About Us Seniors
are the last, as a group, to have entered our late teens
with virginity intact ... and we are the last link to a
remarkable, almost mythic time.
I picked up a book at the library the other day, entitled YOU HAD
TO BE THERE, written by Robert Collins and published by McClelland
I found it great reading since it tells the stories of people coping
with the problems most families had to face during the hard and
lean times of the Depression, that period between 1929 and 1937,
after which there was a slow but gradual improvement in their quality
of life. The author also takes you through the war years and how
things were on the home front, and then the return of the veterans
at wars end and the problems that cropped up with regards
to marriage, the workplace, education, the status of women, etc.
And then the so-called baby-boomers were born and a
different set of problems arose when they started growing up. But
Ill not get into that here.
The following excerpt spells out more or less what we seniors are
all about and how manners, morals and things in general have changed
since those distant and in so many ways more enjoyable
There are 3.6 million of us over age sixty-five, about 12
per cent of the Canadian population. We are the last link to a remarkable,
almost mythic time. We are the survivors of the Great Depression
and World War Two, architects of postwar Canada, parents of the
celebrated boomers. We have lived through monumental change, unparalleled
in any previous generation: from horse-and-buggy, Model-T Ford,
and crank-handle telephone, to moon walks, space shuttles, and the
Internet. We are better educated, more affluent, more vigorous,
and longer-lived than any generation before us. We are more widely
traveled and hungrier for study and self-improvement well into old
Yet, in all this we have clung to a certain innocence that no generation
is likely to have again. Although many of us are equipped to the
teeth with the tools and toys of contemporary society (computers,
VCRs, fax machines, cellular phones) such wonders still mildly amaze
We are still old-fashioned in our outlooks. We are the
last enthusiastic patriots; the last to go willingly (albeit fatalistically)
to war for king (or queen) and country. We rarely flagellate ourselves
over the Canadian identity; we think we know what it
is. We are the last to accept authority with respect: authority
of parents, teachers, police, governments, military officers. We
are the last generation to have reached adulthood without television,
credit cards, computers, push-button phones, or the Pill.
We are the last, as a group, to have entered our late teens with
virginity intact. We are the last to believe widely in the sanctity
of marriage, in the invulnerability of family, in mannerly children
and courteous adults. We place high value on hard work, loyalty,
You can easily spot us, even if the grey hair and wrinkles arent
a dead giveaway. We dress-up, meaning we are usually overdressed
by contemporary standards for most occasions. At parties, church,
or the theatre, our men tend to wear suits
or jackets and ties; our women favor dresses more often than pants.
Our men will hold doors open for women, and our women still say
We like music with lyrics we can understand. We hardly ever right-size,
download or prioritize anything. We cringe
when young people exclaim, That really resonates for me.
Most of us prefer to send letters on paper, rather than e-mail.
We gaze bemused at the young lining up with bovine patience to get
into the movies or bars; we have detested line-ups since the war.
We wonder how girls with rings in their lips and studs in their
tongues can eat without slobbering. We dont understand how
guys can blow their noses with rings in them. We wonder why pre-teens
hands never extend from the sleeves of their jackets. Do they have
very long sleeves or very short arms?
In twenty years, give or take a few, we will all be gone. The world,
for better or worse will never see our like again. Generations are
forever fading and turning to dust. Will our passing matter one
iota to Canada? How and for what might we be remembered?
Whether youre one of the sixty-five and over generation, a
teenager or a baby-boomer,If you want a good book to
take to bed with you or to read in your easy-chair, Im sure
youll find this book one of the more interesting ones youve
read of late.
First you forget names, then you forget faces,
then you forget to pull your zipper up,
then you forget to pull your zipper down.