Monday, July 5, 2021

The Little Casualties of Covid Are Showing Strong

[A visit to Living History Farms, August 2017]

When we visited local historical museum Living History Farms last September, I expected it to be different. Covid restrictions were still in place, plus it was a weekday homeschool event, so we knew not everything was going to be opened. We could no longer walk into the General Store with a dime in our hands and purchase lemon heads for the same price they were in 1850. This was a tradition I loved. I have been going to LHF since grade school and have many fond memories of purchasing those lemon heads while we walked to the Blacksmith shop to watch an impersonator work away. 

I was disappointed, but I figured soon enough, something like this would "go back to normal."

Flash forward to Saturday. In support of local businesses, we've been buying season passes to quite a few places (as a family of 5, the passes typically pay for themselves with just two visits). We bought our joint pass to LHF and the Blank Park Zoo that morning, printed out our temporary pass, and went to their old fashioned Independence Day celebration. We love Living History Farms for the obvious reasons: it's fun, it's educational (the kids see firsthand how life was in 1850), plus it's dog friendly. On this particular day, there were many activities taking place. There was a reading of the Declaration of Independence, lawn games that would have been played at celebrations, a traveling medicine show, and an old fashioned baseball game (fun fact: there were no baseball gloves used!).

After checking in and receving treats for the dog, the minis practically ran to their favorite spot: the General Store. They love "shopping," purchasing Sarsaparilla, lemon heads, and rock candy. Pets aren't allowed in the buildings, so I waited outside with Zeus. I was confused when they walked in and walked right back out.

"It's closed still," they said. My heart sank. I've accepted many casualties of Covid, but for some reason, not being able to purchase our favorites stung. A lot. For the rest of the day, I quietly noticed all of the differences that happened because of the pandemic. Closures, building not opened, things like writing on little chalkboards in the 1800's schoolhouse were gone and permanent gates constructed around the desks. Desks we would once sit in, sipping the sarsasparilla as the minis played school. We took our seats for the baseball game on a picnic table, because bleachers have been removed (due to the inability to social distance), and grabbed sarsaparilla from the gift shop. 

Yes, we got our sarsaparilla, but it wasn't the same. This came out of the modern cooler in the gft shop, rather than a warm one from the General Store. We sucked on hard candy from the gift shop, but lemon heads were nowhere to be found because the company they received them from no longer exsists. A casualty of Covid. Suddenly, all of these little casualties of the pandemic are showing. It's a simple change. No one cried about it or was particularly upset about the changes. But they're there. These little things are changing how we learn, what we see, and the biggest reality that slapped me in my face, is that they'll change my children's childhoods. 

That was a lot to soak in on the holiday weekend. A post-Covid world has yet to be seen and I garner it will be most difficult for people like me, who remember the "before" time and the things that made them special.

[Watching the baseball game and trying new hard candies. The green apple hard candy wasn't too bad, but we all could have done without the Root Beer flavor]