Monday, April 03, 2017

#AtoZChallenge Baby Boomers - sheltered from life's fallout??


For those who were born after us - they don't quite understand us baby-boomers. This is for them. 

I know, I know... it's our fault for messing things up. One of my sons is always quick to remind me of our failures. They have to understand, where we came from and WHO our parents were. It was an idyllic time in many ways - and we had our fears too.

 Most of our parents were either from the "Greatest Generation" or the "Silent Generation" memories of a depression, food lines, a world war, nuclear bomb, and holocaust was still heavy on their minds. World War 2 was over. Enter "The Cold War". Actually, my parents were born in 1932 and 1934. Korea was my dad's war. They both remembered, food lines, the War, and everyone having a blue star in their windows.



I attended a public school in San Francisco in 1959. Every child wore dog tags, exactly like the military. (I still have mine) It had our blood type on it. We did monthly drills where each child would gather according to their blood type group. I was 0-neg. I remember there were only 2 of us in the whole school and the other person was a "yucky boy". We did the "duck and cover" in our classrooms as well. Seems we were always doing drills! People made bomb shelters. New homes came with backyard bomb shelters. The old Victorian house we lived in, had an old, decrepit concrete bomb shelter as well in the backyard, overgrown by ice plant and ivy.



As a child I remember wondering about Soviet Missiles - would it be able to reach the west coast?  I remember seeing the movie, "The Russians are coming-The Russians are coming" with my folks at a drive in. I mean our society was obsessed. When we moved to the coast, I remember they recycled the old air raid siren, to sound off every day at noon and when we had tsunami warnings.



Devils Slide military bunker: That strange building off Highway 1


There were still WW2 bunkers on the coast - a constant reminder. Living in San Francisco and on the coast, I attended school, with children whose parents were interned in Japanese Internment camps,  scattered across California. In fact, just "over the hill" from our home, was one of the largest Internment Camp in California. Tanforan inSan Bruno was built on the site of the Tanforan horse racing track, and some of the inmates lived in the former horse stalls. Accommodating 7,816 Japanese Americans, it was the second most populous of the "assembly centers." A shopping mall sits on the site today; a small historical marker commemorates its World War II history.

 I am sure, some of you, living elsewhere, saw those same reminders of that War - that our parents would talk about it. The cold war lasted from 1945 to 1991. And while we still enjoyed that idyllic life, subliminally, we were still confronted with our parent's war. No dog tags for my sons, or air raid drills in the classrooms when they attended school in the 80's and 90's. The old bomb shelters were by now, the object for graffiti artists.

I am positive - it was being raised by parents who had seen so much and been through so much, that made them spoil us. They wanted a better life for us. - literally "shelter" us from the bad parts of life they experienced. Maybe we did blow it, maybe we were spoiled - I don't know - and if we are the way we are, maybe you'll better understand us as we go through this series.


1947 Events & Facts 

 MAJOR EVENTS: President Truman formulates "Truman Doctrine" of providing aid to countries whose governments are threatened with overthrow

U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall calls for a European recovery effort, popularly called the "Marshall Plan."

India and Pakistan proclaimed independent nations

Britain nationalizes its coal industry

Britain’s Princess Elizabeth marries Phillip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh

 BUSINESS & ECONOMY: Congress passes Taft-Hartley Act, restricting labor unions
Henry Ford dies, leaving behind a fortune of over $600 million
Americans are able to purchase the first new cars manufactured since the beginning of World War II

36 comments:

  1. Thank you for this insight. I remember once my friend back in London had referred to my generation (in India) as 'Baby boomers' (born in 80s & 90s). Though at that time I had understood that term at very high level, I could draw similarities between myself and the 'Baby boomers' in the west. Born to parents, who suffered all their lives, who had seen the life in poverty and as a result wanted to provide everything their children wished for. Received far better education, got better opportunities and exposure and many things in life served on a platter.
    Your post carried me back to the times after WWII and although it was much before I was born, I could imagine the circumstances better. Look forward to more posts from you.

    Name : Gayatri Gadre
    Blog : Be young 4ever
    #AtoZChallenge Theme : Travel (off the beaten track)
    B for : Bath, a romantic city

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    1. Thanks Gayatri- seems baby booms happen, just after years of struggle.

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  2. I was a youngster in the 60's. I can remember the drills, the "red" scare which btw terrified me as a young child because of the threat of widespread communism and those stories, and recall the air raid sirens blasting for drills (no dog tags), the tension of the Vietnam War and the riots in DC which played out on the daily news with Walter Cronkite giving a daily report. Great post. Enjoyed reading.

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    1. It was very real to us back then.

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  3. Great post. I had been born in the early 60's so duck and cover was before my time. I guess I am an on the cusp baby boomer. It was many years after WWII that my dad met and married my mom. My parents were a little older than your parents but basically the same generation. I actually have a blog dedicated to my Dad and WWII in case you are interested. It is not finished but the war is winding down in my series so a few more posts and it will be done. Here is the beginning: https://afatherswarstorynevertold.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/uss-hornet-cv-12-a-fathers-untold-war-story-introduction-2/

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    1. I would love to read your blog. We are a (retired) military family. Thanks for stopping by

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  4. I think every generation has its issues. I hate being classified as a Millennial. I'm the oldest year for Millennials, though, so comfort myself that maybe I can be lumped in with the previous generation. I like your theme for A to Z.

