Credit: The New York Times
We are constantly bombarded by all the atrocities occurring of the world. “Doomscrolling,” the practice of endlessly consuming negative news, is a practice that we’ve all given into– we need to see what the coronavirus cases are at, or what other horrors are unfolding. Though we want to find something positive to lift our spirits, we’ve dug ourselves such a deep hole that all we see is tweet after tweet recounting today’s latest terrors.
When one lives for 86 years, they’re bound to see a lot. For Hazell Jacobs, that means living through awful world events like World War II in her childhood and a global pandemic in her senior years. It also means bearing witness to amazing things like the birth of life, advancements in human rights, and rapidly-changing technology. It’s these memories that she chooses to focus on in her blog.
“You don’t live to be my age and not have unhappy memories,” Jacobs says in a Zoom interview with the New York Times, “but I’m very good at skipping over them.”
While most of the world was still trying to figure out just how big of a threat the coronavirus was, Hazell Jacobs went into quarantine sometime in February due to a minor stroke. As a widow, much of Jacobs’ communication was limited to phone check-ins from family and kind neighbors bringing her groceries. Instead of giving into doomscrolling, Jacobs turned to her closet for inspiration.
Hazell Jacobs is an avid scarf-collector. Over years of travel with her late-husband, family, and friends, Jacobs has amassed a wide variety of patterns, lengths, and styles from vintage Hermes to scarves lost and found. These scarves are more than just items of clothing to Jacobs– they are memories. Be it her time living in Hong Kong, a trip to San Francisco, or a more simple afternoon in London, each scarf acts as a snapshot of her life.
Since the beginning of quarantine, Jacobs has taken it upon herself to share the story of where each and every one of her scarves came from. She carefully chooses which scarf and which memory she wishes to feature for the day. Her blog posts are quick, beautiful reads that easily warm hearts and are strangely poignant whether the stories are ten or sixty years old.
“Today, we are all in our individual Alcatraz situations, knowing what lies behind the walls, yet curtailed from escape,” Jacobs wrote in her Easter Sunday piece. “But, for us, we are not lifers, and freedom lies ahead.”
Hazell Jacobs’ stories remind us that there is a life outside the walls of our homes, and that our memories of travel and togetherness shouldn’t just be looked at with longing. They should be cherished, thread by thread.