Baby boomers have been accused of thinking that the world began on the day they were born, and that nothing that happened in “olden times” really matters at all.
In the last few years, I have been thinking about the relationships between different times, and how things have changed in that respect. I can turn on my satellite radio and listen to Oldies stations that play all Sixties music, all Fifties and even All Forties music. Now there was great music made in the ’40s, but that decade ended nearly 62 years ago.
I wonder if the folks who were old enough in the ’40s to remember the culture of 62 years earlier were really nostalgic for the 1880s.
I particularly love music from 1967, the year I graduated from high school and the year I turned 18, but for me to listen to music from 1967 fully 44 years later would be comparable to listening to music from 1923 when I was 18.
For one thing, I don’t think folks had the nostalgia for the past back then that so many of us seem to have now. Baby boomers may be the first American generation to think things were better when they were young and unsettled than now and they are older and established. In some cases, that is because things haven’t worked out the way they planned, but it seems like more than that with a lot of people.
My friend Mick has an amazing amount of nostalgia for things that weren’t that wonderful at the time. So go figure.
The clip here is from 1956, and I never saw it or heard of it until today. I was familiar with “I’ve Got a Secret,” the show this clip is from, but I never knew that in February 1956 they had a show in which one of the guests was the last living witness of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
That’s something that happened 84 years before I was born, and my life overlapped with the 96-year-old man who saw it. If you consider the fact that Lincoln’s death came less than 89 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and there were certainly people in America in 1865 who were alive in 1776.
When you put it that way, I am only two lifetimes removed from July 4, 1776, and in all probability, my own life will overlap with someone who will see the dawning of the 22nd century.
It’s enough to make you feel small.
But a lot of the real boomer nostalgia isn’t from the ’60s. It’s from the ’50s — things like Howdy Doody, Davy Crockett and the Mickey Mouse Club. Some of my first really vivid memories are from 1956, the year I started school