Millie Garfield is 85 Years Old Today
Bill's Dilemma

Elderblogger MeetUp and a Sobering List

Yes, I know I said on Monday that I would have more information on the Elderblogger MeetUp on Tuesday. So I lied. There was the book club post and Millie's Birthday – important items – and here we are on Thursday.

When I announced the MeetUp of elderbloggers and readers (see post here) who live in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon to be held at my home, I chose Saturday 18 September. Oy vey.

All it meant to me is that until 40 years ago, it was my wedding anniversary. But as a reader pointed out, that date is Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the Jewish year. How embarrassing for someone who is, at least nominally, a Jew.

Whether the holiday was the reason or not, only about two people agreed to attend in person, a bunch have previous plans, and half a dozen or so said they would call in via Skype. Here's the deal: It is not possible to choose a date when everyone who would like to attend can do so. On the other hand, I don't think it is really a MeetUp with fewer than six or eight people and more would be even better fun. (I own lots of chairs.)

So I have chosen two dates that have been vetted for holidays. If these are the days you have chosen to privately celebrate Dinosaur Month, Magazine Month or Sarcastic Awareness Month (they are real - to someone), I will understand.

• Saturday, October 9

• Saturday, October 16

I think these dates are more reasonable in that annual vacations are mostly finished, grandkids are back in school, Thanksgiving is not yet upon us and weather has a good chance of not being inclement.

If you would like to attend, you can indicate that along with which date (or both) in the Comments section or email me through the “Contacts” link in the upper left corner of the page. Additionally,

  1. The MeetUp will begin at 10AM, although arrival is certainly flexible
  2. Spouses or significant others are welcome
  3. There are reasonably-priced hotels in Lake Oswego if an overnight stay makes sense
  4. Food and beverages will be served
  5. Skype attendance still applies
  6. Details will be forthcoming as the chosen date gets closer

That date will the one that is most popular with attendees. If there are not at least half a dozen, the MeetUp will be postponed to a future date, probably in spring 2011 when we'll try again.

I would really like to do this.

The Sobering List
Since 1998, Beloit College in Wisconsin has issued its annual “Mindset List” describing the year's incoming freshmen. I've always enjoyed reading it and a thank you goes to Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles for sending on the most recent edition.

The College's introduction to this year's List begins:

“Born when Ross Perot was warning about a giant sucking sound and Bill Clinton was apologizing for pain in his marriage, members of this year's entering college class have emerged as a post-email generation for whom the digital world is routine and technology is just too slow.”

I've been saying for years that kids these days are born with little computer mice clutched in their tiny fists. How out of date. Undoubtedly they now arrive holding smartphones on which a text message has just arrived from another newborn down the hall.

This year's Beloit Mindset List is a little disappointing, not as shocking as some years – or maybe I've been following it too regularly for there to be much difference year to year.

Nevertheless, it's fun to read and is always an excellent lesson in the cultural differences between us old folks and the youngest adults around us. Here are some examples that leapt out at me:

• Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

• A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority – unless it involves “real” aliens from another planet.

• Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than Dirty Harry.

• Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.

• They have never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

• DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

• Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.

• They first met Michaelangelo when he was just a computer virus.

You can find the rest of 75 items on Beloit College's Mindset List here.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: Heat


I will think of all you party goers at the Meet Up while I'm teaching second grade in Atlanta. Have fun for me.

Either date should work for me, with enough advance planning.

I was disappointed in Beloit's list, too. It just didn't have the punch that others have had.

Mary J - when you read the full list it has some extra "aha" moments.

I was just saying to a coworker in my office that I had been trying to listen to more youth contemporary music. He interrupted me with..."and you don't like it!".

Well, I'm TRYING to like it and not automatically dismiss it as unlistenable, but I just can't find the "connect" button. (Note, I DO NOT listen to rap or hip hop. I am tuning into a local public radio music channel that plays mostly alternative and alternative rock, with an occasional sprinkling of "oldies" from the 80's and 90's.)

As I pulled into a parking spot in the garage here at my office building, I was thinking about this year's college freshmen. My mind fell backwards to a time when CSNY (that's Crosby Stills Nash and Young for anyone who thinks MY generation's music was crap) recorded "Four Dead in Ohio" which eulogized the fallen at Kent State shootings durings a peace demonstration in May of 1970.

I seriously doubt any college freshman in the year 2010 knows much if anything at all about the Kent State horror.

"Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming"

Do they get the tin soldiers reference to the National Guard?

Probably not.

