Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cat’s in the Cradle

How old are you? Have you felt this same way as this song? How old do you feel?

This song was brought out by Harry Chapin back in 1974. In the early 70s I was reacting with my parents after we’d moved to our new home. My Dad saw me walking home from school one day, looking at the ground. Later that day he had a chat with me and told me I had to hold my head up, walk with pride. After that I developed a like for high heels – or platform shoes in those days. I had a platform of cork with white sandals on top, and clogs, and wooden heels and anything else I could find! I respected what Dad told me – I thanked him: I felt more than 6 feet tall with those heels on! But I still lived different to my parents.

In the 50s we were brought up with great parents, most of whom would always stay with their partner (my grandmother left her husband because he used to beat her up: her second husband became my Pop from the 1960s). Born between 1920s and 1940s, parents from the 1950s, I’m told, were the “Silent Generation”, named by a Time article  - they feared speaking up during the 1950 McCarthy era, but they needed to reinvent the population. So those of us, who were born in 1950s, became the “Baby Boomers”. As we grew up we were still supposed to add to the population – get married, have kids, have more. Women were still the “wife”; however their husband played around was up to him, not up to her.

1980s parents had so many TV shows – The Partridge Family, Hogan’s Family, Growing Pains, Who’s the Boss?, Family Ties, Diff’rent Strokes, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father… what were we doing?? Certainly the growth of children in the 1980s then was nothing at all like we’d been brought up in the 1950s. Who was thinking differently than that era? We were, it seems.  Kids brought up in 50s and 60s were “so much better off”. We were grasping our future! The 80s programmes would teach us anything our parents hadn’t taught us!

The latest feminist movement started in 1963, according to the Guardian article (even though the suffragettes had been around for at least 50 years before that):

"Is this all?" That was the question that echoed around a generation of US housewives in the early 1960s. Theirs was the problem with no name, wrote Betty Friedan in her 1963 bestseller, The Feminine Mystique, and the symptoms were legion. They included creeping fatigue, tranquiliser and alcohol abuse, bleeding blisters that appeared suddenly on their arms, which doctors attributed not to the cleaning fluids they used constantly, but a deeper malaise. In the years since the war, women had grown smaller (department store buyers reported they had shrunk three or four dress sizes), more feminine (30% of women dyed their hair blond), and apparently much sadder.

I started with feminism in the 70s, but didn’t really support them until the 90s, after I divorced my first husband. Sadly, back then, I realised what I did wrong – I had taken his name and passed that on to my children. My daughter hates it. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned my lesson until 2013 when I was left by my second husband whose name I had also taken. I should have picked up from the feminist movement in the 60s and 70s - I now swear that I will never take anyone else’s name, I use my own.

I heard Chapin’s song back in the 70s, and I agreed with it. I am woman, but how different was I to a man who was less important than his child? At the bottom of this blog is a pic with the words. Read them. Learn them. Make sure they involve you… because they do.  You have no control over any of your children when they grow up. They will get educated, find a job, find their own partner… and won’t see you as often as you would so hope. I did the same to my parents, with the final stupidity after Dad had died and Mum was alone and not well but I still moved over to Oz. Oh, I’d pop back over and visit her again, but she died, like Dad had, in hospital. I regret what I did. I regret that I didn’t spend so much time with her because I had married for the second time, which – I say – should have been a second event after Mum.

Baby Boomers are blamed nowadays for how our children are. How they are poor compared to how we raised them. How they are rich compared to how we were back then. How they had to pay for their university education when we got our own free. How they get well paid jobs. How they lose their jobs when they are behind the ball of going ahead. How… how… how… That hurts me to see that, read that, be told that. I’ve argued with other people from different eras who would comment about people like me. They didn’t know, or didn’t care. I brought my kids up as a single parent. I always thought I did pretty well. I was also poor, but I paid for the things my kids wanted to do. I was also stupid to “fall in love” for my second marriage (11 years after I had broken off the first one: 11 years should have taught me).

Why am I writing this? Because I am old. How old do you think your parents are before you look on them as old? In the PA Hospital before I went in for surgery I was 57. They told me I was young. My daughter didn’t believe that. These days I accept that I’m old.

Chapin’s song upsets me. This happens the same way that I treated my own parents. Now my children treat me that way, and it frustrates the hell out of me. I don’t blame my kids, but I get annoyed if they expect me to visit them rather than them coming to visit me. I get annoyed when I think of the aphasia I suffer from, which I know has recovered a lot but is still there. I get annoyed when my rental place treats me like I don’t count, expecting me to simply find somewhere new – never mind that I need to take my dog! Yes, that’s another post – has been.

Last night I saw an ABC program which interviewed Rutger Bregman about his view that 15 weeks paid work would spread all work around the world. That is so good! I have been aware of the Universal Basic Income and think that getting Bregman’s book might help me to understand. It needs to help so many other people understand what is happening in this world! 1% people are rich and don’t care about what happens within any other generation. What I have wrote about today is that I am a Baby Boomer, I am not at fault for what is happening in this world, I have previously written a post about population, posts about rentals, posts about homeless and unemployment and NDIS and so much more.

Harry Chapin’s song is still correct. 1974 isn’t far away. Too close for comfort. Be sure you understand Chapin’s song. And Bregman’s suggestion which could fix this world.

If you want it to.

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