Crazy Month of May 2020 Meme: My Pandemic Experiences

It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in a blog challenge, but good friend and blogger Pauleen (aka Cassmob) came up with one that I just had to take part in. It’s the “Crazy Month of May 2020 Meme: My Pandemic Experiences

She writes:

“It occurred to me that perhaps we should have a meme which captures our response to the hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime May that we’ve just navigated….it might be a way to preserve the tip of our experiences. Remember that many blogs are being archived in Pandora so perhaps this is a way for our descendants to learn about our experiences during the covid-19 crisis.”

So here’s my responses:

What are you most grateful for during this covid-19 crisis?
I would have to say I’m thankful that I still have a job when so many now don’t, but also that most people in my area are doing the right thing with social distancing, which of course helps stop the spread of coronavirus.

What have you missed most during the full or partial lock-down?
As an introvert I love being home, but just now and then it’s nice to randomly go out for a meal. So that is something I have missed.

Has your hobby sustained you during this time?
While not sure if you’d class it as a hobby, keeping an eye on my local wildlife (koalas and kangaroos) and enjoying them coming around, makes me happy, and is a stress reliever. But as for actual hobbies, I haven’t had time for them recently …

What changes have you seen in your life over May 2020?
Work is BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!!! I work in a family history business, and it has been non-stop crazy busy over the past few months. So clearly those in lockdown have been getting stuck into researching. I know there are newbies who have just started, while others have picked it back up after putting it aside for years, and then there’s the non-stop researchers have enjoyed the ‘stuck at home time’ to research as well. So all up, there’s a LOT of family tree research going on.

Have you been exercising more or less?
I would say no change actually. I do some, but should always do more.

Has the refrigerator been your friend or foe?
Due to not going out for meals, there is more food in the fridge. But I’ve been good and haven’t food binged.

Have you been participating in virtual gatherings with friends or family?
Work meetings are now done by Zoom, so that’s been handy.

Have you taken up new hobbies during the lockdowns?
Again … no time for new or existing hobbies at present.

Are you cooking or gardening more?
Maybe a bit more of both, but the gardening is more because of the time of year, as it now needs it.

Have you shopped more or less? Online or offline?
I’ve been grocery shopping more … in person since it’s close to my work. But other shopping (clothes, shoes, hardware, etc.) no, not at all. In fact I’ve probably done less regular shopping than normal.

What have you found to be the strangest change to your life?
Not so much a change, but an observation that I found werid. When the lockdowns first came into effect in Australia (end of March), and only essential travel was allowed (ie. supermarkets and docors), to see the line-ups for the supermarket was very odd.

Have you found the changes and experience stressful/anxious/worrying?
I think I’m fine personally, but I know some people are jack of the whole subject of it, and are ready to argue/lecture about it. While I can see a lot of people are anxious about it as well. And why wouldn’t they be. There’s a disease out there, that doesn’t always show symptoms, and you don’t know if you have it, and are unknowingly spreading it, or the if ther person next to you has it.

How have the closures affected your local community?
I’m sure the lockdowns and closures of businesses will have had a big impact on numerous small businesses and probably sports clubs too. But nothing immediately identifiable at present.

Have in-person meetings been replaced with virtual meetings via Zoom, Skype etc?
Yes, fortunatley.

Do you enjoy the virtual meeting format?
It works fine, and is so much better than having to travel to go to a meeting, then travel home.

Are you working from home instead of in your usual place of work?
I was working from home for a few weeks when lockdown first came in. That was nice as I was able to work, while also seeing the local wildlife that comes to visit during the day (ie. our regular koalas and kanagaroos), but I’m now back in the shop everyday.

Have your habits changed over the past months?
Not excessively, though I do have more hand sanitizer around than I used to.

Have you had to cancel travel plans for work, pleasure or family?
I was on a work cruise that got cut short, and was due to fly to Queensland shortly after that for an event – all just before the lockdowns in Australia came into effect. Obviously both of those were cancelled.

Do you think you’ll be able to travel in 2020?
I believe Australia and New Zealand travel will be do-able later this year. As for other countries … time will tell. But hopefully later in 2021 I think is more likely.

Have you/others been wearing masks when out and about in your area?
I haven’t been, and very few people do in my area. But we are relatively ‘safe’ with no current cases, and no local cases for about 30 days now.

Will you change your lifestyle after this experience?
I don’t believe so. But maybe just be more tolerant of others (though I think to think that I was anyway), because you don’t know what they are going through (thoughts, fears, current situation).


Just some final thoughts in relation to my observations during the pandemic… seeing hand sanitizer available to use at every shop you go in, seeing the 1.5m social distancing signs on the floors in shops has now become normal. Having take-away food only (no sit down meals available). Visting your local coffee shop, and seeing the chairs and tables stacked up. Having the playgrounds closed, movie theatres, amusement parks, libraries, genealogy societies, museums, archives, department stores and small clothing stores, beauticians, tattoo stores, pubs all closed as well, until just recently – when they’ve started reopening in limited ways. Then there were all the events that got cancelled .. including the Tokyo Olympics, Anzac Day, every sport Australia wide, social get-together meetings as well as work ones … it goes on.

After the horrors of the Australian bushfires over November-December-January, no-one thought there would be anything ‘bigger’. But seeing the devastation and heartbreak from friends and others around, who’ve either had the virus themselves and survived, or have loved ones who didn’t – there are no words.

