How baby boomers came of age

Lockport, IL

We are boomers. No longer baby boomers. None of us are even remotely even in the young category. We were born from 1946 to 1964. We were kids in the '50s, with war hero dads who worked hard to keep us housed and clothed and fed. With moms who made sure we were educated, and knew we were loved, clean and respectful to everyone who was older and in charge. We acted the way a family should act. We were together every day. We ate together, helped with the chores together. We watched TV together and went to bed at times that were appropriate to our ages. We took family vacations piled into big heavy cars and station wagons. We went to church together and were helped to practice our faith by the example of our parents and extended family. We played outside! We were able to roam our neighborhoods and meet other kids who would become our friends for life. Were we supervised? Yes, by everyone; by the mailman on his route, by the woman in her garden, by the officer on patrol. Any number of people who kept an eye on us and would report any bad behavior to our parents. An injury was dealt with by one of your friends knocking on the closest door and respectfully asking to use the phone to call mom or dad, who would drop everything and come to our aid. There were no lawsuits filed on the person who designed the playground equipment we broke bones, skinned our knees or even got cut and needed stitches on. There were no lawsuits against a bicycle manufacturer when you fell off the bike and were all cut up, bruised and broken. Instead of blaming someone else for our injuries, the question would be what we were doing wrong on the equipment, and did we damage anyone’s property. We were taught RESPECT. Respect for adults of every station in life. Respect for policemen, firemen, mailmen, store clerks, gas station attendants, teachers, clergy, janitors and street sweepers. We were Boy and Girl Scouts. We played Little League, sand lot softball, football and hockey. We played to win and everyone didn’t get a prize for not winning, so we tried harder. We swam at our local pools; we skated at our local roller rinks. We rode our bikes all day. We were outside until the sun went down and the streetlights came on. We understood that our worst punishment was being grounded. Not to be outside with our friends was devastating. There were no electronic games, no video games, no online games. We were confined to our houses and our rooms where we could read and reflect on what we did.

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