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I was alive then but I was only a year old, so I had other things going on like sleeping and throwing my food on the floor (so I'm told).

One big expectation of baby boomers is that they can remember exactly where they were when JFK was shot. This is one reason why I don't really consider myself a baby boomer.

I know, the US Census says 1964 and I was born in 1962, I've heard it before, but hear me out.

The first boomers were born in 1946. My parents were born in 1939, so my parents really aren't much older than the first boomers.

I missed all the shared moments that defined the baby boomer generation.

I don't remember JFK, other than after the fact.

I barely remember LBJ other than asking my parents who the president was once and being told some guy named Johnson.

The first President I really remember was Nixon. My parents hated him but I wasn't sure why. I remember Watergate but that was in the 1970s.

The first President I voted for was Reagan (sorry, my bad, seemed like a good idea then).

I don't remember the Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan in 1964. I was 2 years old. I don't remember ever watching Ed Sullivan for that matter.

I watched cartoons, a lot. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of 1960s and 70s cartoons.

I didn't "turn on, tune in and drop out" at the summer of love because I was 5 years old in 1967.

I didn't fight in Vietnam and I didn't protest Vietnam. I was vaguely aware that we were fighting a war in a place called Vietnam but I didn't really know where it was. I was 6 years old when the Tet Offensive occurred.

Based on the TV shows at the time I thought we were still fighting Germany and Japan.

A few years later my uncle came back from Vietnam and showed me pictures of dead Viet Cong, which I though were really cool, like most boys my age probably would have.

I do remember Martin Luther King being shot and my parents being very upset but I didn't really understand who he was, just that my parents liked him.

I didn't go to Woodstock. I was 7. I remember Woodstock as being the name of Snoopy's little bird friend.

I do remember the moon landing, because I was really into anything involving space or science fiction. I was certain that by the year 2000 I'd be living in a space station or a moon colony.

I didn't know any hippies except for maybe my 5th grade teacher. He was a nice enough guy but he always wanted to teach us folk songs when I wanted to be studying science (how else was I going to become an astronaut).

The Beatles broke up in 1970. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both died that year. I was 8.

I turned 16 and got my driver's license in 1978. I graduated High School in 1980 and College in 1984.

The 1980s is when the baby boomers all started to lament the passing of their youth. I was still in my youth at the time.

The classic boomer retrospective "The Big Chill" came out in 1983. I was 21 then so I didn't do a lot of reminiscing. With the exception of Meg Tilly (1960 I looked it up) every actor in that movie was at least 10 years older than me.

There was a 1980s show that was popular with boomers called "30 Something". I was a young 20-something then so I didn't really identify with it.

So what's it all mean, other than I like to ramble on? Just that I don't count myself as a baby boomer regardless of what the US Census says.

Nothing against baby boomers, but imagine your older brother/sister always telling you about this great party they were at that you couldn't go to. That's sometimes how I feel about the 1960s. I was aware of it, but I didn't really experience it.

So what does that make me? Gen-X? No, not really. Some people have suggested 1961 (others say 1965) as the beginning of Generation X but I've never really identified with that group either.

I belong to this little in-between group that's not really boomer and not really Gen-X. Some have suggested calling us "Kennedy Kids" and I kind of like that name. Just because I don't remember him doesn't mean I can't like him.


Originally posted to Major Kong on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:29 AM PST.

Also republished by Central Ohio Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (54+ / 0-)

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:29:02 AM PST

  •  I can relate, Major Kong (16+ / 0-)

    Even though you can't relate to 1965, which is my year.

    Sometimes it's like those of born in those few years from your birth to mine are like that blank spot between the songs on the albums.

    But I'm okay with that.  I loved the 70s; there was a lot of fun to be had in that decade if you weren't a grown-up.

    Cool diary.

    Don't tread on me.

    by VetGrl on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:48:12 AM PST

  •  Couple of years older and identify as a boomer (9+ / 0-)

    Don't remember JFK either, but have been told that I wasn't happy about my cartoons being preempted after his death.

