Comfort From a 102-Year-Old Who has Lived Through a Flu Pandemic, the Depression and WWIIBreaking News
tags: senior citizens, influenza, COVID-19
At Lucille Ellson’s home, inside her brimming drawers, are hints of how the present mirrors the past.
Ellson is 102 years old. She was born Dec. 30, 1917, right before a flu spread through military camps in Europe and the United States and became a global pandemic. She was a baby then, unaware, but heard stories of how her uncle contracted the flu while serving in World War I; and how her father got it so bad that he took time away from the family farm outside Laurens, Iowa.
Neither died. Ellson’s mother would remind her of that, too. But it wasn’t Ellson’s last time living through a historic crisis. She was a teenager during the Great Depression. She was a schoolteacher and young wife during World War II. And she has reflected on that as the country faces another pandemic, this one from the novel coronavirus.
Ellson has been going through the letters, newspaper clippings and other stuff — she calls it “mumbo jumbo” — she’s kept over a century. It all reminds her of what’s gripping the country, the feeling of being stuck inside and a bit scared, and of not knowing what the future holds.
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