I’m sitting in my Docent-at-a-Distance booth across from the Visirors’ Center on the pathway people take to see the animals. I’m not busy. Nobody wants the information the sign outside my window offers. The clumps of people pass me by, hardly sparing a glance for me. Sometimes a child, curious about everything, notices me, and I wave and smile at her (or him, but mostly her). They can’t see my smile, because I’m wearing a mask with a lot of pictures of animals on it. The fabric has moose and foxes on it. The mask was made for me by one of the Gatehouse attendants. It’s great for me because it has long strings that I tie on top of my head and at the back of my neck. (Sometimes I wear a mask with ear loops, but I wear hearing aids and glasses that bend around my ears. Too much metal behind my ears, and the loops get under all of it and when I take them out my glasses slip and the hearing aids do too. But all of us who volunteer or work at the Park are under strict orders to wear masks.)
The COVID – 19 pandemic presented not only a global health crisis but also disrupted the daily lives of Gray residents. Between the stay at home orders, physical distancing, closure of many businesses and a variety of other restrictions, the impact was substantial.
Gray Recreation closed its doors by mid– March to all recreational programs and events and remained closed pretty much through the end of May. Many employees were furloughed at this time being deemed non-essential. Recreation took on a whole new meaning to people.
Teachers Deb Tenenbaum and Mark Cutter had juniors in their 21st Century English Class at Gray-New Gloucester High School put together Quarantine Journals throughout the first two months of quarantine. Portions of these journals have been posted on their new website, 21st Century Quarantine Journals.
Following is a sample of reading in response to this assignment:
As the shelter-in-place orders came down in mid-March, I did not find it a great sacrifice. I had projects aplenty, my cupboards and freezer were well stocked, and I had a good supply of toilet paper. As time passed, my eldest daughter insisted on doing the grocery shopping for me weekly and we would visit from 8 feet apart in my breezeway as she wiped everything down with Chlorox. She was concerned about my age and my heart condition.