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Thoughts From Quarantine

May 29th, 2020

By Jeanine Housman, Office Manager

Normally you would see me greeting you with a smile as you visit the Geneva History Museum or arrive for a meeting in the Hucker Gallery. I am the voice on the phone answering all of your membership questions, taking reservations for upcoming events, while taking care of the mail, bills, payroll and tasks involved in keeping financial records.   Generally, I love what I do and enjoy the personal interactions that I have with our visitors and the many wonderful people of Geneva that I have met over the past seven years working for the Historical Society. That being said, I am certainly missing all of the friendly faces, social interactions and personal relationships that come with this position.

In between a window and a cupboard is an office chair and a table with a lamp and computer on it.

Home office

I have been fortunate to be able to bring my office home and continue to work during this unusual time in history.  I realize that it is a privilege to have this opportunity and maintain employment when there are so many others who are not in the same position.  Some of my part-time work has been suspended due to all of the business closings, however, the Historical Society has been my rock.  I once again find myself grateful.

I, like many, contemplate what direction I would like my life to take.  There are times that I question if I am ultimately satisfied with the way my choices have designed my reality.  I ponder what it would be like to live in a warmer climate, condense my four bedroom and 2 ½  bath family home into a camper and spend my life traveling all of this beautiful country.  Those of you who know me well, know that traveling is my favorite hobby and I try to visit new places every opportunity I get. Travel and tourism is not only a love of mine but it was the first associate degree that I received.

It certainly sounds exciting and adventurous, however, I am temporarily grounded and practicing appropriate social distancing the same as many of you.  I am brought back to the reality that right now I am quarantined. I have my health, my job, plenty of food, and a very large roof over my head.  Suddenly it seems like an absolute blessing and I would not want to be anywhere else in the entire world. I feel secure and safe and thankful to be in this exact place at this exact moment in my life.

My schedule has been dramatically affected by the quarantine experience. I often find myself up late at night, working after hours and sleeping in most mornings.  My “new normal” is to rise and shine around 10 am.  My feeding schedule has also changed.  I have decided that good food is my temporary replacement hobby. I have continued to explore my limited cooking experience and venture into making new things with a fair amount of success.  I find joy in going out for an occasional car ride in the evening or simply taking a walk.  How fortunate are we to live in an area with such beautiful nature trails and picturesque lakes?

The uncertainty of these times can be very concerning and the reality of the situation is certainly scary.  My heart breaks for people who have suffered loss. I have tried to find the perfect balance of staying informed but not to the point of worrying or creating anxiety.  I attempt to keep perspective by living in the moment and taking inventory of the many things that I have to be thankful for.  I have made conscious attempts to be more aware of the things around me and I find that it keeps me grounded and focused and appreciative.

What might future historians and generations need to understand the COVID-19 Pandemic?  All of us have a story to tell on how the pandemic is affecting our lives.  Are you in an at-risk group or have someone in your home who is?  How has the stay-at-home order affected you?  Do you shop less or use a grocery delivery service?  For students at home, what has your experience been like? What is your new normal?    Join the Geneva Historical Society in documenting this historic moment through “We Stay At Home: A Record of Geneva During the 2020 Pandemic.”  Share your story through narratives (a letter, poem, song, recipes, and short story), images (photographs, screenshots of social media, memes), audio, videos, and files (emails, flyers, announcement, text messages, tweets).  To share your story, go to  https://genevahistoricalsociety.com/programs-and-exhibits/we-stayed-at-home/.

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