Boomer Anthem

baby-boomers

BOOMER ANTHEM

by Monica Medina

I am a Baby Boomer,

Marked by autumn leaves turning to gold,

Sputnik, Bay of Pigs,

JFK, Camelot,

Uncle Milty and Your Show of Shows,

Dinah Shore singing, See the USA in your Chevrolet,

And Rod Serling scaring the bejesus out of me,

The medium is the message.

I am a Baby Boomer,

Forever waiting for the Good Humor man—not Godot,

Licking the cup of cola ices dry,

November 22, 1963 is seared on my psyche,

And later, the first landing on the moon,

One small step for man, one giant leap for–

–Ms. Magazine,

Caught up in the revolution of,

Women’s Lib, Feminist Mystique and Fear of Flying,

Burn your bra, burn the flag, Civil Rights,

Wild in the streets, NEVER trust anyone over 30.

I’d rather fight than switch.

You’ve come a long way, Baby,

But then so have I.

I am a Baby Boomer,

Celebrating Earth Day, a day we created,

While smoking grass, believing we could be

Anything we wanted,

My Generation, unique and unfettered by the Generation Gap,

Life’s a gas. Everything’s groovy,

Adam West perennially disguised as Batman–Pow, Bam, Whack!

Bob Hope playing golf and Soupy Sales getting another pie in his face,

Sock it to me, Baby!

That Girl–what girl?

My girl,

She’s in living color, Technicolor, playing the hits on the Hi-Fi stereo,

Has anyone seen my old friends, Bobby, Martin and John?

Can you tell me where they’ve gone?

I am a Baby Boomer,

Drinking the Kool-Aid, wearing culottes, hot pants,

Go-go boots that were made for walking,

Bell-bottoms and crazy hair down to there,

Nehru jackets and give peace a chance,

Good Morning, Starshine,

Vietnam, the draft and the fears

In the eyes of the boys I danced with,

In dark rooms at late night parties,

Getting stoned in the basement,

In the backseat of your Impala,

The protests and moratoriums,

The sit-ins where we,

Turn on, tune in,

Drop out, Drop acid,

It’s Psychedelic, man.

I am a Baby Boomer,

Who wasn’t here for Woodstock and Yasgur’s farm

Didn’t see Hendrix or Janis Joplin,

Nor your plastic Jesus riding on the dashboard but

I sang off-key to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,

And rocked the night away with Loggins & Messina,

Holding hands with you, basking in the moment,

Our Age of Aquarius,

Cut short by the rumor, “Paul is dead,”

When you played the White Album backwards,

Help, I need somebody.

Anybody.

I was a girl on the verge, after all, terrified of what awaited us.

I am a Baby Boomer,

Enduring the gasoline shortage, the meat boycott–Wheres the beef?

Dear Abbey ragging on a husband, a cheater,

What else is new?

Everything, nothing,

Outer space and the Russians are coming,

You took me to see the One on One concert at the Garden,

And smiled when you said, Who cares about Yoko?

We hated the Beatles’ breakup,

The end of an era, you said, and I nearly lost it.

I am a Baby Boomer,

Twisting, evolving, moving through time,

Wishing it to stop, knowing it’ll end,

The best is yet to come,

Disco dancing, feeling the beat,

Riding our bicycles at top speed,

Baby, we were born to run,

Exploring empty mansions then,

Downing chocolate Fribbles at the local Friendly’s,

Amid the blistering summer of Watergate that came and went,

John Dean testifying led to Nixon resigning and

Good, old Ford stumbling into a pardon.

The end of an era you said, and I knew it to be true.

I am a Baby Boomer.

Facing the 80’s with padded shoulders,

Greed is good, and the Me generation,

No longer the Pepsi generation,

Mesmerized by the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion,

And the forlorn teacher fulfilling her youthful fantasies,

Whatever happened to, Ask not what your country can do for you,

Ask what you can do for your country?

We miss you, John Lennon.

I am a Baby Boomer,

A product of my generation,

Drove my Chevy to the Levee and got lost,

Paving paradise to put up a parking lot.

Express yourself, respect

Find out what it means to me.

