My mom and dad and their contemporaries were members of the Silent Generation.
Born between the mid 1920’s and the mid 1940’s. They grew up during the Great Depression and World War II (which many fought in) and it marked their generation. Dad was a US Army MP at the War Crimes Trials in Japan during the Occupation after the war.
Traditional values, financial prudence (boy howdy my parents had that!) interpersonal respect, determination, resilience, work ethic, self sacrfice, define this generation according to Indeed.com. They were also social on steroids. You don’t find too many “Silents” hunched over the phone updating their status.
They formed clubs and had parties and celebrated a lot. When I was a kid it was nothing for us to just load up in a car and “drop in” unannounced on another family and often stay for hours. Can you imagine that happening today?
The black and white photos are from negatives that my sister gave me recently of photos my dad shot in a forest service camp in northern Idaho.
My parents met at such a camp. I think they spent most of their time socializing and not as much time doing blister rust control projects (blister rust is a fungus that kills white pine trees.)
Everybody looks exuberent and happy. Living in tents for months at a time. Nowadays there would be congressional investigations of the living conditions.
After his time in the camp, dad graduated with a forestry degreee from the University of Idaho and accepted a Junior Forest Ranger job in Happy Jack, Arizona near Flagstaff. He wrote mom a letter with a marriage proposal. She accepted by telegram and in short order quit her job at Gonzaga University and took a bus from Washington State to Flagstaff. Dad met her at the bus station and took her to a friend’s house where a justice of the peace married them. Dad then drove them out to Happy Jack where they lived in the house above.
Eventually they moved to New Mexico where I was born, and we lived in the Pecos Ranger Station where the first photo of this post and moved is from to the little village of Coyote. No public schools, so brother Bob stayed with a family in Santa Fe and attended school there. And then we moved to Payson, Arizona. Neat thing was, see the government house we lived in Coyote. We moved into an exact copy of it in Payson. Forest Service housing!! I got lots of memories of Coyote. Dad was out of state fighting forest fires one time and mom put a sewing machine needle through a fingernail. Pulled the needle out herself with a pair of pliers. That was something to remember.
Nobody cared, at least my brother and I didn’t. I’m sure my parents worried plenty but they kept it from us.
Later on our sister Ellen joined the family. We moved around little towns a few more times and then dad got transferred to Albuquerque. Whew!! I knew from when I was about six years old that I was a city kid. Sure, it was neat having a dad who was a Forest Ranger and we saw and did lots of neat stuff but give me the city to live in anytime.
Anyway, the Silent Generation is disappearing. Go hug a Silent if you can find one.