If you were lucky enough to get to know your grandparents, then you surely have heard at least a few “Back in MY day” stories. My grandparents lived through the Great Depression, my mother and her siblings were infants or young children during that time. They faced, what in their time, were serious shortages of the most basic of needs – sugar, flour, milk, etc. There was no money to buy these things even if they had been available! And my favorite of all – “Back in MY day, we walked five miles each to and from school, and it was uphill both ways!”
Of course, we as children couldn’t begin to comprehend what they had been through, and tended to invisibly roll our eyes when subjected to another “back in my day” story.
Here it is, 2020. By far the worst year most living people have ever experienced. And let’s face it, there will be “back in MY day” stories told in the future that talk of a toilet paper shortage and a pandemic that closed down all but the essential businesses and forced us all to be in isolation and to practice extreme precaution when we did have to venture outside. Corporate businesses had to quickly adapt to having access for their employees to work at home. Many small businesses faced lack of income for several months that ended up requiring them to close their doors forever. Schools were closed, forcing children to learn from home, and forcing many parents to adapt their schedules to make time to, in essence, home-school their children. People fought over the requirement to wear a mask, beds in hospitals became sparse, available medical equipment became insufficient, and some people had to watch their loved ones die alone through a plate-glass window so that the infection wasn’t spread.
The Great Depression taught the people affected how to be better prepared for their futures. Plans B and C were designed to keep them from ever having to face that kind of depression again. Money was saved, not spent frivolously.
While I wouldn’t have wished that we would have this pandemic occur, at the onset, I did look forward to the possibility of some of the required changes as good things. Parents learned to appreciate how difficult a teacher’s job really is when it was them trying to corral their hoodlums into doing their lessons. Adults learned how to cook because there was no other option for meals. In some homes, actual family dinners started occurring.
Now, all of these months later, everyone is cranky and just tired of it! I get that – oh, trust me, I get that! And the second wave that we were forewarned of has started. The number of cases and deaths because of this virus continues to climb. And yes, it seems justifiable to blame those who are ignoring the strongly suggested regulations and gathering in large crowds, appearing in places without a mask, all the while bemoaning their distorted belief that masks don’t protect anyone.
Of course, we weren’t alive then, so most of us know very little about the (Spanish) influenza pandemic of 1918, which also affected the entire world. Not much is written about it – certainly no personal studies of how it affected humanity in general. And ten years later, the Great Depression hit.
I think the point I’m trying to make with this post is that, yea, it’s been a vicious year and, here in the USA, we had to deal with a crapload (we still are, to some extent) of political drama and unrest. We’ve got it bad and 2020 sucks, right?
But we are not the first to live through a pandemic. We are not the first who are trying to find a way financially to make up for our perhaps frivolous spending now that income is more limited. We are not the first to have a shortage of products in our stores that are what we consider essential items. We are not the first American people who have lived through a segregation, albeit blue and red verses black and white.
What has this taught us? Has it even taught us anything? Are any of us willing to stop complaining and start looking for the positives that can come out of this horror?
Because, you see, back in MY day…..