We are living in strange times and it feels a bit like the calm before the storm! I asked my mother what is was like when WW2 started in September 1939 – she said that for about two weeks, things were cancelled and everyone waited to see what would happen – when nothing did, life returned to normal! The London Windmill Theatre, well known for nude tableaux vivants, proudly boasted that “We never closed” during WW2; and apart from 12 days of compulsory closure affecting all theatres from 4-16 September 1939, performances continued throughout the war even during the worst of the Blitz.
Meantime, in 2020, Covid-19 closures will definitely last more than two weeks. Schools and theatres are closed. The UK May elections are postponed until 2021 and some US States are delaying Primaries. Many European countries are in lockdown and some like the US have declared a State of Emergency. Even Mount Everest is closed. People are panic buying, and stockpiling food and toilet rolls; shops have empty shelves. Sports fixtures are cancelled or postponed – Euro 2020 has turned into Euro 2021!
But it has happened before. Those outside the UK may not have heard of Eyam in Derbyshire, where in 1665, a flea-infested bundle of cloth arrived from London for the local tailor. Within a week his assistant was dead and others in his household died soon after. Precautions to slow the spread of the Black Death were in place from May 1666, such as holding church services outside to allow ‘social distancing’. People left food and medicine by ‘plague stones’ at the edge of the village in exchange for money soaking in vinegar. But the best-known decision was to quarantine the entire village. According to church records, at least 273 died but the bubonic plague did not spread; the self-sacrifice had worked. In November 1667, the quarantine was lifted.
Although there can be no comparison between the sufferings of WW2 and Covid-19, just now, it feels a bit like when a full eclipse of the sun happens; day suddenly turns to night, birds stop singing and an eerie quiet descends. Let us hope that it is not too long before light returns! Meantime, I hope those of you reading this are safe and, if vulnerable or have signs and symptoms of Covid-19, are well cared for. With love, prayers and best wishes to you all.
‘Their efforts to preserve the freedom of the world were not in vain and will never be forgotten’
Scholarly Commons Citation
Harding, J. A. (2020). 5 BFTS Association Newsletter No 16 - March. , (). Retrieved from https://commons.erau.edu/bfts-clewiston-newsletters/11