Jennifer with President Jimmy Carter, 1976 | via The Oregonian on Flickr.
A Gen-Xer Remembers Jimmy Carter
I remember when Jimmy Carter was elected President. It was 1976 and we were living in Colorado Springs. It was the Bicentennial of the United States and throughout the city fire hydrants were painted to look like soldiers wearing red, white and blue.
When Nixon resigned the presidency my father said the reason was because he had a blood clot in his leg. It’s interesting the things parents tell inquiring children. I wonder why he didn’t tell me he was a lying cheat because he surely thought he was.
My dad made frequent references to something called Watergate. I always imagined a huge flood surrounding the gates to the White House. It was years before I learned the reference involved neither water nor gates, but a hotel.
In between this discovery, my sister made Watergate cake, which tasted so good I couldn’t imagine why everyone was so pissed at Nixon. I was 19 before I finally watched All The President’s Men and figured out everything. These confusing threads make me wonder about all the things my kids are confused about today.
I felt sorry for Gerald Ford when he lost the election to Carter, but my dad was a Democrat, so I was happy his team won. Later, he was disappointed that Carter gave away the Panama Canal, which I learned about not in school but by watching The Love Boat.
Carter and the Iran Hostage Crisis
These are the Chronicles of every Jennifer born during the years the name dominated social security registrations — 1970 to 1984. And, these are the chronicles of Generation X whose political consciousness was awakened during the 444 days that we awaited the fate of those 52 hostages. On January 20, it will be 32 years since they were released.