The last few weeks, I’ve been supporting parents that are suddenly homeschooling because of the school closures due to the Corona Virus Outbreak. It’s helped to give back in the way that is unique to my teaching and writing background. A full novel story for my first book took two weeks to write and post for all of you. I do hope it has helped bring some light during these bleak times. As I’ve said before, I think we all need some fairies and the Fey in our life right now.
But I’ve also been on a personal journey to help deal with the events that have been happening due to the corona virus outbreak. I live in California in the Silicon Valley. I grew up here. In fact, my book series touches on the orchards I used to play in while growing up here. But at first, it was a ground zero for the outbreak, with Santa Clara County the first to lock down in the US. It was soon followed by the whole state of California.
I’m at high risk since I’m over fifty and a woman with a heart condition. So, I took this all IMMEDIATELY seriously when enough was known on how deadly this virus was becoming. I gave a leave of absence letter to my boss, and did a huge shopping trip to help get through what I thought would be a 3 week lockdown. My last day out in the real world was March 11. On March 12, I started my own lockdown to stay safe. And then, I watched my county and later my whole state join me a few days later.
I do work a lot on line. I have Fiverr.com gigs that I help out other authors with blurbs and interview them for this blog. I self publish all my romance and children’s books, and am currently writing a “How To Self Publish” book.
But somehow, this shelter in place turned into something a lot different than my normal writing schedule. Everyone else was there with me. My friends were online all the time now. People were coming up with awesome, supportive things to cheer up each other. Putting up Christmas lights in the windows and displaying teddy bears for kids to do bear hunts were just some of the things I’ve participated in my neighborhood to connect during these strange times. But it also reminded me and started to feel like something else.
I first read Anne Frank when I was eleven. I couldn’t put it down, and I cried endlessly when I got to the end wondering why she had to die. This touched off a lifetime of questions about WWII and the Holocaust. I have since been to the Anne Frank Haus in Amsterdam, stood outside Auschwitz (which was unfortunately closed on the day I visited), and have read many books about the behind the story about the Secret Annex, the helpers, and people that knew Anne.
I turned now back to these books, finding that there were even more memoirs, more information in regards to the hiding saga that has touched so many people. I’ve dived into some recently new memoirs and biographies involving people with the hiding of the Frank family and the other hiders. I’ve never felt more closely in experience with Anne before. She wanted to be a writer. She hid for two years, and I had tried to imagine before what it must have been like for her. I have more of an idea now.
It is strange to say that reading about Anne Frank and the hiding saga that took place almost 80 years ago brings me comfort during a pandemic, but it does. I’ve always had the question of what it was like for Anne. I’ve stood in the Annex in Amsterdam, touched the sink where they washed dishes, and listened to the clock bong the hour. That made the story so real for me tears started to form. And again, I still seek the answer, what was it like for Anne? What did she go through while hiding? Well, I’m living it right now. We all are.
There are some parallels that make Anne’s story true for us today. No. I don’t have Nazis looking for me. But the fear that some invisible enemy is out there is part of my thoughts. My routine is constantly to clean and try to keep myself safe from it. The anxiety is awful. She must have felt some kind of similar anxiety about being discovered.
I do have helpers bringing me food in the form of delivery services. But the fear is different because the invisible virus could be on what they bring me and I have to wash everything. Of course, this could be akin to the fear of discovery, the attention to keep yourself safe, and to do what was needed to stay safe. I do have to ration and try to get the food I need, always trying to hit the delivery window online, which sometimes can take days. And I have to plan to get the food in advance. It’s like a combination of being a helper and a hider.
This outbreak shows the continued cycle of the struggle for humans to survive and that we can adapt to it all. It has a similar truth that Anne’s story has. And we’re living it together. If we hang in there, we might still have that hope shared with Anne in her writings. She was always positive, and still thought the best about humanity.
I spend my days writing, adult coloring a calendar I got for Christmas to relieve stress, and taking care of my husband and cat in a small, one bedroom condo. I am more fortunate than many, I know. But my mind just can’t help but imagine the similarities between Anne’s, her family’s and the others with them hiding experience must have been like. It is similar to what a lot of people in the world might be experiencing now, together. Trying to stay sane within close quarters of living with others.
There is one thing that is also clear. Anne had no way to know how her ordeal would end. She hoped it would be after the war that she could write her dairy finally as a book. But that never came to pass since she passed away from typhus at a concentration camp after her family and fellow hiders were betrayed, arrested, and sent to the camps. But while she was hiding, she had the most incredible hope. Hope that she would get through everything and have her dreams. Hope that everything would be alright when the war was over. She is quoted in “The Diary of a Young Girl” as saying:
“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.“
And that’s why I’ve related with her all these years, and so much now. Her life was so similar to ours until it was changed by the war, her family was forced into hiding, and she spent two years waiting for a more positive outcome than what she received. I hope for all of us, we all have a more positive outcome. That we all stay safe, we survive this pandemic together, and live through to the other side to still see the beauty in the world.
Please, do not lose hope. And if it helps any, read “The Dairy of a Young Girl” that was Anne’s dream to publish, but was unable to in the end, and her father made her dream come true. Then, here are some great follow up books that give different perspectives of the hiding experience:
For more information on Anne and the secret annex where she hid, visit the:
So, I invite you to read not only Anne’s story, but that of all the people she touched. It shows how one life can be so special, and how even in the worst of times, kindness can prevail. Like now. Maybe that’s why I’m turning to these books right now. We need the wisdom. We need the guidance of those that have gone through tougher times like our present pandemic situation. And what better resource than the books that survive them all.
If you do choose to read them or would like to talk about them after, please leave messages in the comments. I’d love to hear how you are dealing with the Corona Virus Lockdown, and maybe people in the future will use our stories of struggle for their own inspiration.
-Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands, and appreciate the little things,