Musings of an Eisenhower Baby
What it is. What it is, to those of you born during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Kindred spirits, for us the sands of time are running through the hourglass at an accelerated rate with no outstretched hand to turn it over and begin anew. Not enough time. Time is running out.
Walk Down Memory Lane
Rotary Dial Phones – especially the Pink Princess phone in my parents’ bedroom
Transistor Radios — portable and cool
S&H Green Stamps — Too much licking and sticking
Drive-In Movies — Dr. Zhivago
Ed Sullivan — I only really recall the little mouse Topo Gigo
Mitch Miller — Everyone in my neighborhood watched just to see Leslie Uggams.
Lawrence Welk – hated him, but my parents loved him so I had to watch
1964 World’s Fair – My Dad took me and all I remember is the animatronics Abraham Lincoln
Records: 78s, 33 1/3rds, 45s
RCA Magnavox TV with the tubes
Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson
Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Alfred Hitchcock Show, The Million Dollar Movie, The Twilight Zone, One Step Beyond
St. Josephs Asprin for Children
Yes I do remember the jingles that went with both beers. No my parents did not allow me to partake.
The Automat – Through the small glass displays you’d choose your food selection and put in your quarter for a tasty meal. My Dad used to take me there all the time.
But with the passage of time and golden memories comes the passing of friends, family & co-workers who left way too soon while only in their 40s, 50s & 60s. I hate to pick up the phone or read my messages on Facebook for fear of hearing about another death. A close girlfriend from my previous job died last year of a massive heart attack at age 51 leaving behind her husband and three children. That scared and upset me so badly.
I had my own brush with death at age 49 on Nov. 7, 2008. My blood pressure had shot up to nearly 200 on both the upper and lower numbers. I had the worst headache of my life and I lost sight in my left eye. As I lay in the emergency room on that gurney my life literally passed before my eyes. The damage to my vision was so bad that I was blind in my left eye until I had retina surgery Jan. 2010. Some of my vision was restored but I will never be able to see the way I used to. Had to give up driving. There went some of my youthful freedoms.
I always thought time was on my side. Never thought I would become ill or disabled, however my DNA laughed at me. The very things my parents had that caused them to die in their mid-60s caught up to me and my brother. Genetics makes you reevaluate everything; past, present and future. When I turned 50 in 2009 I realized I had lived more than half my life and wasn’t going to live another 50 years. That’s when the race against time began.
Since I do have a chronic illness and suffer from chronic pain, there is definitely a sense of urgency to get everything done before these diseases snuff out my life. In order to accomplish my goals I’ve had to make critical changes in my lifestyle. I must watch what I eat, stay away from negative people, stand up for myself, and get my priorities in order. I’ve been fortunate in that my family came to live with me last year. I finally had to admit I couldn’t do certain activities on my own anymore and needed help. That’s another revelation, admit you need help and go get the help. Too much pride will kill you.
We Eisenhower and Kennedy babies have said countless Goodbyes to our parents, the Greatest Generation. That wonderful generation prior to ours who suffered through the Great Depression, WWII, the Korean Conflict, and Jim Crow to pave the way for us to have opportunities they could only dream about.
Now we pick up the banner and hopefully pave the way for the Millennials who are the future while still reaching forth for our hopes, dreams, & goals. Children born in the 50s & 60s raise your bottles of L’Oreal and Clairol high; and to paraphrase the 5th Dimension Let’s enter into the Age of Aquarius while flying Up, Up, & Away in our Beautiful Balloons!!
A friend of mine introduced me to Cathay Williams, the first African American Woman documented to have served in the Civil War. She was also a Buffalo Soldier. I hope to discuss this for a Black History Month program talk sometime in the future.
Bob Marley — Buffalo Soldier
Cathay Williams or William Cathay (Cathey)
Private, Thirty-eighth U.S. Infantry 1866-1868
Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Here is a very short story about one of my ancestors who fought bravely for freedom.
In December of 1863 my Great Great Grandfather, William Henry Halstead, who lived in Tarrytown, New York, traveled to New Haven, Connecticut to join the 29th Connecticut Colored Infantry. On his Volunteer Enlistment papers it notes his occupation as a farmer. He enlisted for three years and was discharged on the 24th day of October 1865. He married and had five children. William Henry Halstead passed away in 1888 and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, New York. His wife moved to New York City with her five children. Her children grew up in Harlem and belonged to various organizations such as Odd Fellows, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Daughters of New York.
One of his descendents was my grandmother Eva Sophronia Gordon Palmer who was born in 1892.
The Massacre of the Innocents is found at Matthew 2:16–18, Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Her very essence is gone. Her core destroyed. Madonna Badger’s face is etched in grief and sorrow. Hers is a piercing cry I’ve heard before coming from the seat of a grieving soul. Her sorrow doubled in the multiple loss of her parents and children in a fire on Christmas Day.
Yes I’ve heard that those mournful wails before within the walls of New Jerusalem Baptist church coming from the mother of Kevin Miller. Kevin was killed while on his way to get a snack from McDonald’s. A reward from his Mom for making the Honor Roll at school. Kevin another innocent victim of gang violence in the year 2009.
Kevin Miller, 13, a godly boy, holy, righteous, an upstanding youth
A good student, modest in dress and manner
A junior usher at New Jerusalem Baptist Church
Cut down before he even had a chance to live his life
Kevin’s mother and grandmother were at service the Sunday before his funeral. Such a wail, a cry of grief went out from his heartbroken mother that it reached the depths of my soul and I’m sure rest of the congregation. I did not attend Kevin Miller or the Badger children’s funerals but as a woman I can feel that pain, as their tears make a pathway to hoping as the grief stricken Orpheus to make a trail for Eurydice’s lost children to follow.
But alas there is no way back for little souls pure of heart now at play in the garden of Paradise. Women and men everywhere embrace their small souls and your heart Madonna Badger with our hearts and prayers.
Yet like Kevin Miller’s Mom and Madonna Badger I ask Why?