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Posts tagged ‘baby boomer’

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

May 26, 2016

Susan Marg

A recent article from The Times, a British daily newspaper, deplores the state of the English garden. It seems that younger generations have never learned the joy of weeding and planting. Their gardens, if a patio or barbeque pit hasn’t replaced them, are neglected. A spokesperson for the Royal Horticultural Society is quite concerned about the situation, as well she should be.

Photo in public domain.

Photo in public domain.

English gardens have a long and illustrious tradition. Landscape gardens, designed to represent an idyllic pastoral environment, date back to the early eighteenth century. They incorporate rolling hills, green grass, possibly a lake, and a scattering of classic structures, such as bridges and sculpture.

Cottage gardens, hosting vegetables and herbs, as well as flowers and perhaps a beehive and some livestock, originated even earlier, dating from Elizabethan times. Over the centuries they became more decorative than practical, informal rather than structured, and populated the countryside. Roses tied to wooden trellises were a common sight. Honeysuckle added its sweet scent to the mix.

Why are English gardens dying out? One explanation is that renters, rather than owners, don’t invest in the property where they reside, and there are a lot of renters these days. Another explanation put forth in the article from The Times lays the blame squarely on baby boomers for their failure to teach their children, now in their twenties, thirties, and forties, to nurture nature. “Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade,” wrote Rudyard Kipling.

Still, why blame baby boomers, if a drive in the country isn’t what it used to be? I maintain that each generation, shaped by the social, cultural, and political events that occur in its lifetime. is different from every other generation. We shouldn’t forget what made us who we are, but the past shouldn’t dictate who we become.

© 2016 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

I’m So Hooked On Six-word Memoirs

January 17, 2015

Susan Marg

Following through on my last post, I bought the book. I visited the website. I read lots of interviews with Larry Smith.

imagesThe book is It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs. It’s one in a series on life, love, and trying to make sense of it all in six words, no more, no less.

The website is sixwordmemoirs.com, where, after registering, everyone is welcome to share their pithy and concise personal history.

And Larry Smith is the founder of SMITH magazine. He was inspired by Ernest Hemingway, who, when challenged to come up with a six-word story, wrote, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Smith, in turn, challenged writers, even if they had not written anything since leaving school, to develop six-word memoirs. It’s amazing the attitudes, emotions, and humor that pour forth under such constraints. Thousands have found it liberating.

The craze has been going on for quite a while, years even. Schools, churches, politics, tech groups, and senior citizen organizations, such as AARP, have adopted it, but I just discovered it. What does that say about me? And can I say it in six words?

As a personal historian, I thought I should give it a try. I came up with: “Born a Baby Boomer. Still am.” I’m happy with this. It describes me. I believe each generation is different from the preceding one, shaped by social and cultural events that occurred in their lifetime.

Then I wrote six words, let’s call it a biography, for my husband: “Berkeley to Boston. Brrrrr. Back West.” He thought it was amusing. I thought it was spot on. He gets cold watching the winter weather forecast across the country on television.

Smith’s own account is: “Big hair, big heart, big hurry.” One of his others can be purchased on a t-shirt: “Now I obsessively count the words.”

I do, too. I came across a quote from Marilyn Monroe and checked: yep, it’s six words. I think it makes a great six-word memoir: “I am trying to find myself.” Are you?

© 2015 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved