By Lee Scott
My grandfather was born in 1893, and when he ultimately retired, he moved into one of those “over 55 years of age” communities in Florida. When I asked my mother why, she explained, “He wants to be around his contemporaries.”
Now, years later, I understand a little better what she meant by that statement. Grandpa wanted to be around people that shared the same history.
The year John Kelly was born, the Duryea Brothers set up the first successful gas-powered automobile manufacturing plant. He was 10 years old when the Wright Brothers’ famous flight took place in December of 1903.
He lived through World War I, the Great Depression and then World War II.
In the 1920s, when radio stations started to broadcast, his young family would sit around the radio listening to bands and mystery shows.
Moving to that adult community meant he could be around individuals who could recall songs from those old broadcasts and sing barbershop melodies with him.
I personally do not live in an age-restricted community, (although I qualify) but I do live in a neighborhood filled with people in my own age group. These are the people who recognize references to events that happened in our shared past and the tunes we played on the radio.
My generation remembers the Cuban Missile Crisis and the day John F. Kennedy was shot. We lived through the 1960s civil unrest and the British music invasion. And we watched as men walked on the moon.
There exists with contemporaries a unique language and an understanding of the world.
But even though I am comfortable with my age group, I still want to be around younger generations. I want to understand the fascination with reality shows and be exposed to social media. With their encouragement, I want to open myself up to other radio stations and not just listen to my classic radio station. I want to expose myself to artists like Adele, Taylor Swift and even Justin Timberlake.
Yes, I understand my grandfather’s decision to move to Florida. There is something so comfortable about your own peers. But ultimately I think he missed out on many new experiences he would have enjoyed.
So for the time being, I will continue to seek out the younger generation and be inspired by their new ideas and experiences.