a twin cities south of the river lifestyle journal
On The Baby Boom Generation
Vietnam, the war that wouldn’t end World events which shaped our lives Congressman John Kline pays tribute to veterans Growing up in the 50s and 60s
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2 Focus Magazine
PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG ROLLINGER
A message from Table of contents the editor World events which shaped our lives You are reading the inaugural edition of FOCUS magazine. Each issue will examine a topic we hope will be of interest to our south of the river readers. Articles will include an in-depth look at a variety of topics as well as interviews with local residents that bring the topic into focus locally.
This edition of FOCUS takes a close look at the baby boomer generation. You’ll find an article explaining the baby boom after World War II, how it influenced our economy then and now, and what baby boomers can expect as they age. Also, be sure to read the article about a local couple who have been part of the baby boom generation from the onset. Bill and Paige Macklin share their memories and experiences as they discuss growing up, choosing careers, and raising their family during the baby boom generation. Our feature article focuses on Veterans of the Vietnam War. You’ll read first-hand accounts of their experiences while serving in the military, how the time in Vietnam influenced their lives, and what it was like when they returned to the States. For many of these young men, they shipped out as idealistic and patriotic teenagers. For some, they returned with a different view of the world and of war. FOCUS is a quarterly magazine, published by ECM Specialty Publications. It is available at various news stands in the south of the river area or by subscription. To have FOCUS delivered to your home for just $36 per year, call 952-846-2040 or email email@example.com. For information about becoming an advertiser, call 952-846-2040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. COMING IN AUGUST The next FOCUS edition will examine parenting issues. Whether you are a parent of a preschooler or a senior in high school, you’ll find interesting and informative articles to help you and your child get off on the right foot during the coming school year.
4 7 Vietnam, the war that wouldn’t end 12 Paying tribute to true American heroes 14 Yoga for students of all ages and abilities 15 Creating owner’s manual for the body at 40 and beyond 17 The way we were 20 The graying population of Dakota County 22 Living dangerously
Taking a close look at the baby boom generation, then and now
Interview with three Lakeville veterans who step out of the silence
Congressman John Kline talks about support for our troops, veterans & their families
Finding physical benefits and relief from stress through Yoga
Fitness classes specifically designed for every life cycle
Bill and Paige Macklin, share memories about growing up in the 50s and 60s
A look at the need for elder care services in our area
Growing up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s
FŌcús PUBLISHER ECM Specialty Publications 12180 County Road 11 Burnsville, MN 55337 952-846-2040 Managing Editor Ginny Lee Graphic Design Jeff Remme Advertising Sales Mariah Hendrickson Kristine Richter Mary Jo Sirek Editor’s Assistant Lisa Miller
Focus magazine is a quarterly publication of ECM Specialty Publications. For more information regarding subscription or advertising rates, contact Ginny Lee at 952-846-2040 or email@example.com.
Spring 2011 3
World events which shaped our lives
PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG ROLLINGER
BY GINNY LEE Almost exactly nine months after World War II ended, one historian writes, “the cry of the baby was heard across the land.” More babies were born in 1946 than ever before: 3.4 million, 20 percent more than in 1945. This was the beginning of the so-called “baby boom.” In 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born; 3.9 million were born in 1952; and more than 4 million were born every year from 1954 until 1964, when the boom finally tapered off. By then, there were 76.4 million “baby boomers” in the United States. They made up almost 40 percent of the nation’s population. If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you’ve probably referred to yourself as a baby boomer. We grew up at a time of dramatic social change. During our youth, we worked for civil rights, the women’s movement and environmental issues. The world was a swiftly changing landscape as Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon and we watched Watergate unfold. The first personal computers were introduced by Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Some of us experienced the Vietnam War 4 Focus Magazine
or we protested it, but either way, it left an indelible mark on our lives. We graduated from school, got married and started families. The plight of the world began to take a back seat to the immediate demands of a growing career and our growing families. The stock market, real estate prices, and new investments like 401Ks and IRAs began to fill our thoughts and lives. The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave” and as “the pig in the python.” By the sheer force of our numbers, the boomers are a demographic bulge which has remodeled society as we passed through it. As we age, baby boomers stress every entitlement program the United States offers, including Social Security and Medicare.
What Explains the Baby Boom?
Some historians have argued that it was a part of a need for normalcy after 16 years of depression and war. Others have argued that it was a part of a Cold War campaign to fight communism by outnumbering communists. Many people in the postwar era looked forward to having children because they were confident that the future would
Did You Know?
• Approximately 77 million babies were born in the U.S. during the “boom” years of 1946-1964. (US Dept. of Health & Human Services) • In January 2006, the first boomers turned 60. In 2011, the oldest baby boomers will turn 65, and, on average can expect to live to 83. • One in four Americans is a baby boomer. This is the largest population group in U.S. history. • Half of all baby boomers and two-thirds of younger boomers have children under 18 living in their household. More than one third of boomers care for an older parent. (AARP) • Four out of five boomers see work as playing a role in their retirement years, with only 20% anticipating retiring and not working at all (AARP)
be one of comfort and prosperity. In many ways, they were right: Corporations grew larger and more profitable; labor unions promised generous wages and benefits to their members, and consumer goods were more plentiful and affordable than ever before. As a result, many Americans felt certain they could give their families all the material things that they themselves had done without.
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As we grew older, some baby boomers began to resist this consumer-based suburban lifestyle. We began to fight instead for social, economic and political equality and justice for many disadvantaged groups. Student activists took over college campuses, Events continued on page 6
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Spring 2011 5
Events continued from page 5 organized massive demonstrations against the war in Vietnam and occupied parks and other public places. Other baby boomers “dropped out” of political life altogether. These “hippies” grew their hair long, experimented with drugs, and thanks to the newly-accessible birth-control pill, practiced “free love.” Some even moved to communes, as far away from the suburbs as possible. Today, baby boomers control over 80% of personal financial assets and more than 50% of discretionary spending power. We are responsible for more than half of all consumer spending; we buy 77% of all prescription drugs, 61% of over-the-counter medication and 80% of all leisure travel. Needless to say, baby boomers continue to have a substantial impact on today’s economy.
The Aging Baby Boomer Today, the oldest baby boomers are already in their 60s. By 2030, about one in five Americans will be older than 65, which many speculate may be too many for America’s
current Medicare and Social Security systems to sustain. Thoughts about retirement are something that cannot be put off as easily as before. Some of us look forward to those coming retirement years with a sense of joy and a long list of vacation trips we want to take. Many of us took a beating by the economic crisis and find those dreams somewhat compromised. And others may feel a touch of dread at no longer having the status and security that daily work provides. Baby boomers are likely to extend midlife well into what used to be considered “old age.” Many of us will continue working longer than our parents did, and responsibilities such as paying for college or having children at home will extend to older ages. We also are likely to enjoy good health and remain “actively engaged” longer than previous generations. We started our adult lives as idealists who wanted to change society for the better. We started the women’s and civil right’s movements and we ended the Vietnam war. Through the hard knocks of life and the frustration of not getting the social changes we sought, many of us turned our idealism to our work and the baby boomers became the greatest workaholics in history.
