Covid-History Item Type Metadata




Owasco, NY USA

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?

Because I listen to a lot of news, I first heard about COVID-19 when it was still in China. However, I remember being outside on a star filled winter night with my dog, the day in March 2020, when the shutdown began. As I looked at the stars, I wondered where this pandemic would take us and what was circulating in the air. Since I live outside of the city of Auburn, NY, the first cases in the area were isolated and not very close. I made masks, wiped down my groceries, had others pick up groceries, and stayed home. My husband has a heart condition, so we stayed pretty isolated as we knew that if he came down with Covid-19, it would kill him. We are both retired.

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

The beginning of February 2020, due to circumstances completely unrelated to Covid-19, our oldest daughter, her husband, and two daughters ages 3 and 7 months moved in with us, while they looked for new employment in this area. When the pandemic hit we all got a little cozier as we could no longer participate in the activities we had signed up for like children's story time at the library, swimming at the YMCA, eating out, going to a movie, going to PlaySpace (a children's activity center in town) etc. Our daughter and son-in-law did our grocery shopping and we had limited appointments. With the approach of spring and summer, we were grateful to be outside and giving the children space to play. In September, our 3 year old granddaughter was able to start a pre-school program going five days a week. We are very grateful that she has had the ability to interact with other children during this time. The pre-school went remote during January when cases were high in the area. My life now centers around taking care of our granddaughters, cooking meals for my enlarged family, and trying to maintain some sort of normalcy in a house that is overcrowded with four adults, two very active grandchildren and an overly excitable dog, when we can't really go anywhere.

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

I am feeling stressed. Last year, my family signed up for several virtual challenges and walked or biked for miles and miles (only around our neighborhood). One was a virtual run around all of the finger lakes...over 400 miles. I completed that one, but injured my foot at the end of it. Then over the winter, my husbands extended family started a virtual challenge to walk across the USA stopping at different relatives homes along the way. I started that one, but phased out a few weeks ago, preferring to nap when the girls napped and letting the winter blahs set in. I hope to start another activity when the weather is better. I also signed up to take a couple of on line spirituality classes along with a friend. The first one I enjoyed. The one still ongoing, I have found difficult to keep up with as I am more involved in childcare.

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

As a retired minister, I have missed church in person, but I am very impressed with how the church I attend has continued to be an active force in the community. I am sad to see some businesses close.

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?


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


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?


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


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

In January 2021, our daughter and son-in-law began new jobs. Our daughter's job is totally remote and our son-in-law is three days a week in office and two remote. They are looking to relocate closer to his work, but until they can find a place to live, they are in our house, and my husband and I have become babysitters to our grandchildren while their parents work. I am glad that I had my children when I was much younger, but I appreciate all that the young parents today are going through. The now 4 year old and 21 month old are a buzz of activity and require planned activities to keep their busy minds focused. I am looking forward to spring and summer and outdoor activities, even though we go outside some in the winter, it is not for extended periods. I am exhausted, but love the opportunity to love and watch my granddaughters grow. I know I am blessed by their presence as so many of my friends can't see their grandchildren.

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

I Zoom every other week with my siblings and have participated in Zoom gatherings with some church friends. I also have more video chats with my other two daughters. My 7 year old grandson has read stories to us and we have celebrated birthdays virtually.

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

Family gatherings, such as my annual 4th of July family reunion of 80-90 people, all holiday dinners with family (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas), trips we had planned to Spain, Portugal, and Scandinavia, and a 2021 winter trip to Florida, and family visits at my husband's family camp on Owasco Lake.

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

I have a two year old golden doodle, who has kept me going outside everyday, until this winter, when I could let her out on her own.

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

We went through three times where we became aware of potential exposure to Covid-19. The most threatening was a dental assistant when my husband had some surgery. He was quarantined in our bedroom for two weeks while the rest of us stayed away. I slept on the couch. He was fine. Also a distant relative of mine, came down with Covid-19 in March 2020. He was on a ventilator for three weeks and only in December was he beginning to feel healthy again. We are grateful he survived as it was early in the pandemic and treatment seemed to be trial by error at best.

If you lost someone during the pandemic, how did you celebrate their lives?

People I know have died from other causes than Covid-19 and I have been able to attend their memorial services virtually through the church website.

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

Pay attention to the world beyond your corner of the world and learn from the science studying what is going on. Above all elect leaders who trust in the science and are forward thinking.

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

I think it will be awhile before we all feel comfortable being in crowds again. I do hope that we will soon be able to have gatherings with friends and family without masks and planty of hugs!

Dublin Core




COVID-19 (Disease)


Southern Adirondack Library System




Finger Lakes Library System


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.




Covid History




Coronavirus Pandemic


“Janet,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed August 15, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/355.

Output Formats