The Greatest Generation

The Greatest Generation Part 1
“The Greatest Generation was formed first by the Great Depression.
They shared everything—meals, jobs and clothing.”
—-Tom Brokaw

The “Greatest Generation” also known as the GI Generation and the World War II Generation were born between 1905-1924. Yep that would be my Nannie’s generation. While gathering all the information for this blog, I’m amazed at the history that they had front row seats to. Obviously, my generation overlapped but to know the amount of history that my grandmother had going on around her and her witnessing with her two eyes continues to amaze me. And it also explains why she was the way that she was a lot of the time.
My grandmother also went through the Great Depression. Dr. Glen Holl Elder Jr wrote: Children of the Great Depression made it through their adult years well. These children came out of the Great Depression knowing how to survive, make do and solve problems. They were very strong supports of the American way. They held families together, made commitments and kept promises. There were also 56.6 million live birth. These children were known as Baby Boomers (

dust bowlgreat depression

greatest coffee

The adults from the Greatest Generation had the largest rise in schooling ever recorded. In midlife they built suburbs, invented vaccines, plugged missile gaps and launch moon rockets ( In the 1930s, food was so scarce because the Great Depression happened while the Dust Bowl which ruined crops. Most people were so poor that the philosophy “hold on to what you have” was a statement of safety. No one knew how long either issue would last. So, had they not learned to hoard possessions lack of survival was almost imminent. These beliefs and cycle for way of living was perpetrated (

Naturally as one who has been in the mental health system most of my life, I wonder how their mental health issues were dealt with. Baby Boomers grew up in a time when mental health issues were not discussed nor acknowledged. Conditions such as anorexia, bulimia, ADHD, PTSD, autism, and learning disabilities were unheard of and depression and anxiety were signs of weakness ( Boomers were people who just tough things out and not asking for help. Likewise, this generation learned from the Greatest Generation this type of outlook on mental health. I can remember my Nannie saying when I asked what was wrong with someone, “Oh they’re just deaf and dumb. Just stay away from them.” I always thought that was harsh way of looking at things, but I guess that’s the only view they knew to take. I’m glad people have been educated and that my coach doesn’t feel that way.

I have made a list of some of the main events in history that my 86-year-old grandmother was able to experience and live through in history. This is in no way a complete list but one worth looking through. Writing about this has stirred every emotion in me both good and bad. Enjoy a little walk through history that my grandmother experienced in this great nation.

soldier feeding

1919-1929 Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge,     HerbertHoover
Great Depression
Woman gained the right to vote
KKK began terrorizing the nation
Birth of radio
Insulin was mass produced
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day began
The Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Linburgh
Mickey Mouse was debuted on Steamboat Willie

1930-1939 Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt
The New Deal
Black Sunday 7,000 died from pneumonia from the Dust Bowl
The Golden Gate Bridge was built
Rise of Nazi Germany
Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass)
World War II begins

dust bowl 2

1940-1949 Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman
Mt. Rushmore was completed
Pearl Harbor was attacked
Anne Frank died
Hitler commits suicide
Nuremberg trial *12 Nazi leaders hanged*
Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl was published
Ghandi was assassinated

1950-1951 Harry Truman, Dwight D Eisenhower
Truman orders the development of hydrogen bomb
Korean War begins
Assassination attempt on President Truman
Dwight D Eisenhower inaugurated
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
*Unanimously bans racial segregation in public school
Inoculation of children against polio
Martin Luther King Jr leads boycott of Montgomery, AL bus system
Eisenhower sends troops to protect school integration
Rosa Parks
Emmett Till
Little Rock Nine
Civil Rights Act of 1957
Vietnam War begins
Castro takes over as President of Cuba

civil rights

civil rights 3

The Civil Right Movement makes me sick to my stomach knowing how people treated other people during this time. I can’t justify any of this. All I can do is shake my head. The world, our nation and the Deep South has been through a time of growth for many years. I can only hope that this growth continues from these times presented to you. May God bless our nation.

One individual can begin a movement that turns the tide of history. Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement, Mahatma Gandhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa are examples of people standing up with courage and non-violence to bring about needed changes.

Jack Canfield


America The Beautiful

America The Beautiful

“We know what works.  Freedom works.  We know

what’s right. Freedom is right.”

—George H.W. Bush

With all the national coverage about the passing of our nation’s 41st, Former President George H. W. Bush, I was quickly reminded somewhere in my psyche that history was again happening and I have the pleasure of witnessing it.  When I was a young child (preteen) I cared mainly about playing.  I didn’t care about the world or its politics.  My job was to play hard and make messes.  The magnitude of the earth was just too big to comprehend or imagine.

I do, however, remember something very specific about being in the 4th grade in the year 1986.  It was the day all of our classes were combined and it was going to be a really exciting day. We would watch on TV a space shuttle take off and a teacher was one of the astronauts.  To me and I’m sure others, the really big deal was that we were not having to do school work at the moment.  We all got excited doing the 10 second countdown.  And then…..LIFTOFF!!!!!  We heard and saw the roaring power of that big shuttle shake with an enormous level of power lift off and  barrel towards outer space.

On the TV screen it looked like a firework had just exploded.  The teachers were gasping in fear and astonishment at what they had just seen.  I hadn’t quite understood what had happened myself.  I look around the room at the kids and they were just whispering to other students around them.  I look at the teachers and their eyes were full of tears and rolling down their cheeks.  I thought to myself…”Am I suppose to be crying too?”  “What just happened?” The name of the shuttle would be called….the Space Shuttle Challenger.  It exploded 73 seconds into its flight killing all 7 crew members which included a teacher by the name of Crista Macauliffe. The breakdown of the shuttle began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff.  I obviously didn’t realize the importance of what I was seeing, at that very moment, but it would later be called history.



Skip ahead to my 8th grade year (1988-1989) and we were once again allowed to watch history happen.  The first well known computer virus was called the 1988 Internet worm.  The World Wide Web was just being discussed and a plausible idea as another form of communication.  Ronald Regan had been the President. George H.W. Bush would fall in line as the 41st President of the United States of American the following year. And my basketball hero named Pete “The Pistol” Maravich would die playing a pickup game of a massive heart attack forever leaving a void in the sport of basketball.

ronald regan  ghwbush

 I began to learn that this world was big and it seemed not to revolve around me despite my best efforts. Politics were still too complicated to fully understand.  And when the president’s address to the nation came on I still wanted to change the channel.  Life was simply but becoming more and more complicated the older I got.

As an adult now, I look back on historical events that have happened or are happening and I try to understand them and how they relate to other parts of history, present and future.  Yesterday, I was in a doctor’s office watching some of the news about the passing of former President George H.W. Bush.  I watch as former presidents and their wives filed into the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  where our nation’s 41st elected President and his service to our nation would be honored.

Former President Jimmy Carter was looking very 94ish in age.  He looked like he had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel.  But credit to him for attending this service. Once the Presidential pumpkin and his wife got seated the service began shortly afterwards.

bushhwservice  bushhwfuneral3


I am again reminded how as I sit and have my eyes glued to the TV in the waiting room that I’m also, once again, watching history happen.  Without thinking to a room  with a few people and all eyes paying attention to the screen I say, “You know….I really hope that the teachers in the schools are allowing the kids to watch this service even for a few minutes. I know how much that means to me now as an adult to know that I saw history happening at school and I didn’t just hear about it.  I don’t know the reasons  why we were allowed to watch some of these things in school.  But I’m glad we did because on those days I felt like I was getting an education in subjects they didn’t teach at school. This an many other reasons are why I continue to call our free nation….AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where me were free.”

—Ronald Regan