Covid-History Item Type Metadata
When did the impact of COVID-19 first occur to you? How did your reaction to COVID-19 change between then and the first case in your town?
First began to impact me personally when my children had to school remotely in March of 2020. I was still working, as was my husband, but our children were now at home with workbooks and daily online meetings. It was a huge change and required a lot of flexibility from our employers, the school, our children. Balancing everything became the key, and still is. At first we thought it would be a few weeks only - but as time went on it just became more serious and scary for everyone. We were lucky as our area was so safe in terms of infection, but we also starting seeing an influx of "outsiders" moving in.
How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?
I definitely have more perspective on what is a priority in life in terms of personal and work balance. I am much more conscious of personal space, and careful of public interactions. I keep food in the house to last at least 2 weeks in case we can't get to the store. I can't fathom going in to large crowds like at a concert - it seems incredibly scary at this point.
How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?
I crave alone time - I have been with my husband and children for over a year with no real breaks. I feel like I am constantly in a heightened state of awareness, that I cannot fully relax. To try and relieve stress I take walks and read for pleasure, we have a small group of friends that have been our "pod" throughout that we can socialize with.
What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?
I have noticed less social outings. I see more people from out of town in the area, and that is a surprise as they moved here from NYC. On campus students continue to keep socially distant, to wear masks even outside.
Are you an essential employee? What do you do? What precautions are being taken at your workplace? What precautions are implementing at home?
I was a semi-essential employee at the College. My area was kept open in March -April of 2020 as one of 3 areas on campus. We all wore masks, required it of students, had cleaning happening more often, and went to rotational work shifts. We have continued all of this through this year.
Are you working from home? What adjustments or challenges are you experiencing?
Yes, on a hybrid schedule. It has been hard to focus and stay on track with my kids at home doing school some days as well. I am incredibly lucky that I have the ability to be home with them on the days that they are home, but it is not easy. The kids have assignments that they need help with, even though they had an online session with the teacher (because normally they would be in the the classroom and be able to ask questions, etc...).
Do you have children at home? How’s it going?
Yes. It is hard. They miss their friends and their activities. They had a lot of things cancelled over the last year (camp, trips, sports) and don't know for sure what they will get to do this year. They have not seen any family in person for over a year, as we don't live near anyone. They are starting to become too reliant on technology to communicate, and emotionally they get easily angry and overly upset/sad at some things.
Did you have to postpone any major life events? (e.g. Graduation, wedding, major birthday) What did you do instead?
We had trips planned we have not been able to take - to see family. My husband's 40th birthday was right as the pandemic began, we postponed his celebration and are still waiting to celebrate it appropriately (beyond just a Zoom happy hour with friends and cake). We have 3 friends who have had to postpone their weddings. Two did much smaller versions, and one had continued to postpone.
Do you have animals? Did you adopt a pet? How have they impacted your day?
We have 5 cats and they have provided so much comfort to us. Everyone in the house has had times where they were able to just sit and enjoy the love and attention of one of these animals, who have been quite happy to have us at home. The cats have also provided plenty of amusement as they enjoyed joining online meetings by walking into camera range at random times. Taking care of the cats also reminded all of us that we had something to do, we needed to play and snuggle, the cats didn't know about the pandemic. They just knew that they loved us and wanted us to be with them.
What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?
I helped make masks for our community, and donated them back in the early days of the pandemic. My Girl Scout troop where I am a leader also helped to create care bags that we dropped off at a local senior living center. My kids organized mini-parades with some of the other children on our street because our town cancelled all of our parades (these are a big deal usually, so Memorial Day 2020 and St. Patrick's Day 2021 we had them on our street with neighbors in their driveways watching about 5 kids go up and down on decorated bikes and outfits).
Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?
Thankfully, my immediate family has all remained COVID-19 free. However, my sister did contract the virus. She was supposed to visit us for Christmas, and tested prior to coming and came out positive (asymptomatic). It was very scary as she has severe asthma, and we were concerned. Her symptoms remained very mild, but my children were incredibly upset as they were worried, and also because they had not seen her in over a year and this impacted them seeing her and put it off for another 6 months at least.
If you lost someone during the pandemic, how did you celebrate their lives?
My grandmother passed in April of 2020, not due to COVID-19. The family held a memorial gathering for her in July of 2020 but I was unable to attend - it was in Nebraska and NY still had a lot of travel restrictions. Instead we shared photos and stories here, and through a private Facebook group that the family has. It still honestly seems not quite real.
What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?
That it would last so long and take such a mental toll on all of us. I don't know what I could have done to better prepare, but I think we might have tried something.
What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?
To listen to the medical professionals, not the politicians or commentators. Masks really work and history has proven this on more than one occasion now. Wash your hands - and not just during a pandemic!!!!
How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?
I think we might seem masks more commonly as part of society now that we see how wearing them has affected health all around. I think we will see telecommuting becoming more accepted in more industries. I hope we will see less reliance on technology and more going back to the "old ways" of in person and face to face interactions as people are able to.
Southern Adirondack Library System
Southern Adirondack Library System
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“CJ,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed December 8, 2021, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/343.