Coronavirus has changed the world. It is a global catastrophe on both the health scale, as well as the economic scale. While no doubt some things would have been done differently in hindsight, I still don’t think to world was prepared in any way to cope with a pandemic of this scale. And yet the heath authorities tell us we’re still in the first wave.

People say the ‘heroes’ of this pandemic are those in the health industry (the doctors, nurses, those in the labs, the researchers and so on), and absolutely they are doing their best to help you recover once youre sick, but the other ‘heroes’ are all the individuals who have been self isolating at home for months now. They have forgone seeing family and friends in person, and who by doing so have been doing their bit to help not spread the virus.

Please, stay safe my friends.

Summertime Memories

While the temperature has been near record levels in my little corner of the world (in South Australia), recently, it’s made me, and probably everyone else in the state seriously appreciate our air conditioners. I have no idea how ancestors coped with 40C+ days without air conditioners? Serious kudos to them. They did it tough and they survived, and it reminds me of one of my all-time favourite genealogy quotes …

But also I’ve been thinking about Summertime and what we did when I was young. How many of these can you relate to?


Firstly sprinklers were used to not only water the lawn, but were also a great way to keep kids occupied and cool, as they played in the water. But along with that there was plenty of clover and bees – which of course also resulted in beestings.

my brother

There was the slip’n’slide, do you remember that? That was cool, at least until too much dirt grit got on it, then grazed you as you slid down.

There was the little kiddy pool. That was well used, and when my bother and I got older my family got a bigger above ground pool. Summertime as a kid was pretty much spent in the pool!

This is little Lonetester hopping into the kiddy pool. Brown water, but when you were used to dam water, this was clean in comparison!

And who remembers the black innertube rubber tyres? They were the best in the pool. There was none of the fancy plastic blow-up ones that are available these days.

Cordial or juice icy poles. You know the ones that were frozen in the tupperware iceblock moulds. If you’ve forgotten when they looked like, you can check them out here.

The days were filled with outdoor life. Bike riding to friends houses, playing in nearby creeks, or getting dropped at a friend or neighbours house for the day, particularly if they had a pool or dam. It was life back then.

Tadpoling. I was lucky enough to have a couple of creeks near my place, so when my friends and I weren’t in the pool or dam, we would go out and and catch tadpoles.

When you went to playgrounds, yes you burned your bum, because the slippery dip (along with every other piece of play equipment) was metal! None of this plastic stuff. But we survived.

On the rare occasion when you weren’t outside on a hot day, you were probably parked in front of the portable (what is now called “retro”) water cooler air conditioner. You know the ones on wheels, that you could wheel into a room, that was heaven on a hot day. Ours looked pretty similar to this one.

So that’s just a few of my Summertime memories. What are yours?


The “When I Was Young” Geneameme

Alona Phillips - March 1975

doing the dishes was fun, at least at age 2

Like it or not, life today is a whole lot different from when we grew up. And as genealogists and family historians, we are mindful of recording our own history, yet so often it doesn’t happen, and sits in the “I must do that” list.

So this “When I Was Young” geneameme has been created to allow you to record at least some of your childhood memories.This series of 25 questions will take you back to your childhood as it asks questions about the games you played, what school was like, what heirlooms you have from your childhood, what books or stories you remember from back then … and a whole heap more.

So if you’d like to record a little of your own childhood history, feel free to take part in my “When I Was Young” geneameme.

  1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (ie. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.)
  2. Do you know if you were named after anyone?
  3. And do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?
  4. What is your earliest memory?
  5. Did your parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you? Do you remember any of these?
  6. When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?
  7. Did you have a favourite teacher at school?
  8. How did you get to school?
  9. What games did playtime involve?
  10. Did you have a cubby house?
  11. What was something you remember from an early family holiday?
  12. What is a memory from one of your childhood birthday’s or Christmas?
  13. What childhood injuries do you remember?
  14. What was your first pet?
  15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”
  16. What was entertainment when you were young?
  17. Do you remember what it was it like when your family got a new fangled invention? (ie. telephone, TV, VCR, microwave, computer?)
  18. Did your family have a TV? Was it b&w or colour? And how many channels did you get?
  19. Did your family move house when you were young? Do you remember it?
  20. Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (, flood, cyclone, earthquake etc)
  21. Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory?
  22. What is something that an older family member taught you to do?
  23. What are brands that you remember from when you were a kid?
  24. Did you used to collect anything? (ie. rocks, shells, stickers … etc.)
  25. Share your favourite childhood memory.

Memories of Cecil Gould Hannaford (1914-2000)

One hundred years ago today, my grandpa, Cecil Gould Hannaford was born.

As he’s no longer with us to celebrate this milestone, I’ve decided to write down some of the memories I have of him. ‘Cec’ was the oldest of three children born to Ralph and Dorothy Hannaford (nee McCullough), and while he was born at Naracoorte, the family spent most of their life at Cudlee Creek in the Adelaide Hills.

I was a regular visitor to my grandparents place at Cudlee Creek, and probably spent at least half of my early childhood racing around their house, playing in the orchard, riding on the tractor, and generally just getting muddy,  which by the way, I did totally master (see the pic at the bottom)!!!