This is a picture of me, an NMU alum, when I was testing people for COVID-19 in northern Wisconsin. It was January of 2022 and about -17 degrees Fahrenheit.
Early in the pandemic, when we were first allowed to come to our offices for brief visits, I was often the only person in Jamrich, which felt a bit uncanny. Even eerier, was the sight of my car in an otherwise empty parking lot, midday on a weekday, as out of scale as Jack Torrence at the Overlook Hotel, before the snow. Yikes. This is my car, in the Jamrich lot, at 2:00pm on Friday, 5 June 2020.
Amid the Pandemic is a photobook project I started at the beginning of the pandemic and ending around July 2021. It started documenting various scenes of the pandemic, but gradually turned to speaking with strangers and getting their portrait along with heir thoughts. Link to the photobook PDF: https://shared-assets.adobe.com/link/cf91b2e7-e977-4743-78fa-c8e99a6325f3
This is my account of the last year, as a new mom, the wife of a frontline doctor, and a front line-ish librarian.
I got my first dose of the Moderna vaccine on March 20, 2021. The Marquette County Health Department emailed me the day before offering an appointment. I was in the Northern Center only 20 minutes. Most of that time was to make sure I wouldn’t have an anaphylactic reaction (I didn’t). The National Guardsman who administered my shot graciously gave me permission to include him in my vaccine selfie. For about a day and a half my arm felt like it had been punched, but otherwise no side effects.
My wife, Anne Stark, made over 100 masks for "Masks for Marquette. A project by crafty Marquettians to create masks for local health care workers. Friends happily supplied leftover fabric (pile at left in picture).
This picture is from our wedding ceremony atop Sugarloaf Mountain, four days before it was actually supposed to happen; March 23, 2020. That was the day everything was being closed down at midnight in Michigan. We were able to get our small group and photographer together in a matter of hours so we could get married and not have to wait until and undefined date. Though we have not had our honeymoon yet, one year later, we are very happy and have kept each other safe during these crazy times!
The vast majority of guests were easy going and willing to comply with regulations. Other times I was called a “nazi” and cursed out for asking guests to wear their masks to their tables. It was definitely a unique experience.
Chalk message for essential workers that were working in the C.B. Hedgcock Building during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.
The pandemic from Welles the dog's perspective. Photo also attached.
I’m feeling very grateful for the time we had together and the amazing life he led. He was a tremendous influence on me and on everyone who knew him. But I’m also feeling very sad, and very angry that our country so epically failed to protect the lives of its most vulnerable citizens. To those saying COVID isn’t a big deal because it has a 99% survival rate: 99% survival rate: Pray you don’t love someone in the 1%. My father-in-law and my daughter.
The poem, written in the month of April in 2020, came about when we were already on lock down for about a month, and being by myself, I felt the isolation a lot; however, it got worse when it snowed and became freezing in April. It was one frozen morning in April that I wrote this poem.
When NMU broke for Spring Break on February 28, 2020, very few people on campus were concerned about the coronavirus. Within days, the situation around the globe grew more dire and evidence was accumulating which indicated the USA was on the same path. On Wednesday, March 4, I sent an email to the NMU President, Fritz Erickson, pleading for him to extend Spring Break by one week in order to avoid bringing all of the traveling students (and potentially the virus) back with them to Marquette.
I worked as the greeter and temperature scanner at the COVID testing event at the beginning of the Winter 2021 semester. The temperature check was the first point of contact inside the Northern Center. These selfies show me at my station with my non-contact thermometer. Dr. Jill Leonard is with me in one photo.
This photo features Dr. Jonathan Housman getting his COVID-19 vaccine (first shot) at Bell Hospital on 12/18/20.
I signed up to be an election worker this year for the first time. In this essay, I describe my experience serving on the City of Marquette's Absentee Voter Board on November 3, 2020, including COVID safety measures that were implemented (e.g., masks and temperature checks) and those that were not (e.g., social distancing in the counting room).
An OPED piece of mine that ran in Chicago Tribune
I'm impressed with the way so many people are coping with changes in Olson Library. On Friday, August 28, I recorded a thank you note from myself to the library employees and patrons and to the many groups on campus who help us stay safe as possible. I shared the message on the Olson Library Facebook page and in an email to library staff and faculty.
My mother, aged 95, lives at Brookridge Heights assisted living in Marquette. She has always been an incredibly social person so it was very hard on her when complete isolation was imposed, so that even her meals happened alone in her room and no visitors were allowed. Fortunately Brookridge added some activity staff to help with Zoom and Facetime calls and finally, in July, started allowing socially distant parking lot visits.
I went to visit my son Adam on January 20th, 2020. He teaches English in Daegu, South Korea. He wanted to show me Asia so we also visited Thailand and Kathmandu, Nepal before my eventual return to Marquette on March first. During my visit I could see the South Korean's response to the pandemic and contrast it to what I expected and experienced in the United States upon my return.
Our front window
This is a short memoir of my experience during the Pandemic as a young woman living in Marquette, Michigan and working as a college instructor. It focuses in particular on my thoughts and feelings, as well as dealing with a medical condition I have been diagnosed with.
A Facebook group, Hearts of Hope, Yooper Strong, was started on March 25, 2020, described as "a fun activity for families or anyone to get out of their homes to take a ride. Keeping social distancing in mind, decorate your front door, your front window, all your windows, whatever you want! Bring some love into our world and join in!! Make a game out of it to see how many houses you can find ? " There are now more than 20,000 members
Images of face shields and negative pressure intubation canopies to help local hospitals fight the pandemic.
"Come outside to wave to neighbors, visually check in with each other, provide comfort and safely interact while social distancing." #marquettemoment - Mayor Jenna Smith
A movement began in early spring to placed colored hearts on the windows of your house to give kids extra incentive to get outside and do something fun, via a "heart hunt." We would walk around the neighborhood with our six-year old son and count how many hearts we could find.
This is a sign a made for my window at my South Marquette residence. I live near several businesses and thought this would be highly visible to many people.
Messages of hope seen in the window of a residence in South Marquette
I started this cross-stitch project on March 16, 2020. That was the day that the Marquette Regional History Center where I work closed for the shutdown. I worked on it throughout the shutdown and finished it on July 4, 2020. It’s the Lower Harbor ore dock (DSS&A #6) and contains 24,960 individual stitches (each square is 100 stitches).
I went to Meijer in Marquette to grab toilet paper and it was completely barren. This was in March before the Stay at Home order even passed. At that time it felt like a hoax still.
A quick story about my quarantine experiences and how I documented them.
The masks that I sewed myself were clumsy and untidy, even though they were adequate. Instead, I usually wear a thin buff (commercially made). It's easy to keep around my neck and pull up when needed.
I tried sewing my own mask using materials available in my house. My sewing skills are limited, as were my supplies. This used two layers of pillow case with ties made from an old t-shirt.
Former NMU Archives student assistants, Jaime Ganzel and Miranda Revere, visiting Marcus Robyns at Mehl Lake, Gwinn, Michigan. Practicing the social distance greeting.
This image of my wife (Tammy Wills) at home during the governor's "Stay-At-Home" order.