    And I think for those of us in school in the 80s and 90s they were too busy teaching us about drugs and strangers to leave much time for the Russians. I guess every generations has its thing.

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    1. My children went to school in the 80's and 90's,too - 2 of them graduated 2000 and 2003.

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  5. The kids under their desks reminds me of something chilling my mother told me once. When she was in elementary school the students were practicing survival skills by hiding under desks and under the window line, just in case The Bomb was dropped. She went home and told her Dad all about her exciting day. His response was, "If that happened, would you want to be one of the survivors?"

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    1. Boy that'something to think about -

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  6. Excellent post! Later on in the 50's and 60's we had a military draft and Korea and Viet Nam and President assassinations and a mess in Cuba. I'm guessing these will be addressed also. And we didn't blame our parents for anything.

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  7. I can't imagine how scary the drills and the threat of attack must have felt at that young age. It always amazes me how quickly children just adapt to things as 'normal'.

    Cait @ Click's Clan

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    1. Children are tougher than we adults want to believe.

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  8. Great post.
    There is always a reason why a generation is the way it is. History has its way. I always think there's no sense in judging. History needs to be understand at the best of our possibility, so that it will help us be better people.

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

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  9. I liked this post. It was interesting and relatable.
    I, too, am a baby boomer and recall all of things you wrote about. I feel that we are still living with threats of unstableness. I don’t dwell on this, because what’s the point, I guess. I wonder what life would be like if the nuclear bomb had not been invented.

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    1. I am trying not to dwell on anything negative these days - it hurts my tummy!

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  10. I don't think I have ever read such a good description of what it was like being a child here at the end of the 1950s. I grew up in Sweden and only knew of poodle skirts, penny loafers, and other such "surface" stuff. I read about that internment camp in some novel, but I have never read about a small child's experinces like this. Thanks for leaving a comment so I can now follow you as well.

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    1. Hi Inger - I remember you - living in the high desert of california. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. OK, so I tried to follow your blog, but now I find I don't know how to do it. Things have changed, but I will add that to my questions in the post I'm writing. I have obviously been away for a while....

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    1. On the right hand side of this blog, are the various ways you can follow.

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  12. How scary for you as children. South Australia was a long way from the other side of the world in those days. My parents were much older and rural life was safe but quite isolated in so many ways.
    A-Z Theme: My memories of life on the farm in the 50s and 60s
    Cars for carting
    *******

    Earlier Years

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    1. Yes I would imagine it was.

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  13. I fall towards the end of the baby boomer generation, so war hasn't had the same impact on my life (and I think living in Australia distances us even further) I loved the photo of the little kids at the top.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

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    1. Thanks Leanne for stopping by.

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  14. My mother and family survived WWII in Germany and my father was on the front lines of the Korean War. We didn't have those air raid shelters or drills in Canada, but I've read about them. You have brought those experiences to life, here. Must have been scary for the children!

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    1. I don't believe we were THAT frightened as children would be today. Our parents were tough and yes, it was something to be aware of, but it sure didn't stop us. from playing, enjoying life and making our generation one of the best.

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  15. I remember when we lived in Montana and were looking at homes to buy, there was one home that had a bomb shelter in the backyard. I found that very interesting. I was born in 1957; I don't remember the drills, but we didn't move to California until 1965, maybe they were a thing of the past by then? And Pennsylvania where we came from certainly didn't participate in anything. However, fast forward, I do remember the kids participating in earthquake safety drills when they were in elementary school.

    My mom, born in 1921, vividly remembered the Great Depression and WW2. My dad immigrated to the US after WW2 from Poland. He didn't share much of what went on during the war and his experience in the Polish army there and subsequent prisoner of war camp run by Germany. Husband's parents, born 1923 and 1926, came away from the Great Depression to be hoarders later in their lives, almost like they couldn't part with anything because they went without for so long. A doctor I typed for years ago when he was young, his family were in a Japanese internment camp. Fascinating period in history I do think.

    Enjoying your A/Z!

    betty

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    1. Boy Betty, you should write about your family history.

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  16. My parents were children in the great depression. Daddy served in WWII. I was born in 1960. No drills for me. But phoned in bomb threats were a big thing in the 70's.
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead





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    1. Ohhhhhhhh yeah, the school bomb threats were big in the 60's too.

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  17. I well remember those air raid drills in school. They used to have NIKE missile bases around here and once our Brownie Troop went to visit one. The silos are all abandoned now. I am so grateful that my children didn't have to endure a childhood full of the possibility of a bomb attack. I was actually envious of a friend whose family had built a bunker in their large front yard.

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    1. Wow, in their front yard? Amazing when you stop and think about it.

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  18. We did not do the bomb drills. Living within a mile of a major military installation, it would probably have been useless if it were a big bomb. The big change is my parents bought extra can food.

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    1. I'm surprised living near a military base.

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Comments are good - I admit, sometimes I don't respond back, in time for a dialog. I bad! I will TRY and do better. Thanks for understanding.

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