My dad built a shed in his pandemic downtime. He got the fun brainstorm to bury a time capsule. I remember back when I was an adolescent, my best friend and I buried multiple time capsules in my backyard and then resisted the urge to dig them up the next week. My dad solicited myself and my children to participate and by writing letters so here’s mine…
To the finder of this time capsule:
Let me give you a little update of what’s going on in June 2020:
My name is Melissa Mayer. I was born in 1980. My husband, two daughters and myself live down the road. You are finding this at my father’s house. I hope in your time Hampton Bays is still a beautiful oasis of nature and the oceans and bays are still swimmable. In 2020 we are in the middle of a climate crisis and if you're reading this perhaps your generation has reversed it.
For the past three months we have been living in the middle of a pandemic. The rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus, or coronavirus, has taken the lives of over 100,000 people in our country and hundreds of thousands more across the world. The virus has affected mostly older people and also the underprivileged and underserved ones. This pandemic has certainly highlighted the problems that have been present for quite some time. Our country at the moment does not have universal healthcare making equal access to care difficult. Many have lost their jobs, further contributing to a massive wealth inequality. Some people are living out here in their wealthy homes relaxing while it plays out and others are in lockdown under difficult conditions, wondering how to pay their rent and how to feed their families. Many of us who are gratefully healthy are still living in anguish watching and feeling the collective suffering.
If that were not enough, almost 2 weeks ago in Minneapolis there was another episode of police brutality ending in the death of a black man named George Floyd. His death was very tragic and what’s even more tragic, is how long this sort of thing has been going. Many of our black citizens have lost their lives as a result of police brutality. Underlying racism in general still lingers in this country despite being a centuries old problem.
June started with riots and fires in response to what happened. Mr. Floyd’s death was on May 25, 2020. It is now 12 days later and there have been continuous protests and demonstrations. Despite the fact these demonstrations have been mostly peaceful, tear gas and rubber bullets have been fired into the crowds, at the direction of our leaders. The Washington Post (a well known newspaper printed in DC) wrote: “The White House is now so heavily fortified that it resembles the monarchical palaces or authoritarian compounds of regimes in faraway lands-strikingly incongruous with the historic role of the executive mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, which since its cornerstone was laid in 1792 has been known as the People’s House and celebrated as an accessible symbol of American democracy.”
A few days ago I marched at a demonstration 15 miles from here in Bridgehampton. I had to wear a face mask, as we are all required to wear face coverings in public to avoid the spread of the virus. Prior to the demonstration, I barely left my home other than trips to the grocery store or trips to the beach. Then all of a sudden I am standing in a large crowd, which had been prohibited. It didn’t matter, standing for justice was more important. Bridgehampton in 2020 has a small population of year round residents and surges with wealthy summer visitors. I didn’t expect a large crowd and was shocked when I saw thousands of people with fire in their bellies screaming for change. It was powerful, peaceful, and emotional. Fortunately, in the case of the demonstration I attended the police were helpful in blocking traffic and maintaining safety and order. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in other demonstrations across the country.
Hearing my reports coupled with today’s headlines you would think we’re doomed.
Maybe it's my nature or the beautiful nature that surrounds me, or maybe it’s my children and my family but I feel hopeful that this time will give rise to a better future and I hope whatever time you are living that vision came to fruition.
Some say that I am naïve because I believe in love and miracles. Yet I have experienced them first hand watching my kidney taken out of my body and put into my husband’s body enabling him to live a normal life. I volunteered on a presidential campaign for a woman who spoke out about our country turning love into a political force. Although many people agreed with her vision of a humanitarian bottom line and not an economic one, her campaign ended without getting her elected. People said our country wasn’t ready for this grand of a vision. I hope that in your time people are ready for it. I’m sure the love that I have for my daughters is the same that you have for your children or loved ones. But I hope the love that you have for humanity is more evident, more often spoken about and seen more in practical political terms.
As much despair is in the air, there is also a sense of our divided nation coming together. This virus has affected everyone, given us a common thread and the tragedy of racist police violence is waking people up to problems that have existed for a long time. The proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’, between the mandatory social distancing of the pandemic and majority of the country standing for justice it seems as though the tide is finally turning.