I will try and explain - actually it is 5 years. And it probably should be 6 as Hfx is probably right, so I will move it - 1956-1961.
Those born in this time saw things maybe a little differently than those who came a few years before and a few years after. For some of us, one of our first childhood memory's might be the Kennedy assassination. Gee Mom, why is that little kid saluting?
3 months later, the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. Wow, that doesn't sound like the music daddy plays.
As many in the few years preceding us also experienced, we grew up with those drills in school where the fire alarm went off and we had to jump under our little wooden desks to save ourselves from the fire bomb the Russians had just sent at us. Why anyone thought hiding under kindling would be good during a N-attack is beyond me. Who thought of that?
And why was I scared of a people and country that were half way around the world. By the way, why do they hate us Mommy?
We watched without really understanding the film footage of the civil rights marches on Selma and DC. Hey dad, why are they beating up that black man?
By 1968, we saw assassinations of MLK and RFK and we got to experience the Nam body count on the CBS News. Today in Vietnam, 40 American soldiers killed, 100 wounded; 2,000 Viet Cong killed, 10, ooo wounded. Again, who thought this was a good idea?
By the time I was 10, I was scared out of my mind and didn't know why. I just knew that there was a lot of death and no one could explain why. By the way, how did we lose that war anyway considering we were killing the enemy at a rate of 30 - 1? At least that is what CBS was reporting. Mama, what is propaganda?
Like me, maybe you had older brothers and sisters who were hippies and took part in peace marches. As the 70's rolled around, we started figuring things out. I know I was scared that I was going to be drafted and I had just turned 12. And as things progressed in the early 70's and I was getting closer to that age, I really started worrying. The only time my father ever hit me was when I was 14 and told him that if the war kept going on, I would head to Canada on my 17th b-day. Probably not a good idea to tell that to a WW II vet. Hey Daddy, why did the soldiers kill those students at Kent State?
My point being is that our education in human frailty was serious sh*t. Too many of my sisters friends came home from Nam in a box. Again, too young to completely grasp the situation, but old enough to know that this was not cool. Hey Mommy, why is Mrs. Jones crying?
Around that same time, we really started identifying with the musicians of our generation. The Beatles had already broken up and by the time I turned 15 in 1973, I and many others were fixated on bands where they either dressed like really strange chicks (Jagger, Bowie, NY Dolls, Mercury, etc.) or were playing some seriously loud music (Who, Purple, Sabbath, Zep, etc.). The peace, love and harmony music of the 60's had become a bit more aggressive. Then there were the fads. Got my first earring in 1972 and gave my mother a minor stroke. And I won't even tell you what my father thought about his son with earrings, made-up hair, 7 inch high heeled platform boots and make-up in 1974. But the girls did like it
Actually, I hid the earrings until he moved to Florida. Hey Dad, why do those men look like women? And why do I like it?
And we started understanding politics - Thanks Nixon for teaching me about hypocrisy and corruption.
Then we hit the mid 70's and Ford/Carter. Big cities like NY were falling apart at the seams. Ford told NYC and other big cities in dire fiscal straits to drop dead and that was after he pardoned Tricky Dick. Thanks again for another lesson in hypocrisy
. Hey Daddy, why isn't Nixon going to jail for breaking the law?
The economy was in the sh*tter with double digit interest, inflation and unemployment rates
. No one thought that could happen. And how could we forget how so many of the remaining hippies were calling our returning soldiers baby killers. Yeah, the USA handled our returning Vets with dignity. Nice job everyone for teaching me about disrespect for our hero's. Oh, by the way, Vet's - no work for you, no real medical assistance especially for your emotional luggage and sorry about that heroin addiction.
Then there were the drugs. We weren't just smoking pot and tripping every now and then. Our drugs were serious - crystal speed, THC, cocaine, heroin could be had by anyone now. We were living dangerously. Wasn't really grasping why I was attending funerals for kids my age. Probably because I was wasted out of my mind. Mommy, why is Vinnie not in school anymore?
And we started socializing - by 76-77, you were either wearing three piece polyester suits or ripped jeans and leather jackets. Disco vs Punk! I was torn for a brief minute because the girls looked better going into the discos than the girls going into CBGB's. Talk about being aggressive. Summer of 77 (Bronx is Burning). Insane blackout and the Son of Sam
. FYI - having lost two friends to that freak and having another wounded, there was more than one shooter. Berkowitz only did the Bronx shootings. Case is still open in Queens and Brooklyn. But the Mayor was running for election and he wanted that case solved and closed. Thanks Abe for letting the whole truth not be uncovered
. Hey daddy, why did that man kill Valentia and Alexander?
By this time, my father had been passed over on his job because of Affirmative Action which pizzed him off to high hell and he said enough and split to Florida with my Mom. I stayed. Hey Mom - why are you leaving me here by myself?
Then the Iranian hostage situation. Hello Islam world - nice to meet you
. And welcome to the 80's and Uncle Ronnie.
In talking with people from this era, generation, whatever you want to call it; we received an education into the world that those who came a few years before us or a few years after us didn't quite get. We were spared having to walk through the jungle and risk our lives, but we weren't spared the fear. We didn't get to experience the summer of love of 67. We got to experience the despair of the summer of 77. Although we knew and were raised on the music of Lennon and Dylan, we grew up and identified with Ozzy, Bonham, Moon, etc. Insanity instead of thought provoking experiences.
How the hell did we survive the 70's?
Maybe this is just me and is more of a city experience, but from so many conversations, I have found out that I am not the only one who felt lost. Hence, the lost generation. Or perhaps I am really all screwed up in some ways.Hey Mommy, why am I all lost?
Can you see the real me, can ya, can ya?
I am happy to say that as I near my 53rd b-day, I am no longer lost. But I am still slightly confused and smile an awful lot.