Fifty Years On – One Boomer’s Perspective

March 2, 2010

As a child in the 1950’s I often thought what life would be like fifty years on, especially when the new century started in the year 2000. It seemed so far away. Fifty years seemed a lifetime to a boy of ten. I am over sixty now and I wonder where the years went.

Age was always in the discussion. Why I’d be over fifty in the year 2000. Likely I would be married with children and working to support the family. What I’d be doing or where I’d be living, I had no idea; after all I was only ten years of age.

Some magazines of the time thought everyone would be riding in space cars and robots would be in every home. That sounded kind of neat. Many thought people would be working less and less, perhaps only a few days a week. Experts predicted more leisure time. Earlier retirement seemed a given based on predictions of experts.

The year 2000 is now past. We are ten years into the 21st century. Space cars don’t exist. The cars we drive have computers on-board controlling all the anti-pollution devices. They have global positioning systems (GPS) to help us find the mall. Some have video cameras on the rear to stop the driver from running over Suzie’s bicycle. Almost all have exotic sound systems to bombard us with favorite tunes as we speed down the highways and by-ways. Automobiles still do not have auto-pilot like airplanes. The driver still has to stay alert and awake.

Robots are not commonplace in our homes. The only one I know of is the vacuum that cleans floors by itself. It scoots around by-itself. Builders are wiring homes, so the owners can remotely control appliances and the furnace to cite two examples.

They are common in manufacturing plants. Robots even build cars in the new century.

In the working-world people work longer hours each day and more hours per week. People delay retirement longer and longer in this century. It seems many of us are fated to die at our desks.

There are so many “baby boomers” approaching old age and retirement that medical systems and pension plans are beginning to stress out. “Baby boomers” or “boomers” are the generation of children born post-Second World War, in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s. We make up the largest segment of the population. The boomers toiled all our working lives, paid taxes, and contributed to pension plans, but now governments deem us a liability. It is not fair. Society should have planned for this day.

The retirement of older workers will create opportunities for younger generations. On the downside knowledge will be lost with the death and retirement of the boomers. More on this issue to follow.

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Rosa Parks – Hero

December 1, 2009

Rosa Parks on desegregated bus.

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a  white passenger as was required at the time.

Parks was a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama at the time seemingly an ordinary citizen, but one that had finally had enough of segregation.

The bus driver had her arrested. She was tried and convicted of violating a local ordinance for her act of defiance.

Her brave act resulted in several crucial steps forward in the civil rights movement of the late 20th century:

  • Blacks in Montgomery boycotted the bus system for over a year in protest.
  • The boycott raised Martin Luther King, Jr. to national prominence. Previous to this he was virtually unknown.
  • Resulted in Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation on city buses.
  • For over 40 years she helped make Americans aware of the history of the civil rights struggle.
  • She was eventually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Rosa Parks example of gentle resistance remains an inspiration to the w0rld.

November 22, 1963 Remembered

November 23, 2009

Believe it or not it has been 46 years since the tragic events of the weekend of November 22 – 25, 1963.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected November 8, 1960 as the youngest president at 43 years of age. (Teddy Roosevelt was youngest to take office, but he assumed office after McKinley’s assassination.) John Kennedy took office January 20, 1961 with a promise of his New Frontier. Together with his beautiful wife Jackie and young children they charmed the nation and the world.

In preparation for the election of 1964 Kennedy wanted to win the electoral votes of the populous state of  Texas. He decided to make a trip to Texas in late November 1963.

On the morning of Friday November 23, 1963 he and his wife took breakfast in Fort Worth and flew to Dallas afterwards. Their arrival at Love Field was greeted by a large crowd.

A motorcade then left from the airport with a planned arrival at the Trade Mart around 1:00pm local time. Kennedy, his wife, and Governor John Connally of Texas and his wife rode in an open Lincoln limousine through the downtown. On their way they passed the Texas School Book Depository.  As they turned the corner from Houston to Elm Street shots rang out. Kennedy was struck in the back with an exit out the neck. This would have been a nonfatal shot. Seconds later he was hit by a bullet in the head effectively killing him.  The time was 12:30 pm Central Standard Time. He was taken to Parkland Hospital where he was pronounced dead at around 1:00 pm local time.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Vice President effectively became the 36th president upon Kennedy’s death. He took the oath of office in Air Force One just before departing for Washington, D.C.

Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested several hours later in a Dallas movie theatre. He was charged with Kennedy’s murder.

Oswald was being moved from the jail to more secure quarters on Sunday November 24th. While being escorted through the basement of police headquarters, Jack Ruby a local nightclub owner with mob ties, stepped forward and shot Oswald at point-blank range. Oswald died later at Parkland Hospital. The truth died with him.

Monday November 25th the funeral of President Kennedy took place in Washington, D.C. Millions watched the event on television in disbelief that this young president could have been taken from us so suddenly.

He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

To this day there remain many unanswered questions and mysteries surrounding his assassination.


Remembrance of WW I Vets

November 11, 2009
Remembrance Day2009

Tomb of the Unknown (U.K.)

The photo above shows tributes placed on the British Tomb of the Unknown. This is located in Westminster Abby in London. Their unknown soldier is from World War I (aka The Great War).

The last three British World War I vets died this year, so there are none remaining from that country.

Canada’s last known surviving WW I vet is still alive. He lives in Spokane, Washington, U.S.A. The Canadian government has offered him a State funeral if he and his family so choose. He is over one hundred years old at the present time.

We must always remember.


Getting Published – Creative Nonfiction

October 4, 2009
Just before the shots - 46 yrs ago.

Just before the shots - 46 yrs ago.

Today I celebrate another milestone in my writing career. I got published again. This time in an e-zine called Reflective Dog. A creative nonficton piece called, The Motorcade.

It’s about an historical event from the eyes of a fictional bystander. It tries to capture the excitement, emotion and shock of the event.

Check it out at this site,

http://www.reflectivedog.com/index_files/Page350.htm


As Time Goes By – Anniversaries to Reflect On

May 27, 2009

The year 2009 for me is a time of reflection. Recently I turned 60 years of age. Part of attaining that age for me has been reflecting on my life so far. For many years I’ve been a history buff and amateur genealogist. Because of this it’s natural for me to look back on life’s victories and defeats. Here are some of the significant anniversaries in my 60th year, 2009.

  • 60 years of paradise on earth, May 1949 to 2009.
  • 40 years in the full-time work world, June 1969 to 2009.
  • 34 years since I married, for the first time, 1975 to 2009.
  • 31 years of fatherhood, 1978 to 2009.
  • 23 years since end of first marriage.
  • 10 years with the love of my life, Cindy.

The victories have far outweighed the defeats. Life is good. Now if I can just hang around for another 30 or 40 years.


1968: It Was the Worst of Times, It Was the Best of Times

April 1, 2008

April 4, 2008 is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. He was shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. As this sad commemoration approaches I was thinking back on how in retrospect I now viewed this pivotal year.

Here are some of the key events that depressed me,
– The Vietnam War intensified, both the war and the protests
– Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated
– Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated
– Hubert Humphry got the Democratic presidential nomination without even entering a primary
– Richard Nixon got the Republican presidential nomination
– Richard Nixon won the presidential election
– Pierre Elliot Trudeau became prime minister of Canada

Ironically in the mountain town of Golden, British Columbia on a November day, the future love-of-my life arrived to brighten up the world. Fate or luck brought her to me in the future, so the year in fact turned out to be the best for me. It eclipses all other events for me. Life is so strange sometimes.
 


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