In December, we asked people to share personal stories of their experience in 2020. Here’s what they had to say:
By Stan Rosenberg
2020 started out like any year since we retired almost five years ago – with plans to travel to our children and grandchildren, spread out over three states, a cruise to Bermuda in early July, and my much-anticipated 50th Medical School Reunion in Philadelphia in mid-May. Then disaster struck in the form of coronavirus, and life changed dramatically.
We were visiting our daughter in North Carolina in mid-March when reality set in, as all professional and amateur sporting events were suddenly canceled – something really bad was about to transpire. We flew back to St. Pete on March 19 and haven’t left Florida since. Family events, such as holidays and birthdays, were carried out over Zoom, and FaceTime became an even more important form of human contact.
I stopped going to my gym for fear of contracting the feared virus, but I must admit that decision had a salutary effect on my well-being – walking either around the neighborhood or in the mall enabled me to drop about 17 pounds, and my clothes now fit much better!
As I noted, all current sporting events were canceled, so that all we could get on TV was reruns, which encouraged us to expand our reading interests – my wife on her Kindle and me with a variety of mystery writers (chief among them James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell). Being able to purchase paperbacks and hardcovers for $2 and $3 at 321 at the mall was a revelation.
And that reunion? We did it virtually several weeks ago and I still managed to hook up with classmates I hadn’t seen in decades.
I was working at the Free Clinic in Clearwater when the virus arrived, but, due to my age, we mutually agreed that the care there was best delivered by the young doctors. As I said, we haven’t traveled much at all since March, but we did drive over to the East coast (seven hours, round-trip) to spend an hour with my daughter and her family over pizza – masked and socially distanced. As we hadn’t seen them in person since January, it was worth it. Otherwise, our “trips” are confined to Publix, Walmart, Winn Dixie and doctors visits; such are the joys of growing old in a pandemic, but it’s better than the alternative.
We’ve been married for 51+ years, but the relative isolation we are forced to endure just makes us that much closer – there is always something to talk about or share. We know we will get through this, and the recent arrival of the vaccine just increases that hope – as my daughter says, “G-d willing and the creek don’t rise.”