Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

A New Look at the Silent Generation

By Iric Nathanson, Becketwood Member

It took me a while to realize that the label used to describe my demographic cohort offended me. The group ahead of us, the Greatest Generation, was credited with preserving democracy and winning World War II. Those coming after us, the “Boomers,” rolled through American life in huge waves and overturned popular culture. But those of us in between, born in the late 30s and early 40s, are pretty much ignored. Even our label, the Silent Generation, makes us appear reticent and insignificant.

We Silents who are in our seventies are known as septuagenarians. For me, at least, that term sounds too “old fogeyish,” so I am going to start calling us the “Seps.”

Are the Seps really so reticent and insignificant? I think not. We only have to look at the Speaker of the House, 79-year-old Nancy Pelosi, who is one of the world’s strongest, toughest and most successful political leaders. Across the Capitol from Pelosi’s House, 77-year-old Mitch McConnell rules the U.S. Senate with an iron hand. Then, even if you think they are past their prime, we have the three men who are running for the Democratic presidential nomination, 78-year-old Bernie Sanders, 77-year-old Joe Biden and 77-year-old Michael Bloomberg.  Moving over to the realm of popular culture, country diva Dolly Parton is 73, and those two rock and roll icons are still going strong, 76-year-old Mick Jagger and 78-year-old Bob Dylan.

We Seps know that those of you in the younger demographic groups are getting impatient. You think we are too old and you want us to step aside.  But we are not ready to do that – at least not yet. We have clout. Sorry, Millennials and Gen Xers. You will have to wait awhile longer to take over the world.

Editor's Note:  Iric will be leaving the ranks of the Septuagenarians  on December 20.

Leave a Reply

  • David Liddle December 18, 2019, 5:49 pm

    As a fellow “Sep” (for one more day at least) I resonate with your spirited advocacy of our much- maligned generational cohort! Thanks for a creative and humorous reminder that we do, indeed, have CLOUT! Looking forward to your comments on being an octogenarian! Happy Birthday!

  • Bob Ochtrup December 18, 2019, 9:40 pm

    We silent generation folks brought about the civil rights movement. How about the name “best generation”? Happy birthday Iric!!


  • Nancy MInahan December 18, 2019, 11:38 pm

    We “Silents” were born into hard times in our Nation, when our parents experienced deprivation and sacrifice: the Depression, closely followed by WWII. We were “silent” because we weren’t rebels; but instead we were people who believed in fidelity to ideals, and “trying to get it right.”

    I’m proud to be part of that generation.

  • Anonymous December 20, 2019, 7:18 pm

    I didn’t KNOW there was a name for us! I just always thought I might be in the Great generation (born few months after Pearl Harbor)