Helen

Covid-History Item Type Metadata

Age

71

Date

06/29/2020

Location

Clifton Park, New York

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?

I realized in mid January 2020 that this virus would be more serious than we were being told. By February 1, I thought everybody should be wearing some kind of mouth covering. Friends came down with Covid19 but, fortunately, everyone recovered.

How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?

Every year, my husband and I travel to some interesting place in Europe or Asia. In 2019, we spent three weeks in Russia and two weeks in Egypt. Our May 2020 Europe cruise was canceled, and I was relieved. We're thinking about doing more traveling in the U.S. rather than overseas. This is the first time in my life that I have had to consider my age in deciding whether to travel and where to travel. My favorite pandemic story is that I had to mail a box full of toilet paper to my married daughter in Long Island.

How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?

I'm like most people. We just have to get through this with as much serenity and common sense as possible. Fortunately, one of my children and a young adult granddaughter live near me. They have been shopping for us. Our granddaughter sewed some masks for both my husband and me because, "I love you and I don't want you to die, Grandma." I was touched. We miss the YMCA but we're walking. I'm figuring out how to to download books. We play cards and checkers and put together jigsaw puzzles. My husband and I both miss our church, Jonesville Methodist, but the entire church community has been making an effort to keep in touch by phone or computer or cards. On my birthday, a church friend picked flowers from her garden and left a lovely bouquet on my doorstep. At Easter, a couple who bike went to about 30 houses, socially distancing as they rang bells, wished us happy Easter and left plastic eggs with little surprises in them.

What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?

There are so many nice people living in my area. I think people are trying even harder to be friendly. I've seen a couple of unpleasant episodes - one angry guy getting overly upset over wearing a mask, and a white woman who insulted an Asian woman in the supermarket. My minister and his family are Korean. I hope they haven't experienced any trouble.

Are you a business owner who has had to close? If you are still open, how have you had to adjust how your business operates?

Fortunately, we both are retired. Our income was not affected. My cleaning lady lost several customers because of job loss, furloughs, and telecommuting. One son-in-law will be furloughed until the fall. However, both my cleaning lady and my family are doing just fine, financially.

Are you an essential employee? What do you do? What precautions are being taken at your workplace? What precautions are implementing at home?

We're retired. One son-in-law is an essential worker in Long Island. He is working mandatory overtime and he is tired. The company is taking stringent precautions to keep their workers healthy. My granddaughter is an essential worker. She prefers to work, but her hours have been cut. She'd actually make more if she had been laid off and collected unemployment and the stimulus package. She works in a store that has an excellent social distancing policy, and all orders come in by phone or online. The customer pulls up, pops the trunk, she puts the order in the trunk, closes it, and waves them on their way. She'd rather keep busy working than collect unemployment.

Are you an employee who has been laid off or furloughed? Were you able to get unemployment? Were you able to retain your health insurance?

Again, we are retired and nothing changed for us. Fortunately, my children, in-laws, and grandchildren are doing well financially, even with some cut-backs. Nobody is in danger of losing his health insurance. My high school grandson and my college grandson both developed jobs that are giving them a steady income during the summer. The high schooler is running errands, shopping for people, and doing yard work. The college kid is a Rubik's champion who found sponsors to pay him to test products and write about cubing.

Are you working from home? What adjustments or challenges are you experiencing?

Neither of us is working from home. I am doing some volunteer work, but I do not like Zoom. I've also been tutoring my six-year-old granddaughter in reading and math. We use the computer, Facetime, email, snail mail, and texting. That worked out better than I had hoped. My accountant daughter and my admin asst daughter are working from home. They say it is more efficient and productive than working in an office. My son has his own writing business for 20 years, so he can work wherever he has access to a phone and a computer. However, his workload was reduced due to the Coronavirus.

Do you have children at home? How’s it going?

n/a

If you’re a student, was school canceled? Were you able to complete your studies online? Do you think you’ll be back on campus in the fall?

My older granddaughter graduated from Hudson Valley in May. She took two courses this past spring. When the courses went online, it was difficult for her. One teacher was fine. The other teacher was clueless about distance learning. I spent hours each week tutoring my granddaughter in the difficult course. My younger granddaughter's kindergarten teacher was so upset by the whole pandemic experience, that she decided to retire two years early. None of my grandchildren enjoyed the online experience. Online education is very different from classroom teaching; they're two very different methods.

How are you using social media, the Internet, or digital platforms during the pandemic?

I am downloading reading material, but I would much rather have a book in my hand. I like reading the news online or via video. I haven't been out to dinner with friends in four months, but we are phoning and Facetiming. Thank goodness for BBC and PBS shows on tv.

Did you have to postpone any major life events? (e.g. Graduation, wedding, major birthday) What did you do instead?

We missed a high school graduation and a community college graduation. One relative missed her prom. A friend turned 90, and we had a parade of decorated cars drive past her home. We had a social distance 50th birthday for 8 people and we held a baby shower/gender reveal party for 24 people in a huge backyard where we could socially distance. Everyone also had masks. Easter was quiet; there was no family dinner. We celebrated everything. We just had to get creative about how to do it safely. We'll see the Fourth of July fireworks in August.

Do you have animals? Did you adopt a pet? How have they impacted your day?

We have two small dogs. Not much changed for them, either. They're used to having us home. We take them on six half-mile walks each day.

What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?

Despite being cooped up together so much, my husband and I enjoyed each other's company. It's good to know you can face inconveniences and survive. I think our relationships with all four of our grandchildren are stronger because we talked with them more often and we sent each other daily texts. I got all the sticks picked up from my front lawn, and the weeding is done.

Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?

Nobody close to us contacted Covid-19. Some church friends contacted it, but their cases were all fairly mild and they recovered within a month.

What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?

That my hoarder husband wasn't such a fool because he bought 120 rolls of toilet paper at the end of December 2019. It was a great sale and he had a manufacturer's coupon AND a store coupon.

What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?

I think the people who rushed to the beaches took foolish risks. The White House knew by mid December that a pandemic was in the works. I wish they had been more forthright. I wish the government had recommended face masks back in January. We should have had an adequate stock of PPE. The federal government did a terribly chaotic job in dealing with the pandemic. This may be the age of technology, but if you don't have a vaccine, you're vulnerable. I'd ask them to compare this pandemic to the 1918 Spanish flu and the 14th century Black Death. We are lucky we did not experience that type of horrible illness.

How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?

I just don't know. There is more online shopping, but I think that will happen anyway. I hope there is more telecommuting. I hope that the education system and the colleges puts more effort into teaching teachers, from K to post-grad, how to teach effectively online.

Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn't already been asked above?

No. Thanks for conducting this survey of our thoughts and experiences.

Dublin Core

Title

Helen

Subject

COVID-19 (Disease)

Publisher

Southern Adirondack Library System

Contributor

Southern Adirondack Library System

Rights

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Language

English

Type

Covid History

Identifier

11744289979

Citation

“Helen,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed January 21, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/128.

Output Formats

Geolocation