Remember the memories

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I just opened a graduation announcement. Not an invitation with a day, time, and place…an announcement. It is my best friend’s daughter and she is a stunning, blonde beauty with legs that should be insured and a smile that will no doubt open any door she wishes when she realizes the power it possesses.

She had the photographs taken last summer right before senior year started and that powerful smile exudes joy and anticipation at what her senior year will bring. But that was before… before her world came to an abrupt halt on an appropriately dated Friday the 13th afternoon. I am sure she had no clue that she would never walk through the doors of her school again as a high school senior. I am sure she did not know there would be no senior prom, no senior skip day, no seniors’ last day.

I had a senior last year and I can tell you from a mamma’s perspective facing this would have been heart wrenching. I find myself wondering how her young heart is dealing with this complete derailment of her life. Will she remember this so she can tell her grandchildren about the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020? I hope she is writing down her thoughts, her feelings, her frustrations, her fears, her joys in a journal of some kind. Then it occurred to me…I should be doing the same thing and you should too. We should all be journaling, taking photographs, making videos, painting, drawing and getting these memories down in as many forms as possible.

Start with how you feel. How has the corona virus shut down changed your life? Did you lose your job? Are you barely making it? Do you lie awake and wonder where the rent is coming from or where the money for food is coming from? Are you enjoying this time with your family? Are you getting things done you were putting off until you had more time? Are you reading more?

I was watching the news with my 16-year-old son the other night and it occurred to me that I have spent more time with him in the last couple of months than I have since he was a very young child, and you know what I discovered? I really like this kid. We have discussed politics (his favorite), music, friends and his plans for the future. It has been one of my favorite pandemic memories. From a mamma’s perspective, this time is priceless and later that night after I said my prayers, I wrote it all down.

I had the privilege a couple of weeks ago of working with the Karl Malone Foundation for Kids and many others who volunteered to distribute food to those in need. My heart was overflowing after those two days. I watched people from many different walks of life, different races, and different economic backgrounds come together and feed a thousand families. It was fulfilling to help those in need but seeing the smiles on the faces of those children touched this mamma’s heart in such a way that I will never be the same. I wrote it all down.

Sometimes late at night I sit in the dark and I worry. I worry about the economy and how this shut down will affect local families and small businesses. I worry about the effect this pandemic is having on my boys. I am a mamma and that is what we do. We worry. I write it all down.

We need to record these memories and feelings for future generations. Our grandchildren, great grandchildren and generations to come will find these journals, videos, drawings and paintings priceless. The Union Museum of History and Art is accepting submissions for their collective diary through May 20, 2020. All submissions are welcome. For more information contact Jean Jones at 318-348-2005. Preserving and documenting this time in history will prove invaluable to future inhabitants of Union Parish. Recording our lives during this pandemic will show those who come after us how we lived and dealt with adverse situations. And from this mamma’s point of view, that is priceless.

Charlette Madden is a Mother of 2, a Louisiana Tech graduate, a Financial Advisor and a Feature Writer for The Gazette. Contact her via email at news@