Friday, March 20, 2020

52 Ancestors - POPULAR: Trending COVID-19

I just finished filling out the 2020 Federal Census. What a disappointment for future generations who might eagerly await its release in 72 years. My however-many-great grandchildren will learn only my name, address, birth date, race, and the fact that I am mortgage-free. YAWN.

Fortunately – or not – family historians and bloggers are filling the void. One blogger suggested we all write about what life is like during the coronavirus pandemic. Great idea!

Long before the coronavirus hit our shores, the first sign that this THING was serious was that grocery stores quickly ran out of toilet paper. Then hand-sanitizer. Then bread. Then antiseptic wipes. My younger daughter sent a picture of her grocery store shelves – all Ramen Noodles were gone EXCEPT the shrimp-flavored ones. Her sister commented, “Oh, I’ll never survive a real apocalypse.”

We have always been BULK-shoppers anyway, so running low on toilet paper is not an issue at our house. We did run out of bread and after checking 3 grocery stories nearby, we were unable to buy any. However, slowly the grocery store feels like it is returning to normal.  

Here is our NEW NORMAL:

Nothing has made me feel older than our daughters’ concern for our safety. The one who lives nearby has offered to pick up our prescriptions. Oh my! They remind us that we are in “the cone of concern” – AKA “Senior Citizens” – the ones most likely to die from the flu or coronavirus. Others share that same concern. Walmart, Target, and other stores are designating their first hour on certain days for “Seniors” only shopping. I guess that means anyone over 60. However, that number fluctuates. Target targets those 55 and over. HRMPH.

This is the catch-phrase of the year. The goal is to “flatten the curve” (another popular phrase) by reducing the chance of spreading germs by coughing or sneezing near each other. The “curve” is a projection of how many people will contract the virus. “Flatten the curve” means to slow the virus' spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time. We have stopped shaking hands. We don’t hug because germs can be on our clothes. At first, we were to stay 3’ apart, but now it is 6’.

One of the first responses was to encourage people to work from home. Not all businesses can operate that way. Restaurants have closed their dining room; some now offer take-out. Fast food chains are keeping their drive-through open. Everyone is being encouraged to support such businesses in order to keep them away from bankruptcy.

Even libraries are offering curb-side pick-up.

Michael’s has also jumped on the curb-side bandwagon. I wonder if they are tossing a handful of glitter into every bag to make it feel like old times.

Department stores are closing temporarily.

Keeping 6’ away from others sounds easy enough. But when we go to the store, other people do not always do their part. I had to pick up a package at J.C. Penney the other day. When I got in line, I stood a good 3’ or more behind the lady in front of me. However, the next customer was right on my heels. The same thing happened to my sister at Michael’s. She tried to move up away from the person behind her, but THAT customer moved up with her just like on any other ordinary day.

Here is a great idea from Wegman’s to promote social distancing:

Now, if only people will look down and take heed!

Don’t you just love how staying home now has a fancy name that rings of policy and procedure? Yes, just stay home. I’m a homebody anyway, so this feels no different from my usual routine. However, I do feel obligated to DO SOMETHING. I am currently trying to finish a Shutterfly book about our Rhine River cruise from May 2019. (I’m also struggling to keep up with my blog challenge!! Can’t you tell?)

Barry must be super-bored. He is at this minute cleaning out the file cabinet and shredding old tax returns and receipts from major purchases. “Look, Honey. In 1977 you made $12,012 and I made $12,150.”

“Oh look. In 1971 you earned $538 at Shoneys.” Yes, that was my summer job when I earned just enough money to pay for summer school at college in 1972 so I could be with Mr. Shredder.

Depending on which memes pop up on Facebook, we are encouraged to wash our hands for 20 seconds. Apparently singing “Happy Birthday” TWICE or reciting the Lord’s Prayer ONCE will have us covered and virus-free.

