Are we still alive at 65?

Hell yeah! And what a trip it’s been getting here (in another month or so, for me). I unashamedly quote from an email by my friend Don who set out exactly what it means to the group now reaching the mid-sixties. I could not have said it better — even if I could have remembered it all!

Hummmm, 64 years?  Some of us are even older… 65 (not me, at least not yet).

Wow… what a time we have lived through and maybe even helped shape.

One more month and the Republic of Texas will be one year older.  For those of us who have wandered off into other interesting places, beyond the reach of undocumented immigration,… if you start today you may be able to round up the ingredients for a good pot of Four Alarm Chile in time to celebrate.  Getting a Lone Star Long Neck may require a trip to eBay or some more specialized venue.

Perhaps Terry has a ‘1958 vintage bomb shelter out back, all stocked up with long necks, but true longnecks, with returnable bottles are now a great rarity, so I doubt he will share them with us.  I guess maybe we were “greener” back then than today, what with returnable bottles and all…

We have, like generations before us witnessed change, some good, some maybe less so.

The Bomb.  A war was ended abruptly, many lives including perhaps my own father who was fighting in the pacific when Truman unleashed two bombs and virtually destroyed two large Japanese cites with substantial military production centered in them. One war terrible global war was snuffed out in the style of Red Adair using explosives to snuff out an oil well fire, but the world in which we were to live was changed.  The world still changing as a result of “The Bomb”, as we watch rogue regimes gain access to this weapon while “diplomats” demonstrate mass dipsomania as they realize that nothing they, or even the military, can do will prevent this proliferation.

We did not see the first powered flight, but we were here when man first broke the sound barrier and lived to tell what Good Stuff it took to do that.  Then we saw, however briefly, the first supersonic airliner.

We did not see Lindberg cross the Atlantic, but we saw the first space flight, lunar landing, amazing unmanned landings and explorations of Mars, fly-bys of other planets and their moons, and the stu8nning beauty of the cosmos revealed by the Hubble Telescope.  Some of maybe even worked on one or more of these achievements directly or indirectly.

We did not see the first TV (1923!) but saw, and some of us maybe even helped along, “the chip”, the personal computer, the internet, and the worldwide web.

Perhaps in preparation for our own generation getting old, our generation has created a whole industry (now under threat of the final bureaucratizion… so our grandchildren are unlikely to benefit from a continued vitality of invention in this area) which has created an astounding array of medical diagnostic tools, therapeutic technologies, and (hopefully) beneficial pharmaceutical products. Several of our group have played a part in this area of achievement.

We have seen being an engineer, scientist, or mathematician, in America, become “totally geeky”  and have vast increases in young people pursuing degrees in “Political Science” ( which insults the word “science” and does not auger well for our grandchildren seeing the explosion of beneficial advances to sustain the ever growing population of our planet.  But not to worry, China, India, and Russia are cranking out those skills, so they will be able to sell to us, those products and services which we have chosen to devalue and attack… if we can find a way to afford them.

I think we, the class of ’62, have lived in a true Golden Age.  We had all those things, plus Buddy Holly (I actually married a Peggy Sue!), Roy Orbison (anyone remember him playing in the gym for a sock hop after a basketball game), The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Willie Nelson, the TV Series “Route 66”, The Jet Drive-In, …  Heck, they made movies about us and the experiences that influenced our adult lives ( perhaps American Graffiti, The Last Picture Show, The Groove Tube, Apocalypse Now, and Midnight Cowboy were particularly relevant for our gang).   What a run we have had!

64?  No big deal.  Making it this far without someone killing me… amazing.  What a life.

Don

Thanks, Don. Quite a trip down memory lane. I share your proud appreciation for where we are and how we got here. With all of the talk of the “greatest generation” (the only thing I ever agreed with Tom Brokaw over) there is an oft-overlooked fact. We, the “not-quite-baby-boomers” generation (I don’t think our group has a clear-cut tag), are the direct progeny of the “greatest” and I wonder how we will be remembered. Did we fail them in not passing along the best traits of the best? Or did we accomplish it? Many of us (not including self) are as fine as that “greatest generation” and I know that some of our children are as well. But as a generational appelation how will we or our children be remembered and viewed by history?

Of course, just as facts make a difference in the courtroom they make a difference here. The circumstances of WWII were unique in American history. Were those “finest” Americans defined by the circumstances, or did they define the circumstances themselves. It seems that Americans have always risen to the instant occasion to an unsurpassable level, especially in crisis. WWII was certainly a crisis and whereas in the present day we tend to not be able to sustain that crisis mode level of intensity, the “greatest generation” did so, in spades. That attribute, sustainability of purpose, may be the single most distinguishing factor between that generation and ours.

Yes, still alive at 65 and there remains work to do.

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About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
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