Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house. They lived about 10 minutes away and their place was my second home. I went there after school as a kid, and in high school, nearly every night to call my friends who lived in their phone prefix. In those days, long-distance was real AF and we didn’t have Facebook or texting. We didn’t get to speak until the next day at school in many cases and (gasp!) that was way too long. Especially when you were dating someone. But I digress…
I spent so much time with my grandparents that I knew them as well as my own parents. My grandma, specifically, I spent a lot of time with and there isn’t one day that passes that I don’t think of her. She was in many ways my best friend. She knew how to make my favorite sandwich, wash and comb my long red hair, and filled her candy bowl with my favorite sweets. She was comfort and love and safety whenever the world felt upside down.
Some of my favorite memories of being with her is sitting in the kitchen watching as she cooked. I thought nothing of the old ham tin she put food scraps in next to the sink, Cool Whip containers that doubled as her Tupperware, or the jelly jars she drank wine out of. It was normal. This was how she did things. It wasn’t until I was older and started buying my own homeware that I really began to understand what those eccentricities really were. Reminders of a time long since passed, but no less ingrained in her mind.
The Great Depression.
The worldwide economic downturn took place in the 1930s for 43 months, leaving a quarter of the world’s workforce unemployed. For grandma, that meant moving with her parents from the city (Oakland) to the country (Napa), where they lived off the land — growing and raising everything they needed to eat. It is from this time of financial destitute millions learned to do more with less. And waste was not tolerated. Everything was saved and reused and repurposed. And it wasn’t because it was PC. It was because they had to. That’s where my grandma’s compost ham tin and Tupperware line of Cool Whip tubs was born. She’d told me about the Depression before when I didn’t finish a meal or tossed something in the trash that wasn’t yet garbage. But I never really got it …until now.
The COVID-19 pandemic will change us. As people. As parents. And as a society. Millions have lost their jobs, and more will continue as shelter in place orders restrict people from being able to work, due to business closures. Not since WWII has a generation been forced to pull together for the sake of their fellow countrymen (yeah, my grandma did that too – she was a Rosie the Riveter). And while I see the spirit of community, I don’t quite feel it the way I believe the country did in those times. People are still flocking to public spaces. College co-eds still flocked by the hundreds to Florida for Spring Break – coronavirus be damned. It’s already changed me. When this ends – and it will I believe, as “this too shall pass” as my grandma always said – I plan to be:
What about you? How will COVID-19 change the way you work, live, parent or love? Let me know – would love to hear from you!