    I was engaged with the news quite young, especially the environment.  I blame the New York Daily News for printing it in big headlines and without big words, though there was always all-news radio on at our house.

    My siblings, one to seven years younger, are more like you.  The youngest is clearly Gen X.

  •  Well, you sure missed a lot (16+ / 0-)

    I'm glad I came to adulthood in the 60s, it was an exciting time. Glad I didn't miss it
    people used to actually inter-relate personally before the internet, back when everybody had a phone with a dial that had a cord going into a wall.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:03:25 AM PST

    •  There certainly was a comradery (7+ / 0-)

      that is missing now. No one suffered from a shortage of friends, unless he/she just wanted to be left alone. It was easy to connect with people, even strangers.

      Today, a Huffington Post article covered Kruschev's relationship with Kennedy, and not surprisingly, the Russian leader and his wife were both big fans of Kennedy. It was almost impossible not to like him.

      You had to experience the birth of Beatle-mania to understand how much excitement it generated.

      I married a beautiful German girl in 1968; she was a free spirit and the love of my life. Sadly, she died much too soon, and I've never found anyone else who could match her love for life.

      So much has been lost since his presidency. I am saddened that newer generations are unable to understand the significance of that period.

  •  I vaguely remember the sadness and shock... (8+ / 0-)

    ... that I saw in my grandmother and my father that day, but didn't really understand the events, and couldn't really tell you what was said... I have happier and stronger memories of "helping" my Dad glue together a Mercury Redstone model rocket for me, years before then


    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:05:16 AM PST

  •  you are my age (5+ / 0-)

    i never felt attached to the boomers, I shared a lot
    more viewpoint with the X'ers.

    •  That's OK. I never noticed until very recently... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred exactly one hundred years to the day from a time when President William McKinley lay dying in his deathbed after having been shot by Leon Czolgosz on September 6, 1901. McKinley died on September 14, 1901.

      Although I remember very clearly the day of President Kennedy's assassination, I have no memory at all of President McKinley's assassination.  I do know that historically, many people liked President McKinley a lot, and that there were a lot of things that I remember from my youth that were (and still are) named after McKinley.  However, President McKinley was overshadowed by his successor, Theodore Roosevelt, in a way that Lyndon Johnson could never be said to have overshadowed President Kennedy.

      So don't feel bad that you don't feel attached to the boomers in finding something personal that was lost by the death of JFK.  I never found anything personal to connect myself to the loss of William McKinley, either.  But do try to understand the feelings we have for him, as those feelings are an important part of our shared history and can help you better understand yourself and your own place in history, as well.

  •  Im a little older & felt like a between also; (5+ / 0-)

    Boomers are cool, but I ain't no boomer.

    I do recall the funeral, since I can confirm the color of our couch & car.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:24:18 AM PST

  •  We are the same age... (4+ / 0-)

    and have the same feelings about our place in the generations ... not really a baby boomer and not really a gen-xer.

    Your summary of our shared experiences is spot-on.

  •  Being a boomer is a world of it's own to a degree (11+ / 0-)

    We actually witnessed soooooooo much.  We watch the invention of rock and roll.  We went from loafers and I love Lucy to Mash.  We recall Annette Funicello and looked at culture with different perspectives.  We saw For White Only signs, segragation and the strugges of civil rights and the choosing side of pro war or pro peace... I was so torn during that time... I hated the war but the warriors were my kin, my class, my life.   We knew and saw change like labor pains and to watch it all crumble now is like we struggled for naught.  Interesting times make for memories forever.   It doesn't matter that you didn't know who JFK was...his words live forever as does his inspiration.  He made us reach for the moon !!!!

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:43:11 AM PST

  •  "Born in the space age" ... (7+ / 0-)

    ... has a better ring to it than "late babyboomer."

    Not sure how this happened, but when I first heard of the baby boom, it ended before I was born, so boomers were people older than me.  A few years later it was after and I was suddenly in that group.  Say what?  Its not like people found that there was a previously unknown batch of kids born in the late 50's/early 60's.  So, I don't identify as a boomer, and instead draw a line at Sputnik.  

    I do remember the assassination, tho.    

