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Boomer rumors (09/30/2007)
By Janet Lewis Burns
"It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." When you live it up just keep in mind - it may take the rest of your life to live it down! The Baby Boomers have done their share of that!

Never has a generation been so uniquely defined as the 78 million Americans who came into this world between 1946 and 1964. The so named Baby Boomers now compose 20% of the populace. Labeled Hippies and Flower Children from the Age of Aquarius, this sector of adults have been highly influential in the political arena.

As they age, however, and as health problems arise, many Boomers are shuffled off to one of those dreaded "facilities". On the other side of the coin, some choose to keep working, to utilize their store of potential, and to share their wisdom. A major factor in this surge of elderly exuberance and entrepreneurial pursuit is that the average life expectancy in the U.S. has risen to 80 years of age. Compare that to 1907, when living to an average age of 47 years was as good as it got.

As one in four people reach the age of 60, many will be financially dependent on their families and society as a whole, due to early retirement and/or deteriorating health.

Today's gated communities and the hustle and bustle rat race of young family life don't make allowances for our dependent elders.

On a brighter note, let's give this feisty, hardworking, and family oriented bunch of "American dream" babies a break. What other segment of society could get away with sporting tie-dye tee shirts and black leather jackets with fringes (originals at that)? Their grandkids can be seen wearing Grateful Dead shirts and Harley caps. The Three Stooges poster in Gramp's hot rod shop was finally sacrificed for the autographed Larry the Cable Guy's mug.

In a spare closet, things they've moved from place to place all these years must go now, as they pack up to make the move to a smaller, all on one level townhouse. There hang their married son's Lynn Dickey football jersey and the boys' Scout shirts, on wire hangers and sagging with dusty badges, a daughter's flower girl and first communion dresses, and Mom's bowling ball, which hasn't sailed down any memory lane for decades. Unearthed are Mr. and Mrs. Boomer's report cards from good old LHS, high school annuals with mysterious messages from long lost buddies, and pencil sketches wrapped with a red satin ribbon, Grandma's forgotten works of art. Outdated newspaper articles laud the winning Cardinal's football team that Grandpa was so devoted to. Fond memories of the nostalgic past and a wayward tear usher musty cardboard boxes to the trash bin. It's fair to note that today's older generation has accumulated a wealth of experiences. In the earlier Boomer years success was measured by principled work ethics and making a respectable living for your family. As the industrial age rolled over to the technological, then communicational, and into today's information age, busy, young adult minds are overflowing with knowledge.

What a productive combination! Boomers as mentors, with their treasure trove of experiences, and young adults with all that information programmed in!

Boomer rumors abound! Yes, they've mastered computers in staggering numbers. They let their grandkids get away with everything when nobody's looking. They are still stool sitters, but they cozy up to the kitchen counter, not the local tavern. They pulled the same crap as those rowdy "juvenile delinquents" they spout off about.

The Baby Boomers are the backbone of modern day society, but the future status of the U.S. in a global society rests on the shoulders of the new millennium generation. If they would put their heads together - FAR OUT!

What I wouldn't give for a Country Gal, a Cream Soda (two straws), a whiff of cigarette smoke on a leather jacket, and "Leader of the Pack" spinning on the jukebox!

Rev it up people!

Janet Burns resides in Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com 


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