But I didn’t, and closing my eyes,

I sealed my fate,

Living together, tying the knot,

There was superstitious writing on the wall,

Like a ticking time bomb,

Stop the world, I want to get OFF!

Too late,

How easily we swapped

The marriage certificate for a divorce decree.

We are Boomers, forever young.

Wrapping our dreams in our backpacks,

We took off to see the world,

Time was on our side,

We saved but not enough,

We consumed and swore we’d be different–not like our parents,

We drunkenly kissed, making love not war.

I am a Baby Boomer,

Shell shocked by September 11th

Mourning loss and a world never to be the same again,

Grieving for the sense of security we never really had,

Playing Mother, May I? on the streets with friends until dusk,

Sometimes later,

While something ominous lurked, waiting, simmering, stalking,

Like a beam of light, cracks in the ice,

Hands extended, you let go.

I am a Baby Boomer,

Hearing the silence echo through the school halls,

The empty lockers that once held textbooks,

The notes passed between us,

Our secrets safe, the loneliness growing within,

Like a crescendo, it wails, it haunts,

Chewing gum stuck under classroom desks,

Elmer’s paste and inked-out hearts,

Laurie and Mitchell Forever,

Meaningless now.

Erasers on chalkboards,

Whoosh, it’s all gone.

I am a Baby Boomer,

We were going to change the world

And the world changed us,

We were going to explore new frontiers,

And scrapped the space program instead,

Fighting to end the Vietnam War, we traded it for wars in the Middle East.

Where are they now? The dreamers, the visionaries, the believers,

The ones with hope, the rebels?

Where are they now—the hippies, the hipsters,

The flower children, the skeptics?

I am a Baby Boomer, the product of my generation,

Commercialized, pasteurized, homogenized,

Crystalized and vacuum sealed,

Displaying my small pox vaccine–like a badge on my forearm,

Not ready to give up on Our Town,

Or throw in the towel,

There’s still a kick to these old legs,

There’s still bite to these teeth,

Not ready to say goodbye to Miss American Pie,

Yet knowing I once came close.

No longer thinking we’re going to live forever,

But still believing in that can-do spirit,

Love, compassion and goodwill to all,

Wrong from right,

Knowing you can’t go home again,

Unless you click your ruby slippers three times

And repeat after me,

There’s no place like home,

THERE’S NO PLACE AT ALL.

Now it’s your turn:

What does your generation mean to you?

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55 thoughts on “Boomer Anthem

  1. Pingback: Spring is in the Air + a Little Link Love | JustaBackpackAndaRollie

  2. Nicely Done Monica!

    …….you guys smoked grass?…..who knew 😉

    I’m half way through “All the Presidents Men” it’s such a great look into journalism before cellphones and e-mail – major hard work and shoe leather it took to uncover Watergate, I wonder if nowadays the onion would be peeled back with such tenacity….

    Agree with Becky 1000%

  3. Monica, this is seriously brilliant. You captured the long and winding road in a way I’ve never before seen. Well done! I especially like:

    Where are they now? The dreamers, the visionaries, the believers,
    The ones with hope, the rebels?
    Where are they now—the hippies, the hipsters,
    The flower children, the skeptics?

  4. I’m with Nancy, I have NO idea what you are talking about here.. seriously. Wink! Wink! Brilliant, Monica. Love to see this set to a hip hop tune.

  5. Brilliant! I missed the early part of these events because I am so way much younger than all of you . . . okay, not true, I hadn’t emigrated to the States yet. But oh, how I longed to be part of those times. However, I did make up for it, by acting like a teenager at Woodstock when all of you had moved on and were acting your age.

    • Wait, you were at Woodstock? How cool is that. I always feel as though I missed something by not being here, in the states, the summer of Woodstock. I’ll never forget that September, the first day of school, my English teacher asked us to write an essay in class about our feelings on Woodstock. I had no idea what she was talking about.

  6. What am amazing piece of writing, Monica. I related to every word because I, too, am a baby boomer. I remember vividly the call to never trust anyone over 30 and spent my 30th birthday in bed crying with Jose Cuervo. Like Bella, I agree that this is a performance piece. If you don’t want to perform it yourself, search out an actor who will because this puppy has YouTube viral written all over it. Did I mention how much I love this? BRAVO!!!

