Between Woodstock and Saturday Night Fever

(This is an essay I wrote about 10 years ago. It was never published, but it’s not likely to be either, so here it is.)

Just a little reflection on a forgotten fragment of the thirty-something generation. I am referring to the Class of ’75. We [mostly] were born in 1957 and graduated from high school in 1975. There’s no proof that inversion of years affected our psyches, but sometimes I wonder. We’re a generation caught between Woodstock and Saturday Night Fever. We were too young to be flower children [shucks!] and too old to disco [thank God], and way too old for punk rock [whatever happened to the Doors?]. We cut our musical teeth on the Beatles, never missed an episode of the Monkees, and grew up with Star Trek.

Our collective memories are filled with the images of television: the Vietnam War and peace demonstrations; the riots in Watts and Martin Luther King Jr.; Woodstock and Kent State; the return of POWs and the fall of Saigon; Nixon in China and Nixon resigning office.

In our prom pictures, the guys’ hair is more styled than the girls’. And, the guys are wearing higher heels! Our wedding pictures are even worse. On the other hand, we mostly have shared the births of our children, whom we zealously breastfed. And we were just enough ahead of the 80s to think that there are some things more important than money.

This is a generation of contrasts — where a professor and two grad students in his class are the same age. The professor has his Ph.D., one grad student is working on his Ph.D., and one grad student didn’t decide what she wanted to be when she grew up until she was 37 years old.

The ’70s may be the decade that taste forgot, but we carry a little of it around with us all the time. Underneath our jeans or yuppie suits [we go both ways] is deeply buried a secret longing for platform shoes and blue eye shadow.

So long live the Class of ’75, and let’s put on “Stairway to Heaven” one more time.


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