This Side of Ninety: It’s a puzzling situation

Harrison resident Ruth Altendorf talks on now living on this side of ninety.

Ruthy and I were having breakfast, musing about the world.  “I am really confused”, Ruthy said “about all those different names we use to identify past generations.  Can you help me?”  I had to tell her that I do not feel more in the know about this subject than she does but, that together we might be able to figure it out.

“Let’s start with us,” I said, “because I think that before us there were no such identifications.  People simply referred to the beginning, the middle or the end of such and such a century and that was it unless they knew the proper year.” But then, this changed.  Take us, for instance:  born in the year 1925, we belonged to the “Roaring Twenties”.  It was a good time.  People were happy that the first world war was over and lived it up a bit.  This was just as well since the good time did not last very long.  The “Roaring Twenties” were not quite over when the next world war, which had been waiting in the wings all along, reared up its ugly head, a war that would be longer and worse then the one before.  When it ended nobody felt like dancing.  It was a time to re-build, look for solutions and new beginnings.  In Germany, where we still lived then, this time was simply called “die Nachkriegszeit” – the “After the war time” and that was it.

Eventually, however, along came the “Hippies” and the world changed!  Who would ever forget them?  “Wow” Ruthy said, “this must have been exciting!”  “Well” I answered, “we all were a little worried and wondered where all those grand ideas would lead to – fun that they were”!

After them, in a complete turn around, the “DINKS” arrived.  “The who?” Ruthy asked.  “The DINKS”, I repeated.  “It stood for “double income, no kids”!  At first they, too, looked like a complete change – over from the Hippy-time but actually the Hippies and DINKS had something important in common:  they did not worry about the future!  After all, how did they think the world would continue without children, to name only one item?

Next came the Boomers, the Gen-exers, the Millenials and finally the Centennials which, by the way and according to the 2012 census are – by percentage – the fastest growing group and by all signs will continue to do so!

I hesitated a bit, but then I told Ruthy about my favourite generation, the one we often forget.  They did not fit into any of the before-mentioned groups and were almost overlooked!  It was, as they were belatedly called, the “Quiet Generation” which caused little fuss, looked after itself, succeeded and prospered.  Eventually they were found out and wedged between the other groups.

This might well have been the end of our discussions but for my friend, Liz, coming by with a computer list of more!  Acutally, however, most of what was on the list were fun variations of what I had remembered.  There were two I should mention because they are really neat:  PODWOG (Parents of DINKS without grandchildren, or the WOOF’S (Well-Off Older Folks).  And finally, what do you think of the last name on the list:  the SINBAD’s?  It stands for “Single Income No Boyfriend and Desperate!”

Well, this is it for today.  Should you have some more good ones let us know!

– Ruth Altendorf and Ruthy

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