Every American Kid (10-30) Should Read This:

The Children of the Greatest Generation

(and their children – so they will understand)

Born in the 1930’s and early 40’s, we exist as a very special age cohort. We are the Silent Generation.
We are the smallest number of children born since the early 1900’s. We are the “last ones.”
We are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years.
We are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves.
We saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.
We hand mixed ’white stuff’ with ‘yellow stuff’ to make fake butter.
We saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available.
We can remember milk being delivered to our house early in the morning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch. A A friend’s mother delivered milk in a horse drawn cart. We sometimes fed the horse.
We are the last to hear Roosevelt’s radio assurances and to see gold stars in the front windows of our grieving neighbors.
We can also remember the parades on August 15, 1945; VJ Day.
We saw the ‘boys’ home from the war, build their Cape Cod style houses, pouring the cellar, tar papering it over and living there until they could afford the time and money to build it out.
We remember trying to buy a new car after the war The new cars were coming through with wooden bumpers.
We are the last generation who spent childhood without television; instead we imagined what we heard on the radio.
As we all like to brag, with no TV, we spent our childhood “playing outside until the street lights came on.” We did play outside and we did play on our own.
There was no little league.
There was no city playground for kids.
To play in the water, we turned the fire hydrants on and ran through the spray.
The lack of television in our early years meant, for most of us, that we had little real understanding of what the world was like.
Our Saturday afternoons, if at the movies, gave us newsreels of the war sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.
Telephones were one to a house, often shared and hung on the wall.
Computers were called calculators, only added and were hand cranked; typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage, and changing the ribbon.

The ‘Internet’ and ‘GOOGLE’ were words that didn’t exist.
Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on our table radio in the evening by H. V Kaltenborne and Gabriel Heatter.

We are the last group who had to find out for ourselves.
As we grew up, the country was exploding with growth.
The G.I. Bill gave returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow.
VA loans fanned a housing boom.
Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans put factories to work.
New highways would bring jobs and mobility.
The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.
In the late 40’s and early 50’s the country seemed to lie in the embrace of brisk but quiet order as it gave birth to its new middle class (which became known as ‘Baby Boomers’).

The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands pf stations.
The telephone started to become a common method of communications and “telexes” sent hard copy around the world.
Our parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined.

We weren’t neglected but we weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus.
They were glad we played by ourselves ‘until the street lights came on.’
They were busy discovering the post war world.
Most of us had no life plan, but with the unexpected virtue of ignorance and an economic rising tide we simply stepped into the world and started to find out what the world was about.

We entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where we were welcomed.
Based on our naïve belief that there was more where this came from, we shaped life as we went.
We enjoyed a luxury; we felt secure in our future
Of course, just as today, not all Americans shared in this experience.
Depression poverty was deep rooted.
Polio was still a crippler.
The Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50’s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks.
Russia built the “Iron Curtain” and China became Red China .
Eisenhower sent the first ‘advisors’ to Vietnam ; and years later, Johnson invented a war there.
Castro set up camp in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.
We are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no existential threats to our homeland.

We came of age in the 40’s and early 50’s. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, Martin Luther King, civil rights, technological upheaval, “global warming”, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with insistent unease.

Only our generation can remember both a time of apocalyptic war and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty. We have lived through both.
We grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better. not worse.
We are the Silent Generation – “The Last Ones”.

More than 99.9% of us are either retired or deceased, and feel privileged to have “lived in the best of times!”

Author unknown   (Thanks for emailing this to me, Imp….very good stuff)

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20 Responses to Every American Kid (10-30) Should Read This:

  1. bocopro says:

    And . . . you could tell the boys from the girls by their hair and their clothes.
    And the “music” on the radio didn’t sound like chanted playground taunts or a freight train loaded with plumbing supplies crashing into a convoy of 18-wheelers carrying harps and pianos.
    And CO2 was used for putting fires out and bubbles in soft drinks.
    And people, even atheists, shut their traps and stood quietly while others prayed.
    And nobody had ever heard of a 7th century moon god who demanded that women wear shrouds.
    And high schools taught classes in which kids learned carpentry, and general science, and mechanics, and stuff electricians and plumbers need to know.
    And despite what the author said, I definitely DID have a plan — to own a house, be retired, and have money in the bank by the time I was 60. Made it, too.

