I know this COVID-19 thing is scary to you, it scares me, too. Our lives have been disrupted. If you’re like me, you’re angry about the change that has been forced on you. I’m sad that I can’t give you a hug so we can comfort each other. But I want to stay well so I can be with you for years to come.
I’ve lived through some tough times, such as hurricanes, gas rationing, and recessions, but nothing like this. That got me to thinking. My parents and grandparents (your great grandparents and great-great-grandparents) went through some very bad times. Eventually, things got back to normal.
My mother, Mary Seibold, lived in north Alabama during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Our family had lived in the area since the 1820s. Things were so bad that the government decided to build dams and reservoirs for electricity and flood control on the Tennessee River. This would bring jobs to the region. The Tennessee Valley Authority Act was passed when she was eight years old. They forced our family and many others to sell their farmland to the government. Her family moved to Tennessee, where my mother had no friends or relatives.
My dad’s father died during the Great Depression when my dad was thirteen years old, and his mother was hospitalized because of a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide. My dad, Al Watson, took part-time jobs to help make ends meet. Times were so bad that people came to their door begging for food.
Then came World War II. My father had a kidney issue and did not pass the first army physical at age twenty. However, he demanded a second one at a hospital. During that exam, he managed to talk his way into the army by explaining that he played football in college. He used another person’s urine sample to get into Officer Candidate School. During his service, he suffered frozen feet and saw many horrible things.
So, yes, things suck. But we will get through this just has our family has gotten through other tough times. When you are my age, you will be telling your children and grandchildren about living through this crisis.
I love you.