As we retire, we are using the skills we acquired through a life time of hard work to do what we didn’t have time for before by volunteering to help others through nonprofit and charity organizations. We are also learning new skills and staying involved in activities that will keep us healthy longer. Starting businesses or continuing our education, and volunteering to help society will enable Boomers to continue contributing to the economy for much of our retired lives. Overall, the affects of Baby Boomers in the future is far more positive than many have thought. Perhaps it’s true that as we age, we face a time of adjustments. But those changes are not all bad ones. We had our time in the sun as free spirits, filled with great expectations, and a desire to make the world a little better. Full time work and supporting a family may have become the new reality for our lives more recently, but we still remember the fervor of our youth when all things were possible. It’s great to discover that we haven’t lost that idealism and that baby boomers continue to contribute to the world around us.
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Vietnam, the war that wouldn’t end BY MARIANNE MCDONOUGH
PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG ROLLINGER
From 1967 to 1971, three Lakeville men spent the longest years of their lives in Vietnam. They didn’t know each other then, and their tours were different lengths, but their stories converged on one of the most disdained battlefields of America’s history. It was a twenty-year war that cost America $111 billion, and, although estimates vary, of the almost 3 million Americans who served there, 58,220 were killed, another 150,000 wounded, and 21,000 were permanently disabled. Starting as an anti-colonial war against France, Vietnam’s struggles from 1945 to 1973 coincided roughly with the boomer generation years. In 1954, the Geneva Accord split the country into a communist north and democratic south, fueling Cold War anxiety that communism would spread across Southeast Asia. As France retreated, America continued to support South Vietnam, unaware that the conflict beginning as a tremor for the U.S. would escalate to a 10 on the military’s Richter scale. We asked three Lakeville Vietnam veterans, all members of VFW Post 210, “What really happened over there? What was it like fighting in Vietnam?” They don’t often discuss it. Negative media images overshadow the truth about thousands who fought honorably.
Vietnam vets find that many people, including fellow boomers, can’t seem to separate the war from the soldier. In May, 1966, Arnold Zach, born in Omaha but currently a Lakeville resident, arrived in Saigon as a yeoman for Naval support activity. Roy Bressler, from Green Isle, Minnesota was sent to Cu Chi with the Army in 1968. Gil Lunning, who lived in Guckeen, Minnesota, enlisted in the Air Force in 1968 and was sent to Qua Nang to work in the 2nd Armament Division. What were their first impressions? All three vets arrived at the peak of war. Within 24 hours, they learned their first real-life war lesson: getting home alive would be their greatest challenge. Bressler: I was 18, just a kid, and I thought I owned the world, but in Vietnam, I grew up in a hurry. When I got off the plane, they put us on this Air Force bus, and there were screens on the windows. I asked the driver about it, and he said, “That’s so they can’t throw grenades in.” Talk about reality hitting
you in the face. The whole time in Vietnam I was out in the field, except for three or four weeks. But even when I was off duty, I never got away from it. There was no place to go, nowhere I could say, “I’m free. I don’t have to worry.” Lunning: I was nineteen. I went from high school to basic training to Vietnam. Six months after I enlisted, I was getting bullets fired past me. There aren’t too many things I want to remember, but I do. There was one mission where 162 of us went out on a combat assault, and 42 came back. That was one of my worst days. I didn’t think I was going to come home. They were hitting us from three different directions. Our pilot had to go back and refuel, an F100 jet fighter pilot. His name was Tiger 88, and I’ll never forget his call. I don’t even know if he made it back to base. He flew roughly five to ten minutes longer over mission than he should have but found the mortars and directed two other aircraft to them. I probably wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t done that.
Spring 2011 7
Roy Bressler / PHOTO COURTESY OF ROY BRESSLER Zach: Saigon, known as the Paris of the Orient, was beautiful when we first arrived, but when we got in the inner city with its millions of people, the stench was terrible. I couldn’t breathe. They didn’t have running water or a sewer system. What solved things was the monsoon season washing the waste away. Or they’d take waste to the fields. Many people coming to Saigon for protection from the Vietcong lived in little cubicles with no mattresses or refrigeration and would hang raw chickens outside on a line. There was a lot of poverty and people with birth defects and deformities. Next to survival, what was the hardest thing about Vietnam? Zach: I remember the very first SEAL team that came in. I checked them in. The next day I typed up the casualty reports. That’s just the way it was. We never knew what was going to happen to people on a day-to-day basis. Bressler: When we first got there, we associated and built friendships, but after awhile, we didn’t, because we lost them so fast. We just didn’t want those affections torn away again, so we didn’t do any bonding. It’s
Gil Lunning / PHOTO COURTESY OF GIL LUNNING 8 Focus Magazine
Arnold Zach / PHOTO COURTESY OF ARNOLD ZACH sad, because now in our lives we remember dates, times and events, but not a lot of people. We shared so much, even critical things, but we didn’t know each other.
Bressler: We had to be very guarded. We’d go into villages, and they’d be friendly by day and tell you, “GI, you numba 1,” but at night, they could kill you and say, “You numba 10 thou.”
Lunning: We couldn’t get close to anyone, because it could be devastating. I thought, “I work here; I know what your name is, but I don’t want to get friendly, because I don’t know if we’re going to be around tomorrow.”
Although a lot of Vietcong came into Saigon for R and R, Zach primarily dealt with anticommunist locals.
What was it like to work with the Vietnamese? Because the Vietcong insurgents (VC) were indigenous natives, combat soldiers lived in a world where the person who could kill you in your sleep might be the maid who cleaned your barracks, the barber who cut your hair, or the rice paddy farmer you passed along the road. Lunning: Initially, we thought we were doing a nice job of helping the Vietnamese and protecting them, but we found out it was not always appreciated. There were many Vietcong sympathizers who were friends during the day, but enemies at night. We had to check our bedding every night to make sure there wasn’t something attached to it. I learned not to trust anybody.
Zach: We had Vietnamese working with us as bank tellers, cooks, or waitresses, but, for the most part, they left us alone. On the base, there was a chapel, and some of them went to Mass every day. Cholon also had numerous Chinese people. I got acquainted with a few of the locals and even received two marble elephants as gifts that I still have. I also processed paperwork for seven or eight Navy vets who wanted to marry Vietnamese or Chinese women. One of the vets was a friend who asked me to be the best man, but I have no idea where they are now. What was the jungle like? Vietnam combat was fierce, complicated, and fraught with unpredictable dangers, including the tropical terrain and climate. Masters at disguising the landscape, the Vietcong saturated the jungles with insidious booby
traps, such as spike traps, Punji stick pits, or grenade traps.
negative, and then you get so good at it, you start blocking out everything.
Lunning: The foliage was so thick, the sun could be as bright as anything, but it would look like it was dusk. You had to watch where you were walking, because they had these pits with Punji sticks in them, sharpened bamboo poles with poisoned tips. If you stepped on the leaves and caved in, the drop was far enough it would go through your boots. After I saw that, I tell you I stepped lightly.
Bressler: I didn’t realize it then, but most of my tour was in the Iron Triangle, where the most serious fighting took place. One incident really changed me. I was with a mechanized unit out on a RIF (reconnaissance in force) and got ambushed. An RPG (rocket projected grenade) went through the tank my friend was driving and blew it up. He jumped out of the driver’s seat, and his head split in half, completely in half. You could see the front side of his head and the back side at the same time. Still gives me the creeps. That was the last time I made a friend over there and the first time I got the urge to kill. Before that, I felt like vomiting when I saw dead or injured Vietnamese, but never again.
