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Merry Christmas, Baby Boomers

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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Merry Christmas, Baby Boomers 4 5 1
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Photo: Getty Images

Being a baby boomer, I have seen Christmas from many angles over the past half a century. I remember what's now considered retro attire like flannelette pajamas splashed with cowboys for boys and ballerinas for girls.

Christmas trees were all real trees simply because there was no such thing as an artificial Christmas tree -- or at least, not a decent looking one.

Fun in the winter was sledding down the slope behind the school on big hunks of cardboard ripped up from cardboard boxes. My memories of playing outside invariably included being damp or outright wet because gloves and mitts were made from wool and nobody had waterproof ski-jackets yet.

To keep your feet dry you put your feet in plastic bags before you put on your galoshes. If you were a lucky girl you had puddle-jumpers -- a now obscure type of footwear that went over your shoes and fastened with a button and loop at the ankle.

Now they just sound quaint and archaic but at the time they were the coolest. Though we weren't calling things "cool" yet.

I remember being a teeny-bopper, excited to receive my very own 45's of the Beatles to play on my very own white plastic mono record player. My parents were thrilled to have the use of their stereo back.

As a teenager I graduated to long playing albums, and the Beatles had graduated from being adorable mop-tops to gurus of a new era and perspective on the world.

Much later I was a new mom of my own baby boom, of five children. The focus had changed from what I wanted for Christmas to providing warm memories for my own brood.

Christmas Eves were spent with my husband assembling bikes and little rocking chairs, and finishing last-minute wrapping. Christmas Days were spent shuttling between our home and the kids' grandparents.

For weeks we'd have been rushing off to practices for Christmas pageants, Christmas parties and field trips with other homeschooling baby boomers and their children.

As our kids got older, they helped to bake pies, baste turkeys and decorate the tree. Some years we had an artificial tree, one year we had a living tree in a pot that shed needles like crazy, and now we're back to a real tree.

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Anonymous

Excerpt from Vibrantnation.com - Merry Christmas, Baby Boomers - Country Holidays Then/Now....
My four brothers and I grew up surrounded by family and friends.
In the forties and fifties, life was simpler. There was always “room for one more.” We rode the school bus five miles to Saco, Montana that had grades 1 – 12 in one building.
“You can view the one-room schoolhouse that Chet Huntley, the television newscaster attended there, years before he became famous.”

“Good night, Chet.”
“Goodnight, David.”

We didn’t have running water or indoor-plumbing, so had a “path to the outhouse” and carried buckets of water from the well. The lifesaver was my grandparents’ farm and ours were sitting on a natural gas dome that provided free gas for heating and cooking.
I remember Christmas, 1946 after I started school. Mom and I were walking by a hardware store below the local library, and I looked in the display window. I saw a box with miniature baking utensils – cookie sheet, muffin pan, cookie cutters… They were shiny, and I was drawn to them.
I wanted them very much, and I asked my mom, “May I, pleas-se have the utensils for Christmas?”
On Christmas Day, I was so happy when I opened a present, and there were the shiny miniature utensils. I lifted them from the box and started playing with them. I kept them in the cupboard with my mother’s pans and pretended to bake many goodies. The utensils did not wear out – no matter how many times I used them. That was the start of my “cooking.”
After we opened our presents, we would play games. Every year my parents would buy a board game such as Monopoly or Scrabble for the family. We bought several Scrabble games throughout the years, as my Mom, Dad, and a “bachelor Army buddy” of Dad’s who lived on a neighboring farm would play for hours in the winter…
I helped my mother bake when I was older. One year, we made large cutout cookies that were cowboys and horses. I don’t know what that had to do with the holiday, but after decorating the cookies, the cowboys sat on the horses. We shared them with extended family members.
Life is more complicated now. When my two girls were little in the sixties, part of the last of the baby boomers, I gave them an Easy Bake oven, and they baked many cakes. My granddaughter who was born in 1984 and great-granddaughter – born in 2004 had miniature kitchens complete with play stoves, sinks and equipment.
Now, in 2011, they have “coffee makers and microwave ovens,” as the “sounds of cell phones, and the clicking of computers; Blackberries, DS3s, GPS’, DVDs, MP3s dance through our heads….”
Times have changed - My oldest daughter and I celebrated our 50th and 70th birthdays this year,,,, I retired four years ago after working 38 years, and I paraphrased a poem, "Will my brain turn to jelly, the minute I retire? No way, my life has just begun - I have mountains to climb, rivers to cross...
I received First Place in Non-fiction for the Iron Pen Marathon this year. 24 hours to write a story, using the prompt, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band's album cover/mural on a Salt Lake City building. The cover portrayed the Beatles in the 60s, and the "heroes and heroines" of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries...

December 26, 2011 - 3:45pm
GrandestR

Nice brush strokes! There is a really cool site called boomersrememberwhen.com that has first-person stories, vignettes, of what it has been like and is like to be a Boomer. Not so many women's voices so maybe we can stir some up?

December 14, 2011 - 7:50am
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