Baby Boomer Memories

My husband and I are Baby Boomers. We were both born in 1959, the year Castro made his move to take over Cuba, the Dalai Lama and his countrymen were forced to flee to India, and an airplane crash took the lives of Buddy Holly, Richie Vallens and the Big Bopper. It was the end of a decade of innocence, poised at the beginning of a coming decade of turbulence and change.

Watching a documentary of those years in Chicago reminded me of the great changes that took place during the 60s in the civil rights’ movement, the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, and the hippy movement. In the 60s, it seemed that young people first began to question authority and that status quo.

Of course, for me and Jolly, we were in a little Indiana town, four hours south of Chicago. And, yet, change crept our way too. Just a few days ago, having Thanksgiving with family, we began to reminisce. Those times are always special, to remember where we have come from.

At my in laws, I heard memories of grandparents gone now so many years but not forgotten, how Jolly’s grandma would smack the hand of his uncle who reached for bites of turkey before she was ready to serve dinner. At dinner with our old friends, Lew and Joel, I heard them swap stories of the pranks they used to pull and the roleplaying games we played. At my sister’s house, my sisters reminded me of how I used to color, reaching blindly into the bucket of crayons, feeling around and grabbing crayons at random and coloring with them, with no order at all, and remembering how my niece Audrey hurt herself jumping onto a bench that flew up and hit her in the face.

As Jolly and I drove back home, we remembered how it was when we had Amber with us for trips, how I’d always have to start her Walker, Texas Ranger wedding DVD in the van’s entertainment system before hitting the road, and how she’d happily ride back there, laughing all the way to Walker’s wedding. As long as she had Walker, Texas Ranger’s wedding, Amber didn’t mind the hours of travel.

Now that our generation is middle aged and aging, we spend a lot of time remembering. I never will forget when the Sears store downtown first got an escalator. It seemed like a miracle, and my little sisters and I loved to ride on that escalator. It was like a ride at the fair for us.

My husband talks about his clear memories of watching the Apollo missions on TV. None of us who were alive at the time can forget seeing the first time a person walked on the moon. I always remember how the astronauts reported on Christmas Eve that they saw Santa on his rounds. What a magical time that was. I completely believed them and was really excited to have scientific confirmation of the existence of Santa Claus.

Amber used to become quite amused at all of my stories of the past. She remembered my tales of how her daddy and I met in algebra class in high school, and what songs we liked to listen to. Every time David Bowie’s song “Wild is the Wind” came on, she would remember what I’d told her about that song and she’d say, “you” meaning, “there’s your song.” She loved to hear the stories of our courtship, the little romantic sweetheart.

I cherish those memories — of growing up in a changing world, of meeting my sweet Jolly and of raising my daughter. The holidays are a great time to share these times and these memories remind us of what we have to be thankful for. We have lived through so much – the good and the bad, and we still have hope for a wonderful future because we are making new memories too.

My mother, for instance, is looking forward to her first wedding anniversary to a wonderful man, Elbern Mook, the 23rd of December. It seems just yesterday we were gathering in this man’s church, preparing for the wonderful moment when my mother and her groom would say, “I do.” What a blessing it has been to see them so happy.

And, my husband and I just got back from some time with friends down in Kentucky, and the beautiful and historic Doe Run Inn, where just last year we had participated in filming the Brothers Barbarian, Season 2. It was great to see a friend and her family, Tana Leggo, Cory Stalcup and Sydney Stalcup, that I’d made during that shooting, as well as Ken Whitman and a few more. We’d become part of a family down there, so it was nice to see them again. We look forward to spending more time there in the future and furthering those friendships and creative endeavors. We also got to spend time with Jolly’s friend Craig Zipse, who drove up from Georgia just to be there. What a sweetheart.

I am sure all of you have special memories of the past, and hopes for future memory making for the future. I pray you all have blessings in the days to come, and that you all can make wonderful memories with the ones you love. Remember to cherish these times, and the ones you love. Don’t wait to tell them you love them. Don’t wait to make things special. Don’t get too busy to notice the wonderful little things that happen all around you. Make some memories this holiday season.

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Salute to Uncle Bob

A few weeks ago, my mom’s Uncle Bob Hemmick died after a battle with cancer. Bob was married to my mother’s beautiful, sweet Aunt Dot, who passed away from Alzheimer’s many years ago, sadly. They were such precious people, with two great sons, Mike and Geoff.

Uncle Bob was buried in the military cemetery in Sarasota, Florida. He was buried with honors, having served with the U.S. Army during WWII, in Germany. He never talked about that to us, so I had no idea about his service to our country until after he died. He was always a quiet guy, strong and dependable. He seemed to always be around when you needed him.

And, we seemed to need him a lot. He and my mom were very close. He was there for her when things were rocky and scary toward the end of mom and dad’s marriage. He was always at holiday gatherings and family get-togethers. I loved his smile, the way his eyes wrinkled up when he laughed and the sound of his laugh.

He loved golf, and sports of all kinds. And, he loved animals. I got my first precious dog from him, a half collie, half German shepherd that I named Happy. He used to race horses at the 4H Fairgrounds, the kind you call pacers, that pull a rider in a small wagon behind them. I remember his red, white-faced bull with the curly hair on its head.

He worked for the post office, on the rural routes, delivering mail to people who lived out in the country.

He lived a good life. He was a good husband, father and uncle, and he was a great citizen of our country, a soldier who served with honor, having witnessed horrors untold in Europe during the war, and fighting his final battle with dignity. I salute Uncle Bob today, and hope to see him again someday. Until then, I hope he and Amber get a chance to hang around a little together. She loved him too and I’m glad they knew each other on Earth. Someday, we’ll all be together again. Maybe he’ll teach me to play golf. Until then, we all cherish his memory. He made our lives much richer.