In some cases, punji sticks were rubbed with toxic plants, frogs, or even dung, to cause infections. The Vietcong designed them to wound their victims and stall the whole unit so it could be ambushed. The dense undergrowth and vegetation called “elephant grass” also concealed a labyrinth of tunnels, with even an underground hospital, that enabled enemy snipers to vanish.
For all three men, their service gave them a profound gratitude for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness enjoyed in America.
Bressler: It was like Indiana Jones over there, only it wasn’t a movie. We’d fire and fire, and they’d still come back and shoot. Then we’d try more artillery and call in airstrikes, and they’d keep coming back. All they had to do was go down where bombs couldn’t reach them and listen for when it stopped. Once or twice a week, they’d come in and try to breach the wire, so we were always looking for that. When we were out in the field, we’d have a berm of sand bags three or four feet high with three or four rows of concertina wire.
Lunning: I appreciate the good things in life. A nice walk, simple things. Two days ago I heard a robin sing. Now, you tell me how many people will sit there and listen to a robin sing. But I have tranquility knowing that when they sing, spring is here. I don’t remember birds singing in Vietnam, and even if they did, I wouldn’t have heard them anyway. There were always artillery rounds firing or bombs coming in. Even if it got quiet in my area, I could hear skirmishes in the distance.
How did you change while you were over there?
Were there any positive aspects of being in Vietnam?
Zach: I became numb. You can’t live in fear for any period of time and not do that. I also became more of an introvert, closed my mind to a lot of things. When you go through so much stuff, you clear your mind of the
Bressler: I can’t think of much that was really positive. When I first got there, I felt that we were doing good things, but after six months or so, we wondered, “Why are we doing this?” .
Lunning: The best part was waking up in the morning, knowing I made it another day. On my second tour, though, I met a gal working in an orphanage run by Catholic nuns where I volunteered and tried to teach English. That was the first time I changed a diaper. I ended up marrying her. My daughter was born in Saigon, and she’s still Daddy’s girl. I came home with a ready-made family. Zach: I appreciated the infrastructure we provided. I just wish we could have won the war. I did get to escort Bob Hope on one of his visits. He did a great job for the troops. What was your lowest moment? Zach was in Saigon during the first Tet Offensive on January 31, 1968. Like the war itself, it’s a memory that won’t go away.
Pictured left to right, Roy Bressler, Gill Lunning and Arnold Zach
PHOTO BY KRISTINE RICHTER
Zach: During the Tet offensive, everything broke loose. We couldn’t leave the place where we were, couldn’t even walk in front of a window. We didn’t know who was where. After awhile, my mind just went blank. The Spring 2011 9
War stories from Rosemount Veteran Greg Rollinger
palace in Saigon was hit, and four or five days later when I went past it, I saw bodies lying all around. That was it for me. I left in February when I had the chance. Just before I left Tan Son Nhut Air Base, it was dark, and all of a sudden we got fired on. We had to get down and put our bags in front of us. The Air Force responded, and we got out fast. Goodbye, Vietnam. At one battle in ’68, Bressler got shrapnel in his right calf that later required surgery. His adrenalin pumped so hard, he didn’t even realize he was injured until someone told him.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG ROLLINGER
Upon arrival in Vietnam in December of ’68, Greg Rollinger, a member of the Rosemount VFW, was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment in Dak To. He describes the “harsh realities” of the jungle in War Stories, 4th Infantry Division-Utah Beach to Pleiku, a compilation of Vietnam accounts. Among the “harsh realities” of the jungle, Rollinger experienced “the terror of firefights, the exhaustion of company operations” as well as “snakes, spiders, fire ants, mosquitoes, monkeys, elephants, leeches and tigers” and drinking from “scum-covered, stagnant pools.”
Bressler: On Aug. 19th we got in a battle just outside a rubber plantation. The first day about 50 guys out of 140 either died or sustained injury, including me. Two days later, there was another battle, and we came out with 40 walking wounded. We reorganized the company and on the 23rd secured the area for graves registration to come in and retrieve our comrades’ bodies. That was the low point in my military career. It was hot and humid, so the bodies bloated and reeked. There was no way to get away from it. Now, whenever I get a foul smell in my nose, I visually see them again. It sticks in your head forever. It’s there today. It will be there tomorrow. It will probably always be there. Lunning: I flew with a pilot on second tour. He was a year older than I was and taught me how to fly straight sideways. We spent a lot of time together and had some fun. One day he was supposed to pick me up, but he only had ten minutes of fuel left. He never showed up. I spent 36 hours straight on the radio looking for him until Sky King took over control. I got the picture of the aircraft he went down in with him standing next to it. Four years ago, I found out they finally found his body in ’93 and ID’d him in ‘96. It was nice to get closure on that.
In March of ’69, as an M-60 machine gunner, he encountered fierce combat with the NVA in the Plei Trap. After losing about half of his company, Rollinger wrote,“It was strictly the luck of the draw who lived and who died, who won or who lost. Much like a game of hearts.”
10 Focus Magazine
What was it like coming home? After the war, American soldiers returned to a frustrated country that greeted them with indifference, rejection, and even hostility. Negative incidents, such as the My Lai massacre, were universally attributed to all the soldiers and provided a dismal backdrop for the return home. Lunning: I discovered that you never wear a military uniform in the airports. When I got home, my little sister spat in my face and called me a baby killer. It took seven years before we started talking again. Zach: When it was time to get out of there, they told us to put on civilian clothes, because we weren’t going to be welcome. I came home, and it seemed that nobody even missed me. There we were, veterans who signed up and gave four years of our lives, even up to and including our lives, and nobody even talked about it. So neither did we. I still don’t come out and say, “I’m a Vietnam veteran.” One time when I tried, the person said, “You seem so normal.” Bressler: One of the things I find frustrating is that people treated the American soldiers as war mongers and baby killers. As an individual, that really hurt. I wasn’t doing any of that. I was doing the job the government asked me to do. That’s it. I think that was the scenario for most everybody. When we came back, we were treated like scum for doing what we were asked to do.
Lunning: Guys would come back sometimes and use drugs. I preferred going to the bars and all that went with that.
Do you have any problems today as a result of your service in Vietnam? As a strategy to defoliate the jungle, America dumped over 12 million gallons of “Rainbow Herbicides,” including Agent Orange, over Southeast Asia, especially in the Mekong Delta. Tragically, Agent Orange contained dioxin, considered by many to be the most potent and toxic herbicide ever made. The soldiers were assured it was safe, but now we know that dioxin has been linked to heart disease; prostate, lung, liver, and throat cancer; multiple myeloma; leukemia; AL amyloidosis; Hodgkin’s disease; diabetes; digestive, skin, respiratory, and nerve disorders such as Parkinson’s; and widespread still births and defects. Hotspots of dioxin persist in Vietnam today in soil and water, as do subsequent health issues for many vets.
Zach: I was never on drugs. I never personally knew anyone who took drugs. The media made it look like we were all potheads, but
Zach: A lot of veterans, including me, probably contracted our lung issues from Agent Orange because of the in-country produce we ate.
What about all the reports of drug abuse and alcohol?” When asked what the soldiers did to cope, the answer was unanimous. They kept it in.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG ROLLINGER
that wasn’t true. The war was hyped up more than it should have been. We were just fighting an ongoing fight in the jungles.
