Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Midkiff Family: Y2K Ready

As the year 2000 arrived, we were prepared. In fact, I think all of Spokane and the Inland Empire were probably prepared better than most communities. Only two years previously we had survived Ice Storm 1997, and many citizens had learned first-hand what it was like to live for days and even weeks without running water and electricity, one of the main concerns of Y2K. Because of the wide range of outdoor recreational activities this area provides and the fact that many of our city dwellers grew up in surrounding rural areas, most people in this community know how to survive the elements.

Our basement was stocked with toilet paper and canned goods, bags of beans and staples such as flour, sugar, and powdered milk. Batteries were purchased and recharged for flashlights and lanterns. The gas tanks in our vehicles were full. I was caught up with the laundry and dish washing. We had cash on hand, as well as plenty of candles, matches, and lighters. As a family that camps regularly during the summer, we were well-supplied with alternative heating and cooking resources and a portable toilet. We had filled all our 5-gallon and 1-gallon water jugs, as well as our bathtub. All that to say that our Y2K preparations weren't too much different than what the Midkiffs do around here in preparation for any winter storm.

As far as the change in the year from 1999 to 2000, it was an emotional experience for me. I recalled how as a schoolchild, I had figured out that I would be 33 years old when the year 2000 came. That had sounded so grown-up, and I wondered what the world would be like in the future. I could never have imagined the Internet and all the accompanying electronic and digital technological advances, while at the same time life was not so very different from growing up: children went to school, their parents took care of the home and worked to make a living, and everyone still drove cars and trucks. If I had looked into the future from my childhood, I would have probably been most amazed at the fall of the Berlin Wall and Communism, and perhaps been anxious to learn that our community would be inundated with people who spoke Russian!

The year 1999 had not been a happy one for me, due to several events too personal to share here. Needless to say, I was looking forward not just to the new millennium and century (which I knew didn't actually start until 2001), but to the New Year as well...a chance to start over. Except for watching the New Year begin all over the world, our New Year's Eve was like many others before and since: we watched TV and/or movies, enjoying our rum-and-cokes (one of the few times we imbibe) and snacks, then went out in our North Hill front yard to watch the highest of the fireworks being shot off two miles away downtown at the river. We banged pots and pans, twirled our rattlers, blew our noisemakers, and shouted "Happy New Year" along with the other neighbors on the block. Illegal fireworks went off in back yards and alleys around the neighborhood, truck and car horns blasted as travelers drove up the main arterial, half a block away. We then returned to indoors to prepare for a comfortable night's sleep, secure in the knowledge that the world as we knew it was not going to change, at least for now.

This post was written for the 38th Carnival of Genealogy: The New Millennium. What memories of this world event will you leave for your descendants to read and know?
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