Last time we asked readers to consider the pivotal, most formative moments in their lives. The comments were a rollercoaster, from the fun…
I came of age in San Francisco in the Sixties. In terms of shaping my personal development, it doesn’t get any more epochal than that!
To the personally devastating…
Hurricane Katrina. My home, job and lifestyle gone in a flash.
Hope you are doing better now, Diane.
Civil rights was top of mind as a pivotal event, for the nation and for some readers.
… it was the Civil Rights movement and the naked brutality of the police and the hatred directed at “negroes” that transformed (me) into becoming a Liberal.
…One of the pivotal moments for me was in the 1960s when students at Stanford University, where I was a student myself, went to the South to register black voters…
For others, the pivotal event was the Holocaust, in a very personal – and powerful – way. .
For me it was World War II and The Holocaust. My Jewish parents escaped from Austria (barely) in time, but most of their friends and relatives did not…
Reader Susan I. responded to Ron’s comment with another story of an escape from the Nazis.
For one reader, the pivotal event was the space race, a thread that runs through his entire lifespan…and to his grandchildren!
Space race. Influenced my hobbies and room decor (along with baseball) as a teen, choice of college major (engineering), and career paths (US Air Force and private industry / aerospace)….
Thank you for your service, Eric.
There are others pivotal events in the comments — and we’re still waiting for yours! We’ll keep the comments open for a while so please feel free to add your own.
In case you missed it, the original Open Thread is below.
Last year we ran an Open Thread called “Don’t Call me ‘Senior Citizen.'” It listed the various names for people over 60….senior citizen, oldster, elder and others.
One commenter noted that other age cohorts are finely categorized into time periods of about 20 years each. “Millennial” “Gen X” or “Gen Z’ – but once a person hits 60, they’re pretty much stuck in the ‘senior” category from 60 on.
Of course, one could make the point that ‘boomer” is a category, although it seems to have a pejorative tang to it. Some have called it ‘the end of friendly intergenerational conversation.”
I prefer to consider that age cohorts are shaped by epochal events. Apparently Billy Joel thought so too.
These events are often but not exclusively experienced during the early years. For me, as it was for many, it was Kennedy’s assassination and the other assassinations that followed, like Martin Luther King, Jr., plus the moon landing, Vietnam (sweating out the draft lottery and praying my brothers and cousins didn’t ‘win”), the aftermath of Stonewall, disco, and AIDS, to name a few. The crime wave in NYC in the 70’s and 80’s gave me personal security habits I still use today. Of course, 9/11.
Privacy was a given, there was no internet, and we hid in basements and under our desks in case of nuclear attack.
But that’s me. How about you? What were the epochal events in the country and the world that shaped you? Let us know in the comments!
Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send Open Thread suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.