Tangents

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Been thinking a lot about a discussion going on in the comments of another blog I read regularly.

One very astute reader there made a comment that a choice I had made was “…so very different than the common priority system a couple of generations ago it boggles my mind.”

That comment has stuck with me for a variety of reasons.

Been thinking a lot lately about my parents and their values versus my own values as their youngest child.

Both of my parents were alive during the Depression and remember it well. Especially my dad. A lot of how he faced his life, his finances and ultimately, his demise a few years ago, was shaped by those memories.

My mom had me at age thirty-five, which by today’s standards is normal, but by the standards in the sixties, was positively ancient. She was advised by doctors I would come out all wrong, touched in the head, or worse.

Ultimately I came out all right, mostly, and grew up with parents SO much older than the parents of my friends. My different (yes, old fashioned) way of thinking made me a bit of an odd ball among these kids with hip young moms divorced from their cool as heck dads.

My stodgy parents were employed at Sandia Labs, married for 46 years and devoted to working hard and raising their kids.

This has come to me in bias relief lately because The Good Man is one year and one month younger than me. His folks met and married VERY young, and are a generation apart from my own parents. My mom has more in common with The Good Man’s grandparents, for heaven’s sakes!

I am what is commonly referred to as an “oops” baby. My brother is seven years older than me. My sister is four years older. My folks thought they were done, but I was a force not to be stopped by aging ovaries and good intentions.

To say that my father was a staunch Republican is to say that Cher is just a tad flamboyant.

He leaned to far to the right it’s a wonder he didn’t flop over when he walked. He advocated clean cars, walls painted white in any home, and one must always save for one’s retirement.

It’s hard to grow up in that atmosphere and not reflect some of the constant theme. From the time I could vote, I was too scared to vote anything other than Republican, fearing my dad would find out.

The first time I *did* vote for a Democrat, it felt like mutiny. Like I was being deliciously deceitful. I grinned when I pulled the lever.

Then came a major act of mutiny. I moved away from New Mexico. I did it, mostly, because I wanted to know what my life could be like if I got to create my own way. I’d followed in the footsteps of my parents, both knowingly and sometimes without intending to.

Moving to California was, for me, such a break out act of defiance that I almost thought my folks would disown me. They certainly didn’t understand it. But ultimately, they accepted it.

And much like growing up in a Republican home, it was hard to live in this atmosphere and not begin to reflect the prevailing attitudes around me.

I think age, living on the coast and the evolution of American politics has made me rather liberal on some issues. I remain quite conservative on others.

California gets a rap for being hola-granola and long-haired liberals. You’d be surprised at how conservative it actually can be.

I guess this is a long way around the barn to say that I know that in commenting to me my values are so diverse from a couple generations ago wasn’t necessarily meant as a compliment…but for me and my personal experience…I’ll take it as such.

I’ve worked hard to have differing priorities. To greater and lesser success.

So anyhow, thanks.

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  • Natalie

    And then there’s the Alex Keaton deal. You know, liberal, hippy parents pop out a kid that turns out to be a staunch, right-wing, Republican. I find this phenomenon fascinating.

    Having grown up in California and then moving to New Mexico… and then going back to California (as an adult), I was very surprised to find that many places, outside of the larger cities, were quite conservative. That, pretty much, explains Ronald Reagan’s era.

    Although I can be quite liberal, I, too, have many conservative views/ideals. Despite my “raisin'” and current lifestyle choices.

    And, well, my haircut and penchant for sensible shoes.
    :)

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