Boomers lived through the stories they write.

We survived the Cuban Missile Crisis when we thought doomsday was only minutes away.
We survived the Cuban Missile Crisis when we thought doomsday was only minutes away.

I’M A BOOMER. I make no apologies. I’m kind of proud of the fact. It’s good to know that I am a child of the Greatest Generation.

Being a boomer does have its drawbacks, however, but those mostly have to do with age. I have already seen a great deal of my life pass me by. I can’t go back. We boomers don’t have any do-overs. This hasn’t been a dress rehearsal.

It’s go for broke.

Meet life on a dead run.

And if life doesn’t kill us, it leaves us stronger and with a lot more to write about.

That’s why I believe boomers should be the best writers in the marketplace. We’ve had practice. We’ve already written more words than most people will ever read.

And we have a wealth of experiences to steal from.

There are no characters, no plots, no storylines that we haven’t already lived through. We don’t have to research the past forty years in an encyclopedia, if anyone happens to remember what one is, or Google it on Google.

We were there when it happened: Or our parents told us first hand about what happened, how it happened, why it happened, and whose fault it was.

The greatest stories of all were new and fresh. And we soaked them up and tucked them away in our subconscious. We can pull those stories out anytime we want them or need them.

Pearl Harbor in flames.

World War II.

A flag over Iowa Jima.

An atom bomb over Hiroshima.

And Nagasaki.

Terror from the skies.

The Korean War.

The Cold War.

We feared missiles from Russia.

The Missile Crisis was closer in Cuba.

We were minutes to doomsday.

The clock stopped.

And eventually the Berlin Wall came down.

Men walked on the moon.

Twice.

We held our breath and prayed when Apollo 13 was stranded.

We cried when The Challenger exploded.

But space was our frontier.

Science fiction had moved from the comic pages to the front pages.

A President was assassinated

So was his brother while trying to become President.

The world’s greatest Civil Rights Leader was gunned down.

The suspicions began.

The conspiracy theories ran rampant and still do.

Color lines were crossed.

Color barriers were broken.

Segregation became a thing of the past.

Prejudices died hard and some never died at all.

A War in Vietnam drove us apart.

Beatniks, hippies, and flower children.

Time and attitudes changed us and changed us forever.

Solders celebrated.

Soldiers honored.

Soldiers ridiculed and cursed.

And all were fighting for us and our country. Sometimes we just didn’t know why.

A President resigned in disgrace.

A Vice President was indicted.

A President disgraced the Oval Office with an intern.

An African American was elected President, and the world cheered.

We were attacked.

The World Trade Center Towers came down.

Terror from the skies again.

We went to war again.

As long as I can remember, we have always been going to war.

When the soldiers fought it, we won.

When the politicians fought it, we lost.

The politicians have been doing far too much fighting. I can remember when they got along and got things done.

We each have our own memories. We each have our own stories.

Boomers just have more of them.

Boomers lived them.

Boomer can write the stories of their lives.

And if boomers don’t write the novels, so many of life’s important stories will never be told.

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of Conspiracy of Lies, a novel about the race to make the atom bomb. He lived through World War II, and his father worked in a bomb plant.

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  • Don Newbury

    Untold stories, Caleb, are left behind by most, and many should have been prioritized for early telling. A memory imprint of the way things were in early 1940s had to do with battery-powered radio. As often as not, the battery was down, so our only connection with outside world was a crystal radio, which harnessed the signal from a lone station, and sometimes all signals remained unharnessed as we poked the needle against the crystal with nary a sound produced.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Those kinds of memories underscore the suspense in which we lived during the war years. We wanted the radio to work and feared what the man on the microphone would tell us. I didn’t really know what was going on, but I sat there mesmerized by the voice and the sounds of sirens in the distance.

  • jack43

    You’re not a “Boomer” if you can remember any part of WWII including the bombing of Pearl Harbor. You may be a “Boomer” if you remember something of Korea. I don’t have any conscious memory of WWII though I was born in 1943. I was just beyond my second birthday when it ended. My parents weren’t a member of the Greatest Generation. They were teenagers when members of that generation were born. Thus, I am a member of an unnamed generation and I kind of like it that way. I can challenge everyone with my stories without fear of offending many…

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Jack, I do remember World War II. My father worked in a bomb plant, and we would go down twice a week to watch propaganda films. I was only about four at the time, but can still picture those images from Germany. I sat with him at night listening to Edward R. Murrow and boys broadcasting from London.

      • jack43

        Then you’re not a boomer. Like me you belong to that nameless generation who preceded the Boomers who weren’t born until the GIs returned home victorious.

        • Caleb Pirtle

          I guess I am like you, Jack, destined to roam the world as a member of the generation too old to have a name.

  • Darlene Jones

    And write those stories we shall. But unlike previous generations, we’re moving too fast and we’re too busy to boomers. We’re zoomers!

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Let me hitch a ride, Darlene, and we’ll zoom.

      • Darlene Jones

        You bet!

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