Then and Now

I’ve been thinking about the differences between the Spanish Influenza epidemic and ours. A lot of things have changed in the last hundred years.

Back then my father was sent to live with his grandparents in the Appalachian mountains since people were less likely to get sick where there were fewer people. While there, he attended the one room schoolhouse where his aunt was the teacher. Since she didn’t go to school yet, his little sister just stayed home.

Back then telephones existed, though you had to ask an operator to connect you with the person you were calling. And radios existed but I don’t think they could get broadcasts from far away.

They used what we call snail-mail to communicate with people who lived far away and it took days, or even longer, for letters to reach those they were sent to.

With the internet, cellphones, and other modern technology we are able to communicate with people all over the world in a matter of minutes.

Those who had to stay home back then probably read books, as I do today. But they didn’t have Facebook, Zoom, cellphones, and all the other things we use to stay connected with other people.

Of course germs didn’t spread as fast and far without modern transportation.

But if we have to live through an epidemic, I’d rather be doing it now than then.

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Janet Ann Collins