Bressler: I didn’t see too much drugs out in the field. There were drugs around, don’t get me wrong, and there were people who used drugs, but when guys were out in combat, they’d stay pretty close to straight, because their lives depended on it.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GIL LUNNING
PHOTO COURTESY OF GREG ROLLINGER
I’ve also developed type 2 diabetes and heart issues. I’m on 70% disability and take a lot of medication, but the VA hospital takes good care of me. About five years ago, although I’ve never thought of myself as depressed, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I didn’t know I had it. I also have short-term memory problems that cause me to forget things, including people I’ve met and how to get places. Lunning: I still wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares, especially one that keeps pounding at me. I’m being shot at, and I’m trying to run around a brick wall but keep falling down, and I end up crawling on my hands and knees. I don’t always see the person who’s firing, and other times I do. Two things give me relief, golf and classical music. I love the summertime, because I can beat that little ball to death, and nobody can do a darn thing about it. When I do that, I don’t have my monthly visits to Vietnam. It’s in the winter months that they come back. I also really enjoy the Minnesota Orchestra. I don’t know why more vets don’t get themselves to the Minnesota orchestra. It really helps.
vets, and we want to have a “Wall of Heroes.” We don’t want people to think Vietnam veterans are whiners, because they’re not. They have pride and dignity, but it’s time to recognize that everyone who served is a hero. It’s time to move beyond hatred and prejudice. Is it over yet? On January 31, 1968, the communists’ first Tet Offensive, a flagrant violation of the Vietnamese New Year holiday truce, shocked America, even though our troops managed to contain the assault. The NVA’s slaughter of an estimated 5,800 unarmed civilians in the city of Hue was particularly disturbing. Subsequent negotiations commenced in May, and, supposedly, the war ended with the Paris Peace Accords on January 27, 1973. However, during the next two years, as American forces withdrew, the one-sided ceasefire ended in
PHOTO COURTESY OF GIL LUNNING
the final collapse of Saigon into the hands of North Vietnam on April 30, 1975. Almost forty years later, most Vietnam veterans try not to think about it, and many Americans remain ignorant of the whole story. It was a foreign civil war that, in the end, divided America. In response to this article, the Minnesota Orchestra has donated concert tickets to Zach, Bressler, and Lunning, demonstrating that it’s not too late for a grateful community to welcome the Vietnam soldiers home. We thank our three Lakeville veterans for bravely stepping out of the silence long enough to give us a fresh glimpse of a war that reverberates into this century. Perhaps a new generation and honest dialogue can finally put the Vietnam conflict to rest.
Bressler: I have diabetes from the Agent Orange, plus I have a few PTSD issues along with nightly nightmares. Both Lunning and Bressler have shrapnel lodged in their bodies. A splinter of wood from an exploding hut roof lies in Lunning’s upper arm, and Bressler carries a chunk of metal inside his right calf. What does the Lakeville VFW Post 210 mean to you? Arnold Zach is the current Commander of Post 210, and Bressler is a previous commander. Lunning serves as an intermediate chaplain. All participate in honor guards, Memorial Day when they go to twelve cemeteries, and Veterans’ Day. To them, the post offers more than a place to socialize. It provides a means to honor those who have served. Zach: I initiated a renovation project called Project 90 because the post celebrated its 90th anniversary last September. We hope to put on an addition, including technological resources that would appeal to our younger Spring 2011 11
Paying tribute to true American heroes BY JOHN KLINE Throughout the year, we often have opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women throughout history who have served our great nation. On Memorial Day, we pause to honor a select few: those who gave their lives to defend our freedom. This is a day to celebrate their ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. The freedoms and liberties we cherish on this day are owed to the blood and sacrifice of countless Americans who answered their nation’s call to serve. The men and women we recognize on Memorial Day served our country with integrity and honor. They held strong to the founding principles of our nation – pursuing liberty, justice, and freedom – without regard for the cost.
“One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man,” Ronald Reagan It was 27 years ago that President Ronald Reagan stood at Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the day Allied forces invaded Nazi-occupied France. On that day President Reagan offered to the members of that “greatest generation” who were gathered meaningful, memorable words that continue to serve as inspiration for us all. “One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man,” President Reagan said. “All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.” A few years ago, I had the honor of observing Memorial Day by visiting the Normandy American Cemetery, which sits atop the bluff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel from which U.S. troops launched the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion. Joined by Senators Richard Burr (N.C.), Saxby 12 Focus Magazine
Chambliss (Ga.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and John Thune (S.D.), I helped lay a wreath in honor of those American service members who gave their lives to make possible the liberation of Europe in World War II. The ceremony was much like ceremonies at cemeteries across America, flags at halfstaff, bands playing Taps, memorial speeches honoring those who died in combat, and row upon row of white crosses. But there were differences, too: The flags were American and French, the military bands were American and French, the speeches were in English and French, and the thousands of white crosses and Stars of David stood over Americans buried in French soil. The French dignitaries who spoke paid homage to the fallen. They also thanked them and the American people for the huge sacrifices they made to liberate France and destroy the Nazi menace to the world. The ceremony at Normandy was especially moving and personal to me. My father, 1st Lieutenant John Kline, U.S. Army, landed on Omaha Beach on D-Plus 1. Thankfully, he survived the Battle of Normandy, but many of his friends did not. I know he would have been moved to tears at the sight of the thousands of white markers. I know he loved, admired, and thanked those fallen comrades. As time goes on it becomes increasingly important to preserve the legacy of the fallen heroes who made – and continue to make – possible the safety and security we, as Americans, enjoy. In Washington, beautiful memorials stand in enduring tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The World War II Memorial, the Korean Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial all serve as a constant reminder to future generations. But even these compelling monuments pale in comparison to the memorial created by the legacy of the lives that were lost by those who served. These majestic monuments cannot convey the belief by those who gave their lives that the movement of history is toward justice and human freedom. What better way to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and preserve the legacies of these heroes whom we owe so much than by meeting the needs of our veterans of today and tomorrow? Earlier this month, as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I helped write the National Defense Authorization Act for
2012. In preparing this important legislation, members of our Committee were guided by these fundamental principles: • Taking care of our troops: The NDAA will work to ensure our troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world have the equipment, resources, authorities, training, and time they need to successfully complete their missions and return home. • Providing for military personnel and families: The NDAA will provide our sons and daughters in uniform and their families with the resources and support they need, deserve, and have earned. • Equipping and investing in a modernized military force: The NDAA will invest in the capabilities and force structure needed to protect the U.S. from current and future threats. • Driving efficiency and transparency within the Department of Defense: The NDAA will mandate fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency from the DoD.
As a 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps, a husband whose wife was a career Army nurse, and father whose son has served three tours in the Middle East, I remain committed to ensuring our troops have the equipment, resources, and support they need to do their jobs as effectively as possible. And it is an honor and privilege to play a direct role in crafting and passing legislation that supports our troops, veterans, and their families. As Congress prepares the national defense bill, I look forward to working with Secretary Gates to ensure we leverage the success of the Yellow Ribbon program to provide the best care possible for our National Guard and Reserve soldiers. Developed by the Minnesota National Guard, the “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” program prepares combat veterans and their families for a safe, healthy, and successful reintegration. This program represents the best practices of Minnesota and other states and territories that are providing reintegration services. Three years ago, legislation I championed was signed into law making the Minnesota Guard’s reintegration program available to units nationwide.
