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There are six generations in our society represented by those from 95 to 6 years old: Greatest, Silent, Boomers, X, Millennials, and Z

 

A 26 year old student member of the silent generation studying in a garret in 1961. Note doilies, brick stacked bookshelf,and neutral suede shoes.

If you are reading this, it is likely you are part of what has been called the Silent Generation. You were born between 1925 and 1945 and are now between age 74 and 94. Your parents were children during the post-World War I era. They grew up during the roaring twenties, a time of prosperity and optimism. They saw the stock market crash of 1929 which wiped out the fortunes of many of the wealthiest. After that, everyone in our country met with the hardships of the great depression, a decade that spared no one. You were in school at that time or just being born. The stress of the depression likely had little effect on you, but it had a profound effect on your parents who struggled to provide for you.

Except for the oldest of your generation you were too young for service in World War II, but many of you served during the Korean Conflict. A few of those born later may have served in Vietnam.

Characteristics of the Silent Generation include:

• Raised in a time of economic uncertainty
• Youth and adolescence affected by WWII
• Strong work ethic
• Discipline, values, appreciation for simplicities of life
• Determination and will power
• Belief in policies of social reform
• Places value on the significance of economic resources
• Working silently to achieve goals and sustain living condition
• Traditionalists avoiding waste and obtrusive luxurious expenditure.
(Revised from Alexis Abramson PhD July 3, 2018)

In my own life, WWII had a profound effect. Those in our immediate family were either too old or too young to be in the service and involved in the fighting. We were all aware of the blue, silver and gold stars in our neighbor’s windows. Seeing them told a lot about the households and our debt to them. We honored those warriors and their families. When our neighbor married a young soldier before he was shipped out, my dad gave them our car to use for their short honeymoon. We did what we could for the men and women who served.

I saved every scrap of newspaper for collection and cleaned, removed the labels and flattened tin cans for recycling. My mother worked as an inspector at Briggs Body making wing tip fuel tanks for fighter aircraft. My dad frequently worked seven days a week and ten hours a day as a tool and die maker. He was an essential part of the war industry. We lived in Detroit, the Arsenal of Democracy.

We had no car between 1942 and 1948. During the war years it was due to rationing and after that we were used to it. We respected the president and had faith in our government to do the right thing. We obeyed the air raid wardens during occasional black outs and learned to get along with a little less knowing we were better off than anybody else in the world.

Whatever we have accomplished in our own lives has been affected by the way our parents raised us. Their generation has been called the Greatest. It was later given the name G.I. generation. I prefer the Greatest. It was the challenges our parents’ generation faced and conquered that paved the way for us.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.

 

By Savvy Senior

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7 thoughts on “The Silent Generation

  1. Tom Brokaw wrote a book, “The Greatest Generation.” Some of us are members of the Greatest Generation. He wrote that he went to Normandy to prepare a documentary on the fortieth anniversary of the invasion of D-Day. He had a life-changing experience talking to the veterans there that day, veterans who were part of the invasion that marked the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. His book is filled with stores of ordinary people who served in that war.

  2. Gene,: This was a pretty good definition of my “silent generation” childhood. My dad was exempted from the WW 2 draft because of extremely flat feet and because he was a school teacher in a very small town of 1100 Ohio citizens. It bothered him the rest of his life. We lived across the street from the school. Because of rationing, he sold our 1941 Chevrolet for more than he paid for it. We did not get another until 1949. He took me out of the 4th grade the day he and mom went to pick it up.

    When my mother passed in 2000, she had 20 thirty-nine gallon bags full of paper and plastic bags “just in case”. (Think the 1930’s)

    Good info.
    Thanks Gene, from Bruce

  3. Gene,: This was a pretty good definition of my “silent generation” childhood. My dad was exempted from the WW 2 draft because of extremely flat feet and because he was a school teacher in a very small town of 1100 Ohio citizens. It bothered him the rest of his life. We lived across the street from the school. Because of rationing, he sold our 1941 Chevrolet for more than he paid for it. We did not get another until 1949. He took me out of the 4th grade the day he and mom went to pick it up.

    When my mother passed in 2000, she had 20 thirty-nine gallon bags full of paper and plastic bags “just in case”. (Think the 1930’s)

    Good info.
    Thanks Gene, from Bruce

  4. My father was a 1921 Purdue engineer who started working in Speedway at this little company that Jim Allison had started There were 9 or 10 employees. But Dad had a job.. The war loomed in Europe, and did Allison ever change! Dad refused to be promoted to managerial positions and higher salary, much to Mother’s unhappiness, because he liked working the floor. He worked with those who drew things at their big desks and those on the floor who made the things they drew.. The people he most admired those tool and die makers Gene mentioned.

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