Stories for the Boys: Y2K

This year I’m going to try again to participate in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks with Amy Johnson Crow- one of my fave genealogists. I’m sure I won’t post every week but I’m hoping I’ll post more often than I have been. The last couple of years have been hectic with building the new home, always planning ahead for the next big project in my job, and other life issues. Time gets away from me. This is a fresh start, which happens to also be the theme for week 1. (If you’ll recall, this was also the theme the first time I started doing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. You can check out my first “fresh start” post here.)

Hope and Uncertainty- Traits that Defined a Decade

I hope your new year has started out with health and good news. I hope you’re in a good place financially, mentally, physically, and in your relationships as well. I hope you check off your bucket list this year, meet some of your goals, make new friends and visit old friends, and make exciting new discoveries. This new year (and new decade) came in quietly for me. My grandsons were asleep as we bid farewell to the old year and old decade. It’s been a long time since I rang in the new year with little ones in the house.

The New Year’s Eve that I’ve been pondering this week happened in 1999. The “experts” had been telling us for a while that the year 2000 may destroy our computers. It was called ‘Y2K’. As a shortcut, computers had been coded with a two digit day and two digit year. Now, with the new millennium knocking on our door, they thought the coding in the computers could not handle a century other than 1900’s and that our computers would all revert to year 1900 instead of 2000. Panic set in. Some people were preparing to live off-grid in case there was no power.

Headline and partial article from The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City OK, 4 July 1999.
Wait, what?!?! We get a repeat in 2030?? I wonder if this still applies… The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City OK, 16 March 1999.

People were advised that if they were planning an international trip, they should fly before or after the date change as the FAA said their computers for the international flights would not be ready for the change. Some airlines significantly reduced international flights over the New Year holiday. Newspapers talked about how stocks would be affected, how hospitals would be affected, how power plants would be affected, how your microwave/home security system/garage door opener would be affected. Y2K was an issue that encompassed all of life in 1999. Businesses, utilities, and banks were going out of their way to assure the public they would be ready for the year 2000 and there would not be any problems (or at least, the problems they had would be minor inconveniences.)

The Daily Oklahoma, Oklahoma City OK, 18 July 1999.

There were also the ever-present concerns about what those with power would do.

The Times-News, Twin Falls ID, 15 March 1999.

So on New Year’s Eve we did what the experts advised. We prepared.

Y2K preparedness tips. Lincoln Journal Star, Lincoln KS, 5 December 1999.
Y2K and PC’s. The Times-News, Twin Falls ID, 5 December 1999.

We shut down our computers and hoped (and prayed) for the best, not really knowing if the new year would bring chaos and disaster or if it would allow us to laugh at ourselves, sigh in relief, and move on. That night Bart and I chose to have family time. We couldn’t think of a better way to head into uncertain times than heading in together as a family. We poured some sparkling cider (an annual tradition during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s season in our little family) and enjoyed each other’s company. (Even into adulthood my kids still wanted their sparkling cider on New Year’s Eve.) We had just discovered radio dramas so we lit some candles, turned on a radio drama, laid down, and listened until the kids fell asleep.

For some, it was not the most pleasant New Year’s Eve they had ever had.

Many who would normally have gotten New Year’s Eve off had to work in the event of Y2K glitches. News-Press, Fort Myers Florida, 25 November 1999.

As you may (or may not) know by now, there was no disaster with the coming of the year 2000.

The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City OK, 1 January 2000.

A few computer glitches, but not the disaster some had expected. Life went on. Twenty years later, the takeaway from Y2K is be prepared, don’t panic. I hope that remains the status quo for generations to come.

Joy, Happiness, Love

May your joys be as bright as the morning, your years of happiness as numerous as the stars in the heavens, and your troubles but shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. ~Old English Blessing

To my little boys (and Shaina) for whom this story was written, surround yourself with family and people who love you. Go with the flow and don’t stress. You are right where you should be and if you pray, God will take care of you no matter your circumstances. And finally, I wish you boys joy, happiness, and love throughout your lives. Love, Grandma

Much joy, happiness and love.

Lisa @ Days of our Lives blog