This month, in its second-largest deployment since World War II, the Minnesota National Guard is sending more than 2,400 troops – the famed “Red Bulls” – to Kuwait and Iraq for “Operation New Dawn,” the final phase of “Iraqi Freedom.” The Red Bulls will provide security in Kuwait and escort convoys in and out of Iraq as the 50,000 U.S. forces in Iraq draw down and depart the region. Since 2001, more than 19,000 Minnesota Guard members have been deployed and served in more than 33 countries worldwide. As we celebrate National Military Appreciation Month, please join me in keeping the Red Bulls and all of our troops answering freedom’s call and their families in our thoughts and prayers. As patriots like the Red Bulls answer the call to defend our nation and provide freedom and stability to troubled regions around the world, we find ourselves with a new generation of American heroes. These young men and women join their predecessors who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of freedom and a safer world. This Memorial Day, let us honor all those who left us too soon, whose lives were cut short
on distant battlefields. Today and every day, let us not forget to pay tribute to those true American heroes to whom we owe so much. John Kline, a 25-year Marine Corps veteran who retired at the rank of Colonel, represents the 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In his fifth term in Congress, he is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and used to serve on the Intelligence Committee. He also is the Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
Complete the Mission - The Way Home Join the Lakeville VFW Post 210 Serving our veterans and community for over 91 years…since September 21, 1919 • Daily Lunch Specials -11am - 1pm -Carry out available • Sunday Morning Brunch - 9am - 1pm • Call about our monthly specials • Pull Tabs available • Bar Bingo - 2nd Saturday of every month • Fish Fry - Every Friday Night - 5pm - 9pm
• Steak Fry - Last Saturday of every month - 5pm - 9pm • Senior Dance Social - 1st Wednesday of every month Featuring music by the HI HATS playing 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s • Banquet room available for birthdays, anniversaries, meetings…Call to schedule • Post meetings - 1st Monday of every month at 7pm
VFW Post 210
One block west of Holyoke on Upper 208th Street | Lakeville, MN
(952) 469-5717 Serving All Veterans
Spring 2011 13
Staying fit and flexible Have you ever heard of “boomeritis”? It is actually a term that has been coined by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, referring to a growing number of sports related injuries among baby boomers. In fact, the problem is so extensive, that the AAOS has developed a website geared toward helping active baby boomers avoid and cope with injuries. Our bodies change as we age, and to remain active and healthy, we need to adopt healthy lifestyles. Getting old is a very natural thing, but people forget that our bodies can only take so much stress to deal with the demands that family and career can impose on us. If you are not extremely active, there is a possibility that you have been ignoring your exercise and fitness needs over the past few years. To look and feel younger, exercise is still the best fountain of youth. Whether you are just getting started with a fitness program, or are looking for new ways to stay more fit and flexible, the south of the river area abounds with fitness centers, gyms, health clubs, yoga centers, and martial arts instruction.
Yoga for students of all ages and abilities BY MAUREEN FARLEY We live longer than we used to. As we age, we all want the high quality of life that comes from good health—but many seniors face unexpected health challenges. Chronic pain, arthritis, decreased flexibility and strength, and lung and breathing difficulties are prevalent. Medical studies have shown that seniors may reap many benefits from an ancient practice: Yoga! Yoga is a scientific system of physical and mental practices that originated in India about 5,000 years ago. Its purpose is to help us achieve enduring health and happiness. With Yoga, we can stay healthy and productive for years beyond the accepted norm. Yoga can improve quality of life by increasing flexibility, helping to manage stress, improving quality of sleep, enhancing lung function, and engendering a sense of peace and wellbeing. Pains, new and old, can be helped with a regular Yoga practice. Yoga has been used to create physical health for many millennia, and doctors now acknowledge its benefits. What is Yoga, specifically? Yoga consists of three primary elements: body, breath, and mind. With the body, a yoga student practices various poses, and these are called “Asanas”. The Asanas strengthen, straighten and make the body supple. The poses create space in the joints, help with balance and range of motion, and improve posture. A medical study at UCLA demonstrated that Yoga helps people who have chronic pain. Another study on arthritis showed that a regular Yoga practice decreases pain and increases strength. One does not need to be a flexible athlete when beginning a yoga 14 Focus Magazine
practice. Beginner classes are available as well as ones geared specifically toward seniors. A qualified teacher can help a new student modify poses so that they can practice in a safe and effective manner.
Yoga is more than just stretching, it is a comprehensive approach to wellbeing that has been practiced for thousands of years. Another key element of Yoga is mindful breathing, called “Pranayama”. Yoga teaches us to fully inhale and fully exhale. Yoga is known to help relieve a variety of lung problems. Studies have been done that demonstrate Yoga’s ability to increase lung function and capacity, relieve asthma and provide symptom relief for people who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Full, deep breathing invigorates the body and helps relieve stress. Students who practice Yoga regularly report having more energy and vigor because they can breathe more fully. As we age, it is important to pay attention to lung health, and Yoga offers an opportunity to do just that in a scientific, direct, and profoundly beneficial way. When both Asanas (poses) and Pranayama (mindful breathing) are practiced regularly, yoga students report an increase in focus and a decrease in stress. But there is another key element of Yoga: meditation. Meditation can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. There are some tricks to reach a meditative state. Many teachers simply instruct their students
to focus their attention on deep, full breathing: ‘One deep slow full breath during inhalation: filling your belly, ribs then chest. Then slowly exhale: chest, ribs, belly, getting all the air out.’ Another approach to meditation is to use the breath along with a Mantra, which is like a prayer. As you breathe in, silently say, “I”, upon exhale silently say, “am”. Repeating this as little as ten times can have a calming effect. Any words that spark a sense of peace or calm can be used as a mantra. A mantra used in this way is like a Yoga pose for the mind, a tool to focus your mental energy, and the benefits of this can be profound. A mantra is a part of Yoga that easily translates into everyday life. Even short meditation breaks throughout the day do wonders to manage stress: they transform the mundane and bring moments of peace into our lives. Yoga is more than just stretching, it is a comprehensive approach to wellbeing that has been practiced for thousands of years. Along with the yoga poses, the breathing practices, and the meditative aspects, Yoga also is informed by a rich philosophical system that values truthfulness and non-violence. Whether you seek its purely physical benefits, relief from stress, or perhaps a way to feel grounded throughout the changes of life, Yoga offers a smorgasbord of possibilities for students of all ages and abilities. Maureen Farley began her Yoga practice 18 years ago and is a manager, teacher and massage therapist at Green Lotus Yoga and Healing Center of Lakeville.
Creating owner’s manual for the body at 40 and beyond BY KRIS WAYNE As you reach 40 and beyond, you may need to consider creating a new owner’s manual for your body. The components of fitness needed to create a healthy aging experience shift priorities a bit from the manual used in our 20’s and 30’s. Flexibility becomes more of an issue to protect our ability to stay mobile and avoid stress on aging joints or well-worn joints due to earlier athletic pursuits such as volleyball, running, basketball, etc. Therefore classes which combine a focus on strength and flexibility together, such as Yoga and Pilates are very time efficient ways to stay in shape. They also improve core strength which in turn, can decrease wear and tear on the joints. Core muscles are often termed, “inner unit” stabilizing muscles and are as important to strength as the “outer unit” or movement based muscles. Many fitness class options for baby boomers can be found in the south of the river area,
including group classes featuring combinations of Yoga and Pilates techniques. Boomers prefer this strength option to traditional resistance equipment as it gives the muscle a lean and tapered appearance, rather than a bulky one, is gentle on the joints and with its focus on breathing is great for stress management.
