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The morning after

I was born in 1961, the same year as President-Elect Obama. (Indeed, I am a few weeks older than he is. It's been another one of Those Milestones.)

All the American flags I saw as a little girl were fresh and new because they had just all been replaced when the number of stars went from 48 to 50, two years before I was born. Hawaii and Alaska were beautiful exotic places that were somehow part of America.

And the reason that I will object, sometimes strenously, to someone calling me a baby boomer is that I was a toddler when John Kennedy was shot and Don't. Remember. A. Thing. About. It. (I have always claimed that those of us born during Kennedy's term Aren't Really Boomers.) It was part of the sadness in the background as I grew up - the handsome President, his beautiful and stylish wife, the children around my age.

I was an early and voracious reader. By second grade or so, I was reading both papers we got cover-to-cover (hell, I read the cereal boxes, because it was printed material in the house). The Civil Rights movement was very much still in progress with daily headlines. Dr. King's assassination was the first Big Event in the Outside World I remember making an impact, followed frighteningly closely by Bobby Kennedy's death immediately after winning the California primary. I turned seven about a week after Bobby died.

The rest of that year, well, everyone knows it was a big year on the charts even if it didn't really personally come to my small, conservative town in rural California. (It's a two-hour drive from where I live now and Berkeley felt like the moon.) But hearing of the struggles of the people trying to un-seg the South, combined with my religious education (for some reason I took "Jesus Loves The Little Children" literally ;)), put a desire for "liberty and justice for all" deep into my being. Discrimination Was Just Wrong.

This long-windedness above is all by way of introduction for the following thing that popped into my head at some point during the last month:

If you had told me when I was a kid that there was a black boy my age growing up in Hawaii who would be _elected_ President (I emphasize "elected" because of Johnson and later Ford), I would been very cool with the idea, but would have thought that I would be an old lady before it happened. Even as a general thing, I thought I could manage to live to see the day - especially since my family is pretty long-lived - but had no clue it would be so soon. (I do occasionally feel every last one of my forty-seven years but as Presidential stuff goes, that's still "young".)

I heard the speeches on the radio. But I caught youtube vid of the tears streaming down Jesse Jackson's face. It said a lot.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed reading this. Thank you.
Nov. 6th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!
Nov. 5th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
You sound very much like me and my life. I can still hardly believe this has happened.
Nov. 5th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
He's One of Us. It's a new generation- and we're here to fix the mistakes of our elders.

I'm a few months older than him- but we graduated high school the same year.
Nov. 5th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
I read somewhere yesterday or the day before that people your age are called Generation Jones. Don't ask me why, but I knew there was a generation between us boomers and the Xers.
Nov. 5th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on those born during 1961-1964 not being part of the Boom culturally and psychologically, despite what the demographers say. You all are the vanguard of Generation X, which lasts until 1980 or 1981.

BTW, ever heard of Strauss and Howe's books on current generations? They share your view about your generational identity and back it up with lots of evidence.
Nov. 6th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
Ah, they're the "Gen 13" people. Yes, I have heard of their work.
Nov. 5th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah- the generational stuff I have read counts X as 1961-81. So, welcome to the club. Here's your Douglas Coupland novel.
Nov. 6th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
I was X before X was cool ;).
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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