Is anyone else tired of the phrase “In these uncertain times…?” It seems that this phrase has become a rallying cry of sorts–“Don’t worry, we’re still here to support you (or sell you some product.)” I find that the more I hear the phrase, the more callous I become to this unique moment in our history.
This morning I came across a podcast that moved and inspired me in some unexpected ways. It is about the 1964 Alaska earthquake and a hero who arose during that tragedy. (You can listen to the podcast here.) What captured me the most about the account was how the narrator learned about the story. Genie Chance had kept boxes of materials pertaining to her life, hoping one day to write her autobiography. Decades later a reporter was introduced to those materials and now we get to be inspired by her life.
It occurred to me that this is also the mission of the Kern County Historical Society, and I am proud and honored to be part of a group that does such important work. I would like to encourage everyone to think about “these uncertain times” in a larger context. How will future generations learn about this moment in history? How can we make the personal experiences of our community available for those who will come after us? One way might be for us to keep journals of the personal perspectives, emotions, and experiences that we are all going through. You may also be familiar with the Story Corps project through National Public Radio. There is a smartphone app that will guide a person on how to conduct an oral history interview, record the interview, and then give directions on how to save and upload the recording. I encourage all of our members to use this time of social distancing to keep journals and to think about conducting interviews once we are past this crisis.
I am wishing health and safety for each of you. I look forward to the day when we can all be together–there is a heartfelt elbow bump waiting from me to you.