Now we need masks, and plenty of them, for both medical workers and people like us who need them for our personal protection and the protection of others. To the rescue came m wonderful men and women around the country (like many of you) who have been keeping their sewing machines on overdrive (thank you, all!), negotiating for elastic and preparing masks for hospitals, Native American reservations, jails and prisons, nursing homes, veterans facilities and so much more.
Others, like me, who can't sew, did our best -- not very effectively! (Too baggy, not tight enough and so many layers of fabric I couldn't breathe!)
I want to highlight three people who have generously shared masks with Rick and me. Their kindness has been so appreciated. These are their stories.
The First Story
The other day I received a legal-sized envelope from my cousin Anne. It was a long envelope, slightly soft and squishy. I thought it might be a rather long letter. I was wrong. I opened it to find these masks and a note, telling me of their origin.
Anne said that one recent day, she found a FedEx package on her porch -- it was filled with face masks from her brother Jack, who said they were now available in China. He asked that she distribute them to a number of people and I was so grateful they thought of me. Grateful and touched.
|Cousins Jack and Anne|
Anne's brother, Jack, lives in China. And as you might expect, the past few months in his world have been as bad, if not worse at times, than ours. And yet, he has survived the virus, with some remarkable stories to tell. He says that in China, people are monitored wherever they go. He was given a card with three months of dates on it and received a check mark every time he went out. He had to wait two days before going out again and have his temperature checked every time we went out and came back to his building. It may seem constricting but it was for the greater good. And, most important, it was a system that seems to have worked.
"They installed an app on my cell phone so I simply scan the scan code and my phone records the time I left," he wrote. " Then when I get on the bus, I hit another scan code that tells them I got on the bus. The net result is that the germ bags walking around town were all taken off the streets. Everybody wears masks"
Jack said the Chinese have done an incredible job getting this situation in hand. As of April 17, China -- where the virus originated -- is now seventh on the list of most cases, after number one, the United States, along with Italy, Spain, the UK, France and Germany. "It has been a massive dragnet and cleanup," Jack said. "If anybody asks if all this trouble is necessary, I feel the answer is definitely YES. There have been no new cases (reported) in Guiyang (the capital city of his province) for several days now." (This was shared on his FB in March.)
Of course, China, though first in reporting cases, now ranks seventh on the list of covid countries, with the U.S. being first and having more cases than the next five countries combined. Our recovery will most certainly take longer, particularly since so many seem to rampantly disregard Stay at Home orders and social distancing/mask rules. Untouched areas think it can't come to them. They are wrong.
|An afternoon at the lake with Jack last summer.|
Thanks, Jack and Anne! Hope to see you at the lake one day, this year or next!
The Second Story
Once upon a time in Michigan, a university theatre major was cast in a musical that would tour the state's Upper Peninsula (and places south) during spring break. That was me. My friends came back with tans from spring break. We came back with colds.
Some of my most long-lasting college friends came from that tour. Jim Fineman was one of them, serving as the manager of the tour, as well as a performer. He was a also a wonderful designer and in his senior year directed me in one of my favorite experiences, the play "Wait Until Dark."
|Jim in the long-ago!|
Some fifty years later, Jim and I have stayed in touch. He's now a successful potter living in North Carolina's Outer Banks. In some ways, he's in one of the safest places he could be -- an island in the Atlantic with a small population. The downside of that is that the area (and those in it, including artists like Jim) rely in large part on the tourist traffic that usually starts in March. That isn't happening this year. The island is currently closed off to all but current residents.
When Jim sent me a photo of himself in one of the masks he made, I asked if he sold them. About a week later, I was lucky enough to receive a package in the mail with masks for Rick and me! They are reversible and the nose is a perfect fit! We love them!
|Ready to rob banks. And we resumed social distance immediately after this photo.|
I am so grateful for those who take care of me! I would also encourage you to visit Jim's blog, where he periodically posts new things coming from his studio, along with contact and gallery information. If you are looking for birthday, hostess or thank you gifts (may I recommend the heart pins?) or shopping early for the winter holidays, a purchase will help keep an artist in clay till things can resume a bit to normal. (He would probably throttle me if he knew I was going to suggest that!)
The Third Story
Another mask-maker is a woman I've known forever. Or as long as I have memories. I have written about my friend Nancy before. It was our mothers who kept us together when she moved away from "next door" when I was five and she was four.
We stayed friends over the decades and in recent years have kept in touch with regular phone calls and irregular visits.
They arrived and again -- I am so grateful! I'm not sure I'll be in a pool this summer. That's a little too much shared water for me! But I
But I'll be color coordinated with my pink jacket and shirt!
|No, that flower is NOT in my hair. Just bad selfie-framing!|
I leave you with this, which Jack recounted in his Facebook post.
"In front of an almost vacant mall, with a Metro store where I bought my coffee, I saw a young couple nose to nose, trying to kiss with their masks on. I didn't know whether to yell at them to be careful of the virus, or just cry. I walked quickly by and to leave them to their privacy, nose to nose beside a vacant six lane street. If it sounds surreal, that's because it was."
And so is this. I know lots of you have seen it -- it's worth another look, just for the smiles!
Wear your masks, please!
(And thanks for all your open sharing on the comments in my last post HERE. I appreciate your honesty and to be honest, it helped validate some of what I've been feeling, too.)
Sharing with: Let's Add Sprinkles / Best of the Month / Pink Saturday