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How Coronavirus Has Taken Us Back to the Future

Could a comeback of Americana set us on a better course?

By:  |  August 1, 2020  |    563 Words

At a recent birthday celebration, someone asked: “What is one good thing that has happened as a result of the Coronavirus?” Amazingly the answers sounded like a step back in time. The pandemic has ushered in the renaissance of fondly-remembered activities from the 20th Century – but with a twist.

Drive-In Movies, Anyone?

Those who lamented the passing of the drive-in movie might be surprised to hear they are making a comeback. And why not? It’s the perfect social distance event for the family. In Northern Virginia, some bright person has co-opted the Metro parking lot on Saturday nights and turned it into a drive-in theater.

Most comebacks return with a bit of a difference, and this will be true for 21st century drive-ins. Gone are the old scratchy speakers that you had to hang on the car window. Now you can turn your FM radio dial to a selected channel for the movie audio. As well, car interiors are not the same from when Drive-ins were first popular. The bench seat has vanished, and in its place are bucket seats with high headrests. That could make for some challenging viewing from the back seat.  Still, as most movie theaters around the country remain closed, this is one way to get your cinema fix on the big screen.

Ward, Dinner Is Ready

Nothing epitomizes 1950s home life more than one of the first-ever sitcoms, Leave it to Beaver. Viewers often saw the mom character June Cleaver dressed in her apron happily slaving away in the kitchen. Well, it appears that cooking has made a comeback because of the Coronavirus. For the first couple of months, folks were willing to order take out, but that can get old fast. There’s been a run on kitchen appliances, pots and pans, kitchen gadgets (pass the chopper please), and just about anything to do with cooking. Are we seeing the resurgence of the homecooked meal? This isn’t only true for the U.S., either. In England, urdesign Magazine reported an uptick in time spent preparing meals.

Cooking spawns another lost cultural behavior: the family dinner. One can almost hear June calling her kids to the table: “Wally, Beav, time for dinner.”  With fewer activities, parents and kids are sitting down to eat together. Enjoying a homecooked meal with the family has also provided multiple opportunities to get our noses out of mobile phones and actually communicate with one another. Imagine that.

Scrabble, Anyone?

Board games are also making a comeback. For a few weeks, Scrabble was out of stock and hard to get on Amazon. Yes, a board game renaissance is underway. The community newspaper CJ City Journals reported, “Google trend searches for board games are typically at their peak from mid-November to late December. In 2020, March through April saw equal search numbers. Board games, best board games, and online board games topped the charts in Google searches.” From Candyland to Monopoly, time at home has led many back to the classic games that parents and kids have enjoyed for decades.

These days of COVID-19 hasn’t so much ushered in an era of new and different things but revived a few old and comfortable customs. Of course, it wasn’t all roses in the days of Leave it to Beaver, but this is a time when we might identify those cultural activities worth renewing.

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