Beacher History Kaboodle site proving a ‘joyful place’ for residents feeling isolated by pandemic

The Beacher History Kaboodle site is proving a popular place for residents to connect and share stories.

By ALAN SHACKLETON

Memories of the past are being held dear in these uncertain times, and Beach residents have a great place to connect and reminisce online at the Beacher History Kaboodle site on Facebook.

Created by Chris McElcheran in December of 2014, the site has become a popular place for local residents to share stories of the Beach’s history, places and times they remember during these long days of self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many new members think it is new and that I started it because of COVID-19 but we have been here in the background for a while. I see that as an indication of where people’s heads are at during this trying time,” McElcheran said.

“I started it because I am a local history buff and I relished my childhood growing up in the Beach(es). I knew others did as well so it was a good forum to swap stories and historical photos. Over the first year, we grew to around 200 members and just coasted on that way. Six weeks ago, when the self-isolation measures were put in place, word spread and we started growing. We now sit at just under 2,600 Kaboodlers. I post updates for the members when we hit milestones and send out greeting announcements to the new/old friends coming on board.”

Beach realtor Shea Warrington let Beach Metro News know about Beacher History Kaboodle and the positive impact it is having on the community.

“I’ve been visiting it a lot for the past two weeks, and I’m telling everyone,” she said of the site. “I find it inspiring and right now really beautiful.”

She said it’s one of many examples of the great things taking place in the community to help people get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s so many people doing good things right now,” said Warrington.

McElcheran grew up on Balsam Avenue and attended St. Denis Catholic School and Neil McNeil Catholic High School in the community.

He said the forced self-isolation and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is putting the strain of loneliness and isolation on many people and they are looking for a place to connect and share happy memories.

“The Beacher Kaboodle has brought everyone together to connect, share stories and pictures and relive their youth in the place they loved. I have heard it time and time again what a welcome distraction the group has been,” said McElcheran.

“Stories of old friends re-connecting after 50 or 60 years and talking like it was yesterday. So many group members have sent me expressions of thanks for creating the Kaboodle. It is heartwarming to monitor the activity and the quality of conversation taking place. I don’t feel like I am providing a service to the members because they are what make the group great. They are the Beacher History Kaboodle. I’m just making sure things run smoothly.”

He said he’s most touched to see when old friends who may have lost touch over the years re-connect through the site.

“For me the most touching moments are deep within the conversational threads that occur organically from the posts to the group. Someone will see someone from their childhood and say ‘Oh my gosh! Is that you?’ and the other person will say, ‘YES! Oh my gosh how are you!!’ And it goes from there. They are nine years old again.”

He said the need for the site right now and its growing popularity was a matter of timing.

“The Kaboodle just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said McElcheran. “The result has been a joyful place in the midst of this global tragedy.”

Those interesting in joining need to contact McElcheran through the site at https://www.facebook.com/groups/314111215452473/

“To join, new members must agree to abide by the rules of the group. We have a strict code of conduct and members are encouraged to report behaviour not in keeping with the spirit of the group. In addition, I monitor the activity daily,” he said.

 


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