Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Baby Boomer's Daughter

I'm not gonna meditate anymore
The revolution is off the agenda
I'm a baby boomer's daughter
And I'm never gonna reach nirvana

The sixties were 50 years ago
You know
Get over it
©Kate Miller-Heidke, "Politics in Space",

I'm livin' in the 70's
I feel like I lost my keys
Got the right day but I got the wrong week
And I get paid for just bein' a freak
from Skyhooks' , "Living in the Seventies"

How do they see us? The sons and daughters of the baby boomers. Or what's more relevant to us baby boomers is perhaps, how do we see THEM?

Here's a photo of little Sammy. A baby boomer's daughter who I knew way back in the seventies. It was taken in the country-side in Australia, where I lived at the time. You can see a water tank behind her, and what is part of a makeshift fence that I put up to protect my vegetable garden from the dogs, ducks and chickens.

We - my husband of the time, and children- didn't live on a commune, but many of our friends did - including Sammy and her parents. And although our family lived as a nuclear family, with a male breadwinner, much of our lifestyle embraced rural communal living. Hence the ducks, chooks and organic vegie garden ...

What happened to our "babies"? I follow the lives of many of them, though I've completely lost touch with little Sammy. I last heard of her about twenty years ago - when someone told me that she'd become a "greenie" - an environmental activist.

Do these babies of baby boomers feel as Kate Miller-Heidke does - that the sixties are ancient history that we should "get over"? Not all feel that way, I'm sure, but I know several who do.

Listening to Miller-Heidke 's "Politics of Space" I thought back on how WE, the baby boomers, saw our OWN parents' past.

Baby Boomers' Mothers - being little devils
Baby boomers' parents lived through WWII and many would remember the Great Depression. Some buckled down. Most in fact. My parents 'rebelled' - in a way. They didn't go on demonstrations or attend 'sit-ins', but they did protest what they saw as social injustices. Here is our mum (second from the right) and an aunt (second from the left) on stage in a theatre review, New Theatre, Melbourne circa 1943.

I can remember being mildly bored with my mother's stories of the "war" and the Depression. But, "get over it"? I don't' THINK so.

So what have we done to our children to lead them - well some of them at least - to be annoyed with the "sixties"?

I'm ducking for cover here, but I suspect that there's element of jealousy. I remember when my daughter was about thirteen, berating me for giving birth to her in 1972. "I missed out on the sixties," she wailed, "And it is YOUR fault." "Blame your father," I retorted, just to get her off my back. But she'd have none of it.

So have we represented the sixties as some golden age? Have we made out that the sixties was a time of fun? Well it was. That it was a time of freedom? Well, it was. Of sexual experimentation? Well for some ...

And yeah, many of us thought that we were changing the world, and we didn't - well not completely. I like to think we did have a positive affect. And yes there are the negatives. We have bequeathed materialism, pollution and AIDs.

But then ... that was all a long time ago.

Look Kate Miller-Heidke and ilk - as much as I respect your creativity, your skills and your ideas - the sixties were 50 years ago.

Get over it!

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