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About the Jennifer Chronicles


Gen X Blog about the life and times of Generation X.

Hello, I’m Jennifer, an American wife, mother and first-wave Gen-Xer living in the Heartland. The Jennifer Chronicles features reflections on faith, family and Generation X, the 13th Generation of Americans. Thank you for stopping by today.

My Latchkey Days, My Teenage Wasteland

In 1999, I started my first blog on the Open Diary. Around 2007, I started writing about Generation X as a way to bear witness to my own life experiences. My latchkey days. My teenage wasteland. I needed to write about the things I survived in my childhood and youth, so they would no longer have power over me. I wanted to shine a light on the dark shadows that I pedaled through on my little banana seat bike on my way to the big rocket slide. It was red, white and blue, but I couldn’t pedal fast enough. And, I was just one little girl in a generation full of under-protected children.

The celebrated writer and historian Neil Howe said that Generation X grew up during the most anti-child phase in modern history. Later, Tammy Erickson, author of What Next Gen X?, said Gen-Xers were the world’s most devoted parents. My generation owes them both a debt of gratitude.

The Damp Forest Floor of Life

I hope my beloved children along with anyone raised by Gen-Xers can someday comprehend or understand Gen-X devotion, otherwise known as overparenting. The frightful latchkey years produced these helicopter days. We’ve wanted only to preserve their innocence. That precious-glorious time in life known as childhood when the damp forest floor of life is not lit by fear, but by the spirit of fairies with gossamer wings.

So, I found my voice in writing about Generation X. Not as a celebrated historian, but as someone who lived through it. In summary, this blog is devoted to understanding and explaining the journey of Generation X, the 13th generation of Americans born between 1961 and 1981.

More About the Jennifer Chronicles

I believe every word stated in the Apostle’s Creed. As Scripture teaches, God wants our mercy more than our sacrifice. I grew up in the Church of the Nazarene and it is in my heart forever. My father was a minister and I was raised in parsonages. I cherish many things about those years.

In 1972, I was hospitalized with an injury. I was just five-years-old and every day, a Catholic priest came to see me. I loved him so much and his prayers would cover me and transform my life. You can read about that here. Eventually, I converted to Catholicism and have raised my children in the Catholic church. It is a very big part of our lives.

Growing Up Generation X

I was born in East Los Angeles in the late 1960s. This makes me a first-wave member of Generation X. (The years are 1961 to 1981.) I am the youngest of four kids. Like most Gen-Xers, I was a latchkey kid throughout most of my childhood and youth. I grew up wearing hand-me-downs, watching lots of TV and worrying about going to war with Russia. I ate a lot of cold cereal, which I loved! Cap’n Crunch and Frankenberry were the perfect companions to my Scooby Doo, Isis and Brady Bunch. As I grew older, I watched different shows and worried about different things, but I still ate the same cereal.

Growing Up With Terrorism

In my twenties, I worried about whether or not I’d be able to find a job with my expensive college degree. The movie, Reality Bites, was an authentic narrative for many Gen-Xers. Well before terrorists blew up that plane over Lockerbie in 1988 (it killed 35 Gen X college students from Syracuse), I worried a lot about terrorism. Then, in 1995, it happened where I live in Oklahoma City. A college classmate died in that bombing. I have worried about terrorism my entire life. Things have only gotten worse.

My Years in Rural America

In 1974, my parents left Los Angeles and began a journey eastward. I ended up growing up in parsonages in rural towns in Permian Basin of West Texas; the Piney Woods of East Texas; the Arkansas River Valley; the Chautaqua Hills of Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma. There was great fun and adventure in those small towns. I went to a lot of carnivals and county fairs and spent time on the farms of friends. But, I’ve never forgotten Huntington Beach and Pudding Stone; the orange groves; Kiddie Land; Bixby Elementary, and so many other things about my early childhood in Southern California.

High School, College, Gen-Xers

I graduated from high school in 1985. There were 51 Gen-Xers in my graduating class. Later, I attended Southern Nazarene University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech communication and political science. College was a wonderful time in my life. I treasure those years and all my memories and friends.

After college, I went to work in public affairs at a large military base in Oklahoma City. It was great preparation for my career in public relations. Along the way, I have done a lot of research and graduate work in history, geography, English and communications at the University of Oklahoma. Today, I am accredited public relations practitioner (APR) and certified religious educator (CRE). For more than 30 years, I’ve served in the nonprofit arena as well as the public information officer and spokesperson for several local and state government agencies.

Marriage and Family

Motherhood and marriage are the greatest adventures of my life. Robert and I have been married for more than 20 years. We have three children, Juliette, Sullivan and Bridgette and a granddaughter, Willow. I am very grateful for my blessings.


One of my favorite things to do is collect old snapshots, faded photographs and 35 mm slides and share them with readers. I have relatively few pictures from my youth and childhood, so I’m always looking to find myself — or at least my experiences — in other peoples’ photos. I cherish high-quality images of Generation X. For me, there will never be enough, for they exquisitely tell the story of our days and times. They contribute to this Gen-X archive.

I also love taking pictures. In 2008, I bought a Nikon D60 and started documenting things I like. It’s probably my favorite thing to do. My photography has been featured in Oklahoma Today, CNN, Velocity, Department of Veterans Affairs and many other publications and sites.

Again, thank you for stopping by today. Please subscribe to the Jennifer Chronicles using the form below. Posts are sent just once a week on Sundays at 6 p.m.

Gen X

“We wanted only to preserve their innocence. That precious-glorious time in life known as childhood when the damp forest floor of life is not lit by fear, but by… fairies…”

The Jennifer Chronicles

Jennifer Chronicles

Billy and me inside the white picket fence of our dirt yard on London Lane. It was 1975 and we were on our way to church. In the background is our 1970 Dodge Charger and my sister’s old 1963  Mercury with the slanted back window that rolled down. Also, the neighbor’s Pinto. He was an officer in the Air Force who killed Billy’s dog, Nicely-Nicely Johnson. Billy made a cross and buried Nicely in the field across from our house. He decorated his grave with the fake blue flowers from the dining room table.

What a life we lived on London Lane.

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