Remember the Ice Storms of the 1990’s… for me the Ice Storm of 1991 is more engrained in my brain. I was 9 years old, actually I was days away from my 9th birthday. I was about the age of my girls now, and I am sure I was rocking big ugly moon boots and mittens my grandma had knitted for me. Those were the days…
It was my Grandma Connor’s birthday and we were at her house, enjoyed cake and celebrated, when we left it was dark and cold. We lived 3 blocks from my grandparent’s house growing up, and for some reason when we left Grandma’s celebration my dad decided to walk us home and mom drove the giant station wagon home. I remember the walk, walking across the crick bridge and through the Brown Mansion yard, down Brown Blvd and over Warren Street, a left onto Franklin and home. I remember this eerie silence/sound, and I clearly remember my dad saying this wasn’t good. My brain could not understand how ice sticking to the limbs was a big deal, so I just went home and to bed hoping for a snow day.
I woke up that next day to the most beautiful scene outside my window. I stood in my night gown and looked out on the trees leaning toward the ground encased in ice, it was so pretty. Everything was leaning and combining, and it was shiny and grey. There was no school, best day ever!
I remember there was no power, and as I started to understand there was to be no travel. The roads were full of power lines and limbs and danger, but I didn’t know that part. I didn’t think of the essential employees out there navigating those dangerous roads to keep people safe. I never really thought about the people who would have to fix those power lines and restore safety and electricity. I never thought about those who had no back up heat or food for an event like this. I didn’t consider the amount of money families lost when they could not earn an income, or the loss of business and restaurants. I didn’t think of those lonely and chilly seniors at the home… I didn’t know to be worried, the grownups around me didn’t make me feel worry, and thankfully I was in a safe and loving environment with enough.
I do remember… being at my grandmothers gathered around a kerosene heater, playing card games with my cousins, listening to the scanner in the kitchen. I remember that our family grocery store had to clear out the freezers and the food was split between the shelter at the Firehouse and other places. I remember popsicles and food stored outside on my grandmas back porch stairs… and in that pile of food from the freezers at Brenon’s Grocery was a plethora of foods that my mom NEVER bought for us, super treat foods. I remember enjoying my very first corn dog that day, and I remember Aunt Janes being in the kitchen at the same moment. I remember my dad being out a bunch, helping people who had pumps in their basements.
I don’t remember one bad thing from that time, and I am sure there was plenty of scary and hard. I remember togetherness and creativity and familiar. I remember gathering and laughing, missing school after the initial time and looking forward to normal returning by the end. I remember the day we went back to school… I remember the return to normalcy.
These COVID times aren’t the same in any way, these are more isolating and strange in many ways. There is nothing outside my house, that I can see, that is keeping me home. There are no downed power lines and heavy tree branches… but instead a virus that is the danger. It is harder to stay isolated in a world where the danger is invisible… invisible until you see it and the terror it brings. Those essential workers are on the front lines… fighting this invisible danger. Thank God we have those front line responders… though they aren’t all the same ones from 1991.
I am working VERY hard to create that experience for my girls… that one day they will look back at these COVID times and recall togetherness and laughter, Facetime with family members, school work remotely, daily walks and adventures, art projects and cooking dinners. I imagine they will reflect on the fact that they barely showered… and drove me crazy burping everywhere. I imagine when they grow up they will tell their kiddos about the quietest St. Patrick’s Day and the year mom’s birthday was just 3 people and hopefully a zoom meeting with family. They will recall the mission of delivering rainbows and supplies to our friend’s porches, the shear joy of Lucy when her friends left a care package for us- with hand sanitizer, toilet paper and wipes (a gift of sacrifice). They will recall days of their dog being SOOOO thankful for COVID times… #perspective.
This is hard. This is all so hard. I remember in these COVID times that we can do hard things… we can. We can get through this, and get stronger and more grounded in that. We can try to enjoy things, slow down and embrace the togetherness in the distance. In life I have found that sometimes being positive is a choice, a hard choice, but a choice. I am looking forward to the end of this, to the embraces and the laughing. I am looking forward to get-togethers and connection… but for now we do our jobs and get through this. Someday… I look forward to knowing what all of this looked like for my girls and other kids. Will this be their 1991 Ice Storm…