no time for fear

Both my grandparents had a spouse die in the 1918 flu pandemic

courage to carry on

in 1930 George Dallas King age 54 listed his household as wife Willie Maud and nine other children

Life goes in circles. Round and round we go. The trauma my family experienced in the 1918 flu pandemic paralyzed me at the beginning of this COVID-19 pandemic. I clinch to fear’s mane. Both of my grandparent’s spouses died in the 1918 flu pandemic before they found each other as widow and widower in a Sunday school meetup. They married January 4, 1920. He was forty-five with five children and she was twenty-one with three children. Imagine their terror. I remember the soul crushing sorrow as a child gathered with my aunts and uncles. I felt the eddies of slights from the mixed status and warped sibling hierarchy. Every Thanksgiving this King family yours-mine-and-ours trauma was recanted. It was folklore. In the 1930 Geneva County Samson, Alabama census, George Dallas King age 54 listed his household as wife Willie Maud age 33, Lenora age 16, Inda age 9, David age 7, June age 4, Joan age 2 and Gilbert just 7 months. He went on to list John D. Howell age 17 as stepson, Erna M. Howell age 13 as stepdaughter and Leroy F. Howell age 11 as stepson. The distinction about who was in which category pecking order of the yours-mine-and-ours was palpable. In 1930, ten years into the marriage, nine of the thirteen children were still under roof to raise and it was the beginning of the great depression. Joan, my mom was the twelfth of thirteen siblings in the “ours” stage of the marriage that started with such tragedy.

Here now in 2020, I am still afraid spending my shelter-in-place time looking back at how my family survived. I am trying to gain strength from them. I just keep going round and round. Riding the back of fear.