Notes from Tallahassee, Florida, on a Late April Day in 2020

Our daughter Margo, who lives in Tallahassee, FL, is today’s guest blogger, and shares her observations, and some photos, during COVID-19 with us.

Florida has been quite slow in its reaction to the Coronavirus – its effects likewise. Publix is a southern grocery store, where we often shop. It was one of the first grocery stores, before corporations like Walmart and Target, to enforce stricter guidelines on how one can shop.

Publix, along with Walmart, have now instructed customers that they can only go down aisles one way. A lot of Floridians see the signs, don’t care, and proceed walking down the aisle incorrectly. My guess as to why they have these guidelines is to reduce overcrowding and maintain the 6 feet distance rule.

The photo below was also taken at Publix. I walked by this woman who wore a unicorn costume for a hazmat suit. She also wore a face mask and was completely serious about it.

hazmat suit shopping

Last week, my partner and I went fishing at St. Marks in Florida, a popular tourist area. While trying to navigate our way through the area, we found camp grounds where people were grilling and hanging out together.

All in all, there  are some restrictions and limitations set by the governor of Florida. However, today on 30 April, some of these limitations have been lifted. So, now we can have people go to restaurants at 25% capacity, and you can sit outside of restaurants and eat.

Florida has not yet flattened the curve, and we might have to expect a second wave.

Notes from London on an April Day in 2020

This guest post is written by Thomas Shipley, who is riding out the time of COVID-19 in London.

A fog shrouds the world outside my window. There is no one outside and all is quiet except for the chirping of the birds. Inside, I find myself in a haze of unreality. I am not in a Stephen King novel. I am not in a Quentin Tarantino film. I am in the year 2020. Wildfires ravaged the Australian bush, Trump almost started World War III, and now humanity is facing a global pandemic. Worldwide shutdowns of travel and business. London is under lockdown. I am, though, allowed to leave the house to go grocery shopping.

I step outside into the cool British spring. As I breath uneasily under my face mask, the condensation causes my glasses to repeatedly fog up. I am in the heart of London – a city of millions – and it is eerily still except for the occasional passerby. I get to the local supermarket. I see a frail old woman in an aisle that was once was fully stocked with items such as laundry detergent. The store clerk sadly tells her there is none. Panic buying. We are scared, so we forage like squirrels do acorns in order to survive the winter. No toilet paper or hand sanitizer anywhere to be seen. Many basic necessities lacking. Is it selfishness? Perhaps. Yet, it is hard to undo thousands of years of human evolution. The pandemic eats away at the polite façade of our social order. I discover that crises such as this bring out the worst and best in people.

Staying inside for days on end, I lose my sense of place and time. I catch up with old friends that I haven’t spoken to in a long time. We have long conversations and we laugh. We talk about the virus. It infects our conversations. I wonder how long the pandemic’s grip on our daily lives will last. How long it will be until I am again able to hug my family and friends, dance, commute, and travel. I scroll through my social media feeds. Everyone is posting memes to relieve themselves of the anxieties that we feel in these unprecedented times. And yet – they are not so unprecedented. I remind myself that such plagues have regularly upended our sense of normality for thousands of years. The Antonine plague in ancient Rome killed many around the stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius, and yet he persevered. None of this is new. This too, shall pass.

I am grateful that I have the luxury to remain inside and isolate. Grateful, that I live in a developed country with a robust health system. Grateful for each day that I get to experience on this earth. I do not wish for easy times, but that I am strong enough to brave them. This pandemic has exposed our vulnerabilities. We had forgotten how fragile our existence is. We must learn from this and prevent it from happening again.

Sun setting in London on 03 April 2020

Shipley Sighted in Brentford, United Kingdom

This photo was contributed by my friend, Dilshini S., and was taken on the Chiswick roundabout in Brentford, U.K.

Chiswick roundabout

The family owned road haulier company was established in West Yorkshire in 1980. And no, we are not related to them.

Shipley Sighted in Mc Allen, Texas

This is the third post of “Shipley sighted in Texas”.

Interestingly enough though, most Shipleys had not only settled on the East Coast, but also remained there. We know, as my husband owns four books of The Shipleys of Maryland (family history and genealogical research).

This was passed on to me by a German friend who lives in Mc Allen, Texas (thanks, Bea).

Shipley Do-Nuts in Mc Allen, TX (source: The Monitor)

You can read more at Valley Breakfast: Shipley Do-Nuts in Mc Allen from The Monitor.

Shipley Sighted in Houston, TX

Another Shipley photo turned up on the internet, which I have just discovered on Facebook. No source was cited, but if I hear from the photographer, I’ll be sure to give due credit.

Shipley Do-Nuts in Houston

 

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