Recently, I wrote something that was all about downsizing. I like how “downsizing” is explained in the dictionary (to produce smaller models or styles, usually while retaining the name and features of the original.) So, if I want to downsize my house by getting rid of a lot of stuff, it should still look like the house we live in.
It makes me think of what has happened to our village over the past 60 years during the time we have lived here. It was in 1959 when we moved here, and there were three hardware stores, four doctor’s offices, three gas stations, a dry-goods store, a drug store with a soda fountain, three grocery stores, a drive-in restaurant with carhops (where once I got a hamburger with no hamburger inside), a bakery, two barber shops, a beauty shop and a jewelry store.
However, they are all gone now, but we do have a relatively new Dollar General. (As well as a swimming pool and a new park.) And let’s not forget our wonderful library that was one-third of the size it is now, and we have always had a couple of churches. The best part was that you could walk from any home in the village to any of the above mentioned places. And the one and only school in the village at that time had all of the K-12 grades. (The one school now is brand new and is a one floor plan with K-5 only.)
But, something changed all my thoughts of writing about downsizing when I answered the phone last evening. It was my nephew who had to let me know that his mother, one of my sisters, had just tested positive for the coronavirus! (Of course, there will be another test soon to make sure that it wasn’t a mistake, so have to wait for better news.) With that news on my mind, writing about “downsizing” took a back seat in my thoughts.
My thoughts now are about how could that have happened? She has been in a nursing home for the past 22 months. And, just last week, she was moved out of her room and to another unit where she didn’t know anyone. That day of being moved was just one day before her 92nd birthday.
On her birthday, her siblings, children, and grandchildren tried to get to see her through her window in that new room. Now just six days after her birthday, she has tested positive for that virus!
In this morning’s Gazette, one of the headlines (pertaining to the coronavirus-related deaths) is “Nursing home deaths nearly 70% of Ohio’s overall total.” What? It’s been around nine weeks that she has had to stay in her room with no one coming in as well as her not being able to leave. The celebrations of her birthdays before this have always been when we have all gone out for breakfast together, or she has stayed home and everyone came in and out to see her, all day long. This change has been one that none of us could have ever imagined.
One of the quotes I found on this subject of changes is: “You will never be asked to bear more than you can cope with. Crises tap into a strength that you didn’t know was there. Be proud of this surge of inner strength, and be grateful.” This quote was written by Alexandra Stoddard in her book “Grace Notes.”
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.