Mary Beth Writes

This was a really good part of today. When my daughter was putting the baby down for his nap, Len and I read storybooks to our 3-year old granddaughter before her nap. Literally, she was sitting on her little bed in Chicagoland while holding mommy’s phone.  I read; Len moved the phone around carefully to show the illustrations. 

We read Katharine Goes to Nursery School, The Mixed-Up Chameleon, and Millions of Cats. When our daughter came into the room – she asked with a lot of humor in her voice, “Was that Katharine Goes to Nursery School?”   It’s been more than 30 years since we read it to her; she recognized it while she was rocking the baby in the other room. 

The clincher line in the book is: “Oh Katharine, you are learning so much in nursery school!” Every couple of months one of us will learn a new skill and the other remarks, “Oh Leonard, you are learning so much at Drupal Midcamp.” Etc.

Classic literature never leaves your soul…

Yesterday I wrote about Night Herons. Franc sent this today.

This triptych is called “Silent Transformation of the Night Heron into Saturday Night Dance with Chaos” by Allen Schaubel, an artist in Kenosha.

I am more anxious today. I noticed on Twitter this morning that there are many new tweets lamenting the loss of friends, aunts, uncles, co-workers. Some of these deaths are due to other causes and the people are sorrowing that they are attending funerals via internet.  One of my friends lost a lifelong friend just last week –she and her husband attended the incredibly small funeral via skype. The woman who passed had lived a long and generous life yet there were about 10 people actually at the funeral. Our new normal.

People are beginning to note the folks in their lives who are ill at home, are hospitalized, are passing away with coronavirus. For many it is no longer coming. It’s here.

Yet I keep thinking of this. In the first century after Europeans landed in the “New World” – 90% of all indigenous people of north, central, and south America died of European diseases. Nine out of ten.

There are only nine people in my immediate family.

The mind boggles and the heart weeps.

Kathleen called this morning; she’s been talking with her kids and grandkids about “the first time it felt as if everything was out of control.”  She said for her it was the Cuban Missile Crisis. I said I’d been talking with various others of our general age who said exactly the same.

I was in 4th grade. My parents kept talking to each other in quiet tones. We had the evening news on during dinner which was unprecedented. I did and didn’t understand our nation was in crisis. I remember walking around the corner from the dining room into the kitchen, when I began to cry. I tucked my face into a dishtowel because that’s how tall I was then. I started weeping and shaking.  My mom saw me, hugged me, and asked what was going on. I told her I was so scared. I don’t remember her answer but to this day I remember her hug.

Kathleen was in college; she remembers being in the school's chapel seriously wondering if she would see her parents again.

We have all been through a few of these moments. The Cuban Missile Crisis. The Kennedy assassination. The deaths of MLK and Robert Kennedy and Malcom X.  When the college students were killed at Kent State. 9/11.

We know we will come through this. We also know we won’t come through it as exactly the same nation or the same people we were even a few weeks ago.

if we are going to change, let’s try for kinder.

When was the first time you felt as if the world was going out of control?  



M.B. That would be 9/11 when alone except for a bunch of little dogs I first saw it happening on tv and called you because I knew you were home and I needed to reach out to a fellow human being... I remember to this day being on the phone ( land lines then ) for hours with you and staring at the television as it unfolded in front of our eyes... Some times we commented and sometimes we just watched together in complete silence sharing in amazment how horrible we can be as a race to each other... I agree that hopefully we come out of this shared experience kinder and more loving of each other... Keep safe everyone...

The Kennedy assassination. Most recent, Trump election.
Mary Beth's picture

Yeah. Waking up at 3AM election night/morning.. seeing that. We knew it would not be good but who saw this coming.

Trump's election rocked my soul to the very core. So much of what I believed about my country disappeared that day. Patricia

Rest In Peace, Dee For me, it was the Kennedy Assassination. I was 9. I remember the wind howling and there was literally nothing else on tv.

Beautiful message. I especially loved the story of your reading the Katharine book! So sweet. Yes, let’s try for kinder. It is already happening. They call it a virus that is spreading faster that the cv.

January 1960 I turned 8 the previous month. A man missing one hand bought all our furniture. Boxes were shipped to the USA from our home in Denmark. I do remember, due to photos, our final Christmas in the house my parents had built.

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Quarantine Diary #17 3/30/2020

Why are people (lots of them) on Facebook posting photos of landscapes? The instructions say one should post a picture of a landscape one took somewhere, one should not say where that place is, and no people should be included, especially not the posting-person.  

Why? I don’t get it. I don’t mind but I really don’t get how this connects to anything.

A friend’s husband’s company had a virtual meeting this morning about the future of their company. Things are changing but not shutting down. They will still have income and insurance.  Thought you might like to know.  

Quarantine Diary #16 3/29/2020

I’ve been busy today so I’m a little late getting to this diary. Doing what, you ask? Oh, brilliant things like washing the bathroom and doing laundry and going for a blustery walk. Took the plastic off the particular windows we wrap in the fall.

Spent a chunk of the morning reading about the lead-up to the Revolutionary War battles at Saratoga. More about that later.  Reading about brave and canny, stupid and ego-centric politicians of an entirely different era is part of my coping strategy for life in the US. We aren’t the first to live in fraught times. Not by a long shot.

Quarantine Diary #15 3/28/2020

The Long-Awaited Groceries (The hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” is in my brain right now) came last night at 9PM – when it was raining. A woman named Sarah, late 30’s, brown ponytail, not-posh sweatpants and hoodie – carried ALL our groceries across the street from her car to our porch. This included 8-packs of Gatorade plus boxes of seltzer water, plus lots of other heavy stuff. Did I mention it was raining?

Quarantine #14 3/27/2020

Last night we did another wild and crazy thing. We got in our car and went for a drive! The first thing we remarked to each other was that we had not been in the car together in weeks.  It felt a little odd to be in there, next to each other, about to GO SOMEPLACE! Maybe this is the way it feels to be the family dog when they let you sit in the front seat and EVERYTHING IS SO AMAZING!

We drove west into the rosy sunset, filled with excitement to, um, see the sky.  Quarantines are easiest on people who have a low bar for excitement.

Quarantine Diary #13 3/26/2020

What do you miss?  What, in our new pandemical world do you miss most from our pre-pandemical world?You know, the one we lived in till two weeks ago?

I don’t mean the heartbreaking realities such as safe medical care providers and enough places to go should one become ill and the loved ones that we are losing.

I just mean, what are we getting used to? Or trying to get used to. What might we never go back to?

Quarantine Diary #12 3/25/2020

Right now it is 11:00AM.  Got up this morning at the regular time. Did regular things. Came to the office to write. Worked (hardly at all) on a project, wrapped an item for eBay. Announced to Len at 10:30 that I was sleepy and going to take a nap.

You know what he said?  He said, “Me, too.”

The following half hour he took the sofa and I took our bed and both of us slept like toddlers on cots.

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