Because we have to “stay home” today, as I write this on March 27, it is unlike any other day I have ever lived through! Today, I have been wondering where all the people have gone! Years ago, my life was filled with a lot of different people. People who were my family, my friends, people I heard stories about, people who appeared on the TV screen and made me laugh, people who did the news and I would recognize their voice anywhere, or even those little children who ran around in my house, or played on the swing set and ended up in our home movies.
Where have they gone?
Where are those teachers I had in all my school days, the elementary ones I feared, the high school ones I admired, and the college ones I never got to know, but intently listened to, while in their classrooms?
Where have all the people gone that I used to see on the streets who always said, “Hi Kay?”
Where are the shoe stores where people used to help me find shoes that fit? Where are the people who worked in the places like the News Shop, where they had everything you were interested in? (You remember, records, magazines, newspapers, birthday cards, etc.)
Where are those stores we used to call the “Five and Dime?” (I guess they are now called Dollar Stores.) Where is that bunch of attorneys who used to come in the old courthouse and file endless numbers of documents? Or that OWU lunch bunch who met every day at that big table in the back at the Brown Jug? (And, if it was your birthday, Ed Wolf would sing “Happy Birthday” as no one else ever could.)
How did I miss their exit from my life? Did I ever get to say “goodbye” to them? Did I give them a hug and wish them well? I don’t remember. I just know that now, they are gone.
No one comes down this street and up on my porch, like they used to. Did they move away one day when I had a cold and stayed on the couch under warm blankets with my cup of hot tea? Or was it when I retired and spent my time babysitting a couple of little girls named Kailey and Katie, or did tutoring at the school down the street? All I know is, they are gone!
I would love to have them all back, even if only for one day! One day so I could tell them how rich they made my life. Just one day, so I could say that I’m sorry for the time I may have made fun of their hair, or when I thought I was too busy to stop and talk.
They’re gone now! Some are gone forever, and I feel sad because so much time passed when I had chances to hang on to them a little longer. Others, who are gone during this relatively short period of time, are self-quarantined in their homes. One day they were here, and now they aren’t.
With everything coming to a stop right now, and everyone having to stay in their homes, we have a lot of time to remember those days that flew right past us. Think about the people who helped make our life richer than it would have been otherwise.
Think about all the good things we can do when this period of self-quarantine is lifted. I look forward to the day when we will all be free again.
I have said this before, but it rings true now, more than ever before: “Together is the best place to be.”
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.