Sunday, December 13, 2020

Exchanging letters at holiday time has always meant a lot to me. Perhaps this year more than most, because of the isolation many of us are going through during the pandemic. I want to hear from people. Actually, I want to see people. And I will be doing some of that, but let’s leave that thought for later this week and go straight to the letter. You can’t get more socially distanced than this:


Dear friends and family,

Is anyone writing Christmas letters this year? I hope so, because I’m looking forward to seeing how everybody manages to sum up 2020 in a paragraph or two!  Most of all I hope you and yours are in good health and spirits. Never have I been so aware of all of us being one world, linked together by our common humanity, emphasized this year by a virus.

Here is what I miss: Traveling, choral singing, and family celebrations with my children and grandchildren.

And here is what I’m doing:

  • Writing a blog about how the pandemic affects our lives. I’m a historian, right? And this is history. Maybe my next book. Check it out:  https://historysedge.wordpress.com/
  • Keeping up with the world pandemic/virus through news, books, and research articles as much as possible to keep that blog informed.
  • Walking dogs with my next-door neighbor every afternoon.
  • Looking after my garden.
  • Connecting with friends and family more than ever through text,  Zoom, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, email, phone calls, Words with Friends, postcards, birthday cards, and whatever means that are out there. Everyone I know seems to have a different communication preference and I just try to keep up.
  • Taking an occasional road trip within the state of California. Fortunately, it’s a big state.

And marveling at life’s curious bookends . . .

Last March when the pandemic was declared I was visiting Portugal with my son John and two of my traveling grandchildren. Our flight home was scheduled for Friday, March 13, which turned out to be the deadline for travel to the U.S. and we found ourselves in a sea of people at Heathrow all trying to get on a flight home on the same day.

Yesterday hotels and restaurants were closed throughout the state by order of the governor. John and I found ourselves checking out of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park with everyone else hitting the road for home. Luckily we planned to leave that day anyway.

It’s a strange year. And it’s not over yet.


Today’s Notable Headlines

“The difficulties of this year’s holiday letter,” Star Tribune, Dec. 11, 2020. https://www.startribune.com/lileks-the-difficulties-of-this-year-s-holiday-letter/573372281/

“OPINION: Rachel Brougham — A 2020 holiday letter,” News-Review, Dec. 11, 2020. https://www.petoskeynews.com/news/opinion/opinion-rachel-brougham-a-2020-holiday-letter/article_b6001f81-5657-52ec-b9af-3262d3291f16.html

“Letters to Santa reveal the toll the pandemic is taking on kids,” CNN, Dec. 9, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/09/us/santa-letters-children-coronavirus-trnd/index.html

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.

You are on History’s Edge.

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