    • Search out an actor…hmm…the thought intrigues me…You cried on your 30th. Well I remember crying when the sixties ended. New Year’s Eve 1969, and I was 15. I felt we were losing something by closing out the decade. I’m still trying to figure out what it was.

  7. LOVE your poem, Monica–the way it moves back and forth across the page–as if echoing through the decades. How fun to be reminded of the culottes. So weird how one forgets about these things. I’m reminded of the white, patent leather go-go boots I had in 5th or 6th grade. I was so cool! (Or so I thought.)
    Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend. Sorry to be so late with my comment. It’s been a wild and crazy week!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • Kathy, I loved my white go-go boots, although I don’t think mine had any leather in them. They were probably plastic, didn’t fit properly, one size too large, and I never took them off. They were perfect!

  8. Monica, this is brilliant! I can totally see someone doing this in a poetry rant! I am not a baby boomer but did live through some of these things. The bell bottoms and Kool Aid made me smile! I love the rhythm in the lines and the way they flow together like a song. I can imagine you, notebook and pen in hand, writing these down as fast as your mind produced them! 🙂

    • Thanks, Bella! I meant every word. I didn’t even need to do research. It saw my life flashing before my eyes with all the touchstone markers in full throttle. I was in my element, thoroughly enjoying the feel of the words pouring out of me. It was a blast! Yes, my mind was just speeding through it.

  9. Monica, I’m not a baby boomer but I could relate to so much of it. Most importantly, like everyone else I would love to see you writing this elsewhere, I know not where, just published and acknowledged as a wonderful, smart and intuitive writer. I would say this even I had only just visited your page 🙂
    I was only just a wee one when John Lennon was shot, but that day has really affected me. I can think of a few more events throughout the years where I wonder if we have progressed or regressed. I continue to ponder…

    • MM, my friend, Keoni, who I once wrote about because he takes such amazing photographs, is also a poet, the kind that performs at poetry slams. Anyway, he said he’d coach me so I can perform my poem. Kind of scary, but kind of exciting, don’t you think?

      • So exciting Monica. I am so glad Keoni is going to coach you. I can’t wait to see you perform.. I hope I see a clip or video, of course I wish I could see it live. I am so happy for you. You have to get out there, that’s how good you are. Brilliant.

  10. Still a flower child, still wearing tie-dye and listening to the Moody Blues.

    As well as Beyonce. The way I see it, we have been a generation of tremendous change, and we continue to push for freedom, equality, and love… even if it’s not happening as fast as we might like.

    • Oh, Bev, I LOVED the Moody Blues! Every Good Boy Deserves Favour was my favorite album of theirs. Pushing is the appropriate word. Pushing uphill is more like it. Ever notice how when ever you push something towards the land of Progress, there’s always someone or some organization with their arms firmly around your ankles, trying to drag you backwards. The way I see it, it’s all about change. Some folks like it, some don’t mind it, and some absolutely hate it. They want everything to remain as is. Status Quo and all that. Sigh.

  11. I love opening my email and seeing your latest blog. You put into words what our generation grew up with and it seemes like it was not that long ago but the calendar says differently. Thanks for sharing this and bringing back memories. You always offer a great read….

    • Mary Lisa, how nice of you to say that! You’ve made my day, lady! If you only knew how quickly these words poured out of me. I guess I have strong emotions about being a Baby Boomer. I wear the name proudly! 🙂

  12. “All the lonely people
    Where do they all come from?
    All the lonely people
    Where do they all belong?”
    ……….. to…….
    Slow down, you move too fast.
    You got to make the morning last.
    Just kicking down the cobble stones.
    Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
    …………to……..
    There’ll be dancing in the streets
    …………to…..
    Misty water color memory…….if we had a chance to do it all again, would we, could we……

    ON THE ROAD WITH MONICA MEDINA

  13. I was born on the edgey edge of the boomers – so much so that I have no recall of the events throughout that period. But I want to remember them. It seems like the most – (warning – I am making up a word here) – perfectest – time in history. Of course, that is just looking back and realizing the great awakening was happening then and now is the time of the great discontent. Yikes.

