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My Generation: Who Am I?

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

My mission is to make sure that my generation keeps on rocking this planet until its last dying breath.

And, to understand what I'm talking about, it might help if you know “where I’m coming from," so bear with me…this post is a bit rambling, but I guess that's just part of who I am.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Who_-_1975.jpg

My Generation: The Song by The Who

I love the song “My Generation” by The Who, but I never really bought into that, “Hope I die before I get old,” part. If I had written the lyrics, back when the song came out, I would have changed that one line to something more like:

  • “Hope I bring peace and justice to the world before I get old.
  • “Hope I get to see and do everything worth seeing and doing before I get old.”
  • “Hope I marry a rock star or become a famous painter before I get old.”
  • “Hope I don’t have to listen to my mother someday before I get old.”

I want you to notice that not one of my alternate lyrics includes anything even remotely like:

  • “Hope I become Suzie Homemaker, learn to bake pies, and have three kids and a garden before I get old.”

I Was a Hippie Rebel

As a firstborn female, I was always a bit of a rebel and I didn’t want to do the usual suburban 1950s-60s lifestyle with the station wagon, the 2.3 kids and the dog. No, no, no. Not for me.

When the song, "My Generation," came out, I was about 12 or 13…can’t remember that far back. (I was born in October 1952, started kindergarten at 4-years-old, the song came out November 1965, when I must have been in 8th grade and people nicknamed skinny little tweens, like me, “teenyboppers”…so you do the math and let me know when you figure it out.)

My Mind is Smoggy

Anyway, I do remember that I was living in West Covina, California (a middle-class suburb of LA) when I first heard the song "My Generation".  We had recently moved from small-town Seattle to gritty Southern California because my dad had been transferred to the middle of smogville. (LA air quality was much worse back then.)

Well, someday I will figure out the timeline of my life and piece it all together, because my memory is smoggy. Fortunately, I can use music as a crutch...like...if I can remember the songs that were blasting over the airwaves during my youth, I can visualize where I was and what was happening during almost any year...with the help of Wikipedia.

Hey, as far as the term "Baby Boom" is concerned, it was a real concept in my family.  My mother had four kids within a five-year timespan. Boom!  So, I don’t have any neatly organized scrapbooks with report cards and class photos stuck onto acid-free, archival pages to help me remember my younger days. That kind of thing is the domain of highly organized mothers who only have one or two children, not frazzled mothers (like mine) with a traveling circus of Baby Boomonsters.

I Remember My Life Through Music

To figure out my life story, I have to resort to little memory tricks.  Yes, music was so important in my life that I can piece together most of my youth by thinking, “Yep, I was living in Hawaii the year that Disraeli Gears was big, so I must have been living in Kailua during 1968.”

I Did Not Die

Well, I suppose I should wrap this up by coming back to Muh-Muh-Muh-Muh-My Generation.

The Who did not die before they got old.  And, if you call 59 “old-ish” (and I do), then I didn’t die before I got old. So, if you are around my age, you didn’t die before you got old, either. But, just because I can admit to myself that I “might be” old, I don’t want to hear you calling me old.  And, I don’t want you to think that I’m done trying to change the world for the better.

I Sold Out

Oh, as a side note, I did end up with a Volvo station wagon, 2.0 kids, a house in the suburbs, and a couple of cats (we didn’t have room for a big dog). Yes, I did live the cliché. But, I rebelled in my own way.  And, I passed on a bit of my rebelliousness: I taught my kids to question authority.

What Is Our Legacy?

So, if you are a Baby Boomer, I want you to think about “My Generation.” C’mon, even if your back hurts because you just just flew coast to coast with a layover in Chicago, your cholesterol is so high that you were told to stop eating everything, your hearing is eroding from too many Rolling Stones concerts, and you can’t read the words on this page without your granny specs, aren’t you glad you didn’t die before you got old?

I still believe that Baby Boomers will continue to rock the planet. We have a legacy to leave and we have to figure out what that will be. Well, I have to figure it out, but maybe you already have. What is it?

What do you think of this article? What is the legacy that Boomers will leave behind? Give me a comment at the bottom of the page. We never publish your email address. We just need to know you're human.

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Reference:

My Generation by The Who

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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13 Comments

  1. Helen Krasner

    I never liked The Who, and that daft line was at least one of the reasons. I wanted to get old and wise, not old and decrepit (or old and dead!). I like to think I'm well on the way to that goal. When I even think about my age that is, which is very rarely.

  2. Christina Gregoire

    Helen, I love The Who, but I hate that one line, although it was good marketing and made them famous. I thought the group was very innovative with moog synthesizers and other trendy (for that time) stuff.

    I think you had to grow up with The Who as the background white-noise of your life...my husband didn't and he absolutely hates them. I loved their concerts...it was back in those old wild days. However, like you, I wanted to get old and wise...but I haven't been as adventurous as you. I may make up for it in the home stretch, I hope.

