About Those Travelin’ Boomers

Nathaniel_Russell_House_(Front_Façade) Nathaniel_Russell_House_(Stair)Cinderella

Sarah_Duke_GardensWhat do you prefer when you travel—muscials, historic homes or beautiful gardens? All three are at the top of my list.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella has everything you like from the original story as well as some new clever twists that make it perfect for adults, too. Broadway’s latest version has everything: gorgeous, amazing sets and costumes, romance–and not for Cinderella alone–great music, exquisite acting, hilarious lines, and a new theme of forgiveness. Carly Rae Jepson as Cindy, Fran Drescher as the mean stepmother, and Victoria Clark as the Fairy Godmother were show-stopping great! I want to see it again!

Charleston, SC is a lovely, quaint city dripping with history. As far as homes go, the Nathaniel Russell mansion is one not to miss. Mr. Russell, a Rhode Island merchant, spent $80,000 on the house before 1809. He and his wife Sarah lived there in the early nineteenth century, and the home stayed in their family until 1859. The stunning interior has a self-supporting, elliptical staircase that spans three stories.

And finally, stroll through the breathtaking Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, NC to experience peace, beauty and a wealth of diversity of flowers, trees and landscaping. From peonies to lilies to wisteria and roses and maple trees to fish ponds, the gardens show off North Carolina’s natural beauty. Some of the wide open spaces offer free range for Frisbee enthusiasts, picnicking or just lounging.

What do you like to see on your vacations?

A Picture is Worth….

John Jr Salute

John, Junior Salute

At the Newseum I saw a quote by Eddie Adams, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist: “If it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips your heart out, that’s a good picture.”

How do these pictures tug at  your heart?

TWC Tower

World Trade Center 9/11/01

Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima 1945


Memorable Error 1948

Retiring No 3

Babe Ruth’s Farewell 1948

Fleeing Kosovo

Fleeing Kosovo 1999

Joyful Reunion

Joyful Homecoming 1973

Barcelona Olympics

Barcelona Olympics 1992

More Baby Boomer Travelin’ News


Berlin Wall — Freedom Side


On our 26-day road trip we stopped in our country’s capital.

There are more than a zillion exhibits, monuments, and museums to occupy one’s time on the mall in Washington D.C.—all a must-see.  For today, I want to focus on one—the Newseum, a 250,000 square foot museum that portrays five hundred years of news—from the 15th century to this very minute.  The Newseum’s goal is to promote the public’s awareness and understanding of the First Amendment and the free press. It was beautiful, intimidating, and amazing. My head almost spun off its axis trying to take it all in.

One exhibit I couldn’t get off my mind was a piece of the Berlin Wall. Yes, the real thing, not a replica. In the wee hours of darkness on August 13, 1961, the wall went up, and pronounced imprisonment to the East Germans for twenty-eight years.  Finally  on November 9, 1989, President Reagan said the memorable words: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The travel restrictions were unexpectedly lifted. The news spread like wildfire, and Berliners on both sides of the wall, climbed on top of it and danced their hearts out. With singing and the sharing of champagne they celebrated their new-found freedom.

I dislike and do not understand the practice of smearing graffiti on anything, but when I look at this Wall of Shame, and see the graffiti on one side only—the freedom side–and the other side bare, devoid of human emotion, representing slavery to Communism, I appreciate my freedom a little more. Those of us who have the right to express ourselves to speak against tyranny are hugely blessed.

An interesting quote: “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.” Abraham Lincoln.

What is a headline or noteworthy news event that comes to your mind? It can be recent or one that happened centuries before you were born.Lana Newman Kruse

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”– The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Baby Boomers Like to be on the Go!

Lana Newman Kruse



Baby Boomers with Lana Newman Kruse

Last week I mentioned that Pa Cartwright (or Lorne Greene) of Bonanza was television’s second favorite dad. Did you guess America’s number one favorite? Ta-da! It’s a tie! Andy Griffith and Bill Cosby! Both set great examples as loving but firm fathers with sprinkles of humor to boot.

