Written Story by Anonymous

50 years from now, I will be close to my 70s. Hopefully I have grandchildren, and I was a great parent to my children so that they feel comfortable enough bringing my grandchildren to me. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have my grandparents, but I had my parents. I got to hear stories of how things were back in the day. They would end it with a chuckle saying “it was a crazy time”. They lived through a civil war, so it was definitely a crazy time. Growing up I got to hear what I think are exaggerated stories of their childhood, and how life was. I don’t know if I feel lucky, or overwhelmed to live out my teen years during historical times. It is both. 

In 50 years I would like to exaggerate COVID and its effects in my life and my community, but how do I exaggerate something that in itself just seems ridiculous and unbelievable. I will tell my grandchildren of how people’s first reactions were to stock up on food. I went into the WinCo by my house with my mum, thinking we were ahead of the game. Trying to stock up and get ready for the lockdown, but as we walked in we saw a crowd of people. The whole place was packed. I called myself an expert cart driver, and that title was tested that day. We had to maneuver around people speed walking to grab things before they were gone. If you wanted something but got there too late, it was empty. I had never seen WinCo this packed, even for the holidays. My grandkids will understand people stocking up on food, but may not understand people stocking up on toilet paper. The sociological theory of the self-fulfilling prophecy, where people thought that toilet paper was going to run out, and then ended up making the toilet papers run out. That one still baffles me. 

People were stocking up for food, and then what? Then came the lockdown. The streets were deserted. How are my grandchildren, and even people in 50 years going to believe that? Our population is growing rapidly. Unless we have somehow figured out a way to live on Mars and move people there, there is no way our streets will ever be empty. It will be no exaggeration when I tell them that there were no cars on the streets, no people, no dogs. No one was outside during this time. It was empty. People turned to the internet so much more than before. TIKTOK, if it is still a thing by 2073, saw an exponential growth during the lockdown. That was how people communicated. We are moving more and more into a digital age, and it is fair to say the pandemic played a huge part in it. More virtual jobs, due to adaptation and in some way, the fear of experiencing a virus that can shut the world down. The world. Not just one city, state, country, or continent, but the world. Everyone was submissive and at the mercy of COVID-19. The mention of its name still shakes heads, and in 2073 still will. 

I remember engaging my AVID class in 9th grade to sing the happy birthday song as I washed my hands. And now we all graduated on the 17th still somewhat feeling like strangers. We finished our 9th grade year online, and for the most part of our sophomore year too. By Junior some of us, including me, went on to be a part of the Early College Program. My “highschool experience” of walking down the hall, being loud and obnoxious on the bus, making friends and rivals, were all limited to the first semester of 9th grade. The class of 2023 had to grow up fast. We had to grow out of the highschool phase faster than we had thought. I was the class of 2023, and in 50 years I will continue to mention how we had to say goodbye twice. In 9th grade, and in the 12th grade as well. How do I explain to my grandchildren in a way that allows them feel my hurt of being robbed of my highschool experience? All the individual crazy highschool

stories I could have had to share with them before I “knew better” all came down to the one I’m writing. I got to witness the explosion of the digital world, people fighting for toilet paper, WinCo being crowded, and looking at names on black screens rather than people’s faces. 

I have always thought about exaggerating my life stories to my kids and grandkids, just like my parents and relatives exaggerated theirs to me. My journey is definitely not over yet, as I am just about to enter college. I will have many more stories to exaggerate, and many more stories to tell. However the pandemic, I couldn’t possibly exaggerate that. The facts alone are jarring. Nothing else has been able to bring the world together like COVID-19, and in 50 years, nothing else might have either. Living through history is something special, and terrifying. I cannot skip pages to see how it ends. I wish I could have. I thought the pandemic would never end. Like an apocalypse movie, I really thought we were all going to die. We celebrate the medical teams that put their lives on the line every day. That puts in their time, strength, and mind into helping. We grieve those we lost, and those who lost something. We congratulate those who made it through and adapted, which is everyone still here. All in all, it was something. We had our ups and downs, but we healed. Even the earth was healing itself from the madness. I will definitely say we got grounded by mother nature. I will not forget to leave. out. Add it as a warning to my grandchildren. Be good to the earth, remember what happened in 2020. It was really a crazy time.