Before the “Baby Boomers” There Were the War Babies……

This week I will be celebrating my 70th birthday. As I began to reflect on what those years have meant to me, I realized that breaking it down by decades might be the best way to process it. So for better or worse and in condensed form, my chronological history:

Ages 0-9: I was born in Elmira, New York. There I learned walking (although I occasionally revert to toddling even now), talking (mostly, talking back), toilet training (still one of my greatest achievements), eating by myself (not pretty), playing sports (participant in all, but master of none), riding a bike (if you can call colliding with three different cars on three different occasions bike riding) and schooling (like, it’s not really optional).

This sweet little boy talk back? Never.

Ages 10-19: I became a typical adolescent, the kind you’d rather not be around. Sports still prevailed as the best reason for living. I discovered that teenage girls were the devil’s spawn. They were mean, conniving, and hurtful and I loved being around them. School seemed no longer just a requirement, but something from which good fortunes were derived. Good thing, as college was fast approaching

Just another scary teen.

Ages 20-29: I found that what they say about college (it’s the best years of your life) is absolutely true. I still have dreams about being back on campus. I was one of the few in my fraternity that made it through in four years.

College stud.

College stud.

I also found out that Uncle Sam really did want me. And he too, likes school. After 18 grueling weeks at Officer Candidate School (the greatest culture shock of my life, going from fraternity house living to a boot camp environment over a weekend), I was commissioned a Naval Officer, went to some more schools, then spent two years at sea followed by two years of instructor duty.

Officer and a gentleman...ahem.

Officer and a gentleman…ahem.

To my great happiness, I learned that girls are not the devil’s spawn. Some of them are actually angels. In fact, I met one and married her. She’s still an angel. Next came the bliss of having two children. A girl first and then a boy. They are both still one of the biggest joys in my life. (You heard that, right kids? It won’t be long before you’re taking care of me!)



Ages 30-39: I finally had to get serious about a career. I spent the next 25 years in industrial sales. I still enjoyed sports and managed to sneak out of the house on many occasions to play tennis, golf, basketball, touch football and begin a long period of jogging. My wife was none too crazy about this. That career involved a major transfer with my employer from the North to the South. I’m still here y’all.

Ages 40-49: Noticed my passion for sports was morphing from fun into burden. Speed and agility had left, with injury and muscle soreness taking its place. My “jock” days were definitely numbered. My wife was not unhappy about this. During this time, our kids graduated high school and went on to college (with most of our money).

Notice the hair starting to thin?

Notice the hair starting to thin?

Ages 50-59: Ah, mid-life. The one time in every man’s life when he’s expected to do something stupid. For me it was quitting my job cold turkey. As soon as the kids were out of college, I decided I was tired of the travel and hassle of sales. With the loving support of my wife, I went to the local community college and got certified as a paralegal. I spent the next 13 years with county government and eventually a large law firm. I loved it. My body said “absolutely not” to the sports and now my strongest event is just walking. 

But the best was yet to come, in the form of grandchildren. You often hear that having grand kids is the greatest thing there is. The problem with that statement is it simply doesn’t do it justice. Grandchildren are God’s way of saying “thanks for hanging in there, now here’s your reward.”

These two have absolutely no influence over me.

Ages 60-69: These years were devoted to winding up our careers (my wife was a schoolteacher), and spoiling granddaughters. After we retired, we moved to be closer to them. From 4 hours away to 5 minutes away. For 4 years we devoted time to them and volunteer projects. When they started to get more seriously involved with activities and friends, we became more of a footnote for them and that was our cue to finally relocate to the house here in Virginia Beach. They still visit often though. We also took advantage of being free to travel. One big trip per year.


I can’t remember where we took this picture.

Age 70+: One thing for sure about the coming years. I will no longer be able to sneak up on anyone. The creaking of my bones and the low moans it produces preclude that. Having been recently diagnosed with some, shall we say, medical abnormalities, it’s a reminder of the high price of living a long life. But for now and the foreseeable future, I am up and about and taking nourishment, enjoying the walking and continuing with the volunteer activities. With a wonderful family and great blogging friends there is genuinely much reason to celebrate!


The perks of being 70. A typical Monday.


76 thoughts on “Before the “Baby Boomers” There Were the War Babies……

  1. As a parent, but not a grandparent, I would guess that grandchildren are better than children – grandchildren combine most of the fun of having children with none of the responsibility.