A few weeks ago I said Baby

George & Martha


Boomers love to travel, so I thought I would tell you about my husband David and my recent twenty-six day road trip –- a first for us. We drove from Texas to New Jersey, through eleven states and the District of Columbia, and took a train to New York City. Roundtrip encompassed 4,224 miles on the odometer. When I travel by car, I’m always impressed by the beauty of our great United States and the friendliness of the people everywhere. And, I love that with each boundary line crossed, a new culture presented itself, along with a new accent, and the region’s unique history heralded. How does that happen?



In the South we enjoyed the canopy of leafy giants as we hurried down the highway (the dogwood and magnolia trees were in bloom, along with azalea bushes and an expanse of tulips in neighborhoods—does that sound like a southern novel in the making?). We visited huge plantation homes and dipped our toes in the Atlantic. We reveled in our country’s birth in some of the original thirteen colonies, and marveled at Mount Vernon (George Washington really slept there). George and Martha Washington must have relished their stunning view of the Potomac! I know we did.

What is the longest trip you’ve taken, in miles and/o??????????r time? This was ours. What time of year is your favorite to travel and why? What views in the U.S. have impressed you?


More Westerns with Lana Newman Kruse!

Gunsmoke 1 The Cartwrights

And, then there was Bonanza! White-haired Pa (Ben Cartwright, portrayed by Lorne Greene) has three eligible bachelor sons—Adam (Pernell Roberts), Hoss (Dan Blocker) and Little Joe (Michael Landon) to help him run the ranch, protect their beloved land (all 600, 000 acres from Virginia City to near Lake Tahoe, Nevada) and to provide love interests for female viewers of various ages. It was the second longest-running western (Which is the first?) and concentrated on characters and morality rather than on shoot ‘em up action. Each son had a different mother, and Pa had lost each wife a short time after she had given birth. Sadly all three sons’ sweethearts or wives met the same fate as their moms. A Cartwright curse? Why couldn’t those handsome, sweet men, stay married?

The show ran from 1959-1973 and the time period in the program was from 1861-1867, which of course included the Civil War. Although it was listed in the Top 60 Dramas of All Times, it included comedy as well.

Ben Cartwright as Pa was television’s second favorite dad? Who’s TV’s favorite papa?

Drum roll, please! Longest running TV western was…did you guess it? GLana Newman Kruseunsmoke! Created by Norman MacDonnell and John Meston. The TV version ran for a startling twenty years, from 1955-1975! And, the program was on radio from 1952-1961. That’s a whole lot of Dodge City in the 1800s.

Six foot seven James Arness (the tallest leading man on TV…but never got the girl!) played U.S. Marshall Matt Dillon who attempted to use ingenuity more than a gun. Who could forget his lanky, limping deputy Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver of, “Mr. Dillon, Mr. Dillon” fame)? At six two Weaver needed to appear much shorter than Arness so he came up with the limp he decided was due to an injury received during the Civil War. He also gave himself his unforgettable, lovable twang.

The show also included saloon owner Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake), love interest of Matt Dillon but never his wife, “Doc” Galen Adams (played by Milburn Stone) and Quint Asper, “halfbreed” blacksmith (played by Burt Reynolds).

Which of these longstanding westerns was your favorite and why? Which characters did you like most?



Westerns Were King with Lana Newman Kruse!

