presidents.
    obama is our first post-boomer prez.
    so much for our changing the world.