Revisiting the Park: The Good Ol' Days

Revisiting the Park: The Good Ol' Days

Revisiting the Park: The Good Ol' Days

The best part of summer is seeing the neighbors come out of hiding to reconnect and hear the word on the street. A main topic has been the virus and how to circumvent the reality of it.

“Do you shop, or do you have groceries delivered? Do you dine out — where have you been?” “Have you flown anywhere? Taken any road trips?” followed by a resounding, “Have you ever seen anything like it?”

We’re all well aware of this virus, and while walking through our neighborhood, most are wearing masks and keeping the proper distance. Why on earth are so many in social gatherings sitting next to each other wearing no masks? It appears they do not care what happens to their fellow man. It is true the masks are confining, but to set forth a good example, we must care.

As preteens in Madison Park, we dealt with the usual health conditions: measles, chicken pox and the mumps. Out of nowhere, the beaches closed due to the biggest threat ever — the polio epidemic. The only thing we knew about polio was what we saw at the movies on newsreels. People suffering from the disease had to live their lives in iron lungs that breathed for them. That left us in disbelief and horror. No one stepped even a foot into the water.

Seeing something like that really impacted us. If we could only see how COVID-19 was harming people (as in footage on TV), we would then be compelled to wear masks and avoid crowds. With the in-your-face news we see these days, why not? We are a very visual society and are made stronger by evidence.

Most of us are caught up to speed with all that, and now it is gravely apparent, with fall around the corner, to get a flu shot. The COVID vaccine remains to be seen. We will probably still be relatively housebound, but Seattleites are happy that rain freshened the smoke-filled air and perhaps our minds. Never had we wanted it to rain so bad.

I remember another housebound time a short 80 years ago. The adults seemed all-knowing, but when news of the war was in the air, there was a subtle change in their demeanor. Children were seen and not heard, so we were told, “Don’t worry, dear!” The war was “over there,” but Germany planned on acquiring America. Our nation was kept in the dark, similar to today with sources of information either nonexistent or questionable.

My grandparents lived in Kirkland and had a friend who helped on their farm who taught the children how to goose-step. It was thought then that it might be a good thing to have Germany take over. There were air raids, black outs and shortages. All hell broke out early on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Days later, Germany declared war on the United States.

After becoming part of the war, we sold the home and just months later we lost Dad. We returned to Madison Park in hopes of living with my grandparents, but they had already rented the spare room, so we lived in the garage. The once-happy Madison Park was now filled with different faces: service personnel, people working in the war effort and others renting any and all available shelters.

Mail from family members was censored. Gabriel Heatter and Sam Hayes, news commentators at the time, delivered highly edited news so the enemy couldn’t hear anything useful as far as troop movement and location. We sat around the radio especially when Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke. He spoke to all of our concerns and problems regarding the world and addressed it succinctly in that one speech. He rallied all citizens by keeping them informed, and the results followed. We hung on every word.

Enough is enough! We are all looking forward to the day when all of the issues of late subside. Many of us have experienced the Great Depression, World War II and now the virus, climate change, forest fires and discrimination. There must be some higher-ups who could suggest a meeting of the minds and at least work toward a solution.

Our wish is for common sense amongst us and a new manner of leadership to prevail.