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Time machines among us

My mother is a one-woman workforce, still trimming the backyard hedges, and all the while sewing beautifully, handcrafted clothes. She alos still recounts stories of her lean youth during the Great Depression, feeding railroad "hobos" at the family's back door, and helping collect neighborhood scrap metal for the war effort.

The point of this editorial is to point out that one of America's greatest sources of inspiration is rapidly disappearing-the Greatest Generation, a term coined by broadcaster Tom Brokaw.

This, our oldest surviving generation, tempered by economic depression, steeled by war, shocked by the atom bomb, deserves better.

As many baby boomers like me struggle with mortgage payments, college-bound kids, and the early warning signs of our mortality-why aren't we getting to know this generation better in order to seek its counsel? Those of us of the Baby Boom Generation, born between 1946 and 1964, are the first generation to be less appreciative of those who came before us. Shame on us.

Last week, I had the privilege to tour a wonderful senior citizen art exhibit currently on display in the lobby of the Lodge at Otter Creek adult living center in Middlebury (see the story in this week's Eagle).

This art exhibit is proof positive that you're only as old as you think.

All the art on display at the Lodge is sensitive, playful, accomplished, inspired-and the creators are all in their 80s and 90s. There's so much more we can learn (as well as about the art and science of living) from this Greatest Generation-so much wisdom yet to be harvested.

Maybe you know an elderly neighbor, a widow at church, a neglected father, a World War IIor Korean War veteran down the street? There's still time for you to discover-and experience for yourself-their world, as they lived it. Put aside your issues because this is not about you. For when that generation is gone, their memories will fade away like the "old soldier" of Gen. MacArthur's 1951 farewell address to Congress.

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