Friday, October 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Youngest baby boomers turning 50

baby boomers 1

Allen Wheeler stands in front of Shellworth Chevrolet in Vacaville, Wednesday. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page D1 | July 06, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — The peace and prosperity that Americans enjoyed after the end of World War II resulted in 76 million babies born between the years of 1946 and 1964 as many settled down and raised families. The postwar offspring became known fittingly as the baby boomer generation.

The youngest of the baby boomers, born in or close to the cutoff year, are turning the milestone age of 50. Famous cutoff-year boomers include First Lady Michelle Obama, actress Sandra Bullock and author Dan Brown.

Generational studies are not an exact science and gray areas abound. Retired Solano Community College sociology professor and Suisun City resident Glen Gaviglio listed some general cultural touchstones of most baby boomers.

“There’s the civil rights act in ’54, the JFK assassination in ’63, the voting rights act in ’65, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy in ’68 among others,” Gaviglio said. “Vietnam and Watergate were watershed events in terms of the erosion of trust Americans have in politicians. Also, one of the major things that happened in the ’60s was the cultural effect of the availability of birth control.”

While many baby boomers relate to the events listed and more, such as Woodstock, the rise and demise of The Beatles and the Kent State shootings, for those born in the tail end of the generation, they are often at best vague memories.

She doesn’t feel like a boomer

Romy Lynn Gongora of Vacaville had been staring at July 5 on her calendar with a certain amount of trepidation ever since New Year’s Day. Saturday was her 50th birthday.

“I held on to 49 with all my strength. When I was a kid, I thought that 50 was old but, of course, I don’t feel that way now,” Gongora said. “My dad used to say, ‘you are only as old as you feel,’ and I am young at heart. I know they say 50 is the new 40, but I really don’t want to get that AARP card in the mail.”

Gongora not only doesn’t feel connected to many of the typical baby boomer landmarks, she was oblivious that she was even considered a part of that generation.

“I never thought I was one. Many of the things they are associated with I don’t remember except for what I heard from my parents and for some of them I wasn’t even born yet,” Gongora said. “I vaguely remember the men landing on the moon and I would have been more excited about it, but I was only 5.”

The generation after the baby boomers, Generation X, features the rise of MTV, the birth of hip-hop and has an unofficial chronicler, late filmmaker John Hughes, who wrote and directed iconic GenX movies such as “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.”

“Those are more of the memories I can relate to. I remember being so excited about MTV. I think we are kind of caught in the middle between the boomers and Generation X,” Gongora said.

Starting to think about retirement

Solano County social worker Claire Kelley, like her Armijo High School classmate Gongora, doesn’t relate as much to her designated generation.

“As a kid, I remember seeing psychedelic and paisley clothes, but the Generation X things are much more prominent to me,” Kelley said. “One thing that stands out in my mind was when the Iranian Revolution happened and they held Americans hostage. I remember at school people picking on Iranian students and once someone threw a shoe at one.”

Other generational markers Kelley pointed out were the death of Elvis Presley in 1977, the murder of John Lennon in 1980 and the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986.

Kelley celebrated her 50th birthday in April and, while she still feels like the spry Armijo cheerleader she was 32 years ago, biology is starting to betray her youthful exuberance, she said.

“I still feel like an 18-year-old, but with more of a sense of who I am. I don’t feel 50, but my gray hair is coming in fast and furious,” Kelley said. “At this point in my life, I am starting to think more about retirement.”

He thought hippies were the messiah

Shellworth Chevrolet’s Allen Wheeler was born three days before the assassination of John F. Kennedy so, obviously, that day so seared in the minds of many earlier baby boomers has no connection with him. Wheeler does have a connection with two other baby boomer markers, however: Vietnam and the hippie movement.

“In 1969, my dad was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne in Vietnam and meanwhile my family lived in hippie central in Berkeley,” Wheeler said. “I remember thinking Jesus was everywhere because all the hippies looked like him.”

Wheeler identifies with early 1980s culture and enjoyed music by Depeche Mode and Social Distortion. He will still immediately sit down and watch a movie that has John Hughes’ iconic actress Molly Ringwald in it whenever they are on TV.