    Tina

  3. Francine Lloyd-Parker

    Tina - The Who's best work was Tommy. I preferred The Beatles and The Stones. Maybe that's because I'm nearly 11 years older than you! But I still try to stay up with the trends and like Adele and Florence & the Machine among many other 21C artistes. I wory that too many of (y)our generation had a different atitude and have made the world a less attractive place for our grand-children's generation than it was for us. I can't help feeling that if only more had embraced the ideals of "Hippiedom" we would not be in this mess!

    • Christina Gregoire

      Francine,

      I also loved (and still love) The Beatles and The Stones. I was in luv with John not Paul. My first concert was a huge scream-fest of girls at the huge Seattle Coliseum when I was 11 or so. (The Beatles only came to Seattle once.) And, I've seen The Stones, at least one time. Probably more than once, I'm not sure...I went to tons of concerts back when they were cheaper.

      As a matter of fact, my brother wanted me to look something up, because he doesn't have internet, and he was right to ask me to look it up. Our local Seattle DJ got ahold of an early Beatle's release straight from England (not I Wanna Hold Your Hand or She Loves You) and played it on "KJR Seattle Channel 95" which was the only station that local boomers listened to. So, Seattleites heard The Beatles before other people in the country. I grew up with Beatlemania...and their bad-boy cousins, The Stones.

      The only thing I regret is that I missed out on the Elvis craze. Now I realize that Elvis was rockabilly hot, but I thought he was lame when I was a teenager because I grew up with the British invasion. I wish I knew more about Elvis.

      So, I'm sure you think of The Who and later groups like I think of Rap...I like some Rap, but most of it sounds all the same to me. Every now and then I know who some rapper is, but not often...and my kids laugh when I get it wrong.

  4. Hutch

    If you want more of the negative

    Bowie's Young Americans:"We live for just these twenty years
    Do we have to die for the fifty more?"

    And John Cougar's"Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin is gone"

    But I prefer this from John Denver:"The changes somehow frighten me still I have to smile
    It turns me on to think of growing old"

    • Christina Gregoire

      Hutch,

      I love Young Americans, but I was never able to understand all the lyrics. Bowie is a gritty, brilliant guy.

      John Cougar is easier to understand and...is that from Jack and Diane? I used to have that CD...before Ipods and everything and I'd drive around with JCM's best hits. And...life does go on after the thrill of livin' is gone." But, now he's dating Meg Ryan (maybe...haven't checked the weather report today) and maybe the thrill of livin' is back for him.

      And, I'm not a big John Denver fan. He puts me to sleep....but he did die before he got old...so his lyrics are the current winner.

      Now, I want to look up similar lyrics. The only lyrics I have in my head for some reason are from "Sympathy for the Devil." My mind works in random and mysterious ways.

      • Hutch

        Yes, that was from a little ditty about Jack and Diane.

        I am a bit more of the Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens singer songwriter era.

        Hutch

        • Christina Gregoire

          Yep, I love Jackson Browne and Cat Stevens. I never had a Jackson Brown record, but I played Tea for the Tillerman over and over. I think? that was the name of the album.

  5. Christina Gregoire

    God, that is a terrible photo of me, but I've burned most of the others. I need to find a "real" photographer.

  6. Valerie Wilson

    Interesting. Tina, for me you are a bit young to call yourself "baby-boomer"!!!!!
    By 1950 I have the feeling the boom was levelling off....Anyway we don't need to fight about that, because my point is that we are NOT YET OLD in the sense that most of us are lucky enough to have most of our faculties about us, viz. we are contacting each other on Facebook which was invented for youngsters, you look great, we are fine.
    I think I didn't have too much time for music then, lived for years without tv and with only a "record player" and a couple of discs (I remember Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, the Animals, and French stuff Richard Anthony, Francoise Hardy, Edith Piaf). To hear "pop" on radio you had to have a radio that picked up Radio Montecarlo...so I listened to things like "Jimmy Shand and his Band".

    I don't know how much I was a Hippy: I wasn't really anything well defined!
    But lately having assisted really "old" persons over years of Alzheimer, Parkinsonism etc.etc. I can echo "I hope to die before I get (so) old".

    Anyway thank you for provoking this nostalgic moment, although I bet nostaglia is not what you are looking for!

    • Christina Gregoire

      Valerie,

      That's funny that you don't think of me as a Baby Boomer. I was born right in the middle of the Baby Boomer years (at least in the states). There were tons of kids in my Seattle neighborhood. About half of them were a few years older and the other half were younger. Every house on my block had kids, except for Helen something...can't remember her last name. The neighborhood kids said she was a witch because she lived all alone and didn't have children like everyone else.

      In some ways, I agree that we are not yet old, but that's not the way younger Americans view us. And, I grew up in the "don't trust anyone over thirty" era. I consider myself old-ish, but my mind is not old...just my body. Of course, I don't have healthy genes, so I don't know what good health is.

      You are part of my tribe because you lived for years without a TV, but with a record player. I never considered myself a hippy, but I wore the clothes and I still like alternative stuff. If I were in my 20s today, I'd probably be steampunk. But, it's interesting that you didn't have the same type of radio stations that we did in the states.

      OK, I'll give you the point: We are not old. Our minds are not old. However, my body feels old... And, I LOVE nostalgia. Nostalgia is entertaining and informative...and just plain fun.

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