Another option to seek out would be a Tai Chi class which offers a gentle, slow, meditative form of movement, stressing mobility and balance. Body continued on page 16
... a place of strength and grace.
Spring 2011 15
Body continued from page 15 If you’re looking for a movement based cardio option, Zumba is a popular class which utilizes Latin based rhythms. Zumba Gold has a slower beat per minute to accommodate boomers who may experience joint stress with more rapid music and directional changes.
Getting Started If you’re just getting started with a program, many fitness centers offer introductory classes designed to set you up for success. These classes help beginners find a non-intimidating environment and a less intense form of training. As an example, Lifetime Fitness offers Foundations classes, each with a different focus. Foundations Cardio will improve cardiovascular health; Foundations Combo is for anyone who wants to build their overall fitness through low-impact cardio, strength training and flexibility; Foundations Strength is a less intense workout but helps you get off to a good start with your new fitness program. Information provided by Julie Kiecker at Lifetime Fitness Eagan
The YMCA’s Functional Fitness class combines strength training and cardio conditioning to address issues affecting postural changes related to aging and also to knee, hip and back strengthening issues which can affect balance and mobility. The class has several ‘levels’ for participants who are more fit or more deconditioned. They utilize a variety of training modalities such as stability balls, free weights, flexible tubing, steps and “gliding discs” to accomplish a lot of different objectives in a short period of time (60 minutes). The class warm up does a “dress re hearsal” for the choreography which is geared toward “functional movement patterns” rather than choreography for choreography sake. As the class participates, the instructor ties the movements back to activities of daily living which they address. Additionally, classes in a pool may be a good choice for someone wanting a gentler workout that movement in the water offers. Contrary to popular opinion, buoyancy and drag if utilized effectively can create an intense workout but with less stress on worn joints for those who prefer the lessened impact of gravity which working out in the water creates. Many boomers love bicycle riding and you’ll find many cycling programs in area fitness centers. A brand new program option at the
YMCA called Krankcycle offers an especially intense training option for those who like to ride out of doors during the warm months. Krankcycle is an upper body workout which makes intense training possible for those who could not normally ride a regular cycle. On the other end of the cycling continuum they also offer Nustep equipment for those who have had hip or knee replacements and have mobility limitations which make using the regular recumbent or upright bikes impossible. When searching for an appropriate fitness class, ask about the age range of the instructors. It may be helpful to have an instructor about the same age as yourself who can be a healthy role model and appreciates the challenges involved in staying active. Whether you are getting fit for the first time or trying to maintain or improve your fitness level, you’ll find many opportunities to become educated on the changing needs of the body throughout the life cycle. Kris Wayne’s experience includes twenty five years as a personal trainer, Pilates Reformer trainer of trainers and group fitness instructor. Wayne is with the YMCA Twin Cities and has developed programs for baby boomers and health seekers such as Tight Muscle Release and Stretch and Functional Fitness.
Apple Valley’s 31⁄2 Star Public Golf Course
Valleywood Day Break Special - Before Noon ( Mon-Fri) $27 – 18 holes walking $39 – 18 holes with cart Senior Special (55+) - Before Noon (Mon.-Fri) $20 – 18 holes walking $30 – 18 holes with cart $20 – 9 holes with cart 16 Focus Magazine
• Tuesday morning Women’s and Thursday morning Men’s Sr. Leagues available • Driving Range • Full Liquor License • PGA Professional instructed lesson programs
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The way we were Local couple, Bill and Paige Macklin, share memories about growing up in the 50s and 60s BY MARIANNE MCDONOUGH
Baby boomers are not just defined by the happenstance of their date of birth, but also by the events and people who shaped their lives. They’re part of the most significant demographic event in American History, a population explosion that rocked the nation between 1946 and 1964. Lakeville couple, Bill and Paige Macklin, remember “duck and cover” air raid drills, black and white TV, hula hoops, and coonskin caps. They grew up with 76 million other baby boomers and have lived through a hurricane of social change. On January 20, 1961, as sunny skies blazed and a generation of dreamers listened, a youthful president spoke the challenge that sparked a cultural revolution. JFK’s famous quote, “Ask what you can do for your country,” was no ordinary platitude, and two young Minnesotans, William and Paige Macklin, teenagers at the time, were not ordinary baby boomers. For William (Bill), Chief Judge of the Minnesota First Judicial District, and Paige, a music educator, from Lakeville, dreaming came easily, both hoping to be professional actors. Young, optimistic, and talented, they had no interest in the “Haight Ashbury” mentality. Rather, they journeyed together toward higher and more unselfish aspirations.
Some call baby boomers the “me generation.” They haven’t met William and Paige Macklin.
Happy Days in the ‘50s
Bill and Paige grew up with 76 million other boomers, the largest generation in history. Products of Dr. Spock psychology, boomers forged through an era of massive social change that happened as fast as the advent of motherboards and microchips. The ‘50s, for the Macklins, provided a carefree backdrop for childhood despite the “duck and cover” air raid drills in schools. Television aired live from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m., a test pattern consuming the off hours. Fathers always knew best, June Cleaver wore dresses to clean house, nobody
knew what Ozzie did for a living, and Marshall Dillon had to get the crooks out of Dodge. On Monday nights, kids begged to stay up late to watch Lucy and Ethel try to outsmart Ricky and Fred. Born in Kansas, Bill lived in London for a few years before his family moved to Kansas City and then to New Ulm, where his father edited the town newspaper. An amiable and intelligent man, Bill enjoys reminiscing about his childhood. “We lived right on the edge of a state park, and we ran all over it,” he recalls. “Unlike kids today with play dates, most of my activities were very unorganized. In the summer, we would gather at somebody’s yard and play games, or I would hang blankets on the clothes line, make a stage, put on performances, and sell popcorn.” Other Spring 2011 17
than wishing he had been a better student in his younger years, Bill has no regrets. “I wouldn’t change anything,” he says. Later in law school, he enjoyed studying and graduated magna cum laude. Paige was born in Rochester but spent most of her childhood in Mankato. Unlike Bill, since both her parents taught at Mankato State, Paige did not grow up in a traditional home. “My family had a double income, and that made a big difference,” she says. “I had lots of advantages in terms of opportunities and experiences, especially with music, being able to take piano and voice lessons.” Surrounded by well-educated and accomplished role models, including her aunt who was a nurse, Paige set her goals high, although she comments on the obstacles women of her generation faced. “It’s sad,” she says, “that young women today don’t see the struggles that paved the way for them.” Creative and articulate, Paige seems like a perfect fit for a stage artist. Even in high school, she loved to perform but was a little progressive for small town sensibilities. At a Mankato High School variety show, she wanted to sing “I Can’t Say ‘No’” from the musical Oklahoma, but teachers, afraid the song was “too risqué,” censored her choice. “My mother thought it was fine,” Paige recalls. “I just loved to sing.”
life performing eight shows a week, usually melodramas or light musicals. Paige, a member of the company, “made an obscene amount of money, $65 a week,” according to Bill. “I was what they called an apprentice. I made $15 a week and then another $12.50 as a part-time janitor. I was poor, and Paige took pity on me and brought me food.” She laughs and comments that it was just sandwiches. “I wasn’t capable of making much else, as he soon discovered.”
“People ask me why I didn’t follow up on my theater degree. I say I did. I became a politician.”
