Category: Current events and social commentary

Differences about what we’ll do now

My friends and I agreed about those who weren’t treating COVID as a serious health threat. But now that we’re vaccinated, we diverge about reentering seminormal life. The differences have made me feel defensive on occasion.  Did I detect a self-satisfied tone when two vaccinated friends said that they intend to keep their masks on... Read more »

Recalling a disappointing meeting with an icon

If you listen to WBEZ, you know that National Public Radio celebrated its 50th anniversary this month. The names Susan Stamberg and Bob Edwards are familiar to those who go back to the beginning with public radio. They were cohosts of NPR’s flagship daily news show All Things Considered until Edwards moved to its morning... Read more »

Resumed activities fall short: bad luck or a bad omen?

During the pandemic, my friend Sandie and I have played Scrabble online twice a week, double the amount we used to play in person, and my book group has met via Zoom. The activity that I missed is Chicago Greeter, where I’d logged almost 1,000 hours giving tours to out-of-towners. Chicago Greeter resumed operation in... Read more »
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What I’d like to say to someone who refuses a vaccine

Maybe you also know someone who doesn’t want to get a COVID vaccination. There’s a good chance that someone isn’t in the Baby Boomer generation. Eighty-five percent of us are or intend to be vaccinated, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One in four adults under 30 are wait-and-see or definitely not. The person I... Read more »

Reentry at different rates

As more of us are vaccinated, we’re noting reports that people are nervous about reentry into something resembling our former lives. Have we forgotten how to socialize? Are we so used to cocooning that we won’t want to go out? Will we back away from people who get close?  Today, my fully vaccinated day one,... Read more »

Genealogy is an elective

In a recent Zoom chat with a group of my former coworkers, a woman of Filipino descent lamented the difficulty of finding records of her ancestors. I thought back to another chat with coworkers, this one in person, when I gushed about having traced a branch back 13 generations to 1629 New England. Later I... Read more »
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Surprise: vaccines are on my mind

With “Have you had your first shot?” leading off most conversations these days, thank goodness it’s becoming easier to find an appointment for a COVID vaccination. “I think I’m the only Chicagoan over 65 who hasn’t found an appointment,” a friend grumbled a couple of days before he snared one. He wasn’t really alone; only... Read more »

Thoughts as senior residences let up on lockdowns

Our 93-year-old mother’s virtual imprisonment in an assisted living apartment for almost a year has to rank among my family’s top stresses of the pandemic.   Would Mom have been better off living with one of us? Didn’t she deserve the same care she gave her own mother at home for 17 years? But when... Read more »

I’m glad I still can read the news on paper

Especially since the pandemic began, sitting down to read the daily newspaper in print form has been the highlight of my days. The reliable Chicago Tribune carrier leaves the paper outside the door early every morning. After breakfast, I make a pot of tea and settle into my reading chair for what’s become a long,... Read more »
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Are you behaving weirdly during isolation?

We’ve heard of people having weirder, more vivid dreams during the pandemic. Bizarre waking behaviors haven’t been discussed as much, unless you count hoarding toilet paper, which seemed reasonable to do back in the spring.  When I started moving around the living room furniture without having had a notion that I wanted to rearrange the... Read more »