Life During A Pandemic: Reflecting One Year Later

Well, here we go. It’s been a year since the world started to shut down. Did we imagine that all of this — the social distancing, the wariness — would still be ongoing a year later? Maybe we did, yes. Every one of my memories from January, from February, from early March 2020 is fraught with “oh yeah . . . that was the last time we did that.” I’ve got pictures on my phone of  dinner with friends, of my family in the audience at the theater, at caucuses and concerts. And then . . . it all ended. Like we fell, slowly, off of a cliff.

Remember the beginning of spring break week, 2020? A popular meme said, “Remember, this week has a full moon, a Friday the 13th, and daylight saving time! Look out!” Oh, you precious children of March, 2020, you had no idea. By the end of that very week, the NBA had canceled the season. Disney World announced it was closing in a few days, while the Iowa City West High orchestra was on the bus on their way to the park. Per student reporting — that is, a friend of my daughter’s — the orchestra did still get to go to the park, and they did get to play their pieces, albeit to an auditorium empty of all but the judges. The park shut down the day the buses headed home. And as we all know, our kids left school for spring break, and never went back.

dancers in black against a red background
March, 2020

One of the last events I attended was my daughter’s dance recital at her college, Northwest Missouri State University, on March 4, 2020. It’s a student run organization, and the dance recital is for people who enjoy recreational dance. These are kids who did competition dance in high school, as well as students who never danced before in their lives. Great fun. I was in a big auditorium, with a lot of strangers. Imagine a smaller Hancher, with a crowd like one at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, cheering. College students are joyous and loud.  I went to the show alone; my husband was home because he was busy with the play he was directing for Young Footliters, Treasure Island, which was to open the next weekend. (Those actors got to do two-thirds of the planned shows. The Sunday matinee was canceled.)

actors in costume on stage for a live play
“Treasure Island,” Young Footliters, March 2020

The day after the dance show was a Friday, and Maryville, Missouri, was mostly deserted. Spring break for NWMSU was a week before Iowa City’s, and most students had already headed home. My daughter and I went to an antiques and treasures store, where she talked me into buying green four-leaf clover earrings for St. Patrick’s Day. “You’re the one who has the fun earrings, mom! You have to get them!” My other “fun earrings” include hearts for Valentine’s Day, Christmas Trees, red, white and blue stars for the 4th of July, things like that.

I wore those earrings on St. Patrick’s Day, but no one saw them. By March 17, my work had gone virtual, as it remained until July.

And here we are, one year later. It’s still not safe to gather. Theatrical events are on Zoom. My daughter still does her dance show — wearing a mask, with a limited group, and the event is live-streamed. No more auditorium full of cheering dance fans, just words of encouragement on Twitter.

Dancers wearing masks
November, 2020

I’ll wear my earrings again on St. Patrick’s Day. Some co-workers might see them on a zoom call.

four leafed clover earrings
Here they are!

I hope that by Thanksgiving, I’ll get to show off my turkey earrings.

Related: Read more COVID-19 stories from Iowa City Moms.

Sharon Falduto is a Central Iowa native who came to University of Iowa in 1991 and essentially never left the area. She is involved in local community theater, notably as one of the co-founders of Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre. She has also directed children's plays with the Young Footliters group. Sharon works in with English Language Learners in a support position at Kirkwood Community College.. She lives in Coralville with her husband, Matt, and three daughters Rachel, Samantha, and Piper.


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