Baby Boomer Memories: An Interview With My Boomer Mom
by Sara Dawkins
As I am a little too young to be called a Baby Boomer I took this opportunity to interview my mother, Renee, who was born in 1957, about her experiences growing up and the changes she has seen take place in the last few decades. What was different when she was my age?
Here are her answers:
I see all these kids nowadays that don’t want to grow up. I mean, they are twenty, thirty, even older and still live with their parents or bounce around from one dead-end job to the next. I don’t get it. They have all these opportunities we never had as kids. The internet, telecommuting, college educations for men and women. Shouldn’t they be using that?
Most Boomers Worked Hard
For example, the job thing. I don’t get these kids running around on welfare or not having a job at all. The minute I got old enough to work I got a job at the McDonald’s just so I could buy the latest outfit that my dad wouldn’t bring home. My brothers did the same thing. We worked hard to get the things we wanted. Don’t get me wrong, Mom and Dad gave us food and clothes and stuff, but we wanted to get our own things that we picked out.
I remember buying my own records and then eight tracks for my car. My older brother worked his way through college working as a janitor at a church between classes and as a hotel bookkeeper at night. My younger brother made onion rings at Sonic and baked bread and worked in the shipyard. Of course, it was a little harder for him because he is deaf but he didn’t go on welfare or social security even though he could have. No, he wanted to work hard like the rest of us. I just don’t get the mentality of wanting to lie around all day. I’d be bored stiff.
Now Dad worked for Chevrolet, so us kids got a good used car when we got old enough to drive. He didn’t just hand it to us though. We had to pay for the insurance and the gas and keep it clean and maintained. If it started looking bad he’d take it back lickety split. I remember my brother crashing a few cars. I guess boys are boys no matter what era, and I got so mad at them.
Of course, I also remember having to take my driving test in a bright pink Plymouth with giant wings. A flying boat, as I called it. Try parallel parking in that! My driving teacher just patted my knee and told me to park normal instead. Those push button transmissions, sheesh!
School Integration Was a New Idea
Speaking of teachers, it was way different from your school experience. When I was in middle school, integration happened.
My brother had it a little rougher because he was in high school and football, and the boys on the team fought all the time. But the girls in gym weren’t nice either. We’d play field hockey or basketball and I, being blond and pale and small, would get elbowed in the face or ‘accidently’ whacked with a stick.
I finally made friends with Bertha by helping her in English class and she’d walk with me in the halls to keep me safe. That and I made friends with Angela, my brother’s future ex-wife funny enough, who was raised by her construction-worker dad and was scary as heck. She looked like Wonder Woman and no one messed with her. I don’t know why she liked me. Even the teachers were scared of her.
We Ditched School to Go to the Beach
It was funny because when we moved from Oklahoma to Florida I was in advanced classes just because the curriculum was different. But I wasn’t the best student by any means. I mean, I barely got out of high school because someone thought it would be a good idea to give me a three-hour lunch my senior year and then have math class and choir practice after that. Yeah, like I’m coming back to school for those classes!
We could leave campus for lunch and my friends and I would hit the beach. We lived in Florida at the time, and I’d spend hours watching my boyfriend surf in and out and work on my tan. You never had to get a pedicure if you walked the beach enough. (article continues)
Keep reading a baby boomer's memories on page two.