It was a time when most adults were busy struggling to provide for their families after the recession of the late 70s and early 80s; many children were left home alone for the first time. It was a time before widespread affordable childcare but after expected extended family support.
Parents consumed with combating inflation were desperate to balance raising children with rising costs. It was an adult-focused world. We were all trying to adapt to a changing family structure.
Many of us came home to empty houses but mounting chores. Left to our own devices, we acquired traits we would later utilize. Social media wasn’t there to keep us company or answer our questions. Google never assisted with homework, explained how to fix broken things, or told us our emotions or hair cut were normal.
Our parents didn’t have the opportunity to hover. We learned early to fend for ourselves and our siblings. Unlocked schools and death-defying playgrounds weren’t assessed or discussed as a threat. Participation awards did not exist. You either won or lost, passed or failed.
Many of us dreamed of becoming astronauts, doing the impossible, and studying the stars, as if there was a story only we could read. Until the day we awaited a spaceship launch that held our dreams and aspirations alongside seven of our heroes. Months of anticipation led to what would become a day when our generation sat in the sunlit silence. Palpable feelings of excitement degenerated into confusion and anxiety; teachers abruptly shut off televisions and ushered us back to our day. A memory that bonds us all still. It wouldn’t be the last time we saw the unthinkable.
Our childhood forced us to be independent, solve problems, and take risks, in turn encouraging entrepreneurial prowess, critical thinking, and operating as the peaceful middle child between the Boomers and Millenials. We are latchkey kids.
Allow us the nostalgia of the 2022 SuperBowl halftime show. Let us argue the east coast versus west coast talent. Give us this time to relive the more carefree portion of our childhood, a time that we lost ourselves in narratives that rang out truths we weren’t allowed to speak. Allow us to enjoy seeing performers that taught us more about geography and sociology than our underfunded schools ever could.
Hold your laughter, eye rolls, and disdain for our chills, head bobbing, and outdated gestures. The celebrities you see on stage represent more than a musical genre. Their angst and pride resonant more than the lyrics we all can repeat at will.
No, they are not the Beatles. They are not Taylor Swift. They never claimed to be disciples of morality or role models for the masses. Each generation rebels in its own way with a language only it understands.
We will never say we had it more difficult than any other generation. We have never been proponents of self-pity. We don’t boast of being the best; however, at that moment, every one of us felt a momentary connection with a more carefree time in a pre-pandemic world.
We felt a sense of pride that even we couldn’t articulate or define. Exhausted moms felt young, overwhelmed dads nodded their heads to the beat. We attempted dance moves, sang word for word, and shared a smile with an entire population.
As silly as it may seem, we were able to transform our living rooms into a stage where Generation X marked the spot.
Cherimie Crane Weatherford is the owner/founder of SugarBelle, a long-time real estate broker and a lover of the obscurities of southern culture. To contact her with praise and adoration, email CCWIslandNews@gmail.com. To complain, call your local representative.