Christine M , United States
For some time I've been aware that the War Babies have been lumped in with the Baby Boomers - our younger siblings and cousins born after 1950.
Those of us born in the early forties are very different because the influences that shaped our childhoods are hugely different.
Even the anti-war, folk music, peace movements of the 60's, although popularly thought of as baby boomer, was really a war baby movement. The moving forces, from Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, to the The Beatles - were all war babies.
The great Doo Wop harmonies of the late 50's were danced to by children born in 1944,1943, 1942.
For a very small demographic group, we had a huge influence on the American culture.
We were and are different because we are the last demographic group born into economic and spiritual absolutes and restraints.
I was born in 1943 with a childhood in the Bronx NYC. All the neighborhood families lived in multi family homes. We had no air conditioning, so Summer nights after my mother, sister and I washed and put away the last supper dish,we headed outside.
We'd catch the breezes on the front stoop, or walk up the sidewalk to visit neighbors and share ice tea or lemonaide. Around 11pm, the heat couldn't be avoided and the neighbors would all retire back to try to sleep.
Electric fans were a must, and sundays ushers at church handed out fans with adverts for the local funeral home. Summer Sundays at church meant doors and windows wide open. What I loved about my City childhood from the 40's is being surrounded by neighbors who cared about the neighborhood kids and the ethnic diversity.
My neighborhood was Swedish, Greek, Italian, Jewish, and Armenian, but somehow, all the families had the same moral ethics. Respect for adults and teachers, thrift, hard work, respect for everyone's property are some.
The religions and the cultures were different, but that didn't matter. All the adults demanded that the children respect all other adults - even if they spoke with a different accent.
My neighborhood was a culinary marvel.
The Italian food was out of this world. My landlady would bring up bowls of incredible pasta with homemade sauce and aged grated Romano cheese.
The tradition was that one never returned a dish empty, so mothers would return dishes with homemade borst, Norwegian frut suppe, etc.
I had my first oil cured olive at my Greek girlfriend's grandfather, and my Italian girlfriends grandparents owned a bakery.
Visits to Marilyn's house meant Italian sponge cake drizzled with almoretto and real whipped cream icing. Summers, marilyn's grandparents grilled home made sausage and pappers on the outdoor grill.
All our Italian and Greek neighbors had a grape arbor in their yards to escape from the summer sun and outdoor evening dinners.
I could watch Saints dayparades from my 2nd floor bedroom window; paper money pinned to the saints' gowns and brass band music.
Our neighborhood Methodist church held about a 100 people and not even a picture on the wall - so these parades fascinated me.
It was a very good time to grow up in America - and not just because of the nostalgia that comes from time and age.
Little did I know that in 10 years the Interstate hwy system would turn LI potato farms to suburbs and the families who populated my world would move away to new opportunities. After a lifetime of following those same opportunities, I realize life was better then.
Best to all of you.