Updated: Mar 31
A number of my blogs this year have discussed the importance of writing. Writing about your ancestors or writing to better understand where you are with your research and what holes you may need to plug can frequently break down a brick wall. This is an incredible time. As busy as we are researching and (hopefully) writing about our ancestors we frequently ignore writing about ourselves and our own experiences. At the last meeting of our local genealogy club, I had a speaker who talked about memoir writing. Our reaction is frequently, why would anyone be interested in me? But we have lived through some pretty amazing things. Don't you wish that you had something written by your parents or grandparents about their life. Thinking of a similar topic to today, what was it like to live through the 1918 Flu Pandemic? World War I or the Depression?
We have not lived through this type of pandemic and what will our children, grandchildren or great grandchildren want to know of our experience of this time? I wish I had started writing about the Coronavirus when I first started to hear about it, but probably, like many of you, I felt that it would just resolve itself, without too much disruption to my life. That hasn't been the case. I have never lived when stores were shut down, entertainment cancelled, and even the beaches (I live in Florida) closed. Yes, we've had disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, but they have affected certain areas, not a worldwide shutdown. Even in February when asked about my plans for the Ireland trip in October, my response was...it's too far away to worry about now...this seems like the flu (perhaps taking my cue from national leaders). Well, we know now, it's not like the flu...it's the flu on steroids and we don't yet have the tools to combat it.
So I've started keeping a journal, something I've not done before. I've had to go back and reconstruct some of the history from when the Coronavirus first hit the radar in January, but going forward I want to keep track of the timeline and how I feel about it. I think it really hit home with me just before St. Patrick's Day, when all activities were cancelled. Two of my daughters and my granddaughter were supposed to arrive in Florida (from Boston and Maine) for a week on March 17th. We made the decision the week before to postpone the trip. I didn't want to expose the kids to the planes and they were concerned about bringing something to us. Neither my husband nor I have any preexisting conditions, but I had recently had surgery which tends to affect the immune system. It was also at that time that everything started to close down...stores, malls, theaters, entertainment (we had tickets for the circus), churches, restaurants (only available for take-out) and a stay home order (except for essentials like food) for us "elderly" residents here in Sarasota/Manatee (though not for all of Florida). They now have special hours for us to shop at the local grocery stores. I commented to my husband that it's probably the worst time to go for social distancing since the majority of us here fit that category!
Going back to the comment of what has been interesting in my life, I've lived through the most incredible technological developments in history. My children have never known a time that there weren't computers in our house (I worked in the technology field). Our world has become interconnected from a technology and global trade standpoint. As we've discovered, when something happens on the other side of the world, it affects us in many ways. How will things change after this pandemic is over? Social networking brings information to our home (both good and bad) at an incredible speed and we have to make decisions on what we feel is good information. I for one, am depending on the doctors and the scientists at this time. Will we travel like before? My husband and I were scheduled to take a cruise in early June. The cruise line hasn't cancelled it yet, but we were advised instead of visiting Canada as planned, we would be going to Nassau...not going to happen. Will I be able to travel to Ireland in October? I'm keeping that option open for now, I hope so. Here's an interesting article from Politico titled "Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here's How."
There have been other events in our lifetime. Some that I remember vividly include Alan Shepard's first space flight, John Glenn's first orbital flight, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, the Civil Rights Movement, the Moon Landing, the Vietnam War, the Challenger Disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11, the Recession. These are all things I remember and in many cases can tell you exactly where I was when I heard about them or watched them. I could write about any of these and someone 100 years from now would be able to read about them.
So although there is a lot of time to do more research, take a break and think about writing for the future. Someone in 2120 will appreciate it.
Happy Hunting and Stay Safe!
You've still got a week if you'd like to sign up for the Irish Class at FamilyTree University.
Check out my Facebook Page for updates on records that have become available, or are being made available for free during the Pandemic.