Editor’s Note – Here’s the first collection of letters from residents of the peninsula describing their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll publish them each week. Want to tell your story? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s more about why we’re doing this.
Reading Remotely with a High Schooler
In an effort to create a comforting environment, I have baked cookies, bread, and cake; made mostly healthy meals; and kept in touch with family and friends through FaceTime and texting. I even played virtual bingo with my nieces. My most ambitious effort has been to start a “book club” with a quarantined high school freshman in Bowleys Quarters. I had a copy of March, a trilogy coauthored by Congressman John Lewis, delivered to her house. The plan is for us to read it and then talk about it on FaceTime. March is a graphic novel, and I thought it might appeal to her more than a traditional book. It’s an opportunity for us to learn about the civil rights movement, a current member of Congress, U.S. history, and each other. Fingers crossed!! Wishing everyone good health. – Cathy Strodel, Riverside Ave.
Reach Out to a 94-Year-Old Ray of Sunshine
We have an elderly neighbor, Ed Oliver, who’s been at a rehab facility in Cockeysville far from his beloved South Baltimore neighborhood. He’s a 94-year-old ray of sunshine and endless source of community positivity. He misses dearly his friends and neighbors and his daily rounds to Cross Street Market, Cheese Galore & More, and The Rowan Tree. Since early March, Ed has been basically in isolation, as visitors are prohibited. He hasn’t had access to his cell phone or computer, nor does he have a land line in his room. I suggest sending Ed positive notes of encouragement via the U.S. mail. Returning his spirit of cheer, goodwill, and community connectedness is a great way to pay it forward. Putting pen to paper for a personalized note will also bring to mind simpler times. Plus, knowing you made his day is guaranteed to make you feel better. Email me (Jimbo7527@gmail.com) and I’ll send you his mailing address. If you provide a return address, Ed can write you back. – Jim Glick, Otterbein
The Shock of Telework
While practicing social distancing, I had an important realization: I really like my job. I also realized that what I like about it is not portable. In other words, it does not translate well to working from home. We are a small nonprofit in Baltimore city, heavily reliant on paper and print and face-to-face interactions. We had to go from 0% to 100% teleworking practically overnight. It has not been pretty. Now we are faced with some critical decisions: Do we invest in systems necessary for remote operations by staff? Will our partners and stakeholders do the same? Can the program survive with a remote model? (And, if so, do I want to be part of it?) So much uncertainty – thanks, COVID-19. There is one thing that I am certain of, though, thanks to realization #3: I love my neighborhood! I wouldn’t want to be hunkered down anywhere else. – JAS, Federal Hill South
Not Wasting Away in Coronaville: Week 1
Donated 3 figures to the Maryland Food Bank. Picked up 12 cans of beer from Cans Filling Station (curbside). Shaved (once). Ate lunch with my wife on a bench outside the gazebo at Riverside Park. Used Teams in Microsoft 365 for the first time for face-to-face work meetings online. FaceTimed for the first time with grandson and fam while they ate dinner in Seattle. – Steve Cole, Federal Hill
Grateful for the Unseen Workers
I am not the most extroverted person you might meet, but during this time of confinement, I realize how much we need each other. And, texting does not suffice! I have now canceled all events and appointments and cleaned every room (except the basement – ugh). I am grateful to all of the people who continue to work: the media who provide us with the latest news, especially The Sun for the puzzle supplement last week; the grocery store workers and businesses that provide delivery and carry out; and all the other services – utilities, heath care, etc. – that soldier on. I spend a lot of time praying that the economy doesn’t crash and cause me to go back to work, but mostly I pray for my friends and family. I need to see people again soon, hug someone I care about, and share a meal across a table, not 6 feet away. In the meantime, stay distant, safe, and well. – Mary Braman, Riverside Ave.