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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)

TITLE: The Silent Generation
By Joy Bach


The Silent Generation consists of people born between 1925 and 1945. It was named after me, the silent one. But my personal silent generation extended beyond the 1945 boundary, right on through the Baby Boom Generation and Generation X. By the time I poked my head out of my shell, Generation Y was upon us.

During the 50ís, 60ís and 70ís I was encased in a religious cocoon constructed to protect me from the evil ones. Anyone who didnít attend our church fit that category. That fact makes for awkward moments today when someone talks to me about a song they loved in the 60ís. When I tell them Iíve never heard of it, disbelief floods their face.

ďOh, of course you have. Youíve just forgotten.Ē So they sing me a little of it.

ďNope, Iíve never heard it.Ē

Then the questions begin. ďWhy Ö how come Ö who said you couldnít Ö and on and on.

When youíve missed 30 years of music, hairstyles and fashions, itís difficult to catch up. I donít know what Iíve missed.

My research tells me that poodle skirts were the rage in the 50ís. My classmates wore them, along with the short hair that was in style. But my mother did not believe in cutting hair. Hers hung below her waist when it wasnít braided and twisted into a bun. It would be years before I learned that cutting your hair was not a sin.

One of my awkward moments occurred in 2001, when George Harrison died. George who? I was attending a Toastmasters meeting where other members were discussing his death. Imagine the silence that followed when I asked who he was. The Beatles had definitely been off limits for me. My personal music trainer, my husband, provided song after song of theirs for me, assisting in my Beatles education.

I missed out on so many music styles; Rock and Roll, the Blues, Peter, Paul and Mary. And even though the hairdos changed to a beehive look, my hair remained the same. No beehive for me.

When I married in 1980, my husband was aghast that I knew nothing about Elvis. A video was rented to allow me to see him in action. After watching it, I understood why he was off limits for any member of our church. Such gyrations.

My ex-husband was a minister, and it was against church rules to own a television. Those antennas were the devilís horns. Then history happened. John F. Kennedy was shot. One renegade church member had a television, so the congregation gathered at his house to watch the tragedy unfold.

There was also a war going on in a place called Vietnam. Discussion about that must have been off limits, leaving me safe in my cocoon. Hairstyles went from one extreme to the other. Some wore their hair long and straight, pressing it with an iron. Others wore an Afro. Bras became optional. All this happened outside my frame of reference. Our church did not have to deal with such issues.

We lived in a town in Texas that did not allow people of color to remain within the city limits after dark. That fact was made known to me by over-hearing conversation at church one day about a black man who had tried to stay overnight. How dare he?

Out of everything I missed out on, the subculture called hippies fascinated me the most. They were the exact opposite from me. What would that have been like Ö to be free? A little piece of my hippie-ness came out when I married in 1980. We were married beside a river Ö I was barefoot Ö and had a halo of flowers in my hair. Just a tiny piece of catching up.

The first time I saw the movie, Flashdance, I cried so hard I couldnít finish watching it. I cried again the next time Ö and the next Ö grieving for the deprivations of my childhood. Tapping my fingers or foot in time to music was just not allowed. Something deep within me longed to be able to move to music like Jennifer Beals.

Now Generation Z has come and gone. Beginning in 2010, our new era is as yet unnamed. But I am no longer left out. I can manipulate my iPhone 4 with the best of them Ö texting many times a day. Just to make sure Iím keeping up, Iíve started a blog.

Next up Ö Twitter.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst02/10/11
Although the social deprivation I knew in the sect I grew up in was not as severe as yours, I can relate to your experience. Thank you for sharing. Good writing!
Barbara Lynn Culler02/12/11
Wow, what a story! Amazing what man can twist in the name of religion. I grew up in the Baptist Church and we had a few, such as no guitars in the service-only piano and organ.

Thanks for sharing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/12/11
I felt such a sadness when I read this. You did a great job pulling me into your story. Well-done!
Connie Dixon02/16/11
This was a nicely written story of another sad account of a sheltered past...and religion gone awry. Stories like this make it obvious why some people want nothing to do with Christianity. So glad you have been rescued.
Jan Ackerson 09/26/11
Joy, I'm going to feature this in the Front Page Showcase for the week of October 3. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!