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Every ten years or so a new generation comes along.

As one generation reaches childhood, the next is being born, and the previous one are teens or young adults.

Each generation thinks they know more, or they can do better than the generations before.

Every previous generation looks at those who follow and invariably says, “God help us in the future.”

I was born in England in the mid 1930s; in the middle of the Great Depression. By the time I reached my childhood and was old enough to be conscious of my surroundings, I found myself in the middle of a World War.

I had a father, my mother told me so, but I didn’t remember him; he had left in 1939, within days of the war starting. Apparently his last words as he left were, “It’s just a scare, I’ll be home in a couple of weeks.”

He was gone almost five years, came home briefly in 1944, and then was gone again until the war ended.

I didn’t really understand what to be in a war meant. I knew my father was fighting in the war, fighting the Germans; (Whoever they were.) but knew no reason for it, or for that matter even considered a reason.

I only knew what my mother told me, and what the other kids at school told me. Not that they really knew any more than I did, just what their mothers told them.

I remember the American soldiers coming over prior to the Normandy Invasion in 1944. They seemed like adults to me, but looking back they were just teens; only one generation before me. Happy, laughing, goofing around as teens will do.

This generation, often referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” born just ten years before me; little more than kids themselves, were actually fighting in the war.

Handing out candy to kids like my friends and me in the early part of 1944, then dying on the beaches of Normandy in their thousands, a short time later.

The generation after me was just now being born in the mid 1940s; they would reach their teen years in the 1960s and become the generation that protested war.

Did that generation know more about war than I did? When I was a teen, WWII was only a few short years past, but with its implications never fully understood, it was quickly forgotten.

I was part of the “In Between” generation, I reached my teen years in the 1950s. I didn’t have to fight in a war, and I missed out on all the excesses of the 1960s. I’m not sure if there were teen cultures before us, but there certainly have been every generation since.

We were the first after WWII; we were known as "Teddy Boys." Wearing clothes fashioned after the styles of the "Edwardian" era. (The early 1900s.) In the picture at the top I was eighteen years old; the shorter of the two, on the right.

Teens generally dress and all follow the same trends as their peers, and strangely they do it in order to be different; in actuality the generations that follow the previous are not drastically different.

We all fuck up along the way; some of us have a few more successes than failures, but does anything really change?

Does our lot get any better? History repeats itself, and each time the price goes up. We are still fighting wars; we in the middle of a recession, which is another name for a depression, which is where I came in



Reader Comments (7)

Some things get better I think Dave - modern medicine for one. The standard of living has also improved for most people in the Western world too. Wars and the rest of it are a fact of life - thankfully I haven't been dragged into one and don't expect to be in my lifetime (Too old now anyway).

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephen_mc

Problem is that the folks who made up the greatest generation and their parents learned a lot, but most of them have died off, so now we get to learn again. Especially when it comes to issues like regulation. We now see once again that if you exempt anyone from having to follow rules of any kind they will run amok.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPLS

Dave I was born in the EARLY 30s. You must, like me must have watched the Windsors on PBS last night,I told my wife of 47yrs Marcia about the Teddy boys, Also what about the collar less jackets that where a fad. I came from a VERY close knit family, Cycling and the club was my escape, I can remember during WW2 standind on the front step in Yardley,Brum a few miles away from a burning City of Coventry seeing the red glow in the sky.,the movie 'Hope and Glory' is worth a look to see what we nippers went through, All a dream? did we LEARN anything from all this? How close we ALL where to death, each and every day, What would to days nippers do if faced with this? what WILL they do, pick up the remote and change channels or turn it off. We all have but a short time on this earth, does ANY generation relise this? IS THERE AN ANSWER? maybe study history and the past look at the mistakes made, TRY to correct them. John Crump

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Crump

Some great ''Teddy''photos by Ben Watts


I'm still way too young to comment on generational shifts but most of your observations are surely correct. Everything goes in cycles, it's just our job to try and improve upon them every time they circulate. Have you noticed any difference between Americans and English of your generation.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbooka

Those two guys ... they look like trouble.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRiders

Appropriate you end without a period

That’s where you came in; where you (and I) leave, someone else begins. It doesn’t end.
Do we as the prior generation think we have some valuable “lessons” to be passed on? Don’t be so presumptuous. That is like reverse engineering, not the way humans in a social setting think. People today don’t spend time trying to extrapolate wisdom from the past. They want to take credit, not give it.
Most trust the government (wherever they are) has their best interest in mind. Most think forward; history just slows them down.

Besides, reading demands too much from today’s generation…

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I was born in 1942 in a time of war. My dad was 19 and was sent to europe where he saw action through the battle of the bulge and was twice wounded. every decade of my life we have been involved in armed conflicts. I was in the navy during the vietnam era and had hopes that vietnam would end the cycle. I was very disappointed when we invaded afghanistan and iraq. It is depressing to think that my lifetime over 7 or 8 decades will have begun and will end during foriegn wars and armed conflicts. nothing has changed!.

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermark worden

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