  2. Linda says:

    Our parents were the first part of this generation. My dad worked for years for Rockybilt, a hamburger joint in Denver. He never made a lot of money there, but he was able to buy a house ($7000) which was sold for $102,000, and probably would sell for a LOT more, today, and then worked for the post office and earned enough for his and mom’s retirement, nursing home for his last couple of years, and even enough for the 5 of us kids had enough for some big projects. We reroofed our house, and put siding on it. He wasn’t wealthy in material things, but he had an abundance of love and common sense. He always said your were born with common sense, but you couldn’t really learn it. He taught all of us how to do the ‘new’ math, but the old way, how to spell, and how to treat our neighbors. I like to think he taught us how to be parents, too.

    Our kids still remember him, and the values he taught. I am proud to be called his daughter! He was a member of the Greatest Generation! Our generation needs to quit being the ‘silent majority!’

  3. geeez2014 says:

    Oh, Linda! What a marvelous recap of a very terrific man! In so few words, you really captured the best of men of his generation. Thank you for that!

    bocopro, I knew you’d be able to add some great stuff to the post, too, and you did!

    Let me tell you ALL a story of the difference of them and today: Bocopro mentioned carpentry classes in high school (as you all know this hands-on type of class is not around much anymore, sadly)…Well, a friend of a friend’s 16 yr old daughter attended Auto Shop with her little high school boyfriend…only SHE was caught in the back seat having SEX WITH HIM during class. Yup. And she was on the road to achieving the Girl Scout award version of the Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout award! THAT’s over. They now find she’s been doing mushrooms, pot and acid for about 3 years on a ‘casual’ basis.
    SO I told my friend “She put new meaning in the Auto Shop Badge!” 🙂
    I’m thinking this is quite a metaphor for THOSE days and THESE days…sad,isn’t it.

    My father lived a kind of charmed life in Troy, NY… His dad had arrived in New York JUST as the Armenian genocide was starting to happen in Western Turkey, where we come from…(which was Armenia years before)….His dad was 9, learned English immediately with NO “ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE CLASSES” by the way, finished only high school, and went on to own 3 upscale food stores in Troy, NY…..their address of the house Grandpa built was “1 Grandview” overlooking the Hudson. All this from an immigrant who came with literally nothing.

    He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. in Troy (RPI, excellent engineering school)….all the other guys were enlisting for WWII after Dec 7 or getting drafted. Dad couldn’t go because he’d suffered badly, 3 times, from Rheumatic Heart Disease, almost died once….(it’s why the family finally moved to California…for his health)…ANYWAY; he said he was SO embarrassed when he’d be walking on Main Street, a seemingly able bodied, tall young man NOT in the service…..he wanted to serve and couldn’t. The humiliation he felt has always hurt me for him…………
    I’m not sure they make THAT many young men like that anymore.

    I wish they did. I wish EVERY woman felt toward her father like I did…I’m glad Linda (above) did.

  4. Mal says:

    Z, as you know, my father, like your grandfather, was also born and educated in Turkey (once part of Armenia) but learned English as well as Armenian and Turkish by the time he completed the 8th grade so I’m surprised to hear you say “no English as a second language”.

  5. Mal says:

    Oh! I see you mentioned he was only 9. Perhaps he would’ve been offered it later, also.

  6. Baysider says:

    Mr. B was nodding all the way as I read this aloud to him.

