Norwood in a Time of Pandemic
In this uncertain time of a worldwide pandemic, we are opening a blog series to any reader who wants to share their experience, fear, concerns and inspiring stories of living through this time in history in Norwood, MA. If you are interested in writing, please send your blog post to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Our first entry is from longtime Norwood resident, John Hall. John has served in many capacities on boards here in Norwood and was President of the Friends of Norwood Center for many years.
When I first suggested “Life in Quarantine,” I thought people in quarantine would be few and far between. I really did. Wow.
March 1, Jean and I attend a fund-raising party for Tony Mazzucco. March 2, I get a PET scan (like a souped-up CAT scan) for a lung issue. By the end of the week, Sigalle Reiss tells me Jean and I were exposed to COVID at the party, and we need to self-quarantine through March 15. (Luckily we had just laid in food and drink.) Meanwhile, my doctor tells me the next step after the PET scan is a biopsy, which we schedule for March 31.
As septagenarian retired folks, Jean and I have a shorter list of responsibilities than most. No kids or grandkids. No living parents. No nearby siblings. But we do have a number of local groups we support.
My March 10 Library Board meeting is cancelled, because enough of us are out of commission that we can’t muster a quorum. My March 11 Community Preservation Committee meeting is cancelled for lack of several members. On March 12, I learn the Candidates Forum is now to be a studio event with call-in questions for contested races only – so it’s cancelled for me. Governor Baker issues a string of executive orders, encouraging cancelation or alternative formats for large meetings, modifying the Open Meeting Law, and banning meetings over 250 people. Jean’s and my March 14 caucus is cancelled. Jean and I are getting ready to deliver our last big load of PJs for the Norwood Library/Bruins drive, and we suggest we’ll deliver PJs on our first day out of quarantine.
As word trickles out about the quarantined members of the party, Jean and I start getting calls from well-wishers, including others who are quarantined. Those who are not themselves quarantined ALWAYS – without exception – end the calls with offers to get us anything we need. Our feelings toward our friends and neighbors in Norwood have never been warmer.
"Our feelings toward our friends and neighbors in
Norwood have never been warmer." -John Hall
On March 15-16, Jean and I clear self-quarantine with no symptoms and rush out to stock up on groceries and supplies. We encounter the now-familiar shortages that have emerged as sheltering-in-place, staying home, social distancing and the like have put everybody into some variation of quarantine. Town Hall and other Norwood public buildings are closed; those 19 boxes of PJs are going nowhere. We later learn that the drive’s organizers suspended the deadlines, and we will be able to get garments to the kids some time later this year. Governor Baker’s latest orders close the schools for at least three weeks, prohibit gatherings of 25 or more, and allow only take-out and delivery from restaurants and bars.
Starting late that week, Jean and I reach out to Victoria’s Café. We want to try out Norwood’s delivery options, and we’ve had good luck with their food and service before. Over the next week-and-a-half, we have four delivery meals. Our experience is extremely positive, and we recommend them to others who’d like to see what our great Norwood Center establishments can do to make this pandemic bearable.
Once the necessities are secured (I shop Sunday mornings, so I can get the Globe and NY Times with their excellent puzzles) what remains is staying sane and un-bored. Jean and I are fortunate to have a sizeable group of as-yet unwatched DVDs and DVR recordings. We also have scores of as-yet unread books. Many of our friends and relatives are tapped into Netflix and/or Hulu (we are not) to the same end. By all means, check out the Morrill Memorial Library’s on-line options, too.
As she usually does, Jean has taken lead for the family in maintaining telephone and/or e-mail contact with friends and relatives, and she is working with the Facebook group Making Masks in Norwood to help supply homemade personal protective gear for our doctors and nurses.
I still have my biopsy set for March 31 for some symptoms not related to COVID. Now my main concern is that the possibility may point to future steps that a soon-to-be-overloaded hospital may not be able to support.
If I write another one of these, you now know what I’ll be writing about.
I hope some of you will write your own pieces, because I’m especially interested in coping techniques people are using when they have to worry about kids, parents, employers, employees, customers or any of the other folks we didn’t have to address. And I would really like to hear how the merchants of Norwood Center are coping, including what we can do to help them.
Best of health and luck to all of you,
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These blog posts are written by Friends of Norwood Center Board Members and blog contributors. Look for author attribution in each post.