So the prognostications are, the pandemic is going to smack us harder than ever this winter. Pandemic fatigue, indoor socializing, and weather the virus likes will conspire to prolong our misery. Well, phooey.
I’m put in mind, though, of the Great Depression, which lasted ten years by most estimates. My parents both recalled the Depression, which began in their childhoods, as a pleasant time. What’s up with that?
On Dad’s side, it was a time when his parents got along (they eventually divorced, long before it was popular). Grandpa was in charge of handing out subcontracts for the Long Island Railroad, and because businesses were desperate for his goodwill, he had better job security (and more perks) than at other times in his career.
On Mom’s side, her parents had to travel from Spokane, Washington, to Bangor, Maine, with four kids, because jobs for her mining engineer father were thin on the ground. She liked seeing the country, oddly enough. A road trip was just a big adventure to her. Imagine that.
For a time, her family doubled up with an uncle’s family, and all the kids bunked in the same room. She loved it, loved having more family around, loved having a chance to grow close to her cousins. Her family never was particularly well off, and from her childish point of view, the Depression didn’t make them much more poor.
I suspect my parents looked back–past Vietnam, Korea, WWII (Dad was in the Navy, Mom was a nurse) to a childhood that by comparison, was at least a childhood. The adults fretted over jobs, groceries, and places to live, the children just carried on. In both cases, they carried on in circumstances that to them, offered significant consolations.
I hope when this pandemic has subsided, we too will look back and see some consolations. For years, I prided myself on not owning a TV, not watching TV, not no TV, not no-how. Welp, there’s a pandemic on now. I’ve discovered British mystery series in the past six months, and I enjoy them. I suspect some people will always have a pandemic play list, pandemic comfort food carry out, and recall pandemic Zoom calls with Grannie.
Some news announcer got suspended last week because he inadvertently flashed his co-workers in a Zoom meeting. That is a boo-boo we can ALL chuckle over, because now there’s such a thing as pandemic humor.
This is not a fun time, but in small ways, we are all making it as bearable as we can. For me, that means DCI Vera Stanhope and Inspector Lynley are my new friends. I’ve also visited with my neighbors while out walking more in the past six months than in the previous six years. For one of my writin’ buddies, pandemic coping has meant crocheting so much she’s opened up an Etsy store and is generating some craft income.
It’s not ALL awful, is it? How are you making it bearable, or what do you think you might recall about this time with a smile? To three commenters, I’ll send signed copies of The Truth About Dukes.