  7. geeez2014 says:

    Mal, My point is our parents and grandparents didn’t need it…somehow, they learned it just be being exposed to English. Today, the big lie few know is that the teachers aren’t in this for altruistic help of foreign kids, they get a LOT more money for teaching ESL…
    I’m very proud that Grandpa and the rest of the family didn’t need any special English classes!

    Baysider..yes, Mr. B knows…he remembers.

  8. For all of the problems endured in our generation [we] have, all things considered, probably lived through the best times ever. I have no interest, whatsoever, in reincarnation!

  9. geeez2014 says:

    JMB; I agree….I’m very sorry for so many young people I know having babies right now (actually, at this very moment we’re waiting to hear about a niece’s new baby)…and so many of these young people vote Left and don’t realize they’re tightening the rope around their necks through their misplaced desire to put everything but America first.

  10. Mal says:

    Okay, I get it, Z. Very true, too.

  11. Imp says:

    Z… I’m happy that you posted this because I knew it would touch you and many other people here as it touched me.
    I could remember my grandfather telling me about how it was to grow up in the early 1900s and what it was like having children in the 1920s during the depression. And then my dad his stories about his service in World War II and everyone of my mothers brothers had service in World War II and my aunts husband had service in World War II. And they were either in the Army the Navy or the Marine Corps. And never once complained about it and how it altered their lives.
    And it was then that I realized that both of my parents, although they both worked very very hard, never became rich but I had everything me and my sister ever “needed” when we were growing up. So I always felt very fortunate, very lucky compared to the sacrifices that were made for us when they were kids too.
    Now I look around and they are all gone … my parents, my friends parents, my aunts my uncles all those people who were part of the great generation and that last generation. And I wonder who’s going to take their place and I wonder who’s going to take our place.
    If it’s today snowflakes … if it’s today’s future elitist, if it’s today’s future arrogant know nothings… then I’m convinced that our future is in deep deep trouble. My only consolation is I know I won’t be around to see it.

  12. Makes me melancholy.

    Those days are forever gone.

    America and, indeed, all the world are the worse for the loss.

  13. bocopro says:

    The killer is the national debt, $20 Trillion, at a time of crumbling infrastructure and limping economy.

    There’s simply NO WAY this country can get out of the debt it’s already in without

    (1) raising the retirement age
    (2) raising the eligibility age for Social Security
    (3) raising the eligibility age for MediCare/MedicAid
    (4) reducing the federal work force
    (5) mercilessly cutting back on food stamps and welfare
    (6) backing off on business regulations
    (7) restructuring the tax code
    (8) getting government out of the health-care black hole
    (9) stopping the flow of dollars to Mexico
    (X) drying up the narcotics trade

    O.K. that said, that completely impractical list published, the only other alternative would be merely to cancel it. Just announce that all those bonds, all those loans, all those debts owed to foreign entities are no longer honored.

    Half of our debt is internal anyway, much of that held by domestic intragovernmental agencies. How much do we owe China? Certainly less than $2 Trillion. Japan? Maybe $1.5 Trillion, tops.

    And when your debt exceeds your GDP (which it now does), just about everything you pay into trying to reduce the debt goes only into interest on it, not the principal.

    It’s a self-feeding monster which is immune to everything except just killing it and getting it over with. During the 70s and until about the mid 80s, the debt, although already YUGE, was only about a third of gdp. In 2012 it was 99% of gdp, and it’s exceeded gdp since that year.

    Today the US Mint spends about $1.75 to make a dollar’s worth of pennies, and only slightly less to make a dollar’s worth of nickels. Although estimates vary and actual production numbers are hard to find, we could save well over $100 MILLION a year by discontinuing those two coins. That’s a billion over 10 years.

    As for cutting government agencies’ spending, at this minute the IRS funding for 2017 is over $11.2 BILLION. The proposed EPA budget is $8.2 BILLION, and that’s down considerably from what it originally asked for. Hell, the Government Printing Office budget is around $150 million, and who knows how much of that is for documents in languages other than English.

