Covid-History Item Type Metadata
Saratoga Springs, NY
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?
My husband is a software engineer who designs programs that track infectious diseases for Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital. We started to become concerned the beginning of February and urged family and friends to try to prepare themselves for the likely hood that the US would mirror what was happening in other countries. We decided to pull our son from his nursery school program at the YMCA the beginning of March, weeks before the Y made the decision to close their doors. It was a difficult discussion to have with the staff, as many did not believe that we would have an explosion of case numbers here and it made us seem like we are being premature. Parents in our playgroups made comments that we were overreacting, those comments were hurtful and at times made me question my choices. As cases began to climb we were thankful that we already had the necessary supplies in place. We weren't raised in Saratoga , I grew up on Long Island outside of NYC and my husband is originally from Florida. We felt very alone and isolated. I was disappointed in the federal governments response to the pandemic, a realization that made me more anxious. At 34 years old, long married and with my own child, I found myself crying for my parents, fearful I would not have the chance to see them again.
How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?
It is more isolated, we are more thoughtful about how we engage with the public. We have not eaten in a restaurant since Chowder fest last year. We haven't taken our son into a store since last March. But it's not a bad thing. This exeperince has enabled us to revulatue what is important to us and what we value. It's made us realize how much of our entertainment was coming from eating out and spending money on unnecessary things. We have made some really positive changes as a family.
How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?
I was very anxious the first 2 months. I would tremble and find myself walking around as if I was in a fog. I was just waiting for bad news everyday. In May we bought a 1980's old town canoe off of marketplace and we literally took it out almost daily from May-Oct. I take my son on long walks and nature adventures no matter the weather. I have tried to stay focused and organized. We are luckier than most people, we don't have to work out of the house. We try to be thankful of the fact that we can keep a small bubble.
What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?
I've noticed that people in Saratoga and NY as a whole are much more respectful of social distancing and mask use. We've had countless family members test positive in other states, but no one in our immediate family in NY has tested positive. I was surprised to see how quickly everyone went back to Sunday brunches and children's birthday parties. We have family in the hospitality industry and they felt very over looked. They were not very excited to get back to a minimum wage job that offered no health insurance and laughable PPE so that they could serve college students their brunch.
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?
We are not business owners but my father owns a property management company. He paid his employees for 2 months and then slowly brought them back. He split shifts up so workers would be working alone. He asked that they not commute to work or ride in work vehicles together. My father exhausted a large portion of his savings to pay his workers but he said he would do it again.
Do you have children at home? How’s it going?
We have a toddler who turned 3 over the summer. I was worried he would be affected when we pulled him out of school last spring or when we didn't send him to school this year, but children are amazingly adaptable things. We are embracing not being overscheduled for once. He is still extremely social and I have to constantly remind him to keep distance because he just wants to chat with anyone he sees.
Did you have to postpone any major life events? (e.g. Graduation, wedding, major birthday) What did you do instead?
The biggest thing is we put off trying for our second child. It just didn't seem like a good time to purposely expand our family.
What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?
I think as a whole, NYers really came together. We wanted to keep our neighbors and community members healthy. We banded together with donating items to food pantries. I saw the elementary school buses come everyday for months, delivering lunches to local children. The garbage trucks proudly had rainbows painted on their sides. I noticed more people outside, using the local trail systems.
Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?
My husbands mother, step father, Step mother, Father and brother all contracted COVID (residents of NY and Florida). All had mild symptoms and recovered. My best friend of 20+ years tested positive in April. She had a low grade fever, sore throat and lethargy for over 2 weeks (making it very difficult as a single mom to care for her 2 young children). My parent's neighbor, two of my great uncles and a previous coworkers 13 year old daughter all lost their battle with COVID this year.
If you lost someone during the pandemic, how did you celebrate their lives?
My grandfather lost 2 of his brothers this summer to COVID. They are hoping to do a memorial service in SC next summer.
What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?
That this would go on much longer than I thought. That people can be incredibly selfish and willfully uneducated, but that people can also be incredibly selfless. That I would reach out to people I haven't spoken to in years because we were all craving connections. How glad I would be that we decided to make Saratoga Springs our home, even though not living near family has been hard.
What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?
Trust Science. Demand change. Don't get all your entertainment from going out to eat or shopping in stores, because when it shuts down you will be lost.
How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?
I'm not sure about everyone else, but for my family we are going to continue forward with our new lifestyle changes. Valuing time spent together, outdoors. I've lived here for 7 years and I've never hikes or paddled more of this area than I did this year. My son wakes up now and asks for his daily hike. I'm in no rush to get back to crowded places or mindless socializing. I just want to spend time with my close family and friends, nothing else is important.
Southern Adirondack Library System
Southern Adirondack Library System
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“Katie,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed August 19, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/296.