Memories: March


Last night was the closing night of the spring musical at my son's high school.  He's been active in the drama group since he was a freshman (when he was thrilled to get a small part in the fall production of "Comedy of Errors").  The group and it's advisor have been incredibly creative during the pandemic, which started just as the spring musical of 2020 was wrapping up.  In June of that year, their One Act festival turned into on line productions, that fall they did a "radio play" and in the spring of 2021, they did a very late spring outdoor musical revue.  (Who knew it would be 30 degrees at night in May?)  This fall they were able to return to the high school stage where the cast was unmasked (except for portions of the production where they were off stage) and the audience was completely masked.  It has been a wild ride for the past two years and I think it's important that we remember that.

I think back to this time in March of 2020.  Were we even calling it a pandemic?  I definitely was more focused on the spring musical than anything else.  As part of the parent association, I was more concerned about ticket sales and how much money we could make from concessions.  (Ticket profits go back to the school; concessions go right to the parent association which allows us to provide scholarships and purchase items that the organization's school budget will not cover.)  It's important to remember that then we didn't know much.  No one wore masks and handling money was something that might be full of Covid-19 germs.  (In the coming weeks I would mask up and go to ShopRite alone as my husband has underlying health issues and was concerned about going out.  When I did go shopping, reuseable bags were a no-no.  I would drop everything off and rush into a shower, throwing my clothes in the washing machine.  My husband would unpack the groceries and then diligently scrub his hands.  There was no vaccine; no real hope of one at the time, so we were all ultra cautious.)

I handled a lot of money especially  on Saturday, as there was a matinee and then the final evening show.  I thought about hand sanitizer, but I don't think I used it.  (Soon it would become an integral part of life.)  A former teacher of mine drove 90 minutes to come see the show and we hugged beforehand; both of us wondering if it was safe.  I let my son go to the cast party without much thought.

The Sunday after the show was a warm day (not unlike today).  It was also the last day I got my hair professionally cut and colored. (Something that will hopefully change very soon.) I had wanted an appointment closer to the end of the month, but this Sunday was the only available time that was available; the stylist was booked through the month.  (That was sure to change.)  He wore a mask when he did my hair.  I haven't seen him in person since that day.  (He has since retired.)

Since my son had not been around for dinner for a week, I made an early St. Patrick's day meal of corned beef and Irish soda bread.  My son went off to be with his girlfriend at the time and then went radio silent for most the day.  He blew off dinner, which infuriated me.  My husband and I finally hunted him down in the evening; we were so angry.  It might have been one of the last times that we had a "typical" parent/child issue/argument.

The world would rapidly change after that day and even though it was only 2 years ago, memories are quick to fade.  I worked in an office suite; we went about our business, but were more cautious and spent a lot of time washing our hands.  The annual planned music trip that was to take place the weekend following the musical was cancelled.  Then school went on the remote plan; after 2 "snow days" in the beginning of the week to prepare.  I had been told the Sunday before the (my?) world changed by my former boss (who took the time out of his Sunday evening to call me) to work from home.  My new boss announced it Monday morning via email. 

Remote learning; remote working...I couldn't have imagined it 2 years ago today.  When we were in the thick of it (which for me would be from mid-March 2020 to April of 2021), I could not recall normal.  I didn't think we would be able to go back to school full time.  I certainly didn't want to go to an office.

Here we are 2 years later.  Covid restrictions are being lifted.  Our schools will be mask optional starting tomorrow.  I still don't want to go into an office (which will be in a completely new and inconvenient location for me).  I have started shopping without a mask.  (Although I'm still keeping my mask basket by the front door and a few spares in my car because you never know.)  I'm cautiously ready for the "new" normal.

Yesterday, the audience was masked; the cast was not.  We sold concessions and people removed their masks to eat and drink.  By the end of the night it seemed as if most people were unmasked.  We are ready to move on.

But as we move on, we also need to remember where we were.  We need to move forward with cautious optimism.  We need to remember that in the United States 957,000 people have died from this virus (as of yesterday.)  We need to respect boundries.  Maybe we don't "have" to wear masks or be physically distant, but it IS okay to continue to do so.  We remember the hardships and appreciate and respect those who got us through.  (I'm particularly thinking of our healthcare workers.)  We need to keep in mind that this isn't the end of something, but a new beginning.

I'm ready for a new beginning; while never forgetting the past.


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