  •  Wow! July of '64 here! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I always thought we were "tweeners", stuck in the middle of two separate generations.

    My first political memory is Nixon's resignation.  

    It took awhile for me to figure out the big deal about fighting the gorillas in the jungle.

    And then Elvis died.

    Fuck!  I'm OLD!

    "The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it.". Abbie Hoffman

    by Joes Steven on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:48:58 AM PST

  •  Ah, Kong, being your age (5+ / 0-)

    I totally relate.  As far as I remember, Johnson was the first real president. I was in the first grade when MLK and RFK were assassinated.  The moon landing.  And it was enough of a boundary between baby boomers and whatever we are born between 1961-65 that when I started high school, seniors could be hippies but freshmen who tried that were 'trying to bring back the 60's' or 'born in the wrong decade.'

    And seriously, I always felt the saying, "If you remember the '60s, you didn't live through it." was a little strange.  I wasn't dropping any acid.  I was eating baloney sandwiches and little cans of apple juice for lunch.

  •  I was way before the baby boomers. (14+ / 0-)

    Depression era. On that day I was principal of a small high school. It was long before the days of intercoms. The agriculture teacher stuck his head in my office where I was talking to the Superintendent. He said, "Did you hear about Kennedy?"  

    I thought it was going to be another Kennedy joke. There were a lot of jokes about the "50-mile-hike" and the usual jokes that surround any President and his family. He said, "No, I am serious, Kennedy has been shot in Dallas."  He had heard the news on his car radio when he left to get some lunch.

    The Superintendent turned on the radio immediately. After the news came that he was dead, it became my job to go from classroom to classroom and make the announcement. I never want to do anything like that ever again. We were unable to dismiss school, because we had one of the largest school districts in the state, although rural and sparsely populated. Several of our school bus routes were in excess of 35 miles on mountainous roads. The rest of the school day was miserable.

    Some students actually cheered when I made the announcement. I recall the teachers used that as a teachable moment, where you separate politics from tragedy and the historical implications of the death of a President while in office. We had some good teachers.

    Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

    by Otteray Scribe on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:59:50 AM PST

  •  Look on the bright side, Major. (8+ / 0-)

    You missed Topo Gigo.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:01:17 AM PST

  •  Young whippersnappers.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, The Marti, RiveroftheWest

    I was 9 that day, my sister was 9 months old, so I've seen what you were saying.  I can remember most of the 60's, I guess that means I wasn't there...

    I wasn't totally hooked into the politics back then, but as a kid in western Massachusetts, President Kennedy was one of us.  Lots of hero worship going on, and the assassination was even more devastating under the circumstances.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:06:37 AM PST

  •  I define the Boomer generation this way: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Windowpane, The Marti, RiveroftheWest

    And it's a sad commentary, actually, but I define its beginning and ending with two assassinations:

    I define it as starting with the Kennedy assassination and ending with the killing of John Lennon.

    I was in 8th grade when JFK was killed; remember exactly where and when we heard it. Individual classrooms in my school didn't have TV sets so we all filed into the lunchroom, sat on the floor, and watched everything on one black & white TV. Sad...

    When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

    by wheeldog on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:11:59 AM PST

  •  March, 1959... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The oldest batch of my siblings, and my husband, are true baby boomers -- they range from 8 to 11 years older than me.

    We've been called Generation Jones -- old enough to vaguely remember, but not participate in, the 1960s Boomer "revolution".

    One man gathers what another man spills. -- Garcia, Hunter, Lesh

    by Frankenoid on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:16:30 AM PST

  •  I am definitely a boomer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, RiveroftheWest, NYFM

    born 1957 but my husband is younger (born in 1962).  Yesterday, I realized that while I, like most people my age, had a vivid memory of the day JFK was shot, he was just 19 months old and had no memory of that day.  The times we live in are so fast moving and changing (hmmm, there might be a song lyric in there) that even people separated by five years do not share the same cultural, political, etc references.

  •  late boomers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, bunsk, RiveroftheWest

    I was born in 1960 -most of the demographic folks call the folks from 1960-1964 the cuspers -neither in the cohort called the Boomers, and not in Generation X.

