Family: December 2010 Archives

Maetenloch at Ace of Spades HQ has linked a short USA Today quiz on generational identification. For each question, you pick one answer among six, choosing the cultural experience that comes closest to your own (the hot toy of childhood, first major news event you remember, the big movie of your teen years, etc.). Then the program guesses your birth year based on your answer.

What I noticed on each question was a big gap where my experiences should have been. For first major news event, they had the RFK assassination (1968 -- I was four and didn't hear about it) and Chuck and Di's wedding (1981), but not the moon landing (1969 -- every kid remembered that) or Nixon's resignation (1974). For major sports figure you could pick from Joe Namath (won the 1969 Super Bowl) and Larry Bird (with the Celtics in 1980), but not Hank Aaron (broke Ruth's career home run record in 1974) or Mark Spitz (won a record number of medals at the 1972 Olympics). For technological advances the choices included color TV (1965) and cell phones (1983), but not the Walkman (1979), Pong, or digital watches. They had picks that would have worked for boomers and or for Gen X, but not for those of us born in the first half of the '60s, on the cusp between the two generations.

Based on my answers they guessed I was born in 1952. I'm guessing that was influenced by picks like Joe Namath and Tonka trucks, both of which were on the wane when I was growing up, but were still around. (I knew about Namath more as a celebrity who did Noxzema ads and wore pantyhose than as an active football player.) The next available picks chronologically were too late on my personal timeline to be good answers.

It's interesting to see that, using USA Today's generational boundaries, not only do I fall into a Gap, so do my parents, who were born just before WW II: too late to know the depression, but too early to be considered Boomers. (Interestingly, the Beatles fall into that same crack.)

Speaking of Namath and Noxzema:

There was a nice feature in the daily paper on Thursday about the guy I've called Dad for the last four decades or so, but who's known around Philbrook this time of year as Santa Claus.

The Philbrook Museum's Festival of Trees is in full swing - and one jolly guy has been a star of the event for five years. Santa Claus, decked out in an elaborate red suit and full white beard, meets with children and happily allows them to sit on his lap for photos....

Bates became Philbrook's Santa in 2005.

"We love our Santa," said Karen Fraser, fundraising events manager at the museum. "He is so wonderful with everyone, always patient and ready to listen and smile."

Bates knows he has a good job at the Philbrook.

"It's one of the best places to be Santa because you have so many great kids come in," he said. "Most of the time they're really respectful of the property, and the best part is when you get a group of them jumping in your lap giving you hugs."

The article mentions the Santa conventions that he's attended. Over on his website,, you can read his daily reports from the Celebrate Santa 2009 gathering and find links to an Urban Tulsa Weekly feature story on his Santa career and the tribute I wrote a couple of years ago.

Santa will be at Philbrook this weekend and next as part of the Festival of Trees. Come get your picture taken with him! For details, see the website.


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Family category from December 2010.

Family: October 2010 is the previous archive.

Family: January 2011 is the next archive.

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