Echoes of Elul, Day 13: Tales of Long Branch

By Liz Cohen

When I think of the last year and a half, I am amazed at all our collective resilience. And yet sometimes I am thunderstruck by my utter lack of preparedness for an event such as a worldwide pandemic. I consider myself a well-educated person who certainly, from a historical point of view, knew about the 1918 flu epidemic. Many of my family lived through this time, yet it was never in my conscious mind that such a thing could happen again. I remember hearing that my grandfather moved everyone in the family out to Long Branch, New Jersey. In those years it was isolated and very far from New York City. I never stopped to ask myself, when I heard “Tales of Long Branch”, why a federal agent who was based in N.Y.C. would do such a thing. My family, I realize now were the very lucky ones, who did not live under the specter of dying from influenza.

No one in late 2019-2021 truly had the option of finding an isolated spot and hunkering down there for 2 years. We all just had to batten down the hatches in our homes and isolate ourselves from our families and friends… “and live in fear”. It was a sad and scared world but we all did our best and with the vaccines available, have learned to live and “bloom” in a post almost, apocalyptic world.

I think time does heal many types of wounds and most certainly, time dulls our memories of a difficult past. That being said, I think we need to truly remember to enjoy our newly found freedom from fear, thrive, and seize each moment. In this new year, lets smile easily, laugh often, and be kind to as many people as we can.

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