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Alligator Candy and Other Gen X Conversations

National Geographic’s Generation X special brought a lot of new traffic to my blog via Google search. Also, a recent BuzzFeed article gave me a nice shout-out. Unfortunately, at precisely the same time, I lacked the will and inspiration to write anything at all. I didn’t even post Easter pictures, which I’ve done every year since I started blogging. But, today, I’ve climbed back up on the horse long enough to share some links to some recent news stories about Generation X. The Nat Geo special sparked a lot of Gen X conversations in media. It’s nice to see this uptick in publicity for Xers.

Alligator Candy

The first link I want to share is to an excerpt of a new book by journalist David Kushner. It’s a memoir called Alligator Candy and it’s about the October 1973 murder of his 11-year-old brother Jon. The title comes from Snappy Gator Gum, candy from the 1970s that featured an alligator head filled with candy. David, who was four at the time, asked his brother to buy him the toy as he pedaled off through the woods to a 7-11 that tragic day more than 40 years ago.

Rolling Stones has published an excerpt from the book. It’s a gripping read for any Gen-Xer still haunted by stories of missing and murdered kids from the 70s and 80s.

alligator candy book kushner

Alligator Candy | Simon and Schuster

Excerpt

“It was the early seventies. The Age of Aquarius had given way to the “Free to Be You and Me” generation. We were unbuckled and unrestrained, free from seatbelts or helmets or meticulously-organized play dates. Our parents let us climb over the seats of our smoke-filled station wagon, puffing on candy cigarettes and, on road-trips, sleeping in the way back. When we had a stretch of hours to play, they let us put the free in free time, wandering off to learn and explore and find adventures. They weren’t being negligent or careless. From today’s perspective, they were at worst naïve. They shared our innocence. They hadn’t learned to be afraid.”

david and jon kushner

David and Jon Kushner | Simon and Schuster

The book is also featured in a CNN story, From Latchkey Kid To Helicopter Parents. By the way, the CNN writer borrowed ideas and content from this blog without attribution. In case you didn’t know happens to bloggers ALL THE TIME and it really gets old.

Have some respect for lowly bloggers, people!

Anyway, much gratitude, love and light to David Kushner for writing this book for us all to read. And, although it’s been many years may young Jon, forever 11, rest in peace. Born September 13, 1962, he was a first-wave Gen-Xer. What might have been…

More about Jon’s murder here.

More Gen X Conversations

Gen X References My Kids Don’t Get (Scarry Mommy)

STUDY: Gen X, America’s Most Influential Generation (Yahoo)

The Liberal Millennial Revolution  (The Atlantic)

Generation X Parents: What You Have Done To Our Millennials? (DisInfo)

Housing Bust Lingers for Generation X (Wall Street Journal)

Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy Don’t Want a Breakfast Club Remake (ET)

Gen X and the Big Self-Help Lie: In Furious Middle Age “A Life Reimagined” Feels Impossibly Out of Reach (Salon)

From Latchkey Kid To Helicopter Parent (CNN)

Working Past Retirement Age: For Generation X, Putting The Feet Up Seems A Distant Dream (The Guardian)

I thought my 40-year-old husband was having a mid-life crisis – but it was early-onset dementia (The Telegraph)


Some funny tweets to humor you.


Have you been part of any Gen X conversations since the National Geographic special?

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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4 Comments

  1. Brett

    Glad you stirred yourself 😉

    Soldier on, maybe for your own sake if no one else’s.

    • Jennifer

      Thank you, Brett — and thank you for your prayers.

  2. Chloe Koffas

    I’m glad for the uptick in the conversation about Xers right now, too – I feel really grateful to everyone who worked on/contributed to the National Geographic series about Gen X. I also feel grateful to people like David Kushner (just started following him on Twitter) who are brave enough to tell the story of the suffering, darkness, and loss our generation has experienced. Thank you Jen, for all the ways you tell the story of Gen X – from your own personal experience to the statistics and the bigger picture. Our generation has an extraordinary story to be told, and in some ways I feel that we are only just beginning to tell it.

    • Jennifer

      Thank you, Chloe. I’m so grateful for the handful of people who understand why this narrative is so important to me. Bless you and thank you for blessing my life.

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