by Karin Strömgren Campbell
We are on lockdown here in Fairhaven, Wisconsin, which reminds me of being on lockdown in a different way during World War II in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Now we have no soldiers or tanks coming down our driveway, no blacked-out windows at night. We’re not listening for air-raid sirens. Though toilet paper, sugar, and other items are not always available, we are not standing in line waiting to buy whatever is available. Our helpers here at Fairhaven Senior Services go shopping for us and get almost every item we ordered.
During the war, my mother stood in line for hours for a small piece of meat or cheese or one or two eggs, or chicory we used for coffee, tea, or tobacco. All the shortages happened within a day or two after the German army marched in.
Now and then
Now, our drugs are still available and will be delivered. Then, occupied countries had no medicines or supplies.
Yes, we are on lockdown, but we can still see each other and talk—granted at a 6-foot distance. We miss our family and friends that cannot come in, but mail, phones, and all kinds of communications are available on the computer. Contrast that to no communication out of the country, with a few letters allowed after being censored. I had a friend who had married an American and so lived in the U.S. She did not know that her dad died until three years later.
We have radio and TV, and we can listen and watch anything we want. In Denmark, we had radio stations, all of them full of German propaganda.
Being older has its advantages
The kitchen staff is bringing our meals to our apartments and rooms as ordered. Just think of the planning for that. It makes me glad I am old.
Yes, we miss going to church, but our pastors are bringing us inspirational and uplifting messages. And many churches are offering online services. Contrast this to our Danish pastors, many who were executed because they were hiding Jews and writing letters protesting the Nazi regime.
Let us hope our prayers are answered, and we will soon be back to normal. It may be a new normal, but this is a strong country, and we will overcome this. Stay well.
Karin Strömgren Campbell, now in her 80s, was a young girl living in Denmark during the war. She is a member of Joy Circle at First English Lutheran Church, Whitewater, Wisconsin. She lives at Fairhaven Senior Services with her husband, Joe, and wrote this for the South Central Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization’s April issue of The Trumpter.