If you remember standing out on the lawn trying to catch a glimpse of Sputnik in the night sky, standing in line for Star Wars, or crowding around the TV to watch the debut of four British rockers change music forever, then you’re probably a Baby Boomer. Technically defined as anyone born between 1946 and 1964, the Baby Boomers are more than just an age range: it’s a generation that came up during one of the most tumultuous, carefree, and iconic times in American history.
Although members of this generation are a diverse lot, having grown up at around the same time means that many of them have shared experiences, memories, and products. Here are some of the moments that defined this generation.
You Know What “Duck and Cover” Means
One of the unintended results of the Cold War was that millions of kids became excellent at hiding underneath their desks at a moment’s notice. It also introduced the world to Bert the Turtle.
Your Favorite Music Growing Up Is Now “Classic Rock”
Stairway to Heaven and Hotel California may have been revolutionary when they were released, but are now in constant rotation in your local classic rock radio station. The songs that you love most are now a part of the younger generation’s “cultural education.”
Your TV Was a Piece of Furniture
Boomers grew up in an era before televisions were so thin and light that they could be wall fixtures. In the 1960s and 70s, TVs were so large they could be confused for a dresser.
You Know Who Mr. Green Jeans Is
A fixture on Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans was the title character’s best friend, a role he would play for over 30 years. At the time, Captain Kangaroo held the record for being the longest-running nationally broadcast children’s television program, making the iconic character a fixture in Boomer’s childhoods.
You Remember the Day Kennedy Was Assassinated
November 22, 1963 is a day that Baby Boomers would never forget. President Kennedy was assassinated in his motorcade while it was passing through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. The moment was so shocking that many can recount where they were, who they were with, and what was said the moment the news broke.
You Had to Use Payphones
Now nearly relegated to historical landmarks, payphones were at one point the only way to contact someone when you were away from home. The number of payphones peaked in 1995 at 2.6 million. Today, payphones number less than 500,000.
You Looked Up Information in Encyclopedias
Before Google became a verb for finding information, you had to dig through the bookshelf for the appropriate volume that seemed to weigh more than your head. Now with resources like Wikipedia, our bookshelves have become much lighter.
You Wrote College Essays on a Smith-Corona Typewriter
Even better if you still have it as a backup.
Donna Reed Was Your Female Idol
The indisputable ideal mother figure, Donna Reed’s character on The Donna Reed Show was groundbreaking because of her assertiveness and sense of humor relative to other television mothers of the time. Donna Reed, regarded as “America’s Sweetheart,” also starred as Mary Hatch in the classic film It’s A Wonderful Life.
You Think Johnny Carson Is The Best Tonight Show Host
As host for 30 years, Johnny Carson became synonymous with the role and is still considered the greatest late night talk show host, bar none. A fixture in every American home for several decades made Johnny Carson more than just a television personality, he was a strong part of most Boomer’s lives growing up.
You Remember When VCRs Cost $1,000
That’s $3,000 at today’s rate. Nowadays you’d struggle to give them away.