    I found a demographic study on the 'cuspers' on the web.

  •  I'm actually Greatest Generation, having been (6+ / 0-)

    born in 1945. What I remember about JFK and LBJ is how ruthless and tough they were. They used every tool of intimidation and harassment they had on the equivalents of the Koch brothers and Fox News. Reagan, I remember, was punished by the IRS for an "illegal gratuity" from GE. Republicans did not roll them. Maybe some of that long-lost toughness is returning, as the filibuster action seems to suggest.

  •  March 1958 and remember Beatles and Kennedy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, RiveroftheWest

    That would make me about 5 when Kennedy was shot. I was with my dad buying wood paneling in a lumber store with narrow aisles "Chris and Dick's" in SLC, Utah. It came over the radio, everyone looked grim and some started crying. Even at 5 I knew very well who Kennedy was, my parents worshipped him. I would leaf through and look at the pictures in his book "Profiles in Courage" in our basement. I even read some of it, I learned to read early in life. In the days following, with the televised funereal, it felt like a death in our own family. Parents cried the whole time.

    When the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, I remember my mother screaming about their long hair and how they looked just like girls. I wanted to start growing my hair out the next day. Not sure I wanted to be a Beatle or a girl….

    I would agree with you Kong, I am barely a boomer, but if you can't remember Kennedy getting shot or the Beatles, I think that disqualifies you as a boomer. You missed some fun years being a teenager in the 70's- we were still benefitting from the psychedelic movement that started in the 60's. But even that seemed to be coming to an end.

  •  I'm in the same boat, Major Kong... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Kong, RiveroftheWest

    The whole concept of the Baby Boomers is; parents came back from WWII, had a bunch of kids.  I was born in 62.  My paternal grandfather fought the Japanese (and a whale) in the Aleutians (in biplanes!).  He sort of smuggled his wife to Sitka, where she was told by Buggs Bunny to PUT OUT THAT LIGHT!  My maternal grandfather was a civilian, working at the Naval hospital in San Diego.  My step-father's father was a machinist's mate on the Saratoga.  Their kids were the baby boomers...even though my father was born in 41 (Sitka) and my mother in 43.

    My ex-wife was born in '61.  I was the first born, she was the last.  Her father came home from Germany and married her mother, and had kids.  She was born late to the family, but definitely a Boomer.  Our whole outlook was different on a lot of things, and we were definitely of the wrong generation for each other.

    The Demographers got it wrong.

    As for JFK, I was just less than a year old.  But I vividly remember Bobby getting shot.  I was in San Francisco, ditching my mom, who was helping out with a newborn cousin.  I was riding the cable cars, and I saw the headline and photograph on the front page of a stack of newspapers, tied in a bundle, sitting on a sidewalk.  That made a huge impression.

    "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

    by Bisbonian on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 09:08:59 AM PST

  •  The problem with generations is that they (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have distinctive lines drawn to them, when the reality is the lines are a bit more blurred.

  •  Born in 1959. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, bunsk, RiveroftheWest

    Definitely a younger boomer. My oldest sister was born in 1947. There were nine of us, so my sibs and I kind of span the whole boomer generation.

    I was a quiet kid who read a lot. I had a paper route when I was 12 and started reading the entire paper every day. It was The Milwaukee Journal, back when that publication was a real newspaper with comprehensive coverage of local, state, national and international news, plus a wide-ranging op-ed page and the the utterly splendid Green Sheet!. I was a damn well-informed for a 7th grader and couldn't understand how anybody as crooked as Nixon ever got elected to anything.

    I remember my Mom's reaction to the death of JFK. It was the first time I'd seen an adult cry. I remember seeing the morning news on the day Robert Kennedy was murdered. Our associate pastor, Fr. Roger Boesch spoke to us about it at mass that morning, before school. He was a friend and supporter of Father James Groppi. His words were full of anguish and hope.

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 09:18:05 AM PST

  •  Generation Jones? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's what the generation between the Boomers and Gen X is called.

