Written by Annie Laskey, Events Director, Pasadena Senior Center
It’s been a year since the pandemic put a stranglehold on Southern California. With all the papers and magazines running articles about this momentous anniversary, I thought I should add my thoughts to the rest.
It was Sunday, March 15, 2020, when Mayor Garcetti announced the closure of businesses for two weeks starting that night at midnight. I remember the date because the Senior Center’s St. Patrick’s Day dance had been scheduled for that day. We’d cancelled it a week or two earlier out of caution for group gatherings. Bummer! I’d really been looking forward hosting the party and dancing with my ballroom friends.
With no party to host that day, I went sightseeing with a friend, ending up at the elegant Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles for dinner. Everything seemed relatively normal. Then came the mayor’s announcement. A co-worker called to suggest I work from home for the following few weeks, to protect my 92-year old dad from the virus. And everything snowballed after that.
To pass the time at the beginning, I offered to write a blog for the Senior Center’s website. My first was posted the week of March 23, 2020. Yep, one year, one week, and 38 blogs ago. So, what advice did I give back then?
In that first blog, I cheerily shared three things I was doing to count the presumed 30 days to reopening: 1) Write the day and date on a chalkboard to keep track of the days; 2) Have 30 pairs of earrings lined up so I could wear a different pair each day; and 3) Dress for dinner so I would put on real clothes at least once a day.
Those 30 days have turned into 12 times 30, but my advice held: Dad still writes the date on the chalkboard each morning. After a few months, he’d started adding the number of weeks in lockdown to the tally. Recently, Dad’s love of puns has crept in, and the board is as likely to read “Moansday” and “Thor’s Day” as it is “Monday” and “Thursday.”
I still use earrings as a calendar of sorts, too. I have four rungs on my small jewelry rack. At the start of a three-week cycle, the top one is empty, and three remaining have seven pairs of earrings each. When a day is done, I move that day’s pair to the rod above. Every three weeks when the bottom rung has been cleared, I reorder, rearrange, and rehang another three weeks’ worth of earrings. The ancients had the abacus – I have a jewelry rack.
As for Dressing for Dinner, we’ve continued that, too. On March 22 last year, we started taking a selfie in our finery every night. We’ve breezed past photo 365 and will hit photo 400 in a few weeks. It’s become a beloved routine, and, to borrow a phrase, a year’s worth of daily photos with Dad is…priceless.