Growing up, I always wanted to live through a historic event. Unfortunately, little did I know what life had in store for me. Now in my early 40s, I am amazed when I stop to think about what historic events I have lived through already – and how different the world is from when I grew up. I vividly remember the Cold War; the fall of the Berlin Wall; both the first and second Gulf Wars; September 11th, 2001; the War in Afghanistan; and of course, the COVID 19 pandemic.
A year after September 11th, 2001, that somber anniversary inspired me to write about my experiences on that fateful day. That entire morning is etched in my memory. At the time, I had just started my semester studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador a couple of weeks before. I was still learning my routine and adjusting to my new host family. September 11th colored that entire experience as there was no way it could not. While I didn’t write much for the 9/11 digital archive, what I did write sets the scene and provides a glimpse into what US exchange students were dealing with all over the world. My full story can be found at The September 11 Digital Archive, story6757.xml.
This past spring, a conversation with a fellow writer made me realize that I could do the same with my experiences throughout the pandemic. I found a place to archive all of my writing relating to the pandemic, past and future – A Journal of a Plague Year. I may include some videos I have from that time frame as well. It may become a cool little side project. I’m definitely looking forward to it. Maybe I’ll be able to finally put all that the pandemic disturbed and disrupted behind me.
There are SO many things that stand out. That first awful week of the shutdown during which I had to go to school, alone, and pack up all of my 6th graders belongings (pictured below). The conversation that I had with Norma and Ashley as school dismissed that awful Friday, March 13th of Lent, not realizing that we would not see each other in person for months, will always be remembered.
That weekend, my mom had had several old high school friends over for a get-together. The venue changed from a friend’s house to my mom’s in order to limit contact with her friend’s disabled and susceptible son. All so very strange and new. Keep in mind that this is just before the stay at home order was issued for Michigan.
After I learned that we would not be going back to school the following Monday, I just packed clothes and headed to my parents’ house. I didn’t know what else to do. I would stay there with them well into May/June. What I remember most is that I happened to catch some of my mom’s friends, some of my favorite people, before they left. It would be the last time I would see them for several months.
I could easily keep going. The spring of 2020 also represented the end of my first full year of teaching, my first 6th grade class. Definitely not the way I wanted to start off my teaching career. Personally, I believe the education system is still reeling from the shutdown. Students and teachers are still trying to pick up the pieces.
This is just a glimpse of what I plan to share and document. I hope that I inspire others to do the same.