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Over the last week, I was reading The Year of Wonder, by Geraldine Brooks, and my daily newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which reported on the front page how 25% of the kids at a local elementary school were absent with the "flu". It turned out five of them were confirmed cases of the H1N1-type flu. It gave me strange thoughts and feelings as I read the novel about the bubonic plague in Eym, England, in 1666 !
Same thing (sort of) happened when I read an old book about immigrants, called The Uprooted, and also my daily paper's accounts of the problems with both the legal (Hmong, Somalian, etc.) immigrants in the Twin Cities, and the illegals (who seem to be scattered throughout the USA).
Times change, but not altogether . . .