Skip to main content

Traditionals: Doing More With Less

Aug 01, 2015 12:00AM ● Published by Jason Huddle

Gallery: Generation Gap [7 Images] Click any image to expand.

By: Kimberly Cassell

Generation gap – a term that came about in the 1960s – can be defined as “the difference in attitude or behavior between young and older people that causes a lack of understanding.”  

 What began as teens and young adults bucking their parents’ system of authority and values has repeated itself over and over as each new generation comes of age. And with human life expectancies riding the longevity wave of advancements in medicine and nutrition, it’s interesting to compare five generations that are alive and well. 

Cabarrus Magazine developed a set of questions and posed those questions to a Cabarrus County resident representing each generation. The questions run the gamut – from family and career/retirement to technology and social issues. This allows us to compare apples to apples as well as achieve insight into how we as individuals view the world we live in. 

Traditionals are those persons born between 1922 and 1945. Also called the Silent Generation and the Greatest Generation, these are your World War II military veterans and those who lived through the Great Depression. 

According to valueoptions.com, “These older Americans hold three-quarters of the nation’s wealth and are the executive leaders of some of the most established and influential companies in America. They are responsible for developing today’s space program, creating vaccines for many diseases, including polio, tuberculosis, tetanus and whooping cough, and laying the foundation for today’s technological environment.” 

Shirley Ames is 83 and lives with her two cats at The Villas at Forest Park in Kannapolis. Even though she suffers from arthritis, has poor vision and has had more than one heart attack, she is vibrant and has a great sense of humor. 

 

CM: Where is your hometown; how long have you lived in Cabarrus County? 

Shirley: Cato, New York. I’ve lived in Cabarrus County for seven years. 

 

CM: How would you describe your personality? 

Shirley:  

X Outgoing 

Introverted 

Structured/Disciplined 

X Independent 

 

CM: What is your definition of family? 

Shirley: That’s a hard one because I think about what I experienced growing up with my family. Lots of love, respect, being very trustworthy and being here for me when I need them. 

 

CM: Your parents are deceased? 

Shirley: Yes. They divorced and remarried each other. They were divorced only a couple years. When they divorced, my dad came and stayed with me; we had a big farm. My mom did remarry; she was very much ‘her way or the highway.’ My daddy loved her ‘til the day he died. We knew there was no one else for my dad. 

 

CM: How old were you when you got your first job? What was it? 

Shirley: I did babysitting from the time I was 12. I worked in a bank in Syracuse before I was married and then I worked as a layout artist for 27 years. I was a stripper (printing pre-press terminology prior to the digital era) but I didn’t call it that in public. I’d still be working if the plant hadn’t closed. I started out at $1.25 and made $8 (an hour) when I left. 

 

CM: How important is education to you? How far did you go in school? 

Shirley: I graduated from high school – there were 500 in my graduating class in New Jersey – but I was the oldest of five children and didn’t have the privilege of going any further. The ‘40s were hard. 

 

CM: Are you married, single, divorced? 

Shirley: Widowed. I was married the first time 17 years and had three children. Then I was married 30 years and had a daughter. 

 

CM: How old were you when you got married? 

Shirley: Eighteen. And I was 18 years old when I had my first child nine months later. 

 

CM: How many children do you have? 

Shirley: Four: two boys and two girls. 

 

CM: What are your thoughts about children before marriage? 

Shirley: When I was in school, we wanted to grow up and get married; that was our main concern. We didn’t have the influences the girls have today. I still feel that marriage should come before children. Back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, it (having a child out of wedlock) wasn’t even considered. 

 

CM: What has been your most radical fashion trend? 

Shirley: Poodle skirts and peasant blouses. I still like peasant blouses but not poodle skirts. There was a fashion when the slip would hang below the skirt; the slip was lacey. My mom made all our clothes and we lived for that. Now I live in jeans.  

 

I entered a fashion show in high school. My skirt was down to here (shin) and I wore a red blouse with sleeves to here (elbows). You didn’t show your arms then. 

 

CM: Do you rent or own (home, car)? 

Shirley: I had my own home in New York and I’m very sorry, sometimes, that I sold it. I rent now and don’t drive. 

 

CM: What do you do for fun? 

Shirley: I visit with my neighbors and grandkids. I participate in a lot that goes on here: karaoke, potluck dinners. We have so many memories to share. This next one (potluck dinner) is my theme: a picnic…hamburgers, hot dogs. We try to draw people out and we’re getting there. They call me ‘the queen of the 3rd floor.’ One day they bought me a crown and a cape. 

