Many of us have had to figure it out from scratch: how to live within the pandemic’s restrictions of daily life. But not University of Colorado professor Diann Logan, who writes from her home in Arvada, Colorado, that she just looks back to the generation that came before ours.
What would Mom do?
That swirled in my head as I drove home on March 10, 2020. It was my last commute from campus for the duration of the academic year and I navigated the familiar route by rote while I gasped at the magnitude of the changes coming: what will we eat, how will we go on with our lives? What would Mom do?
Why, she wouldn’t bat an eye. She’d get a grip, assess the threat, and she’d go to war— again. They had just barely survived the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression when Daddy set his jaw, donned his Army uniform, and marched off to war. My mother peeled off her nylon stockings and stepped into her coveralls. Seven nights a week she walked nearly two miles to work, part of the crew of women who held down the swing shift, 11p.m. to 7a.m., at Beech Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas. She wasn’t Rosie, she didn’t rivet anything. She installed radios in airplanes rolling off the assembly line by the hundreds. That’s the woman I need to emulate now.
So, what would Mom do? She’d open her pantry and pull out her cookbook.
I have a pantry, well stocked with staples. I have her cookbook and the skills I learned from her so I can cook from scratch. If bread is the staff of life, then surely one must know how to make bread. She taught me, and I have her crock bread bowl for just that purpose.
As we worry about a microscopic enemy that threatens humanity, it’s wise to remember that there are good microscopic organisms too— like yeast. By itself, it’s not enough to turn the tide, so I always have a 25-pound bag of flour on hand in the corner of the kitchen.
Freshly baked bread is a comfort food, an aroma I grew up with. There is no way to calculate how many times the handle of my mother’s bread knife has been gripped by her loving hands— and now mine.
Home cooked meals, homemade bread. Is that enough to combat the global enormity we face? It’s not just the food, it’s the attitude that says, we know how to survive if restaurants close or grocery stores are out of croutons, we know how to sacrifice for the good of all, we know how to stick with it until the threat is vanquished.
It’s an Odd Time in the World!
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Our baby boomer generation grew up later, during the good times, but the residue of our parents’ childhoods didn’t dissipate. We didn’t directly experience the threat and hardship they knew, but we absorbed the ethos of survival skills honed by the generation above us. We have the opportunity now to set the example, to exhibit the resolve our parents showed us. Younger generations need to see us at our best. This is surely not the last time they will face threats and hardship.
Diann’s book is “Dear Navel Diary, Are You Listening?”