Don't ask a baby boomer about the joys of being single

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comFebruary 19, 2013 

A lady from a singles group called to ask me to speak to them.

My gut reaction was to blurt out: "What would I know about being single?"

I'm from the era when we got married at age 21. We got college degrees and got married and started earning our own way, be it ever so humble.

Our first major purchase, post-honeymoon, was a 12-inch, black-and-white television. And we had to beg the salesman to leave us with enough money for the toll to get back over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge to Savannah.

If we had thought any of this through, we'd still be single.

I'm afraid our children are smarter than we were. They're thinking it through. They seem to start thinking about marriage when they hit 30. They may get married by 40, and children might come sometime after a long thinking spell thereafter.

My generation was called the baby boomers because every house, station wagon and school were filled with screaming kids.

In my family, cousins were being born -- sometimes a week apart -- from 1945 to 1960.

When my parents got married, my mother had another year of college to go and my father was starting seminary. How smart was that? She had three children when she was 25.

When one of my uncles, also in seminary, asked my grandfather for his daughter's hand in marriage, my grandfather said: "Well, brother, I hope you like peanut butter."

My late mother-in-law was from a family of seven girls. Her father was from a family of seven boys. He had five little girls, ages 3 to 16, when his first wife died. He went to a PTA meeting and met a 22-year-old teacher. They were married six weeks later -- and together had two more girls. The story goes that they placed an ad in the local newspaper announcing their marriage, and at the bottom wrote: "Some people were really surprised. Others not so much."

Children in those days, we were told, came with their own directions.

As the seven sisters all dived into marriage, they consulted each other about child-rearing techniques.

One of them asked: "When do children stop fighting?"

To which her sister responded: "I don't know. Mine are only 25."

One time when the 17 first-cousins in my family were all raking around in my grandmother's house, a visitor with no children came out with a statement that is still being repeated half a century later.

It's a question I might share with the singles: "What good is kids?"

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