Amid COVID-19 lockdowns and safe social distancing, what are Letters readers doing to salvage their summers and yet stay safe? Read on.
The Great Outdoors
Susan Hammadock is on her porch watching deer—a mom and two fawns; a fox—a mom, dad and two kits; birds, and frogs. For Tai Chi outside in the shade, joined by other masked, socially distant players, she made sure to warn the neighbors when they brought out the Tai Chi swords. David Hagelin is watching the larger-than-usual variety of birds at his birdbath. “They make me laugh, jockeying for position. Sometimes I throw some ice cubes in. They love that.” Is there vodka in that birdbath? Anonymous (for obvious reasons) is growing backyard weed plants and reports excellent results. And Myrna Kelley, noting she’s always been a poor sleeper, finds comfort sleeping on her back porch, listening to nature wake up in the morning. Mitch Selbiger and Jody Bergeron joined the Freedom Boat Club to social distance in Rehoboth Bay. Linda Deanand Donna Whiteside took travel money and did home improvements. “You can visit and see ‘Alaska’—aka our new driveway and garage doors!” Pat Cantanzariti went fishing and brought in some beauties. City slicker Ronnie Nicholls planted tomatoes for the first time. “I’ve gotten eight small tomatoes, probably $3 worth, and I must have spent $25 for pots, dirt, peat moss, and plants.” But you’re a farmer now, Ronnie!
The Great Indoors
John Potthast organized 50 years of photos, over 100,000 pictures. He scanned and digitized them all. “So, I'm now up to 2012...eight years to go.” Greg Murphy started baking bread but couldn’t find flour and yeast at the grocery. Online, he had to buy enormous quantities. A hairdresser friend heard Greg’s partner, Michael, complaining about being overstocked and soon Greg traded yeast for haircuts. “I was operating a little black market of ingredients, bartering with friends. I picked up a new skill which will come in handy if I ever end up in prison.” And Greg always worried that if he and Michael retired, spending 24 hours a day together, “one of us would murder the other. It’s lovely to discover we won’t do that—even if it means I’m less likely to ever make use of my black-market skills.” Jeri Berc converted her garage “into a sweat shop,” sewing about 200 masks to give away. “I burned out my grandmother’s sewing machine.” Glenn Pruitt has a mask collection “that keeps the fun in functional." His favorite features a retro cartoon drawing of the original Charlie's Angels (Kate, Jaclyn, and Farrah) in their iconic angel pose. “The wearing of masks is de rigueur these days, but no one said they had to be boring.” A person wishing to remain anonymous reports that her two adult sons are with her in lockdown, spending the better part of their days comparing receding hairlines. Meanwhile, CAMP Chorussingers Barb Passikoff, Linda Bell, and Bev Peltz are still singing, only virtually, with Cantabile from Milford’s Music School of Delaware. Barb says, “Recording virtually is difficult and requires a commitment, but it’s interesting.” Sing out, Louise!
Leanna Johannes adopted a puppy, the superstar Georgie, while Rob Ramoy admitted that puppies cure COVID isolation with entertainment, love, and exhaustion. “We doubled our fun and got two!” Stefani Deouladopted a greyhound in need of a career change. Diane Cook plays tennis with her dog Gussie. “I work on my swing and she catches the ball. She’s very talented.”
Untravel and Travel
Jay Chalmers started lockdown spending a month unraveling 2020 travel—a European cruise, and trips to London and Japan. “About 50 different reservations—airlines, cruise line, hotels, day trips, restaurants, and London theatre tickets. The tickets were the most difficult.” Debbie Woods is taking French lessons, while Ann Aptaker spent early lockdown in Paris “holed up in a romantic little garret, writing my next Cantor Gold book and photographing iconic Paris rooftops.” She, too, is taking French lessons. Meanwhile, Rehoboth’s resident Parisian chanteuse, Holly Lane, has been cooking up a storm and having small, socially distanced happy hours on her deck—and giving French martini-making lessons. Eric Peterson rented a cabin in the mountains with seven other guys, quarantining for two weeks prior, then enjoying a week of socializing, games, movies, and hot tubbing. “It wasn’t the New Orleans getaway we’d planned, but it was a glorious time.” Gail Purcell and Sandy Kraft bought an RV. Road trip! “We didn’t want anybody else’s germs in a hotel room. We’re taking our bed, bath, and kitchen with us. TAKE THAT, COVID-19!!!!!”
And so it goes. Whatever you do…please stay safe. And send your salvage activities to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m in my Hollywood mancave, reading, writing, streaming, Zooming, and falling in love all over again with porn stars long dead.” - Comic Bruce Vilanch
I’m doing online shows, editing videos about 10-12 hours a day, chatting online for a half-hour Monday-Friday, then drinking heavily on Saturdays. But having a ball." - Comic Jennie McNulty
For my first full summer at the Lewes house in years, I’m figuring out what to do with all my tomatoes. I’ll be totally broke by Christmas, so it’s a good opportunity to do a little canning and Martha Stewarting.” - Broadway Stage Manager James FitzSimmons