Thursday, May 9, 2013

Positive Signs of Age

A few days ago, I sent a belated birthday wish to my long-time friend Charles via Facebook. In my comment, I noted that he had reached a “magic” age for Baby Boomers—64. Why is that significant?  Ask the Beatles.

The song “When I’m 64” was on every Boomers’ lips after the “Sgt. Pepper” album came out in 1967. And one of Charles’s and my mutual friends from Charleston came down the aisle at his wedding in the early 1970s to someone’s singing, “Will you still need me. . .will you still feed me. . .when I’m 64?” The song was just a lark when we were in our twenties. Now it’s relevant! To paraphrase Pogo, “We have heard about 64, and [soon or now] it is us.”

I’ve been struck by how many recent happenings in our lives have seemed Baby Boomer relevant. For example, in a two-week period a few months ago, Audrey and I joined in three events that really define “Boomer-dom.”

First, there was the first bris we’ve attended for the grandchild of close friends and contemporaries. Baby Max was welcomed into the world by a cheering crowd of dozens of his new admirers, armed with iPhones or other video devices. There were lots of photo ops at the bris, though Max may not have felt he was at his photogenic best during the occasion. No male in the room could blame him for being a little testy at the events that took place. Notably, it was mostly women who took pictures of Max’s brief trauma. Here are a few that Audrey captured:

Max with his mom Lauren

We’re going to be closely watching Max and any of his future siblings grow as we grow older. But reaching grandparent age is a definite Boomer milestone.

Just a few days later, another contemporary couple walked their daughter down the aisle. Now that’s not necessarily a Boomer moment, but our friends, like us, didn’t become parents until they were in their 30s. So a wedding in their 60s was logical. Neither of our children is ready for marriage any time soon, so we may be aging Boomers before we dance at their weddings.

The third event was a little more unusual. It was a restaurant/lounge performance that featured a friend and her associates defying time by rocking hard through two raucous music sets. Here are a few seconds of evidence:

We knew we were in for something out of the usual when the band opened its first set with a cover of Camper van Beethoven’s “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” I can’t say that I could join in with the song, which begins this way—

Every day, I get up and pray to Jah
And he decreases the number of clocks by exactly one
Everybody's comin' home for lunch these days
Last night there were skinheads on my lawn
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling

But I quickly got into the beat and the spirit as Elissa and several Boomer cohorts, performing as HipAnonymous, churned out tunes that alternated between melodic, hard-driving, and outrageous. Didn’t we all dream of being rockers at one time? These were Boomers living out the dream when many of us are just happy to take naps. Unlike many in the audience, the band members’ knees didn’t seem to creak and they had no trouble remembering all of the lyrics of their songs. We loved rocking with them, and some of us even grabbed blocks or other percussion devices and joined in. Audrey tried out the video function of her iPhone with mixed results, as you could see above. In 60’s-speak, it was “a happening.” But I’m dating myself.
 So, Audrey and I spent two weeks embracing a diverse and exciting range of events that made us feel both older and younger at the same time. We snapped pictures, danced the hora, and sang about skinheads. If this is what it’s all about, bring on 64!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Michael,
    My name is Jill Lepre. I somehow connected with your blog on "Southern Jewish Heritage." (the computer and I do not get along all that well) However in following the story as well as some of your other blogs, I concluded that we are related!
    My grandmother was Fannie Goodman. Her parents were Michael and Sarah Goodman. The original family name was Byall. There were 12 children in the family. They lived in Calion, Arkansas.
    Your father was my grandmother's brother. Was he Abe or Aaron? I really do not know much about the younger members of the family. I have been working on the family genealogy for years.
    I hope that we can exchange some information.
    My email address is: lepre@optimum.net
    Thank you!