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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Pandemic Reflections: Listeners Find Silver Linings in a Challenging Year

sailboat john duckworth.jpg
Courtesy of John Duckworth
Being outdoors has been encouraged during the pandemic, which allowed WKSU listener John Duckworth to continue to enjoy sailing.

The coronavirus pandemic changed our work routines, our home life, our perspectives. We asked WKSU listeners to share, in their own words, reflections on the pandemic’s impact on their lives.

Wendy Lichtenwalter
The pandemic canceled extensive travel plans for listener Wendy Lichtenwalter.

Wendy L grandson cropped.jpg
The kindergartner Wendy Lichtenwalter fosters (identity obscured to protect her) improved