    • Renee, It was an awesome time. Sure we didn’t have cell phones and gadgets, but we were engaged, we hung out with friends and I mean FRIENDS, not the kind of friends you have on Facebook. Real friends, in person, with common interests. We talked on the phone, and not via texts. We rode our bikes and lay on the grass in parks, staring at the sky, exploring forgotten places. We went into the city and walked all over, visiting the museums and buying pretzels from the street vendor at 4 for 25 cents. Those were the days and we really thought they’d never end. 😉

  14. Monica, from one Baby Boomer to another, you’ve outdone yourself here. I agree with the other posts, you should get this published somewhere!

  15. I’m a Boomer, too, and proud of it! You’ve done an outstanding piece of work here in categorizing our generation. Every generation has hopes and dreams, plans and schemes. So did we. Every generation eventually puts aside “pie-in-the-sky” in favor of down-to-earth reality. Perhaps it’s the bailiwick of the young to dream big dreams; perhaps it’s a tribute to the dreamers that they’re the ones who remain young at heart. Publish this, my friend. NOW, while so many Boomers can enjoy it!

    • Debbie, every generation has their thing, but I think ours was different. We were more united in ours. It sometimes felt like us against the world. The Man, the fuzz, the establishment. We were special in that way and I mean it sincerely.

  16. This was ….. stunning, Monica. Beautiful. I agree with others, it needs to be published and/or recited. Must share..

    I’m a baby boomer too….at the very tail end. This really touched me.
    MA

  17. –I don’t know where to begin. I would have shaded many sentences, powerful sentences, magical sentences…

    I loved this. If you wrote this, you must must must recite someplace or send in for publication.

    Brilliant!

    Where the hell is John Lennon?

    Xxxx Tell me, Monica, Did you write this? Love.

    • Yes, Kimmy. I wrote this! Came to me last week when I couldn’t fall asleep. The first line popped into my head, and then another and another, and before I knew I had to get out of bed and start typing away! Finished it the next night–and all the while, was having the time of my life. It felt so right. 🙂

  18. I have no idea what you’re talking about, Monica :-)! Jk . . .

    Our generation has changed the world, not always in the way we had hoped or intended. I am most proud of our advancement of women’s rights, at home and at work, though as we all know, we still have a ways to go.

  19. Wonderful post. Needs to be published somewhere, I think! I missed boomer-dom by just two years so a lot of this resonates for me too, even if many of these markers and memories were things I just heard a lot about. Saw That-Girl only in syndication.

  20. Interesting post Monica.

    We all have our dreams, or targets or our desires. whether we ever achieve any of them is another matter.

    Certainly in my lifetime things have changed beyond all recognition in some cases. When I was young things seemed much simpler and we looked at things differently, I am not sure I would like to be child in the current times.

    I have been married for twenty six years, these days some seem to think twenty six days is an achievement.

    Many things when I was young people took as a privilege these days many take those privileges for granted. Everybody on the planet in some small way changes the world, whether that change is for the better or not is of course another matter.

    One thing I do know is that there are not enough hours in the day to do what I want, and whilst I plod along in life I take the occasional look back over my shoulder, it’s more important to look to the front and grasp opportunities ahead than it is to face backwards and look back at what you missed.

    This is a bit deep for a Monday morning, when my next important decision is what to have for lunch.

  21. You really characterized our apotheosis from dreamers and rebels to nine to fiver’s with kids and responsibilities and lost hopes. We did not change the world. Perhaps it’s worse now. Even voting has become an illusion of democracy as the megabanks and megacorps control everything abetted by uncourageous and short sighted elected officials. In Miami we were terrified over the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    • Ah, the Cuban Missile Crisis! I remember hearing about it as a kid. You know what I remember most? When I was about 9, I left my home to live in Venezuela for a year. When I left, we were living in a Jewish neighborhood in Queens. When I returned, suddenly I was living in a Cuban one. The world is always changing, isn’t it?

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