History Repeats with our Pandemic

I speak with Grandma every day. We just completed another family Zoom session with her. She is quiet, so we are trying to keep her engaged. Today I reminded her of the time her mother was quarantined around the time of the Flu Epidemic of 1918, which has been in the news so much these days.

Her father had recently died, and my grandfather had been called into service in World War I. My aunt believed all this sadness affected my grandmother’s health so she lost a lot of weight. The doctors at her job examined her and diagnosed her with “suspicious tuberculosis,” so they sent her to the company sanitarium in upstate New York. She spent six months there and then was permitted to return home. It was difficult, though, because like the asymptomatic coronavirus patients, Grandma felt fine.

She did not have the Internet to entertain her with Facebook Quarantine Karaoke or Facetime, Google Hangout (which I still have not figured out), or Zoom to keep her in touch with her mom like we do. All she had were letters home to her family, so I can’t complain.

When she finally was released, she was surprised to learn about the friends who were lost to the flu. Her mother did not have the heart to inform her of these losses via a letter.

I hope it is not six months for us, but if it is, perhaps we really will get a summer reprieve!

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