I believe that a global crisis of this magnitude cannot help but permanently change our world. The genie is out of the bottle, so to speak.
It is a true loss of innocence, especially for our children.
Kids shouldn’t have to grow up being afraid to breathe in the air around them or have to practice 6 feet of social distancing or be restricted from hanging out in groups no larger than 10. They should be running around freely, playing with their friends and laughing, instead of being warned that without the right precautions against COVID-19, they risk contamination and possibly even a worse fate.
I, like some of you, grew up in simpler times. We didn’t have video entertainment like Xboxes or mobile gaming. There was no social media around, and smartphones were not available. Somehow, we got by.
We walked to school each day, played outdoors building forts in the snow, raced our bicycles around the neighborhood, looked for tadpoles in the brook during summertime, and we were happy.
Today, we live in a tech-saturated world, where everyone is looking down at their screens, and although there are many advantages, maybe something’s lacking.
When I was a kid, one of my favorite places was the former Duhamel’s located on West Hollis Street between Ash and Palm Streets. Following church services, my father sometimes took us to the store located about a block away. We would walk over the old train tracks that ran through Ash Street.
Inside Duhamel’s, if I’m not mistaken, was a small luncheonette with a few diner stools.
And nearby, was a storefront bay window that held rows of penny candy accessed by a kind female clerk who held open the mesh screen door. We excitedly filled up little, brown paper bags with Squirrel Nut Chews, Pixy Stix, Turkish Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Atomic Fireballs and others for the ride home.
These days, it isn’t easy for children, as the global virus is keeping them and all of us contained. And yet, we are depending on those very digital services and devices to self-isolate and remain connected to daily living but at a distance.
Here in Nashua, as in every other community across the Granite State, students are at home and remote learning after Gov. Sununu ordered all public schools closed through at least May 4.
In some ways, we are together alone.