Hand-sanitizer is essential. Recipes for making your own when stores are depleted like NOW are readily available online. It is easy to make, but have I? No.

Hands are not the only thing getting a good washing. Stores are doing their part by wiping down whatever people come in contact with - the conveyer belt, credit card machine, counters. My hairdresser’s shop has always wiped off chairs and the shampoo station between customers, but now they are doing it with antiseptic wipes.

If such hygienic practices continue beyond the pandemic (another favorite word of the year), that will be a good thing for everyone.

Schools have closed. Likely students will have no spring sports, no prom and no graduation ceremony. School districts have lessons prepared online for students and/or parents to download, but here in Chesapeake, the lessons are rather generic and there is no incentive to complete them. In fact, there is talk of just passing students onto the next grade without completing their classes or meeting the state requirement of attendance. How does that make sense with something like math? Right now, I am glad not to have this worry or the disappointment that goes with missing the activities that make school fun.  

Educators and those in related industry are posting every FREE educational source available so that parents can keep their kids’ brains functioning. Internet companies are offering free service to qualifying families without access so that those kids can also keep up with schoolwork and such.

And speaking of the poor, I have wondered about the kids who depend on school lunches so that they get at least one meal a day. Fortunately, the schools here are still providing bag lunches to anyone under the age of 18. Parent and child must both show up to receive a meal.

My DAR chapter cancelled the annual luncheon even before “large crowd” was defined. States ordered cancellation of events that involved 500 people.  Then the number was 250. Then 50. Now it is 10. It could be our chapter will be cancelling future meetings as well. This might force us all to become more tech-savvy. Society leaders are learning how to use Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, and other platforms to hold virtual meetings. Unfortunately, much of the technology will be over the heads of our more senior members, some of whom do not even do email.

Even my church has gone to streaming services. In fact, the entire United Methodist Church has stopped in-person services for the foreseeable future. Sadly, some weddings are being postponed. My nephew is supposed to get married in July. I surely hope it happens.

If there is an upside to the coronavirus, it is that we are being made aware of other ways to entertain ourselves. On Facebook people are sharing 10, 12, 15, 20, 100 museums that we can tour ONLINE. Likewise, there are aquariums to visit ONLINE. State parks to visit ONLINE. Gyms offering workout routines live ONLINE.

Amazon has made thousands of books available FREE through Audible.

Ancestry has opened its Library edition free through the local library ONLINE.

In many ways the pandemic is bringing out the best in people. (Scammers aside, that is.) Here are 2 good thoughts to leave you with:

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. That is great perspective when we think of Anne Frank and what her generation went through. And we have so kuch more to entertain ourselves. Our church is doing the same thing with services. There goes my nursery volunteering for a bit! Stay safe. Hubby did our census online too.


  2. A lot of people are taking this pandemic very lightly. My daughter is a RN and works in the OR, elective cases are cancelled and she fully expects to be infected. Their personal protection equipment is running out and no one know when it will reappear. I seriously wonder if our lives will be normal or is this the NEW normal

  3. I thought the same thing when filling out the 2020 Census form! Sadly, we are just there for the numbers...we have been CENSORED! This post is such a good representation for future readers/seekers about COVID-19...well done, Wendy. I'm going to link to it on CollectInTexas Gal.

    Since I will have more time than anticipated a few months ago, I'm doing the 2020 AtoZ Challenge. I remember last year, you were waiting for me to jump in...LOL...what about this year?
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  4. Your perceptive post on the Virus prompted me to record my own impressions in my personal journal.i must admit in the early days, it was very easy to be a bit complacent, living as I do in a small village in the rural Scottish Borders - still with the lowest no. of cases on mainland Scotland. But this week matters have escalated so much as social isolation and lock- down hit us all. My granddaughter is missing out on the exciting programme of school activities, as she prepares to:move to High School - and my son in law has been laid off from his work. Few people in the world can be unaffected by this pandemic threat.