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Canipe’s Last Column of Boomer Bytes #78: Retrospective – Remembering and Forgetting

Editor’s Note: Below is another column in Steve Canipe’s series called Boomer Bytes. The column, as the title suggests, will focus on a variety of topics that may be of interest to baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964. But Canipe also hopes to start a conversation with younger generations, too. Check out an introduction and Canipe’s (first self-titled) column here.

Canipe’s Last Column of Boomer’s Bytes

By Jesse Wood

After 78 weeks, Steve Canipe said that today’s Boomer Byte’s column on HCPress.com will be his last. For one, he said he’s run out of ideas after a year and a half, and two, he recently moved full-time to Tuscon, Ariz., where he’s owned a condo with his wife for sometime.

Canipe, who was 68 years old at the time he started writing the column on Jan. 17, 2014, taught HCPress.com publisher Ken Ketchie at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte in the early ‘70s. He proposed to Ken a column that focused on topics that may have been of interest to baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964.

“I definitely did enjoy it. You know it was something I always wanted to do, and the High Country Press reaches a nice audience in and around Boone,” Canipe said. “It seemed to be something that – of course, I enjoy reading stories – might be a good place to for me do my ponderings.”

As he shared in his last column, which is featured below, Canipe wrote: “Over the past 18 months, I have been privileged to share a bit of my thoughts with you dear readers. There have been light hearted topics such as “Pack Rat Genes” and more serious ones like “Being a Dad” and “Death.” Each of them was thought about long and hard to both entertain and cause you to think about the topic.”

Canipe noted that he wished there would have been a bit more feedback in the comment sections or via email, but nonetheless, he mentioned some highpoints of the experience. Two months after the column was first published, a barista at Starbucks in the Harris Teeter in Boone recognized Canipe.

“You are the fellow who writes those columns in the High Country Press. I really enjoy reading those,” Canipe recalled her saying.

As for what’s in store in the future, he plans on turning this column into a book. It will be available on Kindle and through Amazon on an on-demand printing service. In all, he ended up with 105,000 words of Boomer’s Bytes.

See his last column below:

Retrospective: Remembering and Forgetting

By Steve Canipe

As Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” This column is that for me. For the last year and half I have been regaling the readers with thoughts and ideas concerning those of us who are boomers (born between 1956 and 1964). This is my last Boomer Bytes number 78. I hope that you, the reader, have learned, enjoyed, been annoyed at, been intrigued by, or some other active thing.


Over the past 18 months, I have been privileged to share a bit of my thoughts with you dear readers. There have been light hearted topics such as “Pack Rat Genes” and more serious ones like “Being a Dad” and “Death.” Each of them was thought about long and hard to both entertain and cause you to think about the topic.

I did not expect that everyone would agree with my viewpoint on the issues. I realize that I am probably more liberal than some of my readers. I must tell you that I appreciate not getting rants about my positions on topics that I’ve written about. I tried to present each topic in a balanced fashion and tried not be too controversial with my views. I did not want to be divisive and create animosity among the readers or with them and me – I was seeking some common ground where we might see eye-to-eye on some topics but on others we might at least agree to disagree, but to do so with respect.

Recently I saw on Facebook a posting of a bench overlooking the ocean. It had as a caption a question “If you could chat with anyone from the past for 30 minutes who would it be?” The responses ranged from historical people like Presidents, generals, and others famous but also included a departed love one like Mom or Dad. It was interesting to read the people who would be on the top of a list to talk with on that bench.

When I thought about this there were so many names that came to mind from real figures to maybe real ones, to definitely imaginary ones. Then I decided it was not the fact that I could talk with someone but the process of thinking through the “who” to talk with was the key.

As I thought further about this I realized that there are so many people with whom I would like to talk…both from the past but also from the present. As a group, humans are really interesting…lots of different ideas. Getting older I realize that like this column I have a finite existence and soon (too soon) I will no longer be alive. Will anyone faced with the same Facebook question I mentioned, want to talk with me? Am I interesting enough?

Certainly I am not a president, nor likely to be one, although in the current political climate what would be one more candidate to toss a hat into the nomination ring? I think I’ve lived a pretty interesting life and believe I’ve had some positive impacts on people. As a high school teacher, principal, and University faculty member, I have definitely come into contact with the future in a number of ways. I taught at East Mecklenburg High School for eight years and had an average of about 140 students per year – this means that I touched the future of at least 1100 people – many of these are now fully grown and are boomers themselves. Some of my students are or have been doctors and surgeons, engineers, police officers, house wives, mechanics, plumbers, media personalities, cabinet makers, politicians, and everything in between.

From being on Facebook, I know that some of those early students are no longer with us and have passed away – some accidentally and others with disease. I cannot remember the names of all those students but some I do recall as if it were yesterday. It is not the brightest that I remember but some who had strong personalities. I remember one who kept trying to plant marijuana seeds in my terrarium. It was not malicious act but a game to see if I could recognize the young plant and pluck it up. I maybe should have turned him in to the office but did not. He has since become a neurosurgeon. I remember another young man who was a great football player but also had a wonderful singing voice. He needed another course and became my 7th period science lab assistant. He was an African-American kid who was willing to talk with me honestly about racial issues. One of the things he said, I still remember – paraphrasing “If you are not black, you cannot fully understand what it’s like to be black.” I thought I was being very empathetic to him and all my different students but, in retrospect, he was probably right, I could not fully understand. He ended up going to Duke University on an academic scholarship and graduating but don’t know what he is doing now. He is one of the many students that I have lost track of and until now, as I write this on remembering and forgetting, I did not realize that he had been basically forgotten – but not totally forgotten, obviously.

So many other students and acquaintances in so many places so many experiences in my 69+ years and hopefully a good many more years to grow new memories and maybe forget a few things as well!!

Bytes78-bookcoverI want to reverse Shakespeare’s observation made in Julius Caesar, “…the evil that men do lives after them, but the good is oft interred with the bones.” I hope my good deeds are what lives after me and my evil or hurtful things get interred with the bones!!

One of the things I plan to do very soon is to convert all of the 78 columns into a book. It will be available on Amazon. I hope that every reader will consider buying a copy…of course, I do!! The title is The Evil Men Do: Reflections on life from a baby boomer.

I would suggest you please share your thoughts about names or anything else below or use the boomerbytes@yahoo.com address. The email address will remain active for at least a year…so if you have ideas or thoughts about this column or any of the previous ones send them to me. I have certainly enjoyed writing these columns and sharing my thoughts with you.