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 09:18:35 AM PST

  •  Major, you're the same age as my SO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, NYFM

    My SO gets impatient with the whole JFK thing.

    I did a lot of the retrospective stuff yesterday: I remember the black horse with no rider on TV, Walter Cronkite's voice, and Oswald being shot on live TV.  I don't really remember JFK as a president.

    I was in school when RFK and Dr. King were assassinated, and when the Ohio State National Guard gunned down the students.

    But ever since I was really little I heard recordings of that phrase:
    "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

    These days it sounds oddly Republican, doesn't it?

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 10:10:40 AM PST

  •  Thanks, Major, a very nice diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Bronx59, NYFM

    I'm a cusper, born in early '59, which made me about 4 1/2 on the fateful day. I don't remember a thing. I don't remember my parents or older siblings did, I simply don't recall the event.

    My parents most likely worked hard to shield us from it all - my mother didn't watch daytime TV or listen to the radio, so if she did somehow hear of it, she kept it quiet. My dad would have known, most likely because his mother would have called down to the store with the news. Her maiden name was Kennedy, and she took her Irish heritage and RC faith very seriously. I know now that she was probably devastated and crying, but not then.

    Too young to be a hippie, too old to be a punk.

    And yeah, I know tarantulas don't really act like that at all, so no snarking, this is the internet damnit!

    by itzadryheat on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 10:17:14 AM PST

  •  1960 for me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't remember JFK as president, and I only have a vague memory of the funeral on TV. But by grade school I sensed the loss and it resonated with me. I wasn't old enough to be a hippie, but it was imprinted on me enough to be one eventually.

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 12:29:42 PM PST

  •  This Gen Xer is tired of Boomers (0+ / 0-)

    Tired of hearing about the 60s, and JFK murder.
    Tired of being overshadowed by Boomers  and how their concerns still take precedent over Gen X.

    They were the Greed is Good Yuppies of the 80's while we were stuck in dead end jobs, hoping that Trickle Down Economics would throw us a bone.
    (It never did. See Below)

      This November 18, was the 35th anniversary of Jonestown, and my diary was the only one marking it.
    This was our JFK moment, and until 9/11, was the largest single civilian loss * of life in one act. How do you remember them? "Drinking the Kool Aid"  
    But JFK took precede over them. It's so typical of the self centered egotistical Boomers.

    We didn't have Woodstock, we had punk rock and heavy metal to rebel against the world, which included Boomers

    We were the first computer geeks, and we grew up with the horror of AIDS and fear of nuclear war.

    Even with all that, I wouldn't trade being part of Generation X. And yes, I do appreciate the good you did and benefited from it  
     Just don't forget us, and Generation Y.

    Boomers lost a significant chunk of their retirement nest eggs in the recession, but it was members of Generation X who were really hit the hardest, according to a report released Thursday.
    Between 2007 and 2010, members of Gen X saw their median net worth sink 45% from $75,077 to $41,600. That's compared to a drop of around 25% for both younger Baby Boomers and older Boomers, between the ages 58 and 67.

    "Down with sodomy, up with teabagging!" Sign @ TeaBilly rally.

    by pitbullgirl65 on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 03:03:23 PM PST

    •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My generation didn't experience Pearl Harbor, but we respected what it meant to our parents and grandparents. We tried to imagine what it was like for them to live through it. On the major anniversaries I wanted to listen to them talk about it.

      Of course we're talking about the Kennedy assassination this week on the 50th anniversary. And you're whining like a child because no one's paying enough attention to you. Who's the self-centered one here?

  •  just a year earlier, but the parallels .. (0+ / 0-)

    .. are positively spooky.

    My main gripe was realizing the soundtrack to my adolescence/coming-of-age was Disco.

    Disco.. seriously? I'm not a huge music buff, and don't love every musical genre of every other epoch, but most could make some claim to legitimacy. My roll of the dice gave me Disco?

    I believe my distaste for popular culture firmly established itself right then.

    Thanks for this "reflective" diary. ;-), where did I leave my torches and villagers?

    by FrankSpoke on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 11:07:34 AM PST

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