1948 — A Good Year for Baby Boomers; WWII Over, But Cold War Begins

Linda McDaniel

Snow was ankle-deep in Crawford’s Cove in Springville, Alabama, on January 18, 1948. It was also the coldest day of the year with the low standing at nine degrees. Dad had to slog through the snow to round up the local doctor, who shared a name with a famous fictional one — Dr. Watson.

Dad and the doctor arrived cold and damp at the little two-room, clapboard shack beside a harvested cotton field  Mama was in labor and Dad was in a wide-eyed panic. When Dr. Watson quietly asked Dad for a hammer and nail he nearly fainted. (Dad’s words). Dad didn’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies, but he couldn’t even imagine what a doctor would do with a hammer and nail. But Dad produced the items, and Dr. Watson promptly hammered the nail into a two-by-four and hung up his hat and coat. Everything else went pretty much by the book.

I was the first of Mom and Dad’s five children of three girls and two boys. Sister Gaynell was the only other born at home, but had to be taken to the Children’s Hospital because her birth weight was so low they feared she wouldn’t live. It was touch a go for a while, but she made it.

Lots of watershed events happened in 1948, big and small. Some tragic, some just stuff that saves us time and aggravation, and much that changed the world. An unusual bit of trivia about the year 1948 was that the United States had no Vice-President. Harry Truman was Commander–in-Chief that year because of the fact that President Roosevelt died in office in 1945. As Vice-President, Truman then took the helm, leaving the VP position vacant till the next term. So we were VP-less from 1945 until 1949.

Ghandi was assassinated in New Delhi in January 1948, and the nation of Israel was born in May. That Israel became a nation fulfilled Biblical prophecies. The most profound comes from Isaiah — “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,”  Isaiah 43:5-6)

It was also the beginning of The Cold War and the struggle for power between the Western nations and the Communist bloc — democracy vs.communism —  lasting until 1989. Ours was the generation born under the threat of nuclear annihilation.

1948 also marks the year of the birth of computer technology, introducing the first transistor and a programmable calculator by IBM, a prototype of a RAM-stored program computer, and the word “cybernetics” was already being bandied about.

It was the year Apartheid was established in South Africa and the U.S. Army was integrated by Executive Order.

Invented in 1948 was the Frisbee and Velcro, and published in 1948 was George Orwell’s 1984. It was the year of McDonald’s and Scrabble and Baskin Robins.Television was taking its first toddler steps with Mr. TV himself, Milton Berle, in The Texaco Star Theater on NBC and the Ed Sullivan Show. Hit movies were Bogie’s “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and Bogart and Bacall’s “Key Largo”.

It was the last year the ivory-billed woodpecker was scientifically sighted and photographed. There is still debate today about its continued existence. According to Wikipedia, it is/was one of the largest woodpeckers in the world, and is currently on the critically endangered, and possibly extinct list by the International Union of Conservation of Nature.

And I will end this spree by revealing that I share a birthday with Prince Charles and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. And to give a big shout-out to others who share this birth date – Happy Birthday to you. And to all BABY BOOMERS!! The world changes faster than we have time to absorb it. Yowzer. We’ve been through one heck of a whirlwind life, haven’t we? But gotta go now. It’s time for my nap.

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2 thoughts on “1948 — A Good Year for Baby Boomers; WWII Over, But Cold War Begins

    • Thank you, Susan. History is fascinating, isn’t it? I tried to comment on one of your posts recently and was never able to get through. Mike even tried to help. Don’t know what we did wrong. Still enjoying your travels. Hope to blaze some trails of our own before the year is out.

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