 

CM: What is your definition of happiness? Of success? 

Shirley: Being with family, my friends, enjoying my animals and spending a lot of time with my daughter. Of success? My kids. 

 

CM: How often do you read a book? Physical, eBook or audio? 

Shirley: I can’t because of my eyesight. (Years of strenuous pre-press work took their toll.) 

 

CM: How important are the Internet and social media to you? How often do you use them? 

Shirley: I don’t use them at all and have no desire to. 

 

CM: What’s your favorite way to communicate with friends/family? Do you have a landline phone in your home? 

Shirley: My phone. I have a landline and not a cell phone. 

 

CM: With regard to the state of the world, please rank the following’s importance (1-7) to you, no. 1 being most important/of most urgency. 

Shirley: 

1  Economy 

3  Environment 

2  Healthcare 

6  Politics 

4  Religion 

5  Social Topics (abortion, gay rights, race relations, transgender, etc.)  

7  Terrorism 

 

CM: How old were you when you retired? 

Shirley: I was 62 and the only reason was because my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer and I felt like my priority was him. I was financially able to, so I did. 

 

CM: How did you prepare for it? 

Shirley: I took my social security early and I had some other income at the time. That was all gone by the time my husband passed away. My daughter knows I’m being cremated and she’s taking me back to New York. I hate the color pink and she knows that. She’s told me she’s going to buy me a pink casket and I’m going to be wearing a pink dress (laughs). 

 

CM: What is your retirement like? 

Shirley: Financially, I could be a lot better off. After I sold my home and lived with my other daughter in Florida for a while, I realized I didn’t want to get married again. I have a gentleman friend and I could shack up with him, but I’m not into that. 

 

I sometimes wake up in the morning and just sit on the edge of my bed because of the pain. But I thank God every day that I can sit on the edge of that bed. I count my blessings every day. 

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Cabarrus Magazine's free newsletter to catch every headline

In Print Family Features Lifestyle Generation Gap, Traditionals, Cabarrus Magazine
  • A VET TOGETHER

    10/24/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    • Join Cabarrus Veterans Coalition the first Tuesday of each month at Carm’s for free coffee and ...


  • A Cheese(y) Holiday Affair

    10/24/2017
    12:00PM — 02:00PM

    Tuesday, October 24, 12 Noon and 6:30PM * $3 NC Cooperative Extension, Cabarrus County Center...


  • Southern CC Joins Fight Against Cancer

    10/24/2017
    12:00PM — 01:00PM

    Southern CC, Inc. Partners With La’Keshia Chisholm To Join The Fight Against Cancer For Immedi...


  • Foundation Fashion Week

    10/24/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The NorthEast Foundation is excited to announce the 37th annual Foundation Fashion Week will be h...


  • Thriller Dance Lessons

    10/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Ever wanted to learn the King of Pop’s famous Thriller dance? Now’s your chance! Head over to the...


  • COOKSMART/EATSMART COOKING SCHOOL

    10/24/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Thursday evenings, October 12,19,26 and November 2 * 6-8:30 p.m. * $50 NC Cooperative Extensi...


  • A Cheese(y) Holiday Affair

    10/24/2017
    06:30PM — 08:00PM

    Tuesday, October 24, 12 Noon and 6:30PM * $3 NC Cooperative Extension, Cabarrus County Center...


  • A Cheese(y) Holiday Affair

    10/25/2017
    12:00PM — 02:00PM

    Tuesday, October 24, 12 Noon and 6:30PM * $3 NC Cooperative Extension, Cabarrus County Center...


  • COOKSMART/EATSMART COOKING SCHOOL

    10/25/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Thursday evenings, October 12,19,26 and November 2 * 6-8:30 p.m. * $50 NC Cooperative Extensi...


  • A Cheese(y) Holiday Affair

    10/25/2017
    06:30PM — 08:00PM

    Tuesday, October 24, 12 Noon and 6:30PM * $3 NC Cooperative Extension, Cabarrus County Center...


  • TODDLER STORY TIME

    10/26/2017
    10:30AM

    • Children from walking age to three years old with caregiver. Songs, stories, finger plays follo...


  • COOKSMART/EATSMART COOKING SCHOOL

    10/26/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Thursday evenings, October 12,19,26 and November 2 * 6-8:30 p.m. * $50 NC Cooperative Extensi...


