A boomer remembers another time … and you can do the same

Here are more “professional remembrances” from our professional baby boomer rememberer, retired Evansville, Indiana columnist and still-producing-books author Garret Mathews. It’s part of BoomerCafé’s continuing series of installments where Garret looks back … and you can do the same.

I wrote many columns on men and women who came of age during the Second World War. What was the Depression like? I asked. Was there a black market in sugar, gasoline and tires? Unlike mobilizations in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, public support for World War 11 was close to 100 percent. What was it like to have such solidarity of purpose?

Veteran newspaperman Garret Mathews.

Veteran newspaperman Garret Mathews.

Despite your best efforts, one of these days you will be old. A young fellow rings your doorbell at the nursing home. “You’re a living history lesson,” the kid says as you scoop more Metamucil. “How about answering a few questions?”

What will his generation want to know about your age group? What are some things that happened on your watch that they’ll want explained?

As a Baby Boomer, I’d expect the following queries:

Did schools let out when John Kennedy was assassinated?

As a young man, you had no Internet. No cable news. No sports stations on television. What was it like to fall asleep during Monday Night Football and have to wait until the next day’s newspaper to find out who won the game?

President Richard Nixon

President Richard Nixon

How in the world was that geek Nixon able to win the presidency?

After your family left the drive-in movie at the end of the picture, did your dad ever pull out with the speaker still in the car window?

When you were in college, did you really say, “Far out, man?”

What was the first TV show you saw in color?

How many households shared your telephone party line?


Beatles “Revolver” album.

Did you like the Beatles better before their “Revolver” album or after?

During the civil rights movement, did you know any racists at a restaurant or a hotel or a department store who denied service to blacks?

Go back to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Were you afraid you’d be baked alive?


  1. I’m on the tail end of the Boomer generation so I know my siblings’ stories. Here’s another perspective: My sister, who is 68, remembers having to have her feet x-rayed when buying shoes because she wasn’t allowed to try them on before buying them. She also remembers that when the family moved from Massachusetts to Alabama they had to change cars in D.C. and go to the “Colored” car to comply with segregation. And last, I was born in 1959 and my birth certificate says “Colored.” That was the designation up until at least 1988 when I ordered a copy. Now, the birth record I ordered on another occasion doesn’t designate race at all.

    1. I remember when Kennedy was shot, I was in the 4th grade. Someone came in and whispered to our teacher and she put her head down on the desk. She didn’t explain anything to us.

      I don’t feel old at all except with creaky joints. It’s a completely different world out there now and I feel I had the best childhood – less traffic, playing all day outside with parents not worrying. Terrorists? Who were they? Take me back please!

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