Local boomers agree on one thing; they’re all very different
Four regional Spokesman-Review readers, who will all turn 65 in 2011, agreed recently to ponder their lives – past, present and future. They provide four “snapshots” of life on the threshold of 65.
One of the writers, Richard “Dick” Warwick, however, expressed this caveat:
“We of the boomer generation are as widely divergent in our politics, economic situations, religious beliefs, as any other generation, perhaps more so,” he said.
“There are really no pat answers. No one-size-fits-all generalizations.”
Edward “Eddie” Clark
• Born: Sept. 19, 1946
• Growing up: My first home was in Hillyard, then we moved all over town. I attended Franklin, Holmes and Wilson elementary schools, Sacajawea (first year it was open as a ninth-grader) then to Lewis and Clark, graduating in 1964. I now live on Spokane’s South Hill.
• Vivid memories, news: The “day the music died” – the deaths of Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson (Big Bopper) and Ritchie Valens. I was a Spokesman-Review paperboy on Feb. 4, 1959, and saw the article at 4 a.m. as I delivered the paper to my route.
Then, the John Kennedy assassination. I was a senior at LC, and we were notified in class. I saved all the newspapers for the next several days and still have them.
Then, Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
• Vivid memories, personal: Becoming a father to a boy, Bailey, in 1971 and a girl, Shelby, in 1975. Then the best gift of all: four grandchildren. Becoming a grandpa was never on my list of goals but it is the best thing I do.
• Expectations: I always had high hopes, and I have achieved most of the dreams I had as a kid. Got the chance to be in broadcast media, to work in a business where I can use my creativity, to travel the world, to become a respected member of the community. In my 40-plus-year advertising career, I got to write a lot of ad jingles and create lasting ad themes.
• Regrets: That I didn’t see Elvis, the Beatles or Frank Sinatra live in concert.
• Aging boomers: We may be getting older, but we are still cool. We invented cool, always tried to be cool, and we’re taking our coolness into our older years. We’re the Pepsi Generation – “For those who think young.”
At least we can still think young.
Martha Mason Chadwick
• Born: June 22, 1946
• Growing up: I grew up in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C. It was a great place in the ’50s and ’60s. We always visited the Smithsonian on rainy Sunday afternoons. My husband, Dan, and I have lived in Spokane since 1977.
I was shocked when going off to college to find out that divorce was a real thing. I knew no one who had actually been divorced before then.
I went to school with the same kids from kindergarten to graduation. We were taught to be productive and generous, kind and considerate. Most of all, we were taught to be respectful of others.
• Vivid memories, news: The day JFK was shot. I was a high school senior. The announcement was made over the PA system. As we moved through the hallways, the whole school was silent except for weeping. The evening “sock hop” was canceled.
The second was the landing on the moon in 1969. We were all glued to the TV. Was it really true or all made up?
• Vivid memories, personal: Standing at the altar and pledging myself to my husband (now 40 years ago), and the births of my two daughters. Peering down at a tiny human being is indescribable.
• Expectations: I don’t ever remember thinking exactly what I expected my life to be other than becoming independent, self-sufficient, to love and be loved. This is a value that was given to me by my parents. I became a medical technologist and fulfilled that goal.
I have now raised my family and am very proud of the lives that my girls and their families have built. My five grandchildren give me joy and keep me young. All told, my life is not better or worse than expected. It’s just right.
• Regrets: In the big picture, none of the regrets really matter. Life is full of decisions that lead us onto a path. It is our job to make decisions with thoughtfulness and judgment and then go on with conviction.
• Aging boomers: We have been more physically active and healthier than our parents’ generation, making us more productive as we grow older. Women have made great strides, and I do think our mothers were instrumental in making us independent and strong. They worked hard surrounding World War II, proving themselves very capable and very strong.
Boomers will have a hard time letting go of our youthful ways. But we will have a lot to say about how we live the end of our lives – with courage and grace.
Richard “Dick” Warwick
• Born: March 15, 1946
• Growing up: I lived all my life on a farm near Oakesdale, Wash. Still do.
• Vivid memory, news: Watching the first Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, tearing through the stars above the farm.
• Vivid memories, personal: Getting married, birth of my son, death of a sister and my parents.
• Expectations: I am still imagining how my life might turn out. I have not yet achieved the goal I envisioned when I was 8, which was to write books.
But I’ve had a lot of other experiences I could not have imagined, such as a trip to Ireland with my father, his girlfriend, my wife and my sister, when my father was 88.
And more experiences, I hope, to come.
• Regrets? My failure to have better-defined and realistic goals.
• Aging boomers: We are fortunate to be more aware of physical and mental fitness. And we have always defined ourselves as youthful and forward-looking.
That, together with medical advances and our somewhat overblown sense of entitlement, should keep us healthy and active longer than previous generations. There should be opportunities available in bicycle designs suited to nonagenarians, for example.
Loni Hubenthal Daly
• Born: Dec. 16, 1946
• Growing up: I was born and raised in Spokane, as were my parents and grandparents. My father, myself and my daughter all attended Lewis and Clark High School.
I married a local man, also born and raised here, we’ve worked and lived here our entire lives. This is home and it is good. I now live in the Suncrest area of Nine Mile Falls.
• Vivid memory, news: The assassination of John F. Kennedy
• Vivid memories, personal: The overwhelming love of my children when they were born. A daughter was later diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, and one of our two sons passed away from cancer at 13 months. My children still live in Spokane.
• Expectations: My life turned out better than I imagined, thanks to a good marriage.
• Regrets: Not getting a higher education and not having the courage to travel and learn more about the world.
• Aging boomers: We are educated, more involved, active, up to date on technology, healthier, happier and don’t consider aging a negative.