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Cavanaugh: Dreaming of a 39-21-46
Thoughts of a Baby Boomer
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Our 18-year-old granddaughter is living with us again as she goes to school and I love having her. It reminds of the time she was a baby and lived with us. She was the second love of my life – of course, Molly being number one – and I took her everywhere. I packed her on my back as I covered meetings, we visited Disneyland every week and I decked her out in Disney clothes, we rode every mall merry-go-round in southern California. We watched together some of the most god-awful movies, The Adventures of Lava Boy being the worst. We enjoyed our evening walks where we studied the man in the moon and picked flowers to take home to her grandmother.

That all came to end when her mother packed things up and moved her away. I was heartbroken.

Having her with us now brings back those special thoughts for sure, and seeing her date a young man who by all actions appears to be a very nice boy, contrary to the ones her mother and aunt would often bring home, who so far is very polite and respectful and seems to be genuinely afraid of the stare that a good father or grandfather gives his daughter’s date as he explains the rules of being involved with the second love of his life. 

I asked this particular young man the other day what his intentions were; he still hasn’t answered me. I guess some things don’t ever change 

It is encouraging to me seeing how my granddaughter handles things that maybe that we are coming back to a simpler time that most of us that are baby boomers enjoyed ourselves 

When we were this age, and you were a guy, if first you could build your nerve to ask a girl out, and then to have her agree to hold your hand on the first date, that was a major undertaking. To get a genuine kiss by your third date was a miracle.

Girls definitely held all the cards in the game of life in those days.

If your date‘s dad said have his daughter home at 11 p.m., you said “Yes sir,” and had her home by 10:55.

When we were in college reaching second base or further on dates was a little easier, but still a challenge for many of us.

We then jumped from this idealistic life to the struggle of being married and having children, and then having a job that required you to be involved in community activities in order to advance. That used up  a great deal of your family time and really caused life in general to become a real struggle. 

I think many of us were so caught up in the pursuit of success that we didn’t spend the same time or even enjoyed as much the time that we spent with our own children that we now lavish on our grandchildren.

That’s a regret that many of us I’m sure carry to this day.

Yes, sometimes we weren’t great parents, sometimes we weren’t great husbands or wives, but when we got the chance, we did have fun, and boy did we let our hair down.

There would always be dances. Most of the time if you lived in the South, the music was classic beach music. You danced your heart out either listening to the Tams or the Embers or Bill Deal and the Roundels. The night always ended with a Showman song called “39-21-46.” I don’t think I ever met a woman who was 39-21-46 but it was a grand vision to have.

Yes, we had a few drinks but in most cases by the end of the night you sweated the booze out and always you went with your friends to eat breakfast at the only place open in town which was usually the local greasy spoon; no wonder many of us have stomach problems today.

Yes, once in a while someone was given a drunk driving ticket. They didn’t go to jail and they didn’t lose their jobs or have their whole life ruined, but they were penalized and they became the brunt of jokes. For most it never happened again

People were more trusting in those good old days. One night after a big party at the beach, I was to stay with friends. As I wandered across the street from the night club I realized that every beach house looked the same. One actually looked more familiar than the others, so I went in laid down on the couch and slept until I was awakened by someone I didn’t know who wanted to know why in the hell I was  in their house. Instead of shooting me or having me arrested I was invited to breakfast and made new friends. Yes, those were simpler days.

My granddaughter is a good, moral and kind young lady with a big heart. It gives me great joy to have her around and I am thankful that she gives me hope that although our generation for sure was the best, I feel positive that this new generation will someday have their own fine memories of a simpler life, just like I do and I hope you do too.

Now if anybody has ever seen someone with measurements of 39-21-46 please drop me a picture and I will share with all.


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