Then again, they have their own youthful fears in terms of potential terrorists, albeit a foreign enemy and not their own government.

Besides, Kent State was 40 years ago; might as well be 400 years ago to the collective American youth conscious.

I wonder how similar our stories would be if the US imposed a draft on young men again to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq as they did during the Viet Nam era?

I hope we never know that answer.

October 9th is the best date for me. I hope it is for others too...

Oct 16th is best for me but I would try for either one. I live in Eastern Washington and would be driving I84 down if anyone wanted to carpool.

Either date would work for me too.

It's far enough off that I cannot say for sure but will try to work it out whichever way it goes.

My faith has been restored somewhat....Two days ago we purchased a new flat screen TV at a local big box store. It was a very pleasant experience because the very young (maybe 20-22 yrs.)salesperson was knowledgeable, but not intimidating, was very respectful & did not treat me like a "little old, gray haired lady!" He was very well spoken & grammatically slang, & also was clean shaven, neat, well-groomed without a visible tatoo or pierced appendage. I was just short of astonished! Even tho' he's probably part of the "Mindset" generation, he was a breath of fresh air. Dee

There is nothing that can make me feel old like a visit with my granddaughters. I sometimes wonder if we live on the same planet. This is especially apparent when they play their music. This is music? Three notes and a strong drum beat?

Then I remember my classical musician grandmother hating swing and I have to admit it's a generational thing and never (or rarely) shall the twain meet.

I wish I lived closer, but you are still too far away for me to join the bloggers at your house, Ronni.

I could do either date Ronni and would be willing to come the 16th, hoping that living in Walla Walla perhaps Mary C. and I could set up a car pool!?

I have my own list, our church gives scolarships to college students and these kids didn't know anything about JFK except that he'd been assasinated.
And no Pattie, they did not know what "tin soldiers and Nixon coming" meant. They didn't know that people set bombs in the Federal building (where my Dad worked) in Seattle or about the "gas shortage" in 1974. I too hope we never have to find out what would happen now.

The 9th would be best for 2 of us.

Haven't read the whole list yet, but it seems lame and inaccurate this year. "Born when ... Bill Clinton was apologizing for pain in his marriage" is simply inaccurate. In 1992 Clinton was successfully running for President. The personal failings for which he felt compelled to apologize didn't emerge until later in his administration. The human genome project began in 1990 but didn't produce a complete map for ten or twelve years. The list is a compendium of arcane pop cultural references that most eighteen year olds will find irrelevant at best and often laughable. Do any of them really know or care about the nuances of Woody Allen's quasi incestuous relationship? Beloit's list has finally jumped the shark.

October is much better than September and Oct. 9th is better than the 16th for me.

Thanks for being open to different dates, which reminds me of this joke...

Person 1: Knock knock.
Person 2: Who's there?
Person 1: Control freak.
Person 1: Okay. Now you say "Control freak who?"

Enjoyed the list. Yikes. Gee if I lived nearby I could do the 9th although it is the day after my 65th birthday. I might still be comatose from the celebration.

Can anyone pick us up in Brockton, Ma. Any day will do because we stay home a lot - and I mean alot!!!!!?????
Double Oye Vay!!!!

If you do the 9th, then I can stay an extra day with my daughter and join you all. I was planning a trip to Portland end of October for about a week, so this would be fun. I always forget the jewish holidays as well, I'm always reminded by my daughter in law...since I am a minimalist in religion, the holidays are not as important as they once were when my kids were young.

I will try to call in on Skype.

And the Beloit list is one of those things that always disappoints and angers me. I'd probably be more disappointed if they showed the literacy rates and how much history they don't know.

In working for the census, I learned that a large number of people -- mostly under 40 -- didn't know that the census is mandated by the Constitution and yes they are required to participate.


Wish we could make it, but assuming that our sick kitty remains stable, she'll still need hydrating and pilling on schedule, which keeps us close to home. Should be an interesting meetup.

As far as the Beloit List, it's so-so in my view (nothing too surprising this year), but I'm always somewhat astonished at how little knowledge many younger people have about history--even fairly recent history. One has to hope this doesn't mean we are bound to continue repeating our mistakes (think Vietnam, the policy--NOT the '60s kids who were sent to fight that war!), but so far that seems to be exactly what we're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this time the country's going broke, too! Ah well, and so it goes. . .


Glad you're making another run at this Ronni.

October 9th works for me.


I just came across this update. Will check TGB periodically and Skype in a bit, if possible, when date is settled.

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