“I turned around … and I was 55″

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We are the next generation. That’s what Wayne Merry discovered when his life changed. Since his business is about recording life stories and last wishes, he wrote this piece about his own father for BoomerCafé. He calls it, What Happened?

It started one little hint at a time…

Wayne Merry

Like, “Thank you SIR.”

Or, not having to show my I.D. when purchasing wine.

Even worse: “Do you want a seniors discount today … SIR?”

I turned around and I was 55. Boom, I was a boomer now. My friends and family were scattered around the world and there I was by myself in a big house with my pets and lots of cleaning.

Then the I hit a BIG WALL. I received a call that my father, who was living in Canada, while I live in North Carolina, had passed away. I was always the smart one, the business professional of all of the siblings. They looked to me in the past, and especially now during this difficult and confusing time. After all, I was the inventor with eight U.S. Patents, and flourishing.

The bad part of this story is that I was so busy being successful, I had become detached from my family and now regretted it. So off I went to where Dad lived.

Wayne’s father at age 18.

I had not discussed or known anything of my father’s affairs (no pun intended), and was to get the shock of my life.

Like many of us, Dad had papers scattered everywhere. Lots of things, but nothing organized. Now there were funeral arrangements to make. Did he want to be buried in a family plot with his first wife (his true love) or cremated with the ashes spread over his favorite fishing spot? Did he have insurance, a prearranged funeral, a head stone? And which pastor— he knew many as he was the town barber? Questions that had to be answered right away! I felt I was on a game show with the clock ticking.

Then, there were his personal belongings. I still cry over throwing his beloved slides into the dumpster. In the old days we would sit in the basement and watch our lives unfold slide by slide as we drank a beer with him. I could see the smoke from his cigarette twirl in the light coming from the top of the projector and hear the sound of its little fan as Dad would tell us the story of meeting Tarzan Johnny Weismuller in the great Canadian north.

Then came the secret drawer! Every story, every news article that was ever printed about me, was neatly folded and placed with love and pride in the order of my successes.

As you can imagine, I did not sleep very well during that visit. Thousands of scenarios of Dad’s life and my life intertwined, falling down like leaves that left me asking only more questions.

Now I am the family story-teller and baby boomer. I wrote this article in hopes that whoever reads this will talk with your loved ones and be in their lives more.

Love you, Dad.

Connect with Wayne Merry online.

7 Comments

  1. It is hard to believe that we are now the adults in the room. And as you said, we are the story tellers, the “Keepers of the Family Flame”, if you will. Now is the time to pause and reflect, and to make sure that those that follow are passed the torch of our family memories, the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly, of what makes us who we are. The responsibility lies with us now, the Baby Boomers, and to ensure that we can meet this honor we need to reach out and stay in touch, with those loved ones that are ahead of in lives journey, and to the those that follow. Thank you.

  2. Wayne, how we’ll I understand. I have so many memories I need to share with my kids. I taped my grandmother talking about immigrating to the US and its priceless. We need to share our stories. Thanks for creating your website to allow us to do this!

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