As Fred Arnow of Henderson, Nevada puts it, there are plenty of books that look at the impact we baby boomers have had on the world. But how about the impact that the world has had on us? He has just written that book, and in this piece for BoomerCafé, explains why.
In September 2014, I traveled nearly two thousand miles to attend my small town high school’s fiftieth reunion. It was only the second reunion I ever went to, and I was excited this time. The other one was the thirtieth. I went then because I just happened to be in town to attend to my terminally ill mother.
This one, the fiftieth, happened over three days. Over those days, most of the conversations related to how things were while we were growing up, and how different things have become in the intervening fifty years. Those conversations launched me on my mission to recreate the memories that not only my classmates have but also the vast majority of American baby boomers.
I researched books with similar titles, and discovered that. while many examine the effect that adult baby boomers have had on the country, politics, and society, few have dealt with the formative years of our influential generation— and my project was launched.
In the book,”Baby Boomer Reflections: Eighteen Special Years Between 1946 and 1964,” I’ve tried to describe the events and the environment in which we grew up. While much of it is quite serious, almost like a sociology textbook, I’ve included humor in the examination of the world that shaped our generation. Growing up in the 1950s and coming of age in the 1960s was unique.
But “Baby Boomer Reflections” is more than nostalgia. It’s a storehouse of powerful memories boomers can share with their children and grandchildren, offering a chance to pass along the wisdom of a lifetime — a chance I wish someone had offered me when I was a brash young man on the cusp of adulthood. It was the most formative time of our lives, as we navigated the challenges and pitfalls of high school and developed memories that would last a lifetime.
Among those memories is the music with which we grew up. From the decline of the big band era to the beginning of rock and roll, the sounds of those times is special. So are the cars we drove, the television shows we watched, and the games we played.
It’s a recollection of the events that shaped a generation, our generation. I hope it brings these powerful communal memories back to life, and inspires others to remember their reactions to the major moments and pivotal events of their youth. The book ends concurrently with our graduation — those of us who are leading-edge baby boomers — and concludes with events that probably became the catalysts for major change; things like the assassination of President Kennedy, civil rights legislation, the woman’s liberation movement, the New York World’s Fair, and Vietnam.
Many books examine the effect adult boomers have had on the world, but this one examines the effect that the world had on boomers. These important moments deserve to be remembered and cherished.