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home : baby boomers : baby boomers April 29, 2016

7/19/2011 1:13:00 PM
Baby Boomers
2011: What did we learn?
Typical Boomers? The family of Pamela Morgan (center) in Greenville, Miss.,  1957. The family moved often because her father was in the Air Force. Submitted by Pamela Morgan of Cottonwood.
Typical Boomers? The family of Pamela Morgan (center) in Greenville, Miss., 1957. The family moved often because her father was in the Air Force. Submitted by Pamela Morgan of Cottonwood.
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Tea parties were very important for young girls in the '50s. The photo was taken by Sandi Ashton's father, Herman Flocken, and developed in the bathroom/bathtub in their house. Sandi Ashton: "Although the tea set is long gone I have the table that held this tea party in my living room today." From left: Marie Harron, Anita Smith and Sandi Ashton. Submitted by Sandi Ashton of Camp Verde.

1. Our early years were neighborhood-oriented. Our schools, friends, stores, and play areas were generally within walking distance.

2. Few safety features existed. There were no car seat belts or children’s car seats. We received few comments on toy restrictions or fear of dangerous playthings.

3. Outdoor activities dominated after-school activities. Most respondents told us that both they and their parents felt comfortable with their children having free access to the neighborhood. Without fence laws, neighborhood pets enjoyed roaming, too.

4. Walking or bike-riding were the two primary means of transportation. Strip shopping centers – generally containing a grocery, barber, ladies hair solon, pharmacy with a breakfast/luncheon counter (“drug store”), hardware store, bike shop, “five-and-dime” store, and neighborhood hamburger restaurant (“malt shop”) were prevalent across America. Neighborhoods were self-contained, and provided most primary needs.

5. Respondents complimented school food, which many said was made fresh daily at the school.

6. Frequent school assemblies introduced Boomers to useful skills like home and fire safety, music, art, history, and information about prevailing 1950’s and 1960’s American culture and values.

7. After-school activities are generally remembered as free, fun, and unstructured, a far different situation from the 21st century’s highly organized, timed, controlled children’s environments.

8. Conversely, a large number of Boomers told us they took piano, dance, guitar, horn, or other type of lesson on a regular basis. Apparently it benefited them, because many have suggested that their children take lessons, too.

9. The bicycle symbolized freedom and access to Boomers. It’s perhaps the most valued and used possession of a Boomer’s childhood.

10. The driver’s license represented a major milestone. Automakers also benefited from the huge number of Boomers who bought new and used cars in great numbers, and at younger ages than prior generations.

11. The Cold War – and ongoing threat of atomic attack – hung above Boomers’ heads. Many spoke of non-specific but very real fears about potential threats.

12. Most respondents spoke positively about their early childhoods.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, September 5, 2011
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

2011 Where I Am
I was born in 1965 so that makes me a Gen-x'er but I will compare this list with my childhood in Northern Arizona and give some examples for my nine year old daughter.

1. I grew up in Fort Valley just at the base of the San Francisco peaks on an old homestead. The nearest neighbor was about a mile away at the time. My daughter is growing up in Cornville and friends, stores, and play areas are generally within walking distance. Her early years are neighborhood-oriented.

2. I probably chewed on some lead as a child but my daughter has a lot less toxicity to cause her problems.

3. I live in the desert and outdoor activities after-school are weather dependent. Both my parents felt comfortable with us having free access to the neighborhood and I feel comfortable as well. Allowing dogs to roam the neighborhood in any era is irresponsible behavior.

4. Bikes were big for me. My daughter likes her scooter. The nearest store for me as a child was ten miles away. For my daughter there are shopping centers – containing a gas station with a breakfast/luncheon counter, barber, ladies hair salon, hardware store, “Dollar” store, and neighborhood restaurant (“Vince's Little Star”) all within walking distance.

5. I liked my school food. My daughter liked the food at Oak Creek School.

6. My daughter and I both enjoy frequent school assemblies which introduced us to useful skills such as home and fire safety, music, art, and history. Along with that, we now have the greatest culture-enhancing invention that mankind has ever had: the internet. We are now connected to every major university and museum in the world, along with countless other sources and people.

7. Her after-school activities are and were free, fun, and unstructured, except for dance class and Girl Scouts.

8. Grandma was a music teacher in Scottsdale in the early 1900's so I learned a little bit of everything. My daughter is taking violin lessons at her school.

9. My bicycle was the most valued and used possession of my childhood. My daughter likes her scooter.

10. The driver’s license represented a major milestone for all Americans and still does.

11. The war on terror - and ongoing threat of atomic attack – hangs above all heads. Many speak of non-specific but very real fears about potential threats.

12. Most respondents spoke positively about their early childhoods - how memory fades.

Still living in the golden years.

Posted: Sunday, September 4, 2011
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

Thank CORPORATIONS and ATTORNEYS for our current way of life . . .

FREEDOM? The peasants of this country don't need no stinking freedom . . .

or protection from greedy polluting corporations, or affordable health care, or a living wage, or benefits, or social security and medicare that THEY paid for.

Posted: Sunday, September 4, 2011
Article comment by: Floyd White

very sad you dont see this no more!!! to much drug wars and lies comuters way toomuch

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