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Capturing Pandemic Moments Before They’re Gone: A Time Capsule
October 1, 2020
Like it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed us into new sets of routines and has completely upended many parts of our lives. For many, this catastrophe has been compounded by school closures, historic wildfires or taking on additional caregiving responsibilities. While this process may cause you much angst, it could be beneficial, maybe even cathartic, to document how you and your family have been navigating these uncharted and sometimes disquieting waters.
Your stories may well make a valuable contribution to future historical accounts of this period of time, which produced much change and required such daily resilience. Given the widespread migration to virtual platforms for work, school and connecting, we have had to become savvier with technology, which could provide the opportunity to capture this documentation potentially effortlessly. The following are some tips and ideas for families looking to integrate this process seamlessly into their lives. But before you dive in, be honest with yourself about how much time you have to allocate to this project. You want to set yourself up for success, and not frustration.
Create a Family Treasure Chest
- Initiate a family treasure chest and invite everyone to contribute printed photos, artwork, magazine articles and more to it. You could even put in daily newspaper headlines to add historical context and create daily timelines.
- How do you decide what to keep? For families, consider how your day-to-day life has changed since March 2020: exercising, school, time with your older family members, hugs, exercise, play dates, group outings, jobs, graduations, weddings, shopping, family dinners, doctor’s appointments. What, if anything, has stayed the same? Remember when wearing masks sounded like a foreign concept? Now many of us have drawers full of them!
Take Photos or Videos
- Snap casual photos or videos of family members talking to each other on computers and other devices to capture how you used technology to stay connected during shelter-in-place. Grab screen shots of online events; what did it look and feel like to sit in front of a computer screen looking at a gallery of faces from afar?
Plan a Virtual Family Reunion
Is your 2020 family reunion moving online or were you even planning on having one? It might be easier than ever to gather family from every corner of the world. Harness the power of Zoom to record oral history interviews—about COVID-19 or early family history, or both. Here are a few ideas:
- For families, set up real-time Zoom interviews and mix it up. Ask a Generation 3 or 4 member to prepare questions for a Generation 1 or 2 family member. Choose topics that cut across generations: talk about a favorite toy from childhood, first pet, first dollar earned, least favorite subject in school, best prank, first car, favorite way to spend a summer day at age 12. Does the current COVID-19 pandemic spark memories of being quarantined or staying home from school due to an outbreak of illness 50, 60, 70 years ago?
- Have a grandparent interview the family’s youngsters. What has it been like to attend school online? Is it easier? Harder? What special events have they celebrated on Zoom? Birthday parties? Graduations? Concerts? Were there funny moments? What were the hard moments? These interviews could be a great way to bond generations.
Be sure to tuck away the photos, videos and important memories created in your personal archives or in Sand Hill’s Client Center, our online portal, which has unlimited storage capacity. Above all, try to stay in the moment and enjoy the process! Although it may seem like the pandemic will never end, there will come a time when order is restored, and serenity and tranquility will again be within reach.
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