Longmont Author Ready to Talk About Her Generation
By Pam Mellskog
The Daily Times-Call
Lorrie Caplan is in the midst of completing her first book, “Giving Birth to My Parents.” The book addresses the rift between many baby boomers and their parents and how to overcome it.
LONGMONT — As a teenager, Lorrie Caplan figured her family adopted her, and she really belonged to Elizabeth Taylor.
The problem was that Caplan, 53, looked suspiciously like her parents, Blanche and Bernie Caplan — first-generation Jewish Americans living in a blue-collar Philadelphia neighborhood.
Still, she and many other baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — acted differently enough from their folks to cause a lifelong parent-child relationship rift.
“Times were booming (back then), but effective and open communication between parents and their children was not,” Caplan writes in her unfinished “Giving Birth to My Parents: Honoring and Celebrating the Elderly of Our Culture.” www.givingbirthtomyparents.com
The Longmont resident still needs to polish the manuscript and find a publisher.
But she feels confident that plenty of her peers can relate to her premise — that until estranged offspring find ways to reconcile, they remain childlike in that relationship and unfulfilled.
“This book is not just a book to remind somebody that ‘Maybe I should send a card to my parents for their birthday next year,’” said Caplan, an intuitive life coach. “It’s a book that will allow one to enter into a beautiful dialogue with somebody who brought them into this world.”
Caplan first reached out to her folks in 1994 through daily long-distance phone calls. She wanted to help herself and her parents feel “freer, happier, more self-expressed.”
That process began with her recognizing the roots of their generation gap, she said.
The older generation survived the Great Depression and World War II and became steeped in a worldview of hardship, thrift and industry. Baby boomers, by contrast, grew up with widespread post-war affluence and embraced the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and its emphasis on relaxing societal norms.
With those differences in mind, Caplan analyzed her readiness to engage them at deeper levels.
“Could I forgive them for who they were, and who they were not, with regard to me? Could I listen to them nag, praise, complain, gossip and joke without judging them? Did I have it in me to just let them be?” she wrote.
Choosing to answer “yes” opened the door to a closer relationship, one that ultimately allowed her to make peace with her parents.
Caplan admits she carried lots of baggage.
Phrases her parents repeated to express their disappointment and fear over her artistic bent and open-mindedness haunted her for years. They included: “Who do you think you are? Where do you think you came from? When will you get your head out of the clouds and come down to Earth for a minute?”
Caplan nevertheless persisted and felt a genuine connection with both parents before her father died of complications from a broken hip in 2005.
“The … reason that I did change as I got older is I tried to put myself in the kids’ place,” Blanche Caplan, 81, said during a telephone interview.
Sunday afternoon 4:30pm. Date to be announced.