2020 has been a complete and utter shitshow.
Between Australia nearly burning to the ground, Melbourne resembling Escape From New York, international travel cancelled, and Trump’s incompetence, 2020 hasn’t exactly gone to plan for anyone. But amidst all the heartbreak, trauma and chaos there have been moments of positivity. Several stories throughout the year have revealed the strength of the human spirit and our resilience in the face of adversity. To make sure you don’t remember this year as a complete write-off, here are some of our favourite feel-good news stories to warm the cockles of your heart.
Education Has No Age Limit
I look back on my university education as a waste of three years, but for Italian Giuseppe Paterno, the chance to attend class was a long-held dream that became a reality. The former rail worker never had the chance to pursue his passion for literature during his youth, so he decided to head back to the classroom a few years ago. The 96-year-old sat his final exam earlier this year and passed with flying colours, earning himself a degree in History and Philosophy at the University of Palermo. Paterno kept it old school, writing his essays using a manual typewriter and researching via books instead of the Internet. Not only did Paterno fulfil his lifelong dream to receive a degree, but the self-described ‘normal person’ plans to continue writing and hopes to explore all the books he never got the chance to read during his long life.
Nursing Home Re-creates Famous Album Covers
Quarantine was tough on everyone, especially the elderly, many who were left isolated in nursing homes and unable to see their families. To keep everyone active and engaged, Sydmar Lodge Care Home in the UK got residents to re-create famous album covers. David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, Adele’s 21, The Clash’s London Calling, and Madonna’s True Blue were just some of the iconic albums to get the wrinkly reboot treatment. This might seem like a silly idea, but as activities co-ordinator Robert Speker told Smithsonian Magazine, it’s all about making the residents feel like they are part of a community. ‘The response has been so positive and to know that the residents and I have done this project that has actually created smiles, that has spread all the way out of London… it’s kind of crazy when I think about it.’ They also look bloody fantastic.
The Blossoming Friendship Between Drummer Nandi Bushell And Dave Grohl
One of the most heartwarming viral sensations to come out of 2020 is the friendship between 10-year-old Nandi Bushell and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. The explosive multi-instrumentalist gained a cult following thanks to her drum covers of famous songs. Coming to the attention of Grohl after she smashed Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’ out of the park, Bushell then challenged Grohl to a drum-off and an unlikely friendship was born. The two have gone back and forth for several months, each writing and performing a song about the other before Grohl finally conceded defeat this week, telling Stephen Colbert, ‘Every time she would put out these videos on her page, I’d be like, oh my God, I’m gonna get my ass kicked again.’ While the battle might be done, the two plan to meet up once the pandemic ends and record the greatest rock song of all time.
Grandma And Student Continue To Share Thanksgiving
In 2016 grandmother Wanda Dench accidentally invited a stranger to her Thanksgiving dinner, but instead of leaving the message on read, student Jamal Hinch replied and ended up attending Dench‘s dinner with her family, making it an annual tradition. Unfortunately, her beloved husband of 43 years, Lonnie, passed away earlier this year due to Covid. Despite struggling, Dench was adamant the yearly get together would go ahead. Holding the dinner a week before Thanksgiving, Dench set a plate for her husband and was also joined by her daughter and grandson. The dinner proved to be a good tonic for Dench, with the grandmother telling CNN, ‘I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favourite company. We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us.’
World’s Oldest Couple Prove Love Isn’t Dead
I struggle to get through a single date these days, let alone an actual relationship, so I have nothing but admiration for Julio Mora and Waldramina Quineros, who have been officially recognised as the world’s oldest married couple. Mora, 110, and Waldramina, 104, have been married for an incredible 79 years, which seems like an eternity to me. Between them, they have four children, eleven grandchildren, twenty-one great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. As for what makes a marriage last, ‘The secret formula = love + maturity + mutual respect,’ the Ecuadorian couple said in a statement.
100-Year Old Captain Tom Raises $54 Million For Charity
Trapped in lockdown, former British Army officer Captain Thomas Moore wanted to do his bit to help out. The then 99-year-old decided to try and raise £1,000 before his 100th birthday by walking laps of his backyard. The media took notice and Captain Tom became a beacon of hope for Britain. Donations poured in form around the world, over 1.5 million in fact, with Captain Tom raising a massive $54 million by the time his 100th birthday rolled around. His charitable efforts not only helped put a focus on the NHS but gave people hope, with Tom opening his own foundation and even earning a knighthood from the Queen.
Love In The Time Of Covid
When Jeremy Cohen noticed a woman dancing on the rooftop opposite his apartment he did what any lonely man isolated at home would do; he sent her a drone with his number attached. As he told Bored Panda, ‘2020 has been off to a terrible start, but I still need to shoot my shot.’ And shoot his shot he did. The woman, Tori Cignarella, sent Cohen a text and they soon organised a socially distanced dinner date via FaceTime. They eventually met, with Cohen safely protected inside a giant plastic bubble as they walked the streets of New York. Eight months on and the two seem to still be in some form of a relationship, with Cohen updating his followers on his social media at regular intervals about the couple’s exploits. True love does exist.