Bill liked rock and roll, not the Rolling Stones, but the Beatles, and he wishes he had seen Elvis in person. Paige, on the other hand, enjoyed folk artists such as Woody Guthrie, and her classical roots were always there. What the young couple had in common was a love of musical comedy, an interest they still share today. Although Bill sees boomers in those years as “idealistic,” he notes that, after they graduated, “all of that may have changed in the ‘70s. The movement of using hard drugs ruined a lot of lives.” Paige agrees. “We personally didn’t see much of that,” she says.
“My mother said the same thing,” Paige says. Members of a small Methodist church in Mankato, her parents were part of a committee that invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak to their congregation. Coincidentally, King also spoke at Bill’s hometown church in New Ulm. Regarding the “generation gap,” a buzz phrase of the era, Paige remembers, “Thirty seemed like a long ways away, and you didn’t ever think about being thirty.” With characteristic humor, Bill adds, “They used to say, ‘Don’t believe anybody over thirty.’ Now we don’t believe anybody under fifty.” Bill and Paige married in December of ’67, and, while Bill stayed in Minnesota to finish his last quarter of college, Paige went to Yale to complete her master’s degree in music. After graduating, Bill joined her in Connecticut and became a reporter for the Waterbury Republican. “There were lots of jobs back then, but no acting jobs,” he says. “They asked me how much I wanted for a starting salary, and I thought, ‘I’d like as much as Paige made at the Stagecoach Theater.’ So I told them ‘$65’ which I thought was a lot of money. And they said, ‘Our minimum is $100.’ Then they added $5 for working for my dad and $5 for my college degree.”
The Times They Were A Changin’
During the ‘60s, the Macklins say America changed drastically, and Vietnam was a huge issue. Anti-war demonstrations abounded, and they participated in some, but “the protests weren’t just about the war,” Bill observes. “They were part of a broader opposition regarding civil rights and women’s rights, everything that was going on at the time.” He sees their involvement as “pretty gentle.” As Paige sang, he accompanied her on guitar. “It was about having an open society,” she says, “and more opportunities for people. We were a little crazy, but it was all very innocent.”
All You Need is Love in the 60s
In 1967, Bill, a theater arts major from the University of Minnesota, and Paige, a music major from Hamline, became sweethearts at the Stagecoach Theater in Shakopee. There they led an exciting, though frugal, 18 Focus Magazine
Bill, who has spent much of his adult life in public service, credits his father for teaching him his core values and idealism. His dad used to tell him, “You abide in a community of your choice, and you are on the receiving end of that. You must leave it better than you found it.”
Stand By Me in the ‘70s through ‘90s
When they returned to Minnesota, Bill, at the suggestion of his father, applied to William Mitchell School of Law. As it turned out, this was the first step toward a successful twenty-two-year career as an attorney and a nine-year stint as a state representative. “People ask me why I didn’t follow up on my theater degree. I say I did. I became a politician.” Despite his good-natured pokes
at politics, Bill speaks well of his fellow legislators. “To a person, they were people of integrity.” He especially enjoyed his work with the judicial and tax committees. “Committees were non-partisan. We worked together, and it was fun. It wasn’t until people got to the floor that they turned into politicians.” During his impressive legislative service, Bill authored 22 bills and co-authored 148.
been industrious, worked hard, and kept the country afloat. I don’t believe it’s accurate to call them the “me generation.” After 43 years of marriage and parenting three girls, Bill and Paige feel fortunate. “We were always optimistic,” Bill says. “Even when things seemed bleakest, something would happen, and it would work out.” Paige agrees, “We figured you just stick with it and go out and find out what the next step is.” If there’s anything they want for their children, it is, as Paige puts it, “a sense of caring and looking beyond the nuclear family.”
there, there’s been a huge increase in mortgage foreclosure related cases and family law cases.” He is especially clear about the damage that the drug culture has caused in so many lives and throughout society. In 2013, when his current term ends, Bill will retire, although he plans to substitute for judges when called upon.
The Way They Are in 2011
On May 5, 1998, Bill was appointed by Governor Arne H. Carlson to serve as a Minnesota First District Judge, a position to which he was subsequently elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2006.
Meanwhile, Paige taught grade school. She had hoped to teach college, as her parents had, but “by the time I was ready to teach, they were only hiring PhDs.” Fortunately, teaching children suited her, and she’s glad that she didn’t need to struggle with the demands placed upon professors. She is also grateful that her career led to involvement with Music Edventures, an organization dedicated to inspiring and connecting music educators.
He refers to it as “the best job I have ever had. It is by far the most personally satisfying, and I am suited to it, because I’ve always enjoyed studying the law.” When asked if he sees a difference in court cases today, he answers that the juvenile area is the most alarming. “If you go back fifty years, the sort of trouble juveniles got into was vandalism or curfew violations. Now we see serious adult crimes, sexual crimes, assaults, even murders.”
The summers of retirement will beckon the Macklins to their cabin on Ten Mile Lake. They’ll play golf, although Bill says he doesn’t recognize what Paige does with a club as golfing. They’ll continue to walk together, attend more theater, and share tea in the evening. Paige will teach people to sing, and Bill will write more stories for the grandchildren.
In 1979, Paige and Bill joined Grace United Methodist Church in Burnsville, where Paige has faithfully directed the choir. After retiring from teaching, she also did some work for the Giant Step Theater in Lakeville, including a production of “Puss and Boots” that she and Bill wrote together. For his part, Bill was active in the Lion’s Club and various Lakeville events. The Macklins acknowledge their generation’s imperfections, but they also see its struggles, successes, heroes, and innovators. They point out that there were no computers, copying machines, or cell phones when they were kids. In fact, Bill observes that Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio watch “was just science fiction. Now everybody has one.” Overall, he adds, “Boomers have
Paige is excited about the future. “I got to practice retirement during summer vacations,” she says. “I feel very lucky. Some people can’t continue to do what they do in retirement, but I can always do music.” She still mentors student teachers and directs the church choir as well as the Lakeville Senior Chorus at the Lakeville Community Center. “They are lovely, lovely people. Just wonderful. We practice there and go out and sing.”
Considering the Macklins’ values, Bill’s concern for family-related matters is not surprising. “In the twelve years I’ve been
In short, Bill and Paige will be what they’ve always been: givers not takers, extraordinary boomers, and definitely not “me generation” people. The Macklins remember their roots, and although their dreams changed throughout the years, they are grateful for lives that worked out for the best, leaving a legacy of caring in their nuclear family and beyond.