Lana Newman KruseIn the days of yore there were plenty of television proThe Lone Rangergrams the whole family watched together. Westerns were king, so we’ll start with one of those. How about The Lone Ranger? Does “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a Hi-Yo, Silver!” ring a bell? A masked rider and his faithful Indian companion Tonto fought for law and order and made Kemo Sabe and Hi-Yo, Silver go down in history. The story began with a Texas Ranger in the American Old West. Who was that masked man? On T.V. it was Clayton Moore. Most remembered Tonto was Jay Silverheels, a real life Mohawk from Six Nations Indian Reserve in Ontario, Canada. As the most popular story goes a group of six Texas Rangers were ambushed by outlaws led by a man named Cavendish. All but one of the Rangers was killed. Tonto happened upon this lone survivor of the Six Texas Rangers (hence the name Lone Ranger was given, not because he worked alone) and nursed him back to health. The Indian recognized the Ranger John Reid from their childhood when Reid saved the Indian’s life and gave him a horse. Tonto gave Reid a ring and the name Kemo Sabe, meaning trusty scout.

John Reid’s older brother Daniel, the leader of the Texas Ranger group of six, was killed in the ambush. To honor his brother and to hide his own identity John fashioned a mask from Daniel’s vest. To help with the deception Tonto dug a sixth grave.

Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels took their example to children so seriously, they compiled the following moral code by which they strove to live themselves.

I believe…

  • That to have a friend, a man must be one.
  • That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  • That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  • In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for what is right.
  • That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  • That ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always.
  • That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  • That sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
  • That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
  • In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.[16]

 What impresses you most about the characters of the Lone Ranger and Tonto or the real men Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels?

More Baby Boomer Toys with Lana Newman Kruse!

Remember the slinky? Still popular today. Then there were Tiddly Winks, spinning tops, Nutty Putty, and a real crowd-pleasLana Newman Kruseer—Hula Hoslinkyops! My Hoop was green (Of course because that was and is my favorite color!), and I think cost a whopping $2.00; A huge amount for 1958. Did you know that Egyptian children in 1000 B.C. may have been the first to play with what would become this nineteenth century fad? They had hoops of dried grape vines. Then in the fourteenth century there was another hooping craze in England. Doctors reported on adults’ and children’s wrenched backs from playing with hoops. Hula Hoops still made American inventors Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin rich when 100 million were sold in their first year on the market.

Some more of my favorites were those over-sized waxed lips (sorta spooky fun), doll carriages (not strollers), Walkie Talkies and roller skates. Did you ever go to a Roller Rink where you skated to popular tunes played on an organ? I loved it even when I fell once and cracked my left radius. I had to wear a splint to my dancing recital. Roller Rink Birthday Parties were a rite of passage for Boomskates4ers, so my pain was worth it.

I loved Pic Up Sticks. That sweet bundle of color where each player tried to pick up sticks that had been tossed in a pile may have its origin in a child’s nursery rhyme that says five, six pick up sticks. I could pass hours with this game.

We had so many great pastimes. Remember stilts—some wooden and others cans with ropes looped somehow through them? The movie Back to the Future featured these. There was Wooly Willy, a magnetic personality. He was simply a face in a frame. With a stick you moved the magnetic granules around his face. You could give him a moustache, a beard, sideburns, etc. For some reason that was fun.

There were toy cowboys and Indians, Lincoln Logs, Easy-Bake Ovens, Spirographs, and the Etch-a-Sketch. All part of the preteen Baby Boomer’s childhood. Hope this has brought a smile to your face and a sweet memory to mind.

Like before: can’t wait to hear!skates 3


Easy bake OvenStilts 2Hula HoopsStilts 1


Baby Boomer Toys with Lana Newman Kruse

Tinker ToysLana Newman KruseSo what did we play with? A favorite enjoyed by both genders was Tinker Toys. Charles H. Pajeau, a stonemason observed children playing with sticks and spools of thread in 1914, and voila, Tinker Toys were born. In 1998 they found their way to the National Toy Hall of Fame in New York. One hundred years later my grandchildren love them, too!

Baby dolls topped my list of had-to-have toys, including Betsey Wetsy, and I also loved Bride dolls.

Mr. Potato Head, water balloons, marbles (the dazzling, colorful cat eyes were the best!), and yo-yos topped the list. I still love those colorful spheres that can do Walk the Dog, Around the World, The Sleeper and Rock the Baby! Yo-yos still make great stocking stuffers!

