This poem was inspired by a TV interview with Jeff Shesol, the author of “Mercury Rising,” a book about the space program in the US.
As he talked about John Glenn’s orbital mission (1962) being the starting point of his book, I realized, that many Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) were born or were tiny children around that time. They were the first generation to grow up, realistically thinking of Space, as a province that we (or at least Jeff Bezos) could conceivably visit. The unique influence of space travel, combined with all the social changes that were born in the 60’s and 70’s, have created much of the world we know today.
And now, the earliest of the Millennials (born 1981-1996) are entering their forties! They are the first generation to outstrip Baby Boomers, in terms of generation size, with 72.12 million in 2019, compared to the Boomers’ mere 69.56 million.
This made me think that it was high time, before the Boomers become completely irrelevant, to take a nostalgic flight of fancy, back to the Space Age of my youth.
Hope you enjoy and recognize the references strewn throughout. Thanks for coming by to read!
First, to watch the Great Ascent,
Least, of our full complement,
Now, achieving geezer status,
In the Age of Apparatus;
Largest generation boom:
Babies, filling every room.
Mothers, hidden. Mothers, prized.
Food, freeze-dried and synthesized.
Growing up, with casseroles,
Frozen dinners, blackened holes;
Riveted, by Star Trek re-runs;
Watching, as the Space Race, we won;
Rayon, polyester suits;
Thickened ties and ankle boots;
Psychedelic, through to Disco;
March for rights, from here to Frisco,
First, for race, then sex, then preference;
Generation, without reference,
Thrown asunder, Grown a-kilter,
Losing every faith and filter;
Cold oppression of McCarthy–
Paranoid and frightened parties–
What new danger, change can bring,
When you teach the world to sing.
By letting down our hair,
We carved the path to here, from there.
Copyright 2021 Andrea LeDew
For a short essay about changing your priorities as circumstances change, read Priorities.