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Cavanaugh: Looking Back
Thoughts of a Baby Boomer
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It seems every day now some famous personality or former friend has passed away and at 68 it makes me think sometimes of my own mortality.

I was born in 1946 so that makes me the very first of what is referred to as the “Baby Boomers” in this country.

I think a lot of the changes that have occurred in my lifetime, the technology especially, who would have thought when reading comics featuring Dick Tracey that his magic watch on which he talked into, would be more than a reality, today. Heck, 68 years ago if you even had a telephone it was probably part of a party line, in which every neighbor had access to your most private conversations.

I was born in Washington, D.C. but when I was 5 my parents moved to the country – outside of Annapolis, Md. At age 11, I walked half way across Washington D.C. by myself, from one relative’s house to another. In Maryland I lived about a mile down a dirt road surrounded by woods and the Chesapeake Bay. In the summer, I would leave the house in the morning and crab and fish and play all day not reporting home until late in the evening. My parents never worried about some pervert grabbing me. I surely wouldn’t let my 10-year-old granddaughter go to the mall by herself let alone do any of the things I did.

In Annapolis, I attended parochial schools and served as an altar boy; never once was I ever molested by a priest or a nun. I did get punished very severely one time though when I was caught sipping the blessed wine in between masses. 

I remember in high school if you held hands with a girl by the third date and maybe kissed her on the fourth or fifth date you were hot, and after you told all of your buddies, about your exploits, mostly made up, that poor girl was considered loose.

We used to go to dances on Friday night and the chaperones didn’t worry about booze or drugs. They just worried if you were dancing too close

Then on a November day in 1963, the world changed. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, our naivety came to a crashing halt.

Over the next couple of years the whole culture changed – we went from simplistic love songs such as “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “Moon River” to the loudest and most vicious of songs about hate and distrust. Our movies changed from the “Sound of Music” to violent movies such as “Straw Dogs.”

I saw people burn our flag, and spit on our soldiers returning from Viet Nam.

Yes, we were changed on that tragic day in 1963. If you will look at life as a giant pendulum, just imagine that the point of that pendulum instantly went from one side to the other, never lingering in the middle, and to this day it has stayed that way.

As I look back on my life I realize that I have had the best of all lives as a newspaper publisher. I got to play at politics without ever having to run for office. I have lunched and dined with mayors, governors and even vice presidents, I’ve sailed the Caribbean and West Indies, and I’ve sat in owner’s boxes at more than one ballpark. I have had the opportunity to mold and change people’s opinions; in short I’ve tasted the sweet wine of life.

I still believe in Peter Pan. I had a bypass operation and a heart attack, but it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be here today; it still hasn’t.

I’ve been to the bottom of life and back again to the top. I was once a liberal Democrat and now am what I would call a Churchill Republican. I tear up when the flag passes; I still believe we have the best country in the world. I believe my family is the most beautiful and loving of all families. I actually cried like a baby when my cat Missy was put to sleep this week. I bawled again when we buried her under the pines in the back yard. 

I still enjoy still being a publisher; I am happy as a lark because I recently reconnected with old friends and I look forward to having a cocktail or two with my wife as we sit on our deck and listen to Pandora on my phone and we actually talk about the events of the day and the happenings of our family. We keep a running account of whose side of the family is the nuttiest – or as they say today, dysfunctional – at any given moment.

One of my biggest regrets is that I still don’t know how to use all the functions on my computer or phone or even the television for that matter.

In spite of what’s going on in the world right now and in spite of the fact that we haven’t recovered from 1963, I am glad I’m a Baby Boomer. I finally accept that all things will be handled by the Good Lord, when and how it is to happen. Until then I plan to spend the rest of my life enjoying a multitude of blessings.

Now if I could only find Tinkerbell.

 

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