I have often been accused of being aloof and sort of out of touch sometimes. In fact, after a few years my one boss began making it a point of telling me things directly because I had built this reputation of “always being the last to know.” After today I have decided that is an apt phrase to hang on me. What happened today? I found my generation. I what? Yeah, I found my generation. I never thought I had one and now, almost 70 years in the making, I have found my generation. Worse yet, it was there all along; I just hadn’t discovered it. See, “always the last to know.”
Okay, I guess I have to explain this a bit further. It’s all a matter of timing and, in this case, it had to do with my parents’ timing since my birth date is the determining factor. I was born in 1945, four days after World War II ended in Europe and another three months before it was over in the Pacific. My parents’ generation became known as “The Greatest Generation.” This is the label that stuck after newsman Tom Brokaw’s 1998 book by the same title. He declared those who came of age during the great depression and went on to fight World War II as being of the greatest generation. This generation, after coming home when the war was over, got busy making a whole new huge bunch of people. These folks were later designated as “the baby boomer” generation since there were so many of them born within a short period of time beginning in 1946.
So if you were born before the war you were among the greatest generation and if you were born after the war you were declared a baby boomer. But what about me? 1945 was right in the middle of these two clumps of humanity. There has never been a designation for my generation. I have wandered around this good earth all my life as a man without a generation, a man on his own, a man with no direction home, a complete unknown…like a rolling stone. Sorry, I got carried away.
So get this: today, I’m reading a random excerpt from an obscure random book and there it is—right there on the description of the book—it talks about “The Silent Generation. This generation, it says, were the kids born 1926-1945. See that: “1945” is actually stated. It’s no longer left in limbo dangling between the greatest ones and the boomers. 1945, indeed, has a generation of its own and it was ….silent! That explains exactly why I never heard of it; it’s been silent all these years.
Now I’m hungry for more information so I start poking around. It seems the silent generation got its name from two different reference points, depending on which one you want to go with. One source points simply to the fact that these kids were the well-behaved ones. They were the children “seen but not heard.” Hence, the silent generation. Well, that certainly describes me because I’ve always been well-behaved. The other attribution credits the Joe McCarthy years of social paranoia in this country. McCarthy was a U.S. Senator who went on a crusade declaring just about every celebrity and well-know American as being a member of the Communist Party. He was so successful in creating a national rage that many folks of my generation simply clammed up. We allegedly became reclusive and avoided socializing for fear of being labeled as a Communist. We were…silent!
Well, I really don’t care how the term originated. I am simply elated to finally have a known generation that I am a part of. And what a cool generation to belong to. I come from greatness and I lead into the big boom! True, once again maybe I’ve been the last one to know about all this…but I shall not be silent about it any longer!
Do you like the sound of children laughing? Then get them a copy of
“It was an amazing book. I loved it! It made me laugh so many times.” Madison Dunbar, 11, Texas