Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

12 March 2010

My Generation

 I think that ours is probably the luckiest generation in all history. I was born in 1933, ten days before Adolph Hitler took over in Germany. I was 7 when the second world war started and lived in South London. Although our area was heavily bombed and later attacked by V1s and V2s I survived. I was 12 when the war ended and VERY street wise!
But by the time I was conscripted to join the RAF in 1951 the war was well and truly over (even though food etc. was still severely rationed). Although the Korean War was in progress, National Service conscripts were not sent to overseas theatres of war. Lucky me.
Before then, I left free grammar school at fifteen in 1948 without any qualifications and yet I was not held back in my career. As a commercial artist, then writer, then, later, manager and shareholder of an advertising agency in New Zealand I had nothing but opportunity thrust at me. When I 'retired' in 1990, bought out by an American company, I was able to come home with a fair treasury; enough to see me and my wife and family through to the end.
After 1990 I wrote and illustrated books, about 23 of them, all about New Zealand; except for two 'sex and violence' novels.
I have benefited from antibiotics, a superb health system, stabilizing drugs, leading edge surgery (prostate, heart, shoulder re-construction, gall bladder and appendix removal). I have benefited also from a society that placed more value upon ability than birth, social status and money. Although I didn't, many of my contemporaries went to university free of charge and gained enormously from that gift.
In my lifetime our species has invented the jet engine, transistors, computers, MRIs, space travel, television, the mobile telephone, microwaves and so many other new things that we all take for granted.
We've been married since 1955: for better or for worse (it turned out much better than I expected!) I am now 77 and have just returned home from a long walk round my property feeling fine.
As I said, I think ours is the luckiest of all generations. That of my children and grandchildren will be so much harder - but I wish them well in a world of international unrest and uncertainty; they deserve to be as happy as I am.

© DON DONOVAN. Photograph © Gillian Shrank


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By Don Donovan