Dear Professor Gott
Having just seen that reminder about your “Have our say project” in the newsletter of the NZ Society of Genealogists, I thought I would write a few comments about my experience with the Covid-19 lock-down.
I am an 85-year-old male, born in the Netherlands, so I came through WW2, and can remember quite a bit of it. I had 3 narrow escapes of surviving bombings since my family lived then in a suburb of Nijmegen which was frontier city from September 1944 to March 1945, when the Battle of Arnhem put a stop to Eisenhower’s plans of a rapid push into Germany. So I felt that having survived that, I should be able to cope with surviving the constraints of Covid-19.
I think I survived admirably since I have my wife [who is 76] as company so that we did not feel lonely. Moreover, under level 4, we had our children leaving food supplies for us, so that we did not have to starve. Once we got the hang of ordering supplies on line, we did not even have to put our children at risk any longer.
My wife and I are both sufficiently computer-literate to keep in contact with friends, both in NZ and throughout the world. We are both involved in voluntary organisations which kept communications going via Zoom. I correspond with a very large group of people so that I may have spent too much time behind the computer, being a two-finger typist. But every so often I would walk around the block during lock-down, which is a 20-minute walk. In addition, I have a large vege garden which also kept me busy and supplied us with veges during most of the lockdown. I still do my own lawns on my quarter acre section, and trim hedges that don’t involve ladders etc. And I can repair most things if they break down. We did not have any breakdowns that required skilled tradespersons during the lockdown. We did not even spend our time preparing for downsizing…! And we did not have any health problems during the lock-down.
Some people might think me a bit introverted because I can very well manage on my own, but needless to say, it is great to have my wife’s company and conversations. Our house is big enough so that we could do our own thing, without getting in each other’s way or hair. We enjoyed being able to communicate via telephone or computer, especially the Zoom sessions where you could see each other, including our children and grandchildren. We did not really watch much more TV than usual, i.e. we were not bored. My wife reads a lot. We faced very few challenges as indicated above, and having survived the war and the adjustment to life in NZ, I consider the lock-down period perfectly manageable.
However, I am intensely annoyed at the irresponsibility of people who take Covid-19 very lightly. The analogy with wartime lock-down is not inappropriate for this pandemic which is going to challenge NZers for several years yet. But the younger generations who protest about all the constraints that are being imposed on them, have of course no experience of wartime occupation. So they don’t know how lucky they are to have a government that listens to medical experts and acts on that advice, unlike the US president, and similar “leaders”.
When the lock-down eased, it was great to be able to select your own supplies in the supermarket or local butcher; go to the pictures and concerts, and visit friends and family again. If you seek additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Dr Nick Lambrechtsen QSM