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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Forgotten Generation--the 1964 baby

We are seeing all sorts of articles now about the Boomers turning sixty five and what this means and how aging will be redefined and by the way we are talking about a group of people born in the range of 1946 to 1964! Ok. So, someone who was born in 1964 has the same generational characteristics as someone born in 1946. I don't think so. Someone born in 1946 grew up in the fifties and came came of age in 1964. They were ready to go to college and rebel and burn their draft card and listen to Bob Dylan and watch Kennedy, King, Wallace, then Kennedy again get assassinated. They were all set to watch man walk on the moon after seeing the Beatles hit the Ed Sullivan show four years earlier. They went to Woodstock and maybe participated in the Democratic Convention riots in Chicago and tried every drug under the son and actually bought the albums of Hendrix, Joplin and the Doors while they were alive! Then they watched themselves twenty years later in The Big Chill.

 Lets take our 1964 baby. While the Beatles played on Ed Sullivan he stuck his toe in his mouth. While Dylan sang Change is Blowin in the Wind, he worked on trying to walk. When the men walked on the moon he watched the fuzzy images and wondered what happened to Mickey Mouse. He heard the Beatles played by his big brother and didn't even know what Woodstock was until he saw the double album in his brothers room with the couple in the blanket. When he bought his first album Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, and Janis Joplin were dead and the Beatles had broken up. He heard about the Kennedy's and confused them with Ted Kennedy. He thought everyone was pretty mellow in the seventies but Madonna, U2, and the Go Gos were better than Zepplin, Kansas and Areo Speedwagon. He joined a fraternity because Animal House was hilarious. The Vietnam war was settled when he was eleven and he didn't know anything about the draft. He remembers going up to his older brothers room in the attic with the black lights and the posters and large boots and the mattress on the floor. His only  thought of the sixties was a puzzlement that people were so upset. He became a yuppie after college and still had the Apple IIC he bought in highschool.

In my novel Rocket Man I paint the picture of this 1964  man. He is now overwhelmed in debt, kids, too much house, no job and he is forty six. He is a Blackberry toting man who is going down fast and who never bothered to rebel, but bought into the American dream hook line and sinker. He never believed the world would pass into a Utopian bliss and was much more worried about making a million dollars and having a great time. He is of the forgotten generation, that baby of 1964.

Books by William Hazelgrove