January 04, 2006

Page 2

Marty sometimes fought her destiny, but more often she pursued it with vigor.
By 1984, she had reached a critical juncture. Her husband of the last 10
years, a man who had said to her face that his ideal woman was Terri Garr (as
unlike her petite, small-busted, brown-haired self as could be), had made it
clear that he would not support her goal to attain a college education. A
real degree - as opposed to the AA she already held - was and had been her
life goal for the last ten years.

The generation that came of age in the 1960s and 1970s is very well-known and
thoroughly documented. There is scarcely a soul alive who hasn't heard of the
Baby Boom and seen or read stories on that generation's impact on society.
According to the demographers, the next generation is that known simply as
'X', or generation X if you're being fancy. Generation X is almost as well-
known and well-documented as the baby boom generation.

What is less known and sometimes simply not believed is that, tucked in
between the boomers and the Xers is another Lost Generation, or maybe half a
generation. Generations are such funny things, anyway. Some people call this
rump generation "Tweeners" and others call it "Generation Jones." Opinions
likewise vary on what timeframe best represents the so-called jonesers, but if
you take that part of the official baby boom generation that wasn't at least
13 by the time of Woodstock and add the bit of generation X at the isn't quite
X, you'd come pretty close to representing the jonesers. Another way of
looking at it is by when the generation's parents were born, and it's fair to
say that generation jones is the offspring of the Depression babies, those
born between 1929 and 1941.

By the standards of the conventional generational calendar, Marty was a baby
boomer. However, for years before and for years after, Marty would find
herself in conflict with the standards and beliefs of the baby boomers who
were her natural associates. By the 1980s, her tastes and opinions had come
to settle into the camp that in later years she would learn to identify as
generation jones.

Generation jones is the first post-feminist generation. The feminists of the
1950s and 1960s had fought for rights, to have an education and to have a
career, that generation jones came of age expecting to have and to enjoy. The
male jonesers, many of them, expected that the women they went to school with
would come to college with them and that they would have careers together
afterward. Boomer women may have earned the right to go to college, but they
were expected to get an Mrs. degree, stay at home and raise babies, and then
be able to support themselves and their children when their husbands dumped

As a child, Marty had planned to grow up and be a pilot, or perhaps a fireman.
She had expected that around adolescence she would be able to pick the gender
that went with the career of her choice. It took much convincing for the
adults around her to get her to believe that she was wrong - after all, she
had been right when she believed that the continents moved around and the
adults told her that she was wrong about that.

Despite later protestations, it is clear that the path Marty had herself on,
from her childhood onward, was to enter the workforce as an educated person
and become successful at something requiring high skill and bravery. In 1984,
she divorced her husband and took her pre-teen daughter Kendra to the Central
Valley, where much of her extended family lived and where rents were low, and
enrolled at CSU, Stanislaus.

This was a bigger move for Marty than it may seem on the surface. She had a
comfortable, if not always pleasant, middle-class existence as a housewife.
The family income was adequate, she and her husband had owned a house
together, her daughter was well-fed and well cared for. Still, something that
we'll call destiny was tugging at her, and she walked away from that
relatively easy situation in search of something more. The sacrifices were
significant - she would not recover the lifestyle for a decade, and during her
college years she would eke out a living composed of alimony, financial aid
and the income from working at the University as an art model. Furthermore,
the risk was significant as well - one reason that her ex-husband had stood in
her way is that he believed that as a dyslexic, she would never be able to
earn a bachelor's degree. Part of the drive she felt was simply the natural
human desire to prove him, and all of the other skeptics, wrong.

Posted by scott at January 4, 2006 04:57 PM