The journal entries from a woman in northeastern Ohio about farm work and life throughout the 1918 flu pandemic and World War I have actually brought her future generations comfort and hope as the country comes to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.
” No school on account of ‘Spanish Influenza’,” Lucy Vandervort Cox, who passed away in 1964 at age 84, composed in her diary entry on Monday, Oct. 7, 1918, on a “cloudy and much cooler” day in Wilmington.
Jennifer Weinbrecht, 63, maintained her great-grandmother’s journals which were composed from 1899 to 1964 and later on passed down to her from her departed mother, JoAnne Womacks.
The journals, which Weinbrecht also describes as journals, reveal a photo of the hard work of farm life and raising a household. Kept mostly in the form of a log of everyday activities, they use some additional bits of what life resembled throughout the 1918 influenza pandemic.
” I look up names or words in my great-grandmother’s rather sparsely worded journals and learn a wealth of information,” Weinbrecht informed NBC News from Novelty, Ohio. “In some cases, it’s fun things– like when she said she completed her Mom Hubbard, and I Googled that and found it was a gown that could be worn without a tight bodice for working on the farm,” she stated.
‘ Grandmother Cox’, as she’s affectionately described, worked on a veggie farm in Wilmington with her hubby, Henry, and raised two children, Ernest and Elsie. Elsie, Weinbrecht’s granny, was the daughter of Cox’s sibling but was embraced into the household when the kid’s mom died.
Weinbrecht began years ago to transcribe the journals in hopes of additional protecting her family’s history. The household reviewed them just recently when her daughter Amy Patterson, 38, wished to see what advice they could glean as they remained inside your home to remain safe from the pandemic.
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Patterson, who works as a part-time press reporter for the Geauga County Maple Leaf in Chardon, Ohio, composed a piece for the newspaper about how the lessons gained from the 1918 flu might assist readers conquer COVID-19
” While a worldwide pandemic shuttering schools and companies seems like new territory, a number of our families still bear the scars of the 1918 influenza pandemic,” she composed.
Roughly 50 million individuals all over the world died from the 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic, also referred to as the Spanish influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States alone, about 675,000 people were eliminated at the time.
Ohio has 14,694 validated cases of COVID-19 and 656 deaths from the unique coronavirus, according to the Ohio Department of Health. In the United States, as of Friday, there were 828,441 cases and 46,379 deaths overall, consisting of probable cases and losses. Ohio and lots of other states have actually issued stay-at-home orders, with a little number of states choosing not to provide such limitations.
As the world comes to grips with the coronavirus pandemic and quarantines, Patterson felt that looking back into her family’s history might bring some hope, connection and perspective.
Patterson, who has two sons, ages 9 and 11, decided to read through some of the entries to see how they associated with her own household’s experiences now.
” It just felt like an actually great time to assess how bad this is, compared to how bad our forefathers had it,” Patterson stated over the phone from Chardon.
In one entry, Cox blogged about cooking and how her partner, Henry, shucked corn.
” I baked bread and sugar cakes and chose mangoes,” she wrote on Monday, Oct. 28,1918 “Then the children and I went to town in [the] evening after some more medicine to avoid influenza.”
Patterson recalled how her great-great-grandmother’s more youthful brother was away serving in the war, how school and church had been closed due to influenza safety measures, yet Cox continued doing farm work and putting her household first.
” My kids are dealing with not being connected to their friends at school,” Patterson stated. “It’s that time of life like, they’re discovering how to be social and having been forced to do that personally to doing it throughout the screen is not perfect, however I feel that we’re nearly more connected than we were previously.”
She credits Grandmother Cox’s story for a few of that. “We’re sending out these family photos back and forth. My kids are asking concerns about our household, because of this story,” she stated.
In another diary entry, Cox described what appeared to be a typical day, what the household consumed– she baked a cake and some bread, she took a trip into town with the kids– a common November day that was “clear” but had a “really cold wind.” The entry concludes with one sentence about the passing of 14- year-old Mary who caught the flu. An extremely stark tip of the virus that was taking a toll on her community.
Then the following month, she taped the names of more lives lost to influenza.
” But, between the deaths and funerals adding up on Lucy’s journal, she also recorded indications of daily life– sees to town, small injuries to the children and numerous wedding events– in a sign that life was still moving on, even in the midst of a world at war,” Patterson composed.
Weinbrecht, who owns a bookstore called Jane Austen Books with her 2 children, said she has been transcribing and digitizing the decades of diaries. So far, she depends on 1935.
” They can’t stop. Even when [Grandma Cox] says, ‘Oh, I feel truly bad,’ she just has to keep going,” Weinbrecht said.