The Luckiest Generation
That ever has been or probably ever will be
1929 to 1945
Jack and Barbara Rairden
In recent years we have given thought to the question: What generation do we belong to? Barbara was born in December 1929 and Jack was born in April 1930. We have been abundantly aware of “The Greatest Generation” that preceded us and the “Baby Boomer Generation“ that followed us, but who are we? We thought that our generation had been lucky in many ways so we “Googled” the term: “luckiest generation”.
One of the first few links cited was the book titled: “The Lucky Few” with a subtitle: “Between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom” by Elwood Carlson (Ref. 1). This seemed like serendipity. We have experienced similar occurrences from time-to-time – probably almost everyone does. It was that book that inspired us to relate anecdotally our own life histories to those documented in Professor Elwood D. Carlson’s book.
Dr. Carlson is the Charles B. Nam Professor in Sociology of Population at Florida State University. The basis for his book is his detailed analysis and graphic representation of the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) – the world’s largest individual-level population database (Ref. 2). He defined seven generations from 1871 to 2001 as shown in Fig. 1.
Another excellent study of generations is that of Dr. Jill Novak, University of Phoenix, Texas A&M University (Ref. 3). In her introductory remarks she writes: “In America, there are six living generations, which are six fairly distinct groups of people. As a generalization each generation has different likes, dislikes, and attributes. They have had collective experiences as they aged and therefore have similar ideals. A person’s birth date may not always be indicative of their generational characteristics, but as a common group they have similarities”. The generations as defined by Dr. Novak are shown in Fig. 2.
Now that we’re within 14 years of the “century mark”, it seems like a reasonable time to look back on our lives and compare them with previous and succeeding generations. For many years we have been quite aware of the “Hayflick Limit” wherein Dr. Leonard Hayflick of Philadelphia, PA, discovered in the 1960s that we have a molecular clock that is winding down from the moment we are born. We have found an article by Josh Clark (Ref. 4) to be an excellent summary of this subject.
We do not claim any expertise on this subject; however, we will outline some of our life experiences on the following pages to argue for our point-of-view. A brief summary of our background is described in “About Us” on this website. We hope that others who were born between 1929 and 1945 or who know people born during that period, will give us some feedback on their views and experiences.