A Google search for what my generation is called resulted in the following: “The label “Silent Generation” was first coined in the November 5, 1951 cover story of Time to refer to the generation coming of age at the time, born during the Great Depression and World War II, including the bulk of those who fought during the Korean War. The article, (which defined the generation at the time as born from 1925 to 1945), found its characteristics as grave and fatalistic, conventional, possessing confused morals, expecting disappointment but desiring faith, and for women, desiring both a career and a family.”
Born at the very end of this so-called Silent Generation, I grew up on a farm. I learned to be frugal, to work hard, and to wait for what I wanted. I enjoyed memorizing Bible verses for Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. I enjoyed Pie Socials and Christmas Programs at my one-room country school. I sat on Daddy’s lap and listened to the news of WWII, the death of FDR, and the scandal of McCarthyism. When we finally got a small black-and-white TV, I watched I Love Lucy and Leave It To Beaver.
In my early years, I was not aware of women doing significant things outside of home. Men apparently were in charge of the world, made all the decisions, and earned the living to support wives and children who were safe at home. Dick and Jane ate supper around the dining room table when “Father” came home, and “Mother” wore an apron over her dress. Children were seen and not heard. I dutifully learned to sew, set a proper table, cook a balanced meal, and plant a nutritious garden. But in my heart I wanted to do something more: to be a pastor, a doctor, a missionary, a scientist! I wanted to make a difference!
Today as I write this, we are celebrating International Women’s Day. We celebrate thousands of women over the centuries and the generations who have broken the glass ceiling, broken the taboos of their times, and opened the windows of justice, freedom, and humans rights for all of us.
We are the Silent Generation no more.