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?

Call Me Thankful

In keeping with the season, it’s fitting to take a moment to express gratitude. Of course, what I’m grateful for runs the gamut, from A to Z.

Alice, my grade-school chum, who was challenged and different from my other classmates. I’d button her coat for her each school day because she couldn’t do it for herself. In return, she taught me how to share when she’d break off for me, half of her Drake’s Devil Dog snack, at recess. I’ll never forget my sweet, childhood friend.

Blogging. I’m finally getting the hang of it and I love it!

Chargers. The San Diego Chargers, that is. This football team has given me a chance to bond with my son and spend fun times together. Thanks to Josh, I’m a diehard fan!

When I'm tap dancing, I'm channeling Fred Astaire!

Daughter and Son. My kids are alright (Somebody, knock on wood!), having given me little trouble over the years. Best of all, they think I’m a good mother. As Sally Field once said, “They like me! They really like me!” All the guilt I poured on clearly paid off!

Empathy. It made me happy when my son’s daycare teacher told me, Josh had empathy at the tender age of 3. Having it means you care and can understand the plight of others. Indeed, we could all use a little empathy.

Family in San Diego at last! For the first time, I have family living nearby (not counting my kids who don’t live here anymore, anyway). I so adore my cousins, Roxanna, Daniel and David. I just love having them in my neck of the woods! And to all my family—and friends—I offer my heartfelt thank you.

Giving: Giving, no matter the size of the gift, is genuinely a wonderful thing. No doubt our desire to give to charities and help those in need is closely tied to our capacity for feeling empathy.

Harvest moons on a cool evening, when I’m out walking Henry. Ah, perfection!

Indigo, one of my favorite hues, somewhere between blue and purple.

Joy. That’s what I get when I think about the little things in life, like a text message from Sarah, or the embrace of an old friend. Pure joy.

Kathleen, my petite, blonde friend and colleague. A lifeline in times of stress. The woman could crack me up with just one look. She’s still in my address book, and I can’t let go or hit the delete button. Thank you for being in my life, Kathleen, if only for a little while. I will remember you. Always.

LOL. The laughs started years ago when I saw my first Abbott and Costello film and haven’t stopped yet. Some call it the best medicine. I call it the key to life.

Music and Musicals, the soundtrack of my life. I love many genres of music and I’m a big fan of Broadway. To paraphrase Tom Cruise, “Music, you complete me.”

Nordies, aka, Nordstrom’s, my favorite place to shop. An oasis among the retail clutter, especially since I met Patrice, my own personal stylist. Patrice really has a flair for style. Thank you, Nordies, for bringing her into my life!

Old-Time Hollywood StarsCary Grant, James Cagney, Bette Davis and so on. They represented the best of Hollywood’s Golden Years.

Pets. As in dogs. As in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. As in Henry, my pampered pet.

Queens. My first stomping grounds. The best place to grow up, if you ask me.

Rafael, my brother, who willingly took on the role of parent to his siblings. He’s also a good husband and father, not to mention an amazing uncle to my kids. He’s always there for all of us.

Sleep. I seem to have a love/hate relationship with sleep. I often end up putting it off, simply because I have too much to do and not enough time in the day. But when I finally fall asleep, ah….that’s heaven.

Tap Dancing. I’ve always said that you can’t be sad when you’re tap dancing. Trust me, whether I’m doing a ball change or a shuffle, I’m channeling Fred Astaire!

Universe and Everything. So much to see, so much still to discover!

Venezuela. At least, the Venezuela of my youth. It’s different now, but back then it was my second home, and it is and always will be, my heritage.

Wonder. Little can compare to a child’s sense of wonder. Try to keep a little of it always and you’ll be the better for it.

Xylophone, when played in jazz, it’s awesome.

You. Without you, my blog is nothing. Like a tree falling in the forest and no one to hear it. So, thank you, and thank you for your insightful comments.

Zone, as in The Twilight Zone. This is one of my favorite, all-time, (not for kids) childhood shows. I loved how it terrified me and am grateful that I got to meet its host and creator, Rod Serling, in Central Park, way back when.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers. I’m taking the rest of the week off and I’ll be back next week with more stories, more tangled webs to weave. In the meantime, feel free to add your own list of what you’re thankful for this year. Toodles!