By George Leonard
My name is Aloysius Nachreiner.
America’s oldest Baby Boomer, though I wasn’t one.
I spent my whole life in snowy Buffalo, where,
Half-blinded by a snowball at 5, I made boxes in the box factory,
Like some character in that Edgar Lee Masters poem we were forced to read in the Fifties.
While you went to Woodstock I made boxes.
While you, nude, screwed Erica Jong’s readers on Black’s Beach in San Diego,
I made boxes.
While you others fought overseas, created the Internet,
Became the First Woman to do whatever–
But also while you had one child, and divorced,
I married a widow with seven children, had two of our own, raised them all,
Saw her through a crib death and her Alzheimers. Dozens of people call me “Grandfather” and a dozen, “Great-Grandfather.”
Why wasn’t I born at five before midnight, December 31st,
To honor me as the last of my kind?
Five minutes too late and I unwillingly became
The first American born a Baby Boomer
And the last to be named Aloysius.
Author’s Note: Aloysius Nachreiner, born January 1, 1946, 13 days my senior, has become famous as the first Baby Boomer born in America — that is, the first baby born in 1946. He seems a fine, responsible man, but, to judge by his life, hardly the first Baby Boomer — more like the last American born before the Baby Boom changed everything, a life straight out of the Spoon River Anthology. G. Leonard