In Our Virtual Mishkan

Sharing the Life Wisdom of our congregant Helen Lyon, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday

QUESTION: You have lived through a Depression, a Recession, a World War, a Cold War, and just about the full range of worldwide challenges. Is Now the strangest and most anxiety-provoking time, and if not, what was?

My memory of World War 2 is a vivid one. In North America, we were spared the devastation in Britain and Europe and the Far East. But everyone knew someone who had enlisted in the armed forces and risked or gave their lives so that we would have our freedom. We listened to the radio for the latest news and watched the newsreels that were shown with every movie. Our everyday life was disturbed a bit by ration coupons. There was a shortage of sugar, butter, canned salmon, etc. My mother told me she met a woman waiting in line for a can of salmon – for her cat. There was no more aluminum foil so the same sheet was smoothed out and used over and over again. There was no rubber so synthetic rubber was invented. No silk stockings so nylons were invented. There was some mail in the first few months of the war, and then no contact, and of course my parents worried about family, and other families worried about soldiers hopefully coming back.

There was a lot of activity for “the war effort” – buying war bonds and saving certificates, in school, we would knit squares for afghans to send overseas, saved various metal items for using to make munitions, etc. It was a time of great tension and worry for everyone. If the troops didn’t hold back and defeat the enemy, their next goal would be to come across the Atlantic.

But this takes the cake. We were affected by world events on different levels, some a great deal, some not so much. The crisis we are in right now affects every person in the world, and we have been given something that every one of us must do. There has never been such a blanket deed asked of every person – stay at home – and no idea of how long this will last. I would say this is the strangest and most anxiety-provoking time of all.

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