2020 Pandemic: Rita Gregory

Dublin Core

Title

2020 Pandemic: Rita Gregory

Subject

2020 Pandemic in Connecticut, USA

Description

Short memories of the 2020 Pandemic collected beginning in March of 2020.

Creator

The Connecticut Crossroads Project

Publisher

The Connecticut Crossroads Project

Contributor

The Connecticut Crossroads Project

Format

Electronic Document; Text

Language

English

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewee

Gregory, Rita

Location

New Milford, CT

Transcription

So, what’s it like to live through a pandemic? It’s…frightening.

I feel compelled to answer this through the lens of a child. I am a kindergarten teacher and mother to a 4 and ½ year old boy, so I have the gift and burden of seeing what social distancing means to children who are at an age where seeing friends and following school routines mean everything to them.

I said good-bye to my students—well only four of them showed up on our last day together—not knowing when I would see them again. I wanted desperately to exchange hugs and high fives, like we always used to do. But I waved instead and the halls were eerily quiet too soon. I looked around my classroom at what I could put away: the Lysoled counters for math and the Clorox wipes I am not supposed to use but there was a pandemic coming and I wanted to do what I could.

Now I am told Clorox wipes aren’t enough.

Fast forward to a week later, when it becomes clear that not only will school remain closed, but I will be teaching from home during that time. You know, with the four year old by my side. I do not know a lot about video conferencing and distance learning platforms, but I am certain that what the kids want is to see my face, so I prepare carefully crafted videos of read-alouds that also feature my son in his pajamas, when he cooperates. Often he doesn’t, because his momma is on the computer way too much.

Yes, cooperating is not his strong point these days. Young children have always been a finicky bunch, but he hasn’t seen his friends in over a month and I am hopeless at following the nuances of his airplane/butterfly game, which is turning into a hospital game.

We play a lot of hospital games now. We also do a lot of snuggling and tear-wiping because he is angry at the interruptions and I am the safe place where he lets go. I ask his teachers for mental health resources, but they don’t really know what to say other than offer some canned handouts about stress from the APA. I take him outside, we go for out-of-the-way field trips to random trails hoping to avoid others. But still, his misses all the people that make his village. I can’t replace them all.

So I look ahead to the future, try to plan lessons for well-being, both for my students and my son. I try to give rhythm and predictability while I grasp for some of my own. We’re planning on creating a car parade for a student’s birthday on Saturday. Bet he’ll remember this day like no other. I’m going to do my best to wave and cheer and try not to cry.


In spite of everything, I hope that these kids will look back on this time, grieve and grow, and remember how we connected nonetheless.

Original Format

Electronic Document

Citation

The Connecticut Crossroads Project, “2020 Pandemic: Rita Gregory,” The Connecticut Crossroads Project, accessed July 2, 2020, http://159.203.185.252/omeka/items/show/22.

Output Formats