Excellent support, help and volunteer groups are available locally to guide people through the current horrendous Covid-19 crisis. The Memory Box should be something different, a forum where a subjective collection of creative voices can help sustain us through these difficult, dark days.
We cannot put emotion and creativity on hold – we need these expressions of the human spirit now more than ever. This invisible little enemy must not be allowed to win by making dullards of us all. Food and toilet rolls are essential but so is the survival of love, kindness, curiosity and humour.
No-one can doubt we are living through a momentous period. Often, in such times, it proves difficult to stop in our tracks and really take notice of what is happening, so intent are we on getting through to the end. As a child, I liked history but not the sort that was often taught as a kind of remote, inaccessible fossil. The history I appreciated was in a series of books for children called, “They Saw It Happen”. These publications made historical events come alive, full of contemporary anecdotes, witnesses and cultural expressions that carried the ring of truth.
Let’s make the Memory Box a powerful local archive full of individual reactions to a pandemic that has shaken us to the core. In this way, the significance of witnessing what is going on will not just evaporate, preoccupied as we are with managing these days and weeks. Let’s pour out our innermost creative responses so we can proudly say, “We Saw It Happen”.
Colin Jacobson, long term resident of Camden Town