Baby Boomer: Living Through a Phenomenon

By Vince Stalla

Can you remember the excitement and hysteria of Beatlemania? Were you drafted by the U.S. Selective Service into the war in Southeast Asia or did you burn your draft card at a college sit-in? Can you

My story is a New York story, which is where I grew up, where I experienced this time. You could have grown up in California, the Midwest, the Deep South, New England, or anywhere in the United States for that matter. The place is not the story; it is the experience of being a boomer, living through this time of enlightenment and wonder that made this time special for me, for us. From the fabulous ‘50s through the turbulent ‘60s, and the disco beat of the ‘70s, we were there and we saw it all. This is my story, but it certainly can be yours, especially if you’re a boomer. And, if you’re reading this, you probably are.
Many years ago a wise old woman once told me, “One day in your life you will become your father and honestly, I hope you do.” It sounds so prophetic now that I put it to print, but those were my grandmother’s words in 1961. Believe it or not, we are becoming our parents! Some will disagree, but I can live with that. My dad is still an inspiration and a role model to me. At 85 years of age, he’s still there for me, always. Mom, too! Still, I am a boomer and proud of it. I still think I’m invincible and so do you. Be honest. You do.
We all have memories and nostalgia. Stimuli can be a powerful and welcome emotional trigger. Memories are like snapshots of a specific time in our lives. They are experiences that we all have stored in our brain. Some of these memories are taken for granted and perhaps forgotten at times, but they are always there. They don’t go away and I don’t think you would want to remove them, especially if they remind you of a better time and place, which is for most of us our youth.
Triggers are our connections to the past. They can immediately bring us back to a time and place that may have fond remembrances or perhaps a sad experience; nevertheless, they are important components to our past. It’s like pushing the rewind button on the cassette player you got for Christmas years ago. These triggers create an immediate picture of who we were, where we were, what we were doing, and who we were doing it with. Cool, huh?
It sounds complicated, but it really is a marvel that your brain will assimilate this information and, within a millisecond, return you in a specific place and time from your past. Did you ever think you were as efficient as your laptop? You really can be. It could be a faint scent or a strong odor, a song playing on the radio or a photograph – they are all triggers. You know those boxes stacked at the top of your bedroom closet or stuffed on a shelf in your garage, labeled “old photographs?” You probably haven’t opened them in 20 years or more. Yes, those boxes! These triggers are around us every day and they speak volumes at times. They take us back to a time of simple joy, perhaps when we were children. Hopefully, a time of comfort. Perhaps not, but they will stir your memory to another time in your life.