As we approach Mother’s Day 2016, I want to share a story about moms that gave birth in the 1960’s. Having babies in the sixties was likely the most challenging experience for moms of the time. I wholeheartedly believe being born to new moms in the sixties may have been the best thing to happen to us. Women with a perfect blend of strength and nurturing characteristics raised children born in the sixties.
Here are a few signs you grew up with a sixties mom like mine:
- When the street lights came on, you made it home in time.
- When mom said “NO,” it was final. No debating necessary.
- Your mid-afternoon treat was a tomato or cucumber from the garden.
- Dinner time meant it’s time to eat for real and you ate what was cooked with the entire family.
- Mom taught the birds and bees without holding back ANY detail.
- Mom juggled teenagers with different personalities without any obvious stress.
- Your mom fed the neighborhood.
- Mom lectured anyone that would listen.
- She didn’t sugar coat mistakes.
- She nurtured us to health without a doctor’s visit.
- She told the truth.
Our moms were the strength of the generation. They picked up the pieces when times got tough. They taught us to never quit. They made life feel normal even during tough times. A mayonnaise, tomato with a dash of pepper sandwich was the best sandwich ever. I had no idea meat would’ve rounded that sandwich. We were sort of naïve to what it was like to struggle. Struggle was an adult problem left out of view of children. Kids were just being kids.
From the moment I realized I was human, I knew there was something special about my mom. I was captivated by her body language, the way she talked with her southern twist, and even the times of fussing. A part of me knew that I was going to be held accountable for a wealth of knowledge she would share over the years. Most of the time, I can feel her powerful and positive energy that oozed through her pores.
Laughing, listening to stories, crying (not so much), singing, dancing, cooking fried chicken, scaling fresh caught fish, picking greens, cooling fresh-baked pies and cakes, licking cake batter, catching a breeze and enjoying sun tea were not just memories in the making, they were times of learning to accept and embrace changing times. I watched my mom so intently; I would count the sweat dripping from the top of her nose. It drove her bananas when I stared at her. I would blame my father for teaching me to look people in the eyes when I’m listening. He said it was a sign of an honest person.
Music, food, and family shaped our experience growing up with moms that had babies in sixties. My mom danced to the beats of blues and jazz artists. Sarah Vaughan, Muddy Waters, Billy Holiday, and Nat King Cole took her to a special place as she busied herself making our home next to perfect. One of my mom’s favorites was Nat King Cole. She said his voice was like butter. When he sang “Unforgettable” she had a smile that can light up the neighborhood.
Sixties babies were born at a time when technology wasn’t advanced enough to allow regular people to go back and reflect on public or personal experiences. You had to listen, read, and take written and mental notes. When people gathered, it had to be productive. Sixties moms mastered the art of community and gathering to make a difference.
According to a 2011 “Generation X report,” people born between 1961-1981 are defined as a part of Generation X. This group is defined as highly educated, active, balanced, happy, and family oriented. Other surveys were conducted that had different findings and a slightly different span of years for the generation born in the sixties. I know one thing is for sure, we were blessed with knowledge from a generation that paved the way for identifying ourselves socially and culturally in a positive manner.
Babies born in the middle of sixties were born at a time when parents sacrificed to improve life for future generations. Today, with social media, smart devices, wearable technology, and other hand-held devices we are better equipped to make a difference and spread some great stories. Who’s with me? Share your thoughts and sentiments. Agree or disagree?
In loving Memory of Nettie Jean Valentine-Tousana (1936-2000)
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