We hope you are staying safe and well during this difficult time for our city, our nation and the world. We have not seen a pandemic of this magnitude since 1918. Here at the Home, we are getting through so far by our community spirit, plenty of disinfectant, wearing masks, and using common sense, despite our tight quarters and shared baths.
With Stay at Home orders still in place in the District, our cleaning crew has not been available since March 12th. However, our Guest Captain, JB, has been busily bringing in packages, disinfecting constantly, and distributing our mail as safely as possible. She is also keeping the baths and public areas up to hospital-level disinfectant levels. As JB goes about her disinfecting duties, she is all suited up—complete with a visor, an N95 mask covered with a colorful cloth mask, and long gloves up to her elbows. Some have thought that she even looks a bit like an astronaut with all of her new accessories. We are glad she is staying here and is not headed off the Cape Canaveral launch pad.
Stay at Home orders have also kept our Town and Country Garden Club volunteers away this spring. Each May since 1957, they have held an annual spring planting, beautified the Home’s garden, and served a lovely lunch for Garden Club Members and Guests. This year, sadly, due to the realities of COVID-19, the event was canceled.
Luckily, two Guests with green thumbs and a staff member have been manning the garden. The garden, despite the antics of our digging squirrel friends, looks marvelous! We are now waiting for our seeds to rise and for the great emergence of our 17-year cicadas (they will emerge fully in 2021). The cicadas will certainly add to our 2020 gardening and bird watching excitement. Between the jet noise from flights going in and out of Reagan National Airport and millions of singing cicadas, the garden might not be the best place for conversation this spring. We will, however, make due!
We have most Guests ordering grocery deliveries to the Home. We are excited to report that delivery has finally gotten a bit easier. The Home now has an adequate supply of toilet paper, but hand sanitizer still remains a valuable commodity.
We hope to open the Home sooner rather than later to visitors, but for now, we remain shut tight.
We leave you with the words of Kathleen O’Mara, written in 1869, just one year after the Home originally opened, and reprinted during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic:
And people stayed at home
And read books
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.