A few weeks ago, as the first cases of COVID-19 were being reported in Canadian County, I remembered hearing stories from my late grandmother about another pandemic.
Laura Lou Medley, born in 1913, was alive when the flu, nicknamed the Spanish Flu, caused 50 million deaths worldwide and 675,000 deaths across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
That flu pandemic lasted two years from 1918-1919.
There are not many of us on Earth now who were alive 102 years ago. But there are those who have lived this long and are still living after age 100.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health website, where the current COVID-19 statistics are updated daily, one of the deaths in Oklahoma this year from coronavirus is of a person who was 102 years-old.
That would mean the person was born into a world with a pandemic in 1918. Children under age 5 and older people were vulnerable then. They are again.
Older adults, we know are more vulnerable today from COVID-19.
The average age of those infected in Oklahoma is 56 years-old, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reports.
Meanwhile, spring is here and hot weather and summer is ahead. Swimming pools will be closed. School is out.
Sports are gone. There is no baseball right now. What will the Fourth of July look like?
No one can go to church on Easter.
But, don’t live in fear. Don’t stockpile essential supplies. Wear a mask. Wear gloves.
In the last few weeks, Oklahomans have cooperated with emergency orders, as cutbacks, layoffs, and loss of business continues.
I got to talk, by telephone, with a resident of Spanish Cove Retirement Village this week. Civilla Ball, 93, is sewing masks for Yukon’s first responders.
She comes from what is known as “The Greatest Generation.” She was a World War II nurse at age 16.
Her quote about today’s enemy is now with me every day.
“We will get through this, we will. A lot of people have come together and are cooperating more,” she said. “I have a lot of confidence.”
With so many people at home these days, and with our 2020 year technology, I’d say check on your relatives, and everyone older who has lived through and helped us live through a whole lot of situations over the years.
And spend some time talking by telephone or chat by text or email. There are times to remember the stories of the ages.
But also remember, the stories are happening around us today.
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