  2. I came here from Susie’s blog party. Loved reading your life story. But wait, was this posted in 2013? So that means your humor quotient would also have gained 5 points.
    How is life Al? Glad to have met you in the blogging space. Cant wait to read more of your posts. So, here I am… following you.. 🙂

    • LOL! Hi Deepa. You weren’t supposed to do the math. He, he. Yes, I’m 75 now but still full of it! Thank you for following my blog. I am on the way over to yours o follow also. I love making new blog friends!

  3. Great post Al. I love learning about your entire life in just one concise blog post. Now I feel like we’re friends. I found out about you from Susie by the way.

    I too was a paralegal, but for considerably longer than you. 30 years to be exact, the last 15 of which were in family law, the absolute worst kind of law EVER. I am so glad to be done with that career and on to my next 2 – innkeeping and writing. My first novel comes out October 24 so I’m pretty excited about that.

    I shall try to follow along with the posts and pop in now and then.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Know what you mean about family law, Patricia. One of our F/L paralegals was assaulted….by the wife. That woman was eventually killed by her dentist husband who claimed self-defense. The paralegal was called to testify about the assault. He was found not guilty.

      I will definitely read your book….and review it.

  4. Heck fire, Al, you could come out of retirement and write biographies for the Reader’s Digest. What do you think? 😉

    Love the pics–especially of Little Guy Al. Too cute!

  5. Pingback: To my wife: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” | thecvillean

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  7. Fabulous pictures and commentary, Al! You have so much to be proud of in your 70 years. George and I were honored to have shared a birthday meal and evening with you all. I want a mandolin for my 65th. Just saying.

    • It was our pleasure having you with us to celebrate. What a perfect evening. Sunsets AND rainbows! Looking forward to those pictures.

      Maybe Captain Corelli will let you have his mandolin.

  8. looks like I am late for the party. Belated birthday Greetings for the week, month and many years ahead! I remember Barbara’s dad with a crew cut like that scary teen shot above!

  9. Happy Birthday from the President of the…NBFP Club. On behalf of the whole gang – we hope you will entertain us with your stories for many, many more years.

    • Thank you so much, Margie. It’s nice of you to take time out from your worries to post this. Hope that is coming along OK.

      As for the birthday, do you think the members would mind if I took a little extra chocolate out of the treasury today?

  10. i’ve worked out what happened to your hair…. from 40 to 49 it fell from your head to your lip!

    Love the family photos… have you a big party planned, or a little meal with close friends and family (and the odd SURPRISE! guest from London)?

  11. A very Happy Birthday to you Al and the love that shines out from your words made this post a joy to read. It’s great to know a little more about you and your lovely family. X

  12. What a lovely stroll through your life that was Mr Al. You are a man, in all humility, who has got most of the important stuff right, and it always shines out of the Blog. That you get to enjoy a happy retirement with your unbelievably tolerant wife and grandkids means that there is some order and justice in the world. Payment for this glowing mini biography will be accepted in the form of a small glass of red should I ever get anywhere near your neck of the woods.

    • Thank you, ducks. I have already put away an expensive Merlot for aging. You may have the honor of popping the cork, my friend.

  13. Thanks for this Cliffs Notes version of your life. I’m putting it on my calendar for 6/24/2023 to find out how you summarize your 70s.
    Happy Birthday week!

    p.s. You are all adorable in your young family shot!

  14. Ha ha, I am older than you and I am a REAL war baby. David of course is a Depression baby born in 1929. Yes, college is wonderful, but I did it after I had three kids. Just Dumb I suppose. Dianne

    PS where would we be without those grandkids?

    • It’s still hard to believe I was alive at the same time as Roosevelt, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Churchill and D-day was still a year away. That seems like ancient history.

      • Okay and Happy Birthday too. The war was effectively over in 1942. The tide turned when Allies (America) won the battle of the Midway Islands and the Russians polished off the Nazis in Europe. At least that’s the premise of modern historians like Richard Ovary (Why the Allies Won). Most contemporary historians give the Russians credit for defeating the Nazis (a cold war has ended, so get over it interpretation); US won the Pacific theatre with some help from the Brits.) Today, the Japanese are our best allies, at least that’s what I heard today.

        • Effectively over? I don’t recall Hitler or Hirohito ever saying “uncle” in 1942. So I guess those historians mean that the millions who died in the 3 years after that were just “wasting” their lives. A “turning point” is a far cry from “effectively over.” This is the peril of writing about history 50-70 years after the fact.

Your turn to write, but please don't be wittier than me. My ego is quite fragile.

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