Spring is a special time, especially because the COVID epidemic, thanks to public health efforts of mask wearing, vaccination, and social distancing, appears to be diminishing and could possibly take the same route as smallpox and polio. Restrictions seem to be loosening, and we are leaving our homes and blooming forth into the sunshine.
My mother used to do the PTA newsletter for Oakland Beach School, and every spring issue would headline with “Spring has sprung! The grass is riz. I wonder where the flowers is”, a poem cited as the Brooklyn National Anthem, written in 1936. Such an innocent poem has warmed my heart every spring, heralding the warmer weather to come. Arriving home, in our front garden, the daffodils poke up tips of yellow through the greening grass which is a tease of the season to come.
Due to loosening COVID guidelines, Hubby’s family was finally able to get together to celebrate Nana’s birthday party at the Carriage Inn. Her five children and their spouses were in attendance, as were most of her fifteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. It was a joyous occasion to be able to collectively rejoice! The grandchildren are all grown up, such as my own five adult children ranging in age from 25 to 39. The great-grandkiddos, ages seven months to thirteen, have sprouted well beyond typical children their ages. (With the exception of Nana, the biological Hughes family are all six-foot two and taller, with the resulting grandchildren reflecting taller than average heights.) It is great fun to see the next generation, and to appreciate how much the family has grown.
The pandemic, of course, was a major topic of conversation, especially when compared to polio and smallpox. This was the first pandemic most of us “younger” folks have lived through, but it was just another one of life’s curve balls to Nana and her ninety-two-year-old sister-on-law, also in attendance.
They have lived through the Great Depression where, after a steep drop in the stock market, personal income fell by more than 50% as unemployment rose to 23%. Never before, nor since, have we seen such financial devastation. They lived through the Dust Bowl, where a drought struck the Southern Plans Region with high winds and choking dust which killed animals and people, and caused crops to fail. They lived through the strongest hurricane on record, a category 5 with winds at 185 miles per hour, breezing through the upper Florida Keys and killing 423 people. Unacceptable world relations led to World War 2, with a whole generation of sons being sent off to battle. While this era was a time of record-breaking depression, war and natural disasters, it also saw positive achievements. The Empire State Building was built and the Social Security Program was established. Glen Miller’s orchestra serenaded swing dancers, and Fred Astaire tap danced across the stage. Birdseye sold their first frozen dinners, and Nestle developed the Milkybar. Families sat around the radio and enjoyed listening to Amos and Andy, soap operas and sporting events, amazed that voices were coming out of a small, wooden box.
Although the years have passed since Nana was young, we have again been barraged with record breaking weather, the arrival of a pandemic and economic misfortune. We cannot purport it is any worse than in 1930, and, in fact, it is better in many ways. We have lived through a pandemic and life has changed, like life tends to do.
This spring, let’s celebrate! Life is emerging anew, just like the yellow daffodil leaves poking up through the grass. Let us throw off the winter coats we have worn every day due to the frigid cold weather that refuses to go away. Let us stand outside, sunshine on our faces, warm breezes replacing cold. Take in a deep breath and let it out. Life is good!
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here