“Thankful” is a word we’ll hear a lot today. I’m thankful for all the traditional reasons, but I am more thankful for being born a baby-boomer.
I’m thankful I had an appreciation of our space program and the first steps ever walked on the moon. For airlines with a meal served in coach, the blanket and pillow, the metal wing pins given to kids, and the pilot when he walked through the cabin and said hi to us all. For the narration of what landmarks we flew over, and everyone’s interest in them because we weren’t plugged into anything but the experience. So thankful my daughters could wait for me at the gate with flowers when I got off the plane after being at an RWA conference.
For all the real people who picked up when I called customer service. For Blue Chip stamps and the family decision on what to cash them in for—a new set of TV trays or bonnet hair dryer for my sister and I, for full service gas stations that not only pumped your gas, but checked under the hood and washed your windshield. Thankful that we knew eating out was a big time treat that we appreciated.
I’m thankful for blue shimmer eye-shadow. Davey Jones and Pee-Chee folders. Here Comes the Bride and Bobby Sherman. For teachers who could give you a whack if you deserved it. For never hearing the f-word in the school hallway. Grateful that I never wore my pajama bottoms in public and thought it was okay. Disco, and rock and roll! For sports stadiums not being named after corporations. Hot lunches that were a splurge for my parents and thinking about which day of the week I would choose. Friday fish-sticks and green beans. For appreciating the cucumber sandwich my mom packed for me and the excitement of picking out a new lunch pail at the beginning of the school year. For the vending machine in my high school that only offered apples and no brand-name drinks or snacks. Mandatory P.E. with snap button white blouses and school gym shorts, showers required afterward.
Corner mailboxes that my mother said, “Run down and drop this letter in the mailbox for me.” Wearing rubber rain boots just like everyone else, playground equipment without safety mats, wearing dresses to elementary school, for Campfire Girls. For my friend’s mothers and fathers who I always called Mr. or Mrs.
For summer vacation and the seasonal playing of Alice Cooper’s “Schools out for Summer,” on all the AM stations. For the beach bus that picked up us junior high kids in the Ralph’s parking lot and took us to Santa Monica beach for the day. We didn’t have cellphones and our parents trusted us to follow the bus driver’s rules, and we knew we must—or else.
Playing arcade games with Danny Bonaduce in Reseda. Centipede and Pac Man, Pong on my friend’s television. Seeing Maureen McCormick shopping in the Northridge Mall. My job at Warehouse Records and the thrill of stocking cassettes for the first time next to 8-tracks. Being able to make out the lyrics in songs. For the “5, 7 and 9 Shop”—when those sizes were actually proportionate. Halter tops and hot pants. Vinyl go-go boots. Sbicca wedge shoes, Wallabees, saddle shoes in elementary school. Dittos and flares.
For no answering machines, no call waiting, no caller ID. For my corded blue princess phone. For transistor radios and KHJ Charlie Tuna. For living the moment and putting the memory in your head and not taking pictures of every random and ridiculous event and sending them to Snapchat or Twitter. For never contemplating writing profanity anywhere, especially not for my friends and family to read. So thankful for experiencing the anticipation of having a roll of film developed. Beyond grateful to have so many print photos rather than digital.
I’m thankful for mandatory high school home economics that taught me to cook and sew, for playground recess twice a day. For eating lunch outdoors under pavilions. For my mom never driving me to school because walking the mile-plus was “good exercise.” Thankful that my dad had a steady job, and my mom not having to work because she was so frugal budgeting my dad’s salary. Fond memories of warm cookies and a glass of milk when I got home.
For the gold 1974 Plymouth Duster my dad gave me when I got my driver’s license. I am grateful I was given a car for free. Thankful for having to work for everything else I needed once I turned eighteen. Disappointed with myself for not completing college when that was offered by my parents at no cost. Big mistake. But thankful I have the talent to write a book and that requires no degree. For brick and mortar bookstores, so many to choose from way back when, and with booksellers who knew who you were.
I’m so very thankful I was born in 1958.
Every generation has a story. What’s yours? What are you thankful about?
Stef Ann Holm was born in Southern California near Hollywood. With the fantasy worlds of Disneyland and Universal Studios at her doorstep, her imagination was stimulated at an early age. She attended Chatsworth High where Kevin Spacey, Mare Winningham and Val Kilmer entertained on the school’s stage. As a semester elective, Stef Ann enrolled in drama and played a Fandango hostess in the chorus of Sweet Charity. It was the beginning and the end of her acting and singing career. She got a “C” in Drama and an “A” in Creative Writing.