It doesn’t bother me that I’m turning 73 today. I do miss my husband more on this date, because his birthday was also on February 2nd. His absence is always with me, but that is simply the way our life went.
Shortly before she died, my mother told me I was an accident; that didn’t bother me either as I was already a grandmother by then and could easily understand that no couple in their right minds would want to have a third child during WWII. In the United States, that was a time of food and clothing rationing and husbands off to war or working night shifts in war-oriented factories in additional to their regular jobs.
But what does bother me is that my generation is called The Silent Generation. This bothers me a lot. The generation before mine is called The Greatest Generation. This generation was born during the Great Depression, and then went on to fight with honor in World War II. They are known to have developed resilience, accountability, and a sense of duty. I don’t want to take that away from them. But I also don’t want my generation to be known as The Silent Generation.
I am not a well known person, but many of the “Silent Generation” are; consider, for example, Muhammad Ali-Haj, Martin Luther King, Jr., Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Rod Stewart, Bernie Sanders, all of the Beatles (may most of them rest in peace), Mick Jagger, Tenzin Gyatso (that’s the current Dalai Lama), James Dean, Isabel Peron, Al Pacino, B.B. King, Buddy Holly, Margaret Thatcher, Willy Nelson, Gloria Steinem, Luciano Pavarotti, Sean Connery, Tina Turner, Malcolm X and Saddam Hussein. They are all fellow members of the Silent Generation. Does that label fit them? Even the Dalai Lama, who spends hours every day in meditation, is not particularly silent!
I am not clear about who labels our generations, although I do know that the name Lost Generation, those who reached adulthood right after WWI, had something to do with Ernest Hemingway. And their label makes them all sound deep and tragically romantic. The Greatest Generation, those that we have already established as being noble and selfless, followed them.
My generation is labeled the Silent Generation because it is said that we focused on careers rather than activism, and that we were not as ambitious as the previous generation. Truth be told, it is also said that my generation generally enjoyed higher employment rates and retirement plans, partly because it is a smaller generation than previous ones. That’s because those interestingly named generations weren’t producing so many babies. The Silent Generation was growing up during McCarthyism, a phase the United States suffered during the Cold War when a certain Senator McCarthy accused many Americans of treason. He destroyed the lives of people in academic fields, the film industry, homosexuals, fellow politicians, and just about every other group that he did not identify with. He did all this in the name of eliminating Communism subversion. Supposedly, this period influenced those of us who were coming of age during that time and encouraged us to keep quiet, not to voice opinions, and not to speak out about beliefs. And this silence that we are said to have adopted caused us to become overly cautious, unimaginative, and unadventurous. That’s how “they” see it.
That’s not how I see it. And it is probably not how all those people I listed above would see it. The Silent Generation is proudly responsible for the Beat Generation, a literary movement that evolved into the Hippie Movement and showed the world that not all of us have to be mainstream in order to be happy or successful. We were also the generation that popularized rock & roll, encouraged the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ignited the women’s liberation movement, which had kind of been at a standstill since we gained the right to vote in 1920. Our generation founded the Peace Corps and a lot of us joined it and served. Members of our generation also founded Doctors without Borders and served. And that is just to name a few of our accomplishments; go back to those names above to remember more.
This generation labeling does not only apply in the North America. Nowadays, it is also applied in South America, Western Europe and Australia. So today, wherever you are, if you are a member of what others called the Silent Generation (which is usually considered to refer to those born from 1928 to the end of 1945) I hope that your birthday will be especially noisy and happy this year. Cheers!
Fui aluna da Betsy há muitos anos atrás em uma escola de idiomas em BH e quando descobri que ela continuava dando aulas, entrei em contato e já agendei meu horário semanal. Até retornar a ser aluna da Betsy, não tinha muita motivação para ir a aulas de inglês, porém, atualmente, digo que estou indo para a minha terapia em inglês. A Betsy é uma pessoa divertidíssima, muito culta e interessada. Sua curiosidade me impressiona. As aulas com ela fluem, abordamos os mais variados assuntos e de uma maneira leve consigo aprimorar meus conhecimentos em inglês e aprender novos vocabulários. Pode acompanhar suas aulas e publicações online vai ser sensacional!
I really don’t know how long Betsy has been my teacher. I do know she is the best teacher I have ever had. She can join daily happenings with an admirable sense of humor that makes her classes quite unique. She is intelligent, smart, very confident and besides everything she became a close friend of us. It’s a privilege being her student.
Betsy is the best english teacher I’ve ever had! Her classes are always an amazing experience. She guides our conversation with different and interesting topics each day, what allows us not only to improve the vocabulary but also learn/ discuss about other cultures and subjects. I know I’m going to be totally addicted to this blog!
É um prazer falar das aulas da Betsy. São empolgantes, temas variados e atuais, envolventes, bem preparados e com muito amor, com certeza. Acredito que seu blog será “helpful ” para todos aqueles que têm interesse em aprender a língua inglesa ou simplesmente intensificar seu conhecimento. Um abraço carinhoso e sucesso!