Boys loved trains—but girls did, too—and these locomotives are still a highlight at Christmas for little boys, and the boys with bigger shoe sizes. I,Betsey Wetsy too, am mesmerized by displays of toy trains. The real ones also fascinate me. I love train stations and seeing the long row of cars snaking through the countryside. Who’s traveled by train?

Boys played with water guns, bee bee guns and cap pistols. Those last ones made a dramatic crackling pop and spewed smoke. Our own little fireworks display. My cousin Jerry loved them.

In a generation when we kept our toys, who still has some of these?

yo-yoMr. Potato HeadMarbles 2






Cap PistolToy train



We grew Up With Great Entertainment! Lana Newman Kruse

We Baby Boomers had some great entertainment!50nelsons

Lana Newman KruseOodles and oodles of preteens and teens marched onto the TV screen in the 1950s. Some stayed for a short while, and others happily lingered. All made a positive impact. I bet you remember all of them! Here goes!

Of course David and Ricky Nelson made news in their parents’ wholesome program The Ozzie and Harriet Show. Rick became famous as an actor, singer and songwriter (Travelin’ Man, Hello Mary Lou and Garden Party, and was in the movie Rio Bravo). David, an actor, producer and director, had parts in The Big Circus and Peyton Place.

Other notables who had their moments of fame were Lu Ann Simms on The Arthur Godfrey Show, Lugene Sanders The Life of Riley (Who remembers her and the show?), Molly Bee (from The Pinky Lee Show—Pinky himself talked with a lisp and wore a wild suit, flowing tie and undersized hat–and The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show), Sherry Jackson and Rusty Hamer (Make Room For Daddy) andthe kids on Father Knows Best: Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin.

My favorite Saturday morning TV watching included Fury with Bobby Diamond and Lassie with Tommy Rettig and later Jon Prevost. Were the stately animals more famous than their human co-stars?

There were many more people and programs than this, but from this list or from another decade, who and which show was your favorite? Why did you like the show or the characters?  Make Room for DaddyMolly Bee

We baby boomers did some great television watchin’.


Baby Boomer Watch continues with Lana Newman Kruse

SS card

How many of us there are (77.3 million), the frequency with which we were born (6.49- 8.18 babies every sixty minutes) and how incredibly much money we spend shocked me ($400 million more than other generations per year)! What surprised you?

Women over fifty spend $21 million annually on clothes! Shhhh to our husbands! Retailers must love us!

Boomers also landscape their homes and do remodels. We like to keep things looking nice. We use the web—so glad you’re here with me—use smart phones and tablets, shop online, but also use technology to do research. We buy SUVs and join gyms. Do you? I’d like an SUV, but please no workout memberships! We go everywhere any way possible on vacations. Most Boomers plan to work past retirement age—plan to work ‘til they can’t anymore! Someone determined that approximately $8.4 trillion will be inherited by Boomers from grandparents, parents and/or other generous persons met along the way. Ca-ching!Twiggy 2

Where do most Boomers live–where over nine million call it home? If you said California, you were right. However, Vermont has highest concentration on Baby Boomers with thirty percent of total state population.

Nearly one-third Baby Boomers graduated from college, earning a Bachelor’s degree or higher, with another twenty-eight percent having attended college classes.

While we spend beaucoups of money, we’re spending less on entertainment and eating out. We do dish out the green stuff for our children, for food, clothing and furnishings.

Most of us are married, grandparents and homeowners. Many are taking care of aging parents, or have done that. One-third of boomers have children or grandchildren under the age of eighteen living under their roofs.

Three Baby Boomers have been Presidents of the United States so far: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

In 2030 the last of the Baby Boomers will turn sixty-five. The Boomer population is then expected to be 71.5 million! Watch out!

What contribution would you like to see Boomers leave the world? Your age doesn’tbeehive hairdo 3 matterLana Newman Kruse. Feel free to give suggestions whether you’re a Boomer or not.

beehive hairdo 1