    I have no idea how much the IPCC and Kyoto Protocol boondoggles will wind up costing taxpayers, but I know the dollar figure will be in the 7 to 9 figure range somewhere, and the impact on businesses will be even bigger. And the UN costs us close to $10 BILLION. And that doesn’t include the nearly $40 BILLION we spend on foreign aid.

    Hey, 10 billion here, 10 billion there, another 10 billion somewhere else . . . . keep that up and pretty soon you’re talkin real money, folks.

    I’m startin to upset myself, so I’m gonna quit this.

  14. geeez2014 says:

    Bocopro..they all HATE US and we give billions in foreign aid. That has to STOP. Period…then we say “Hated us, did you? Wanted to see America brought down? How’s it feel, chumps?”
    As a businessman, I wonder what Trump thinks when these truths hit HIM….because he’s not the type to not FIX THINGS.

    If we cut back all that stuff, there’ll be people singing “Brother can you spare a dime?” again….we all know that. Is that what it’ll take?
    Think how MUCH we spend on illegal healthcare, welfare, etc..

    AOW…I agree…

    Imp; the children of you and others are going to ‘take their place’….does that feel GOOD? I don’t think so. I know plenty of stellar, clean living kids, but they’re NOT the majority.

    Today, the big news feed story is how Paris Jackson (Michael’s daughter) “defends her love of nudity” Apparently, she publishes shots on Instragram or something…
    WHO THE HELL CARES?

    BIG BIG BIG difference from THAT and June Cleaver, right?

    Oh, those were the days……….

  15. Kid says:

    There were some really great things about the 50’s and early 60’s – the earlist time I remember, and I would say those things related to people’s attitudes and how they interacted with the rest of American society. With respect. With fists not guns. Without fear of biking 20 miles as 10 yr old’s unafraid of being abducted by some pervert. I really miss that and don’t see it ever coming back.

    But there are some good things about today too. Being able to call for help or even communicate with a friend without having to walk 8 miles to a phone booth for example. Not relying on the post office for every communication or bill paying event. Digital photography and video. electric screwdrivers, a personal favorite, auto’s that go 100,000 miles before needing brakes or spark plugs or practically maintenance of any kind beyond oil changes. It all gives us more time to live.

    If we could only get that human spirit back. Respect each others space for religion or interest of any other non-criminal kind, the Golden Rule. Things would be great.

    I was on a young people frequented website and they were talking about how “Things have never been better”. I replyed that the technology was fantastic bu the people are F*d.

  16. geeez2014 says:

    Kid, I totally agree that there are some things great about today but I’m not sure we’re ‘living’ as great as we might be in that spare time. Actually, I LOVED when I was in business before emails and I’d send a contract or bid to a client and knew I could breathe for a couple of days till he got it and responded…
    there was something wonderful about going to a library, etc…

    Yes, however, things ARE better in lots of ways…..
    Were the young people at a conservative site or liberal, do you remember!?

  17. Kid says:

    Z, There was no obvious indication from the commenters whether they were libs or cons.

    I think over time, some constants have always been in play. 1) faster communication – Mecury footed message deliverers, Pony Express, Telegraph, Telephone, Cell Phone and Intonet.
    2) Beine able to accomplish daily tasks quicker in order to spend more of MY Time doing other things than chores. Washing machines, dish washers, electric screwdrivers, and anything that makes any task easier and quicker,

    Bottom line – I would not want to go back to 1960, regardless of the human interaction environment.

  18. geeez2014 says:

    Hilarious…some guy on Gutfeld just said about Trump “they were comparing him to Hitler, now it’s Nixon, so, in some ways, he’s winning people over!”
    THAT IS HILARIOUS!!

  19. Kid says:

    That IS funny. And I noticed right after the Nixon comparrison, a photo of Trump and Kissinger appeared in the media. Intentional? I’m thinks so. Lol

  20. geeez2014 says:

    I know, Kid, I laughed so hard…
    Yes, nothing is unintentional!!

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