A recent letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal (by Rab Hagin of Lexington, KY) points out how lucky we depression babies were to be born when we were—so lucky we took it for granted and assumed our way was the way life would always be.
The Great Depression covered the decade of the 1930s and included the birth of us and our siblings. Lucky right from the start, we were born in a period of a 46% decline in the birth rate. We were special just by being alive.
So we came of age during the 1950s with plenty of elbow room. The existing schools could easily accommodate us and there were plenty of experienced teachers to guide us.
We were too young to be involved in World War II and too old for most of the Korean War. Duty in the armed services was largely optional.
We became adults in an expanding economy with only mild competition for jobs, college, and housing. By the 1960s with its Vietnam and social upheaval, we were already settled into our adult life with careers and babies in an affluent country with a solid manufacturing base and an unmatched military. We were comfortably oblivious, and that probably explains why, Hagin observes, we were the only 10-year bracket since the Civil War not to produce a President. We thought our charmed life would go on forever.
We are the Oreo generation—the sweet center between two dark periods—and should be grateful for it. (see posting of 6/6/09)