  • Cook Smart/Eat Smart

    10/26/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    This popular hands-on cooking class teaches more than 24 cooking techniques to make meal planning...


  • 5th Bi-Annual Harrisburg ARTwalk!

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 07:00PM

    New Artists - Food & Entertainment! This year The 5th Annual Harrisburg ARTWalk continues it's gr...


  • Fall Festival & Movie in the Park

    10/21/2017
    03:00PM — 09:00PM

    Fall Festival begins at 3 p.m. Movie (Monsters Inc.) begins at 6:30 p.m. Come dressed in your...


  • 10th Rotary Annual Seafood Festival

    10/21/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Cabarrus Rotary Charitable Works presents the 10th Rotary Annual Seafood Festival to raise funds ...


  • Movie Night Double Feature

    10/21/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for movie night on the farm featuring “Curious George: A Halloween Boofest” and “Curious ...


  • Just say "no" to electronics and hand held devices and step back in time to see the marvels of ea...


  • Thriller Dance Lessons

    10/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Ever wanted to learn the King of Pop’s famous Thriller dance? Now’s your chance! Head over to the...


  • Trick or Treat in the Park

    10/27/2017
    05:30PM — 09:00PM

    Games * Candy * Food * Inflatables * Costume Contests * and More! Hundreds of costumed trick o...


  • Thriller Masquerade Ball

    10/27/2017
    08:00PM — 11:00PM

    This event celebrates the fun tradition of the carnival season. Attendees are invited to dress up...


  • Pumpkins in the Patch & Candy in the Corn

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Come out dressed in your Halloween costumes or attire. Trick or treat around the farm. This event...


  • Already the Carolinas' largest costume party, the Carolina Renaissance Festival becomes the place...


  • Come out to our third annual Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival and Candy Crawl! We will have ar...


  • Halloween Fun Fest

    10/28/2017
    03:00PM — 06:00PM

    Our annual Halloween Fun Fest in Downtown Salisbury will bring ghoulish fun to residents and visi...


  • Gold Hill Ghost Tour

    10/28/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Enjoy a fun night of ghost stories at one of the most haunted sites in Rowan County. Ghost storie...


  • Pumpkins in the Patch & Candy in the Corn

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Come out dressed in your Halloween costumes or attire. Trick or treat around the farm. This event...


  • Already the Carolinas' largest costume party, the Carolina Renaissance Festival becomes the place...


  • Candy Crawl

    10/31/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    Local merchants provide trick-or-treating and family-friendly entertainment on Union Street in Do...


  • Sweet Street at the Park

    10/31/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Sweet Street is a family-friendly trunk or treat festival. There will be food, games, activities,...


  • Fall Plant Sale

    11/02/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Garden now for spring blooms! Plants will be available for pick up between 9am and 5pm on Nove...


  • Cook Smart/Eat Smart

    11/02/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    This popular hands-on cooking class teaches more than 24 cooking techniques to make meal planning...


  • World of Outlaws World Finals

    11/03/2017
    06:00PM — 11:00PM

    The most prestigious dirt racing event in the country, the Nov. 2-4 World of Outlaws World Finals...


  • Battle for the Bell

    11/03/2017
    07:30PM

    Come watch the battle starting at 7:30. There will be tailgating beforehand, so be sure to stop b...


  • Hops & Heat Beer and Chili Festival

    11/04/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Join us for an afternoon of Beer, Bands, and Buckets of Chili in Downtown Concord! Live music ...


  • Hops & Heat Beer and Chili Festival

    11/04/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Make the best chili in town? Prove it! Join us Saturday November 4th from 1 - 5:00 p.m. in Downto...


  • Fall Back 5K

    11/05/2017
    01:50AM

    The inaugural Fall Back 5K is a new and exciting run event in the City of Kannapolis which starts...


  • Polar Pig BBQ

    11/10/2017
    05:00PM

    Hosted by GMAX Automotive & Xccessories and KCBS sanctioned BBQ cook off being held at the Cabarr...


  • Polar Pig BBQ

    11/11/2017
    05:00PM

    Hosted by GMAX Automotive & Xccessories and KCBS sanctioned BBQ cook off being held at the Cabarr...


  • Dancing for the Arts is a major fundraiser for the Cabarrus Arts Council. These local stars donat...


Get Cabarrus Magazine Delivered to Your Door!

Subscribe today!

Proudly Brought To You By These Community Sponsors