Covid-History Item Type Metadata






Charlton, 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?

On March 11 I was at the Celtic Hall in Colonie with the pipe band I do some admin work for. Everyone was asking if the St. Patrick's Day parades that Saturday would be canceled, and everyone was speculating about other events they were scheduled to attend. One person, who has a logistics job with the military, told me that gatherings were going to be limited to no more than ten people and that we'd all have to be six feet apart. While everything had felt strange and uncertain for several days prior, it was that night when I thought "nothing is going to be the same." I called my husband and told him "This is going to be big." I drove home listening to Trump on the radio. I remember thinking "That's it? That's all he has to say?" Looking back I realize that I didn't hear anything again about groups no larger than ten people and everyone six feet apart for maybe two weeks after that night. I've wondered since, if that was already known within the military that second week in March, why did it take so long for it to become public knowledge?

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

The first few months my life ground to halt. Everything on my chaotic calendar was crossed off. I stopped wearing my watch. I had no freelance work. My husband lost his job. My daughters were suddenly home finishing college online. We had gorgeous weather in the summer and spent a lot of time in our pool and just hanging out. Our 30-year old nephew in Florida lost his job and apartment and came to live with us--he stayed for four months. Now things are busy--my husband and I are both working again, and the volunteer organizations we are involved with are up and running, albeit virtually. I never go anywhere, but I'm okay with that--I'm a homebody anyway. I miss seeing people, but in some ways I'm not looking forward to going back to all the running around.

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

The stress comes and goes. The holidays were a bit stressful only because we had one relative who wanted to visit from Florida, and we weren't comfortable doing that. She kept pushing, but we finally convinced her that it was a bad idea. My husband has to travel for work so he was always isolating every time he was home, and I slept in our guest room for a long time. Now he's fully vaccinated (he's a volunteer firefighter), so we don't have to worry so much any more.

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?

I'm a freelancer, and my work disappeared from March until September. By that time, the clients I work for had settled into working from their own homes, and the kind of work I do had transitioned to being all digital. My husband was laid off April 1. We both filed for unemployment, which was a tough process at the time--mostly because the NYS website was so bogged down. It was extra complicated for me as a freelancer because it was the first time independent contractors had been allowed to file for unemployment. The questions on the application didn't make sense. But we got it going . We lost our health insurance benefits from my husband's company and have been paying for COBRA ever since. He's now working as a freelancer (doing the same work he was doing before), and will probably continue working that way, so eventually we'll have to buy insurance on the marketplace.

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

I've worked from home for twenty years and so has my husband (except when he has to travel), so that's normal for us.

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

All of my work is now digital. We use Zoom for meetings and socializing, which is new for me but not for my husband--he's participated in virtual meetings for many years. The difference now, he says, is that no one ever used to turn their cameras on for meetings--now everyone does!

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

Both my daughters graduated from college in May. We had a drive-by celebration. I have a big box full of wrapped Christmas and birthday gifts for people we haven't been able to see. One of these days, we'll have a big party!

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

There's a lot more patience with people who feel they need to stay home if they think they're sick--you don't get scolded if you call to cancel an appointment at the last minute. Most people, too, seem more considerate of each other in general.

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

No one in our house has been ill, but we know several people who have been. One friend got sick last March and is just starting to recover--she's a long hauler. My daughter's boyfriend and his parents got sick over the holidays--their cases were mild but he's having lingering vascular issues. Another friend had pneumonia, tested negative for Covid twice, then tested positive for antibodies. He's struggling with brain fog. Both his parents, an aunt, and a cousin died. We know several other people who have lost loved ones; two people we know died.

What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?

I wish I had known how long it was going to last. We still don't really know . . .

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

It will be interesting to see what changed, but I think things will go back to being normal more than we might expect.

Dublin Core




COVID-19 (Disease)


Southern Adirondack Library System




Southern Adirondack Library System


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.




Covid History




Coronavirus Pandemic


“Susan,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed August 19, 2022,

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