I know a few things about old stuff because I’m rather vintage myself, although I haven’t held up as well as the hula dancer below, who doesn’t look a day older than when she was part of the neighbors’ TV lamp in the ‘50s. Baby Boomers (now more commonly known as geezers) were part of the generation that brought about many changes. Retail marketers and corporate planners saw dollar signs when they thought about the disposable income available to the millions of youngsters born in post-war America.
A whole new industry popped up catering to teenagers and young single adults. Everything from clothing to sporty cars to snack foods to TV programs and movies catered to youth. Rock n roll left behind the squeaky clean image of the ‘50s and became darker, louder, sexier and more rebellious.
Teens were realizing they had a powerful voice as a group. They could change the face of America, and they did — for better or for worse.
The ‘60s were ripe for change — be it civil rights or women’s rights demonstrations, anti-war protests or back-to-the-land simplicity.
Young people questioned authority, took a hard look at the ideals and principles of their parents and experimented with mind-expanding drugs and Eastern philosophies.
The people older than 30 (who, of course, can never be trusted) were disgusted, appalled and somewhat envious of the “hippies” who were just cruising through life, enjoying the moment, seeking change in the way people treated each other and Mother Earth.
Many of the changes sought by the youth of the late ‘60s proved to be big failures. Most young people eventually caved in to “adulthood” and put their beads and hookahs and VW microbuses away in favor of homes in the suburbs and minivans.
Though they may have seemed to be following in their parents’ footsteps, they were not the same — and never would be.
The awareness of the bigger picture — the world view — hasn’t dimmed. The skepticism of our government leaders holds them to a higher standard than did the mindless acceptance of previous generations. Minorities and women have made strides in seeking equality, yet there is still work to be done.
Though the flower children were bound to grow up, it’s heartening that in many ways they were right in the first place. Consider heightened awareness of ecology, the surge in vegetarianism and local foods, participation in yoga and meditation, legalization of marijuana, stronger accountability of manufacturers and greater acceptance of people — regardless of color, nationality, religion or sexual preference.
The geezers of today pushed these agendas and didn’t give up, even when they were seemingly swallowed up by adulthood.
I’m a vintage woman and I’m pretty happy with where I’ve been and who I am today.
Be proud of yourself every day. Who you are is the sum total of who you were every day of your life.
Be kind to each other.