The changes to our daily lives that have recently taken place, due to the coronavirus pandemic, have been a real blast from the past for me.
At 84, although I might forget my phone at work or what happened yesterday, I have vivid memories of my life as a little girl during the years the world was involved in World War II.
I clearly remember the day President Roosevelt announced the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
My parents and I were having a Sunday ride around in Charlotte, and I remember passing a storefront that had an RCA Victor record player in the window with a figure of Nipper the dog sitting beside it.
Then on the car radio came the announcement of the attack.
From the sound of my parents’ voices, I knew this was something serious.
But I didn’t know that a short time later we would pack our things and move from a mill town in North Carolina to the bustling city of Baltimore, Maryland.
My dad worked as a welder at a shipyard during the years we lived in Baltimore.
I was always fearful that he would be drafted and sent to fight the enemy, but I would have been just as frightened had I realized the flimsy scaffolding he was scaling as he welded metal seams back together.
Even though I was quite young, I was well aware of what was happening. My mom and I saw a lot of movies, and the news reels kept us informed of the battles on the other side of the world.
Also, I remember the air raid wardens who supervised the Blackout, making sure we had our windows blacked out at night and that we had no saboteurs lurking nearby.
Then there were the ration books — books of stamps that looked a little like the S&H green stamp books.
The thing I remember the most was that sugar was rationed and also meat. Little carnivore that I was, I’m not sure which I missed most — a candy bar or a porkchop.
Evidently the ingredients used in making bubblegum were essential to the war effort, because a little while after peace was declared, the school I was attending rewarded excellent attendance with a piece of bubblegum, and those of us who received one were delighted to get it.
I don’t know if toilet paper was in short supply during the war, but I do know that the United States honored Kimberly-Clark with an “E” Award (for excellence in commercial services) for its heroic effort supplying soldiers fighting in World War II.
The massive hoarding of toilet paper has become one thing we will always remember about the coronavirus siege. Hoarders have become the butt of jokes on TV, radio and especially Facebook.
Even now, Charmin, Angel Soft, Cottonelle, Scott or any other toilet paper brand that doesn’t have splinters is still in strong demand.
After days of coming up empty, my son scored a 12-pack of Angel Soft yesterday, and I was very happy.
If we come out victorious on the other side of the pandemic, I guess this will be remembered as the great wipeout.