The news about the Corona Virus reminds me of some family history.

Back around 1920 there was an epidemic of the Spanish Influenza.

My grandmother in California got it and, as a result, had health problems for the rest of her life.

The other side of my family lived in New Jersey. The young boy who would become my father was sent up to live with his grandparents in the Appalachians since people in small towns in rural areas were less likely to be exposed to the virus.

There his aunt was the teacher at the one-room schoolhouse.

At the end of the school year when the epidemic was over he was able to return home.

His grandparents gave him the kerosene lamp that had been next to his bed and his aunt (or great aunt) gave him the hand-held school bell she had used to call the children in.

I don’t know why they could give those things away. Perhaps the grandparents were able to get electricity soon afterwards, and maybe his aunt would retire.

I still have the items my father was given.

The lamp has a crack in the glass so it can’t be used, but the rose colored glass still looks pretty in my cabinet.

When I was a kid the only time my brother and I were allowed to ring the school bell was at midnight on New Years Eve, and I still ring it then.

Posted in

Janet Ann Collins