The spring, 2021, virtual meeting of District G VRTA was another virtual meeting. Speaker Nancy Sorrells, a local historian and journalist with degrees from JMU and Bridgewater College, presented an illustrated talk entitled “Coughs and Sneezes Cause Diseases: The Pandemic of 1918.”
Sorrells, who has worked at the Museum of Frontier Culture, Arlington House: The Robert E. Lee Memorial and the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, also has published a number of her research papers in scholarly journals and books. She is currently president of the Augusta County Historical Society.
Sorrells had many articles and advertisements from the archives of local newspapers, which helped her tell the story of the Flu of 2018 (erroneously called the Spanish Flu) and how it impacted local people and schools.
Part of the program that was of special interest to attendees was the comparison that Sorrells made between the Pandemic of 1918, and the current Pandemic. Many similarities existed. Sorrells noted that the Pandemic of 1918 led to the “Roaring 20s” as people got out of quarantine and restrictions; some predict that there might be another Roaring 20s in the 2020s!
District G VRTA is open to any retired educator in the Valley or with Valley connections. (Some of the meeting attendees actually attended from the Richmond area!) Contact Karen Whetzel, President, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-740-8589 for information on District G, VRTA, membership in either or future programs. Whetzel is also Vice President of VRTA, and a member of the VRTA Board of Directors. Other District G officers are Rich Thompson, Vice President; Sharon Lucas, Secretary; and Jim Hines, Treasurer. Members come from three local VRTA units: Augusta Retired Educators Association (AREA), Bath/Highland Retired Teachers Association, Page County Retired Educators Association, and Shenandoah County Retired Teachers Association. Retirees who are not part of a local unit are also invited to District G meetings, the next of which will be held in October, 2021, in the Harrisonburg area.
District G of the Virginia Retired Teachers Association recently held a virtual meeting for area retired educators with a program by Nancy Sorrells “Coughs and Sneezes Cause Diseases: the Pandemic of 1918.”
A press release on the meeting, as well as photos of the speaker and some old news media from the Pandemic of 1918 are attached.
(The photo of Nancy is from a previous program she gave on Grandma Moses!)
Virtual attendees were from local units of VRTA in Augusta County, Bath/Highland County, Page County, Shenandoah County, as well as some attendees who had belonged to these groups but moved away, as well as other local retired educators not affiliated with one of the local units in the area.