Diary of a Retiree Robert A. Lytle

Diary of a Retiree Robert A. Lytle

March, 2020 – Boca Raton, Florida – Sunny, breezy and 80s

Bob sits in a chair with bookselves behind him

Bob Lytle in his home library

Up at 8:30. Candy made French toast and I printed the crossword. Opened the e-Detroit News. It’s all about the corona virus. Of course, there is no sports news. A few years ago as I was writing Mr. Blair’s Labyrinth, I read all about the Great Depression. What I’m reading now has many similarities. Except for the first’s cause, the stock market crash, the effects of the virus panic are eerily similar.

1932: School closings, especially in rural areas—no money for teachers or supplies.
2020: School closings, everywhere—pre-school through college, due to quarantine measures.
1932: No youth sports due to cost of equipment.
2020: No games of any kind due to contact between players and/or fans & travel bans, from T-ball to MLB.
1932: No jobs due to bank failures and business closures.
2020: Work prospects gone due to domino effect. Bans at restaurants, theaters, ball parks and other entertainment venues.
1932: Food shortage due to Dust Bowl drought.
2020: Certain foods feared contaminated by place of origin or improper handling. Milk is being hoarded for fear of short supplies.
1932: Household products were unaffordable or deemed unnecessary.
2020: Everyday needs such as hand soap and cleaning agents—gone due to hoarding.
1932: Newspaper headlines: “Only thing to fear is fear itself.”
2020: Although not stated in so many words: “Fear everything and everyone.”
1932: Paper shortage (of the currency kind). A nickel bought a good meal, if you could beg, borrow or steal one.
2020: Paper shortage (toilet paper and paper towels) hoarded due to panic.
1932: Money—there was none. Barter became the exchange.
2020: Money—exchanging it at a store, gas station or theater. “Where has that dime or dollar bill been?”
1932: Water shortage due to Dust Bowl drought.
2020: Water shortage at markets due to hoarding.
1932: Fear of the economy crippled progress.
2020: Fear of illness compromise investment plans.

The similarities are everywhere. In the Depression they avoided contact with lower classes such as the Okies as they left their farms in droves for work in Texas and California. Now we don’t shake hands—we bump elbows, or pretend to. Nobody high-fives for lots of reasons. High-fives were once reserved for personal achievements. Now all such events have been cancelled. Politics then and now divide the country. Finger pointing and distrust fill the airwaves—the radio in the 1930s, and now it’s the internet, television and newspapers (what few there are, and what little we can believe). That’s it for now, but it’s only noon. The day is young.

Visit Robert A. Lytle’s Website


  1. Jim Ahearn says

    Nice job, Bob

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