Identifying tendencies of people in different generations has practical uses in Wheeler’s chosen profession.

“If you say the wrong thing to members of the new generation, Generation Y, they are more likely to completely shut you out, go back to shopping online and they will not come back. My father’s generation would stay with one car dealer forever,” Wheeler said.

Generation straddler

NorthBay Medical Center EMT/Trauma Tech Gail King turned 50 in April and does have some memories of the Vietnam War, because her father was there.

“We were stationed in the Philippines and, when my dad had to go to Vietnam, I remember the fear I had,” King said. “I would fantasize about him coming through my classroom door at school. I couldn’t even concentrate on my school work. I drove my mom crazy asking her every day, how many days it was till daddy gets home.”

King relates to other baby boomer-era events as well, such as the televised Watergate hearings. While the event that eventually led to President Nixon’s resignation sticks in the minds of many baby boomers, King’s recollections were not about political drama.

“I was in the third grade and our ritual was to come home and watch ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and ‘Gunsmoke.’ We couldn’t, though, because stupid Watergate was on every day,” King said.

King describes herself as fun-loving and feisty and despite her diminutive stature she is determined not to be slowed by Father Time.

“People at work tell me I don’t act my age and I always say, ‘I hope not.’ I might be 50 and little at 5 feet 1 inch, but I’m never going to be a little old lady,” King said.

Reach 50-year-old Fairfield writer Tony Wade at toekneeweighed@gmail.com.

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Real estate agent pens, produces movie

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
Dad finds passion creating set pieces for son’s shows

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Neighborhood candy hunts of the past

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Vintage Fair on tap at McBride Senior Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Candy from sky highlights North Texas Street event

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

California eyes $500 billion in water spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Judge approves Stockton’s bankruptcy plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Marine wants new charges in Iraq war crime tossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Roseville officer accused of criminal threats

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Man charged with murder in SWAT officer shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Teen arrested in threat at Sacramento school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Police make arrest in slaying of Oakland mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Retrial in assault case over stray cat feeding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Missing California hunter roasted bugs, lizards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Pilot identified in California jet crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Poll: Democrats leading in all statewide races

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Lawsuit: Surgical gowns let diseases pass through

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fearing Ebola? Doctors say get a flu shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Questions, answers about California’s Ebola policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Maine in standoff with nurse over Ebola safeguards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Relatives suspected poisoning in family’s deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pair convicted in secret $1.6 M Navy silencer deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Guard troops sent to site of Hawaii lava flow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Terminally ill woman may postpone taking her life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Man’s own dog helps police bust him on drug charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Fearing uprising, Iraq militants hunt ex-police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Vatican admits Sistine Chapel frescoes ‘whitened’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Israel closes Jerusalem holy site after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Death penalty sought for trooper ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Brown’s moderate stance resonates with voters

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
 
Man’s prosecution unwarranted

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

Are we safe now?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My husband sends texts filled with ‘dirty talk’ to an old flame

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Jorge Garcia makes the most of ‘Hawaii Five-O’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Week in preview Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Monica Potter wants to save her show ‘Parenthood’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Jake Gyllenhaal, tightly coiled and creepy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Exhibit on Paul Simon’s life to debut at Rock Hall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
PBS touts 2013-14 ratings growth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reality TV show ‘Big Brother’ to debut in China

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘The View’ now under ABC News as further revamping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Sleep’ a decidedly average psych thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Oct. 31, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

Winter’s wife has blues listening to his new album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
Benicia fends off Vanden, 35-21

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
New dynasty: Giants capture 3rd title in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Warriors exercise options on Barnes, Ezeli

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Mack making impact for Raiders even without sacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Bye week helps 49ers Vernon Davis’ recovery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sonoma Raceway to host IndyCar Series finale in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Prep football capsules: Week 9

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Not so sweet: Chocolate prices are set to rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he’s gay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment | Gallery

FTC accuses Gerber of false claim on baby formula

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Robert Louis Wright

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Oscar Lee Vezeau

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9