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Posted: April 12, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Time in a bottle

If you are considered to be the first of the baby boomers you are in your 60’s.

I had someone tell me once that being 60-plus is just like being 40-plus. That might be true in your mind but your body everyday reminds you that Peter Pan has almost left the building.

In 40 of those 60 years in most cases we lived in a world of naivety and wonder.

Obviously we didn’t have the mass communication that we have today that fills every minute of our life with the bad and the sometimes good that exists in the world today. You looked forward to reading the daily paper, not for the news but for the comics that contained those great serial stars like Dick Tracy and Lil’ Abner and the Phantom.

It was a time that a majority of us had our moms at home and many of us lived in simple prefabricated homes. Today, even living in a home is complicated sometimes because of the different codes that are in place to protect us.

My house was asbestos shingle. We lived close to the river and black mold was everywhere. Red ants bit us every day in the summer as we ran through the fields and forests sometimes without shoes. We never worried about the perverts that seem to exist in abundance today. Gay was just a word that meant happy and – heaven forbid – we actually had no air conditioning. You could always count on August being a miserable month to sleep because it never cooled at night.

We read books. TV was special and most of the time, our picture tube was always going bad which meant your 16-inch screen was really an 8-inch screen.

Every year you looked forward to seeing Peter Pan with Mary Martin before Thanksgiving and the Wizard of Oz before Easter. What a great treat it was to see it for the first time in actual color.

Every Sunday we ate dinner at Grandma’s. The meal was always the same – fried chicken, white gravy, mashed potatoes and lima beans and of course homemade rolls and always a big glass of iced tea, which we only drank on Sunday. Every Sunday we went to Mass, rain, snow, sun or sickness.

It was a simple life. Even dealing with the opposite sex was a mystery. I remember going to an eighth grade graduation party. After we had our cake and ice cream, we all ended up in the basement and in the middle of a big circle there was a Coke bottle.

As everyone giggled, the host of the party spun the bottle and it landed pointing at one of my buds; next thing I knew he and a girl went into the closet.

This went on for time until it was my turn. I spun the bottle and it pointed to Maggie. She and I went into that magic closet. Still I did not know what for. It was dark and suddenly, Maggie put her lips to mine and kept them there. It seemed like an eternity; my knees buckled, I started to sweat and then the door opened.

Wow, I never had felt that way before. I spent the rest of my time trying to spin the bottle so it would point to Maggie, and it never did.

That was my first kiss; I never am going to forget it.

Maggie later went on to become a nun, I think. I hope she has me on her prayer list.

Yes, growing up as a baby boomer was filled with a certain innocence that forever was destroyed after the Kennedy assassination. I wish I could have bottled it, so that our grandchildren could feel the safety and the energy and the true sense of wonderment that we felt growing up as baby boomers.

T. Pat Cavanaugh is the publisher of The News. You can reach him at 770-787-6397 or pcavanaugh@covnews.com

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