Spring 2011 19
The graying population of Dakota County BY DON HEINZMAN Dakota County is getting grayer even though not so long ago it was a haven for raising families and a playground for their children. One study says that between the years 2000 and 2030, the number of people 65 years of age and older in Dakota County will jump from 26,250 to 86,000. In the next 25 years, the number of seniors will triple and believe it or not by the year 2020, there will be more seniors living in Dakota County than kids in the public K-12 school system. State Demographer Tom Gillaspy says in this decade more people will be hitting the age of 65 than in the previous 40 years. Gillapsy calls this time in demographic terms “a Tsunami.” According to Gillapsy, “The future of Dakota County in the next 20 to 30 years is largely going to depend on what decisions are made in the next couple of years.” That sounds like the county, and every city in it, should be planning on how best to take care of its senior citizens. Kelly Harder, director of community services for the county, says there’s no state money for planning. All the state money is going to pay the high costs of hospital, nursing home and assisted living care. “The solution is long-term planning in each community and each faith community,” he suggests. Harder says it costs much less to have a plan for senior housing than using nursing homes where it could cost $9,000 a month. He’s worried that the state is addressing the short-term expensive alternative care options and not the long term needs. For example, the county could have monitoring services for early Alzheimer patients so they could stay in their homes longer. Seniors are asking themselves where are they going to live in their aging years. According to a study in 2006, it costs $1,887 a month to have a health aide come to the home and help clean; it costs $2,029 a month to live in assisted living, and $3,745 a month for nursing home care. Those costs have gone up since the study in 2006. Cities and counties look to the state to provide money for elder care services. Harder says he’s concerned about the future funding of these programs because the state is already drowning in red ink. Rep. Jim Abeler, chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, expects $1.5 billion will be cut from the state Health and Human Services budget. The state is facing a $6.2 billion structural deficit left by the last administration. 20 Focus Magazine
Harder has seen a continued reduction in human services funding since 2003. He’s seeing reduction in health care eligibility and downward pressure on services for residential housing for the disabled and perhaps the elderly. So far, he hasn’t seen reductions in aid for those in nursing homes. Abeler says he doubts if there will be cuts for people living in nursing homes and those who are disabled. This year the state is spending $668 million on medical assistance for the elderly, $29 million for alternative care and $10.5 million for aging grants. Expect legislators to take a hard look at the $29 million budgeted for the alternate waiver program – one which provides money for certain services, enabling seniors to continue living in their own homes. In Dakota County in any single month, a thousand people are getting these services, allowing them to live in their own home or in assisted living, rather than nursing homes. There’s talk in the Legislature of eliminating this program. It’s tough to qualify for the program because of restrictions on income. This type of care could be cut if an individual lives in an assisted living complex. Political activists for seniors in Dakota County may want to keep their eyes on the State Capitol Dome this legislative session and consider contacting local legislators to voice support for ongoing funding for alternative care. Meanwhile, the growing number of seniors better prepare to live out the remaining years of their lives in the best place – their home. Like the song says, “There’s no place like home” Don Heinzman is a writer for ECM Publishers.
RMED FORCES A S ’ A C I AMER
VFW POST 6208
HOUSE SPECIALS THROUGH THE MONTH All dinners are served with choice of baked potato, tator tots, american fries or krinkle fries and one trip through soup & salad bar. Add mushrooms or green peppers 50¢ per serving
2nd Friday BBQ Ribs
4th Friday Prime Rib
NIGHTLY SPECIALS Monday- Burger Night 5pm-7pm & Meat Raffle
Saturday- Steak Fry 5pm-8:30pm 2nd & 4th Saturday of the Month
Tuesday- Free Taco with Drink Pruchase
Sunday- Build Your Own Bloody Mary 12pm-4pm
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VFW Post 6208
16306 Main Ave SE | Prior Lake | 952.226.6208 Spring 2011 21
Living dangerously Growing up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s BY GINNY LEE In the 1950s, a friend’s mother was pregnant and was advised by her doctor to take up smoking for relaxation. Her friends had their own trusted cures for anxiety and restlessness while pregnant . . . . have a cocktail or two before dinner. We somehow managed to survive being born to mothers who smoked and drank while they carried us. We barely made it out of the womb and then found ourselves chewing on lead-based paint on our cribs. My mother was a great cook and like other families in our small town, she believed in feeding her family three square meals a day. We used whole milk on our cereal for breakfast. There was always homemade jam or jelly to cover our toast, and that was after spreading real butter on the bread first. At lunchtime, the school cooks doled food onto our trays. No one seemed concerned about the nutritional value of what we were eating. Because we grew up on a farm in Iowa, we had an abundance of steaks, hamburger, and pork chops that would be fried in lard or butter. Our brush with ethnic foods came to realization in the 1950s when Mom discovered La Choy Chow Mein in a can. Now that was a gourmet meal! As kids, we played outside, found adventures down the road, or up a tree. None of us had cell phones and our parents didn’t have to worry about us. My brother and his friends created mischief by jumping off roofs, climbing water-towers (with the intent of painting graffiti), and tipping over out-houses. They ran around shooting things with their BB guns or setting off bottle rockets. We drank water from the garden hose or shared a bottle of pop with our friends and none of us ever got sick from it. In the spring when our gravel road became impassable for the school bus, our fathers put chains on their pick-up trucks and took turns taking us to school. Of course we rode in the back of the open truck and no one seemed concerned about it being dangerous. Our parents spanked us, made us ride around in cars without seat belts or airbags and the car was often filled with blue
22 Focus Magazine
cigarette smoke as parents puffed away. We pedaled around on bikes without helmets, played outside without sunscreen, and ate red meat almost daily. There weren’t any childproof lids on medicine bottles. Many of our houses didn’t have locks on the outside doors, and even if they did, very few families actually locked their homes. We did not have XBox 360s or 250 cable channels, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms, and no Facebook. Instead, we had friends we played with outside, no matter whether it was 95 degrees or 20 below. We screwed roller skates onto the bottom of our shoes and wore the key around our necks. We pulled our sleds up the highest hill and went sailing down without parental supervision. We played with slinkies, toy guns, Barbie dolls and sling shots. We didn’t have to
worry about being politically correct when playing cowboys and Indians or playing war. As teenagers, in the summer we spent every waking hour in the sun using baby oil to amplify the effects of the sun’s rays. Little did we know that many years later, our generation would make frequent visits to the dermatologist to become educated about basal cell carcinomas. And yet, somehow, despite all that, most of us made it out of our childhood just fine. In fact, our generation produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 60 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. Life and times have changed dramatically, but those of us who grew up as part of the baby boom generation can look back and enjoy the memories of a simpler, less hectic time.
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Spring 2011 23
Cremation Society of Minnesota Minnesota’s Largest Provider of Cremation Services
THE NEW TRADITION
What is the Cremation Society of Minnesota? The Cremation Society of Minnesota is Minnesota’s largest provider of cremation services. Society members come from all social, religious, and economic backgrounds, finding unity in their mutual attraction to the simplicity of the cremation rite. They choose to dispense with costly and unnecessary pomp associated with conventional funerals, and commit themselves and their families to this dignified disposition at the time of death. Our membership plan allows families to make all arrangements in advance, thereby relieving survivors of the need to make urgent decisions while in the state of grief. Pre-planning provides families with complete peace of mind, both emotionally and financially. At the time of death, our counselors are available to assist your survivors in arranging for memorial services, obtaining certified copies of the death certificate, cemetery services, grave markers and monuments, obituaries for newspapers and paperwork for Social Security and Veterans’ benefits. Most Society members are not only attracted to the purity and dignity of this rite, but are also concerned citizens who look toward the future and the eventual scarcity of the land. They also believe that the thousands of dollars saved in funeral costs can be put to a much more meaningful use through bequests to children or grandchildren – or perhaps left in memoriam to the decedent’s favorite charity as a continuation of his or her efforts to build a better tomorrow.
FOUR CHAPELS TO SERVE YOU Minneapolis Chapel
4343 Nicollet Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55409 (612) 825-2435 24 Focus Magazine
7110 France Avenue South Edina, MN 55435 (952) 924-4100
4100 Grand Avenue Duluth, MN 55807 (218) 624-5200
Brooklyn Park Chapel 7835 Brooklyn Boulevard Brooklyn Park, MN 55445 (763) 560-3100