Generation X: Latchkey Kids?
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By: Kimberly Cassell
Generation Xers ARE individuals born between 1965 and 1980. Also called the Boomerang Generation because some found themselves having to move back home after college, they saw the increasing divorce rate, Watergate and the recession of the ‘80s.
Marjorie J. Brown is 46 and lives in Concord. A graduate of NC State University and UNC Chapel Hill Law School, she has her own practice locally, specializing in estate planning and administration, and elder law.
According to valueoptions.com, “Generation X was pushed toward adulthood at an age earlier than any other recent generation. This generation found themselves home alone and taking care of themselves and their siblings while their parents worked. They were not coddled for every emotional need and want. Autonomy and self-reliance, rather than respect for authority, was a natural byproduct of the Generation X childhood.”
CM: Where is your hometown; how long have you lived in Cabarrus County?
Marjorie: I say it’s Durham because my dad worked for IBM; I went to 11 schools in 13 years. I have been in Cabarrus County since 2002. My husband was in the Navy and he’s a physician. He applied for a position at, then, NorthEast Medical Center.
CM: How would you describe your personality?
CM: What is your definition of family?
Marjorie: In my profession I see all sorts of blends of people. I’ve seen the worst of people and the best. Family is a loving unit of people that honor and cherish each other.
CM: Are your parents married, divorced or deceased?
Marjorie: Married. They just celebrated their 50th anniversary.
CM: How old were you when you got your first job? What was it?
Marjorie: I babysat (in Florida) on a regular basis when I was 14. Jump ahead to high school – I went to a Science/Math school and worked in the cafeteria. Then IBM provided me with a job each summer…in the library, warehouse for office supplies and then as a receptionist. I say I worked in a glass bubble. They had to install a glass enclosure after someone shot up the place.
I worked three jobs in college. Back then, credit cards were offered to students all the time. I accumulated a lot of credit card debt but wouldn’t tell my parents.
CM: How important is education to you?
Marjorie: Extremely important. I grew up where no college was not an option. And my kids are growing up where no college is not an option.
CM: Are you married, single, divorced?
Marjorie: I’ve been married for 20 years.
CM: How old were you when you got married?
Marjorie: Twenty-six, right after I graduated from law school.
CM: Do you have any children? If so, how many?
Marjorie: Two sophomores – one in high school and one in college.
CM: What are your thoughts about children before marriage?
Marjorie: I believe in marriage before children. It may sound old-fashioned, but it’s how I was raised and what I believe. I’m raising my children to believe the same thing. In my mind, it’s basically your life and I can’t impose my judgment upon anybody. If you’re in your 20s and you decide you want a child and you’re financially stable, that’s your decision.
CM: Tell us about your law practice.
Marjorie: I have been practicing for 20 years. I worked for a non-profit trade association for the first five years in the DC area. The military moved us and I started my own practice.
We sometimes work from home and we have summer hours. My phone is on vibrate during meetings with clients but if I see the school’s phone number on my phone, I’ll excuse myself. Family comes first.
CM: What has been your most radical fashion trend?
Marjorie: I don’t think I have any; I didn’t have big hair in the ‘80s. My mom made our clothes and had my sister and I matching. When I reached my teens, I went out and bought my own but I don’t think I was radical.
CM: Do you rent or own (home, car)?
Marjorie: I own both. I see people who lease and trade in their car regularly, but I don’t like having a car payment.
CM: What do you do for fun?
Marjorie: I love to read. And I’m a Girl Scout leader.
CM: What is your definition of happiness; success?
Marjorie: My success equals happiness. Happiness is knowing who you are. I don’t equate it to finances or to ‘stuff.’
CM: How often do you read a book? Physical, eBook or audio?
Marjorie: When we lived in DC, I always had a book in my car with me. If there was a traffic jam, I could pull it out and read because I knew we weren’t going anywhere for a while. When my kids were younger, we did books on tape so we all could listen to them. But my kids and I still love the feel of turning the pages.
CM: How important are the Internet and social media to you?
Marjorie: I use social media primarily to stalk my kids. I post important information on Facebook but I don’t post a lot. I do other social media because I’m a mom of two daughters and I want to make sure they don’t put out anything inappropriate. Same with my Girl Scouts (6th to 12th graders). I don’t have my own Instagram account, but my youngest daughter does.
CM: What’s your favorite way to com-municate with friends/family? Do you have a landline phone in your home?
Marjorie: Phone first, then I can bluetooth, email and text. I text to get those really quick messages out. Landline? Yes, I do.
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.
Social Topics (abortion, gay rights, race relations, transgender, etc.)
Marjorie: I want to rank all of them as no. 1. They’re all so interconnected. Politics impacts religion. Terrorism spawns from all of them except maybe the environment. It’s hard to pick one.
CM: Have you thought about your retirement?
Marjorie: I work in estate planning, so yes, yes, yes. In all sorts of aspects that I don’t think most people think about it.
CM: Have you started preparing for it?
Marjorie: Yes, because of my work. I know the importance of it because you reach that age…in my world, I help apply for Medicaid. Then a health issue arises and the family is scrambling, trying to figure out how to pay for it.
CM: What do you anticipate your retirement will be like?
Marjorie: Sitting down with a book, traveling would be nice. It depends on what’s going on with my family. My daughter always thought I worked for her school (there a lot), but I want to meet the teachers, make sure they know who my kids are. My career path is different. I went from part-time to full-time just a few years ago. I can see my husband cutting back and I’m still going. My husband wants to be 60ish when he retires.