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The 1% Group

Written by Michal Lancemore

This week I spoke to one of my clients who is about to celebrate her 89th birthday.   She alerted me to the fact that she belongs to a very exclusive group in terms of demographics – the “1% group” – or those born between 1930 and 1946.  The term “1% group” refers to the fact that more than 99% of this group are either retired or deceased. Hence its an exclusive group!

For those born during the 16 year timeframe, I salute you.  Please find following some interesting facts about you:

  • You are the smallest group of children born since the early 1900s.
  • You are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years.
  • You are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves.
  • You saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.
  • You saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available.
  • You can remember milk being delivered to your house early in the morning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.
  • You are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of grieving neighbors whose sons died in the War.
  • You saw the ‘boys’ home from the war build their little houses.
  • You are the last generation who spent childhood without television; instead, you imagined what you heard on the radio.
  • With no TV until the 50’s, you spent your childhood “playing outside.”
  • There was no little league. There was no city playground for kids.
  • The lack of television in your early years meant that you had little real understanding of what the world was like.
  • On Saturday afternoons, the movies gave you newsreels sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.
  • Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party lines) and hung on the wall in the kitchen (no cares about privacy).
  • Typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage, and changing the ribbon.
  • INTERNET and GOOGLE were words that did not exist.
  • Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on your radio in the evening. As you grew up, the country was exploding with growth.
  • The government gave returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow. Loans fanned a housing boom.
  • Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans opened many factories for work.
  • New highways would bring jobs and mobility.
  • The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.
  • The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands.
  • Your parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined.
  • You weren’t neglected, but you weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus. They were glad you played by yourselves until the streetlights came on. They were busy discovering the post war world.
  • You entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where you were welcomed, enjoyed yourselves and felt secure in your future though depression poverty was deeply remembered.
  • Polio was still a crippler.
  • You came of age in the 50s and 60s. You are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland. The second world war was over, and the cold war, terrorism, global warming and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease.
  • Only your generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty. You grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better …
  • You are “The Last Ones.”





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