Boomer Memories of Macrame and Mr. Ed
Baby Boomers. We started showing up in 1945 and kept rolling off the conveyor belt until 1964. There's 78 million of us, 28% of the American population. We are a huge tribe. We are the target of marketeers. We are running for president. We are in your face. We are everywhere.
Everywhere except the blogosphere. At least, that's what I thought until recently.
I will admit to a case of myopia. I couldn't find many Boomer bloggers, but I really didn't try as I was already nestled in the comfort and community of the mommy blogs. I didn't care that I was one of the few 50 plus year old mothers ranting online about grounding my kid and fretting about her grades. The job of mothering is fundamentally the same for both toddler and teen wranglers. After all, the dynamic of toilet training and making sure the homework gets done consists of an identical teaching: Sit down and do it. Don't get up until you're completely finished.
The rigors of parenting requires solidarity and peer companionship, but my "real life" circle of friends were well beyond me when I had my Molly at age 36. Their kids were in high school while I was in labor with my daughter. Now, at this time in our lives, my Boomer sisters are luxuriating in their empty nests while I continue to wash and fold the Great Pyramid of laundry that only a teenage girl could generate. My Boomer sisters spend weekends hunting down antiques in quaint rural towns and my Saturday consists of hunching up in a chair at Abercrombie and Fitch and sticking my fingers in my ears because the music is cranked up louder than any of the concerts I attended at Winterland, one of which was an insane Rolling Stones show before the members of the bad boy band became clean and sober, (with the notable exception of Keith Richards who famously continues to eschew the clean and sober lifestyle).
But, any mention of a Winterland concert, or the Mod Squad or where you were when JFK was assassinated (I was in my third grade classroom and our teacher cried as she broke the news), flies over the heads of my beloved mommy bloggers. In turn, I am unable to participate with any intelligence in their detailed discussions of John Hughes movies, Scooby Doo and the horror your elementary school class felt when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in the Florida sky.
Thus, we are presented with a great cultural divide - the Nostalgia Gap. The fact is, that Gap will never be crossed. So, as it's compelling to entertain our memories of pop culture and historical events, it's always a good deal to seek out our sisters of these shared experiences. For myself, I'm thrilled to encounter bloggers who knotted up macrame plant holders, remembers Ike and ponders, to this day, how they got Mr. Ed to move his equine mouth in conversation. (Some claim the crew stuck peanut butter in the horse-actor's oral cavity. Others will attest to the 'marionette' theory).
So, "Wiiilburrrrr", this is what I found:
Boston journalist Rhea Becker of The Boomer Chronicles mixes it up with a blend of Boomer news retirement advice, health tips, and sweet blasts from the past, like this pic and description of the Betty Crocker Cook Book for Boys and Girls, circa 1960. I know that cookbook. I coveted that cookbook. I would have crawled over crushed glass to get my hands on that cookbook.
An ode to that music-festival-thingy-from-a-long-time-ago and the changes in that particular community is one of the many fine offerings on The Wastrel Show. 'Boomer', describes the present-day Woodstock as nirvana for aging flower children:
I have found great peace and tranquility here. Plus a lower cost-of-living. When I first moved up here no one cared what car I drove, what clothes I wore, where I had been or where I was going. People just wanted to know ME and judged me on my own true, authentic self.
Except for the lower cost-of-living, this corner of earthly heaven sounds like my own hometown of Santa Cruz, California.
Ruchira Paul, founder of the group blog, Accidental Blogger, grew up in India. However, her university student experience was not unlike what was happening on American campuses in the 1960s:
Coming of age at the edge of those socially and politically turbulent times, my friends and I experienced from afar smatterings of what is now popularly called the Baby Boom culture in America...things were different but not entirely placid. Drugs and sex were not what most young people indulged in freely. But the domestic political scene was interesting and identification with global causes popular. Bus burnings, sit-ins, college closings and massive student-labor joint rallies were products of radical campus politics.
In her post, Fifty Years After Saul and Dean, Ruchira reviews one of the three essential spiritual guidebooks for Boomer youth, Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Though Ruchira's take on the novel is a negative one, her description of Kerouac's tale of post-World War II America as "self-conscious spontaneity, alcoholic insanity, brutal casualness" is part of what made 'On the Road' revolutionary, iconoclastic, and a cultural keepsake.
(The other two spiritual handbooks for Boomer youth according to your Elder/Midlife Contributing Editor - Be Here Now by Ram Dass and Hermann Hesse's Siddharthra. At least, that's what got me through growing up in the unenlightened suburbs.)
From a talking horse on TV to the beat poets of San Francisco. That pretty much summarizes the breadth of Boomer nostalgia. Makes me want to dab a little patchouli oil behind my ears.
Two more Boomer sites worth mentioning:
I Remember JFK Pretty much the repository of Boomer nostalgia in the blogosphere. Leisure suits and Radio Flyers, anyone?
Boomspeak This very nicely designed website "...offers original content that is FOR baby boomers and BY baby boomers."
Contributing Editor Grace Davis can recite all the lyrics from Joni Mitchell's Blue as well as the theme song from 'Green Acres'. Ms. Davis, born in 1955 and a proud member of Washington High School Class of 1973, also blogs at State of Grace.