Covid-History Item Type Metadata
Hamilton County, 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?
In early March, after a very busy (normal) week, including attending an out-of-state wedding, I got sick: a tickle in my throat that turned into a full-fledged cough, a fever, muscle ache and extreme fatigue. I was sick for 5 days, and tired for another week after that. Did I have COVID-19? I don't know. Even though I had a physical scheduled that week and I went, sick, there was no testing available. My doctor insisted I had a cold (though I've never had a cold like that in my life). As I wondered if I had COVID-19 and heard and saw the fear expressed by my family, friends and co-workers, I realized this - not my illness but an outbreak of illness - had the potential to be really serious, and that fear changes people. As to how my reaction changed, we've only had one confirmed case in my town to date, and it was someone I know who is a healthcare worker. That didn't change any perspective for me.
How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?
It's better. This forced us to slow down, to stop mindlessly running around doing non-essential stuff, and to appreciate the people who are important to us. Other than travel, I don't miss anything - I'm happy.
How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?
I'm happy and less stressed with a slowed down life. We get outside in nature daily, very often with our dogs. I'm still working (from home now), I'm cooking and cleaning and gardening, spending time with family members. I'm happy and I'm not stressed.
What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?
People are mean. That might sound harsh but it's true. So many people are judgmental and critical, even while they're telling everyone to be kind and to support each other. People are more afraid and more divided than they were before - and that's saying something. Many people believe they can dictate how others live their lives, and that if they think they're right, they must be right. I've seen and heard so many nasty exchanges, people turning in their neighbors for supposed infractions, rumors and backstabbing. This pandemic has highlighted the ugly underbelly of society.
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 did have to close our family business for a month, and we've had to steel ourselves against people's judgment and criticism when we re-opened. Even though we're following the rules and doing exactly what we're supposed to, people think they know better and should tell us how to operate our business (or that we shouldn't be operating our business at all). Of course, these people offer no help for lost income, just loud opinions behind our backs and on social media. Our customers, on the other hand, have been very happy with us.
Are you an essential employee? What do you do? What precautions are being taken at your workplace? What precautions are implementing at home?
I am, as I work for a municipality. We shut down our offices pretty quickly and I moved everything I needed to work to a spare room in my home. We've managed just fine. At home, since we weren't going anywhere or seeing anyone, I didn't do anything differently.
Are you working from home? What adjustments or challenges are you experiencing?
I am working from home and it's been easy. People in the workplace have been understanding, because we're all facing the same challenges (not having things we need, making phone systems and computers work, dealing with husbands and children and dogs in the new "workplace " but it's been fine.
Do you have children at home? How’s it going?
I do not, my children are grown and living on their own. After two weeks of quarantine, though, my younger son and his wife came to stay in another house we own, and stayed for 8 weeks while working remotely - it was fun! After the first two weeks, we spent lots of time together and we were all fine. We enjoyed time with them we wouldn't have had otherwise.
Do you have animals? Did you adopt a pet? How have they impacted your day?
We do have animals - four dogs - and they've been the best! We've gone for so many walks, and hikes, and they love being outside with us.
What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?
Honestly, I haven't seen much positivity out of this, other than personally I enjoyed the slower pace of life.
Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?
I don't know if what I had was COVID-19; I couldn't get tested at the time, and haven't been able to find a reliable antibody test near me.
What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?
Not to book two trips this year.
What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?
Stay calm and live your lives. Use common sense and you will be fine. There's no need to hoard food, or toilet paper, and you don't have to spend all of your time disinfecting your house; you live there, for heaven's sake. Just behave responsibly and respectfully. You will be fine.
How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?
There's going to be a huge, ugly divide between people who want to get on with life, and people who are afraid to move forward. The new normal will be about calling people out and hating people who don't share your views. Before we were divided by politics, economics, race - now we'll be further divided by health fears and fearing "outsiders". That's been a huge issue in the Adirondacks.
Southern Adirondack Library System
“Christine,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed January 21, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/62.