There was a time long ago that most Beacon Hillers had not heard of Zoom. Well, perhaps it was just nine months ago, but it seems like nineteen months ago. And they were lonely months. Or would have been without Zoom.
In days past, the word zoom meant to move or travel quickly, like only our cars know how to do. Some cars. Or it referred to what cameras can do to pretend its operator is standing much closer to the tiger he photographed while on a safari in Botswana.
But that was all before Covid-19 when the word zoom became Zoom. Since then it has made peoples’ lives more comfortable, healthy, happy, sad, mad and annoying by bringing them together with families, friends, doctors, Trump supporters and Trump non-supporters, and all kinds of social groups. It has even allowed such viewers to attend meetings in dress shirts, fancy blouses and pajamas. What more could one ask for? (Answer: a lot, but that’s for another story)
Most importantly, Zoom can help prevent folks from becoming lonely and socially isolated, especially as they enter the holiday season. And that’s important. “For many people, and older adults are no exception, the holidays are about connecting with other people, especially those we love. It is about sharing food and conversation,” said Dr. Christine Seel Ritchie, a professor of medicine and director of a newly established Center for Aging and Serious Illness at Massachusetts General Hospital who serves on the Beacon Hill Village Council.
“For many older adults, it is about seeing children, grandchildren, grand-nieces and nephews. It is something to look forward to all year long,” she said. “The specter of being robbed of those times of connection is both anxiety-producing and disappointing. The possibility of being alone, of not sharing meals and laughter, can be a source of stress, grief and loss.”
To help ward off these feelings, many Beacon Hill and neighboring organizations will sponsor virtual holiday events for their members. Several are boasting that their pastry chef will demonstrate how to make a perfect flaky pie crust even for those who have long since given up trying. The Vincent Club will raise funds for women’s health care at a wreath decorating evening. Beacon Hill Village members have been invited to the Virtual Thanksgiving Day Coffee & Dessert, complete with the sharing of family recipes and stories.
Next Thursday, as hungry folks everywhere sit down to enjoy the smallest turkey Mom could find and Dad could carve, half the usual amount of garlic mashed potatoes with chives from the windowsill thanks to these sunny days, and an updated fresh green bean casserole without mushroom soup because the family traditionalists won’t be there, they will give thanks for their good health, wellness and bountiful Thanksgiving food.
And then they will thank Zoom, who brought them all together to make this year’s observance even possible.