Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX


November 26, 2012

Reflections on aging


A week or so ago the Index published an article on the Senior Citizen page called, of all things, “Aging drivers present new challenges.”

My first question ... for whom? The challenges, that is. Are the challenges to the aging drivers or to the general public?

Then the piece went on to talk about Baby Boomers, those post-war babies born between 1946 and 1964. Raf and I are not of that generation. We are of the Silent Generation, born between 1925 and 1945. I had to look that one up, again, because I never can remember it!  

We are supposedly the ones who “came of age” during the Great Depression and World War II and who fought in Korea! Well, none of those descriptors apply to us. We were born at the start of World War II, and while I remember tidbits during that time, I was only a small child. And the greatest thing I remember about the Korean War is that my doctor, Bruce Terrill, in Stephenville, went off to war, and I was terribly angry that he didn’t come when I had measles!

Wikipedia says of my generation:  “... found its characteristics as grave and fatalistic, conventional, possessing confused morals, expecting disappointment but desiring faith, and for women, desiring both a career and a family. Youth ... is waiting for the hand of fate to fall on its shoulders, meanwhile working fairly hard and saying almost nothing. The most startling fact about the younger generation is its silence. With some rare exceptions, youth is nowhere near the rostrum. By comparison with the Flaming Youth of their fathers and mothers, today’s younger generation is a still, small flame. It does not issue manifestos, make speeches or carry posters. It has been called the ‘Silent Generation’.”

Now, see, once again I strayed away, somewhat, from my original topic about aging drivers. The Index piece said that baby boomers began driving at an earlier age and have been the most mobile generation, past or present. Hummm. I got my learner’s drivers’ license when I was 13 and my full license when I was 14. I do believe that during the baby boom the licensing age was higher. And I knew farm kids of my generation who got farm licenses when they were between 10 and 12!

Of course, in the generation before mine, my parents’ generation known as “The Greatest Generation,” drivers’ licenses were not required until 1935 in Texas, and my mother was driving at age 10 because her mother couldn’t drive herself to the doctor! That was in 1920.

The article in the Index also spoke of women baby boomers being the first women to go to work with the men – women’s rights and all – but my mother had a college degree, not a two-year but a four-year degree, and was teaching well before I was born.

But back to aging drivers presenting new challenges. Yup, I find I have new challenges. My sight and hearing are not what they used to be, but on the other hand whose are? Am I presenting challenges on the highways and byways of North Central Texas? Perhaps, but I surely am neither the oldest nor the youngest driver in town.

I hope when I need to I will recognize that I no longer should be driving but, hey, I’m older than those baby boomers and I’m still carrying on! I ain’t dead yet, and I hope when you see me driving I will not be challenging you! And, most of all, I hope you won’t challenge me either!

Sue Seibert is an author, columnist, genealogist and frequent contributor the Index and its publications.

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