We are going to be the when in “do you remember when…?”

The past few weeks have undoubtedly proven to everyone that we are indeed living in a time that will forever be noted in medical journals and perhaps history texts. Our current generation(s) have a unique advantage when compared to what our ancestors have gone through – social media. We may feel as though our lives have been complete upended – and they have, there’s no question. New York State is the hardest hit in the country (so far). Our lives are on pause. But the rapid spread of information and our ability to adapt to the ever changing situation will also be noted. Schools are closed, but students are able to continue their studies through online classrooms. There are dance studios and martial arts studios holding classes via online video meetings. Medical offices are in the process of switching over to telehealth, so patients can virtually see their doctor. Some dining establishments are able to temporarily switch to take out only. We can FaceTime or Skype with our friends and loved ones all so we can heed to one of the simplest of things we can do to help – stay home.

So now that you’re staying home – what do you do? If you are fortunate to have a yard, you can go outside. Hiking trails are still open for solitary outdoor activity. This past weekend has been very generous in the weather department. Lots of attics, basements, closets, and garages will be cleaned out in the coming weeks. The majority, if not all of our meals for the foreseeable future will be eaten at home. But from a historical society standpoint (we are, after all, the Putnam Valley Historical Society), have you done anything to document how this is changing the lives of you and your family? There are countless pictures on Facebook right now of kids at home working on their school work, and there are news updates 24 hours a day where we see the count of positive tests growing at a concerning rate. Take meaningful pictures. Write things down. Especially if you have kids that are too young to fully grasp what is happening. To that end, we are asking for your help in documenting how our town is living day by day. If you’re comfortable answering a few questions (you don’t have to answer with specifics), we’d love for you to share your answers with us. You can email us your response, you can mail us a hard copy, or wait until this has passed and we reopen the schoolhouse and are able to welcome visitors again.

  • Do you feel prepared if you need to immediately self-quarantine?
  • Are you concerned you will get COVID-19?
  • Are you employed by an essential service provider?
  • Have you taken any precautionary measures to protect yourself and your family (ie, gloves and/or masks) when in public?
  • Have you started reading any new books? Any recommendations?
  • Have you spent more time outdoors?
  • Have you picked up any lost hobbies?
  • Are you cooking more at home? Using new recipes or tried and true favorites?
  • Are you concerned with running out of toilet paper?

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Now for the historical society bit. Slowly going through everything in our little schoolhouse over the past few years, there is a definite and noticeable drop in documentation after the mid to late 1990s. We can look back to the mid-1700s to get an pretty good idea of life here in the (general) Putnam Valley area and while there are some chunks of time that offer more information than others from the early 1800s to the mid1980s, we need you, past and present residents of Putnam Valley, to help us to also fill in those later gaps. If while you are cleaning out your aforementioned attics, basements, closets, and garages and you come across something that’s relevant to the history of the town of Putnam Valley, it’s residents, or environs – please share it with us. Old phone directories, business cards for long closed businesses, old pictures (we don’t need the originals, you can forward us a digital copy with as much info as you can provide)…surprise us.

Keep calm, wash your hands…and we’ll see you soon!

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