"My grandparents lived through the Great Depression and World War II. I keep thinking about them during this quarantine," Rebecca says in her latest column.

My grandparents lived through the Great Depression and World War II. I keep thinking about them during this quarantine.

Those world events profoundly influenced their lives.

Is this peculiar time a blip that fades into memory as some sort of bizarrely long pause? Or is it something that changes us, influences us, for the rest of our lives?

I tend to think it is changing us. And the devastating economic blows are still to come. While tumultuous world events shaped my grandparents, it forged rather than crushed them.

How? How do we make sure after the break that the set bone is stronger?

We used to laugh that our grandmothers carefully unwrapped any gift and saved the paper. That’s the result of abhorring waste and preparing for scarcity. You were right, Grandma, to save.

My grandmother didn’t garden because she loved it, she did it for food. Even decades after the Depression, she grew tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and zucchini. All the grandmothers could sew. Our grandfathers collected nails of all sizes in coffee cans. They had tool sheds. Mine could build anything his family needed. What, of these skills, should we now cultivate?

Their actions were a lesson to me, but so were their attitudes. They were humble and grateful. There was never a boast or brag, as the song goes, but they acknowledged the abundance they enjoyed after the war. They knew there wasn’t a chasm between safety and collapse but a tiny crack. They could see the other side, so they valued good fortune, celebrated it, shared it. They understood fortune could flip like a light switch. Those same lights they turned off to save electricity like they saved cooking grease, just in case. The contributed to their church, school, the Moose Lodge, the Knights of Columbus, to strengthen their communities.

They didn’t dwell in fear, they thrived. They learned from the events of their generation.

My grandfather-in-law used to ask my husband this question: What did you do today to keep the wolves from the door? That’s the heart of it now. The wolves are at the door, whether it’s a virus, depression, economic hardship, or – I can’t even believe this one – murder hornets.

What am I doing to keep the wolves from the door?

I am making sure my house is stocked slowly. I am working from home, learning from, and being inspired by others on how to survive in my line of work in this new reality. I am thinking about what can be reused, what can I make myself? I appreciate my space. I am watching the birds flit from limb to limb on the budding trees in the backyard. I appreciate my own little nest. I am connecting with my people daily.

I’m patronizing the small businesses struggling to stay open. I am eyeing social services and non-profits in my community. What challenges are they facing, goods, donations, volunteers? When this forced isolation is over, the fabric of our community connection will need strengthening. What will my part be? This is all fluid; the questions are open-ended and still unanswerable.

For now, I am nurturing that which strengthens my resilience and trying to help those around me do the same.

The wolves are at the door but we can stand at the threshold to face them and shoo them away.

Rebecca Regnier is an author and former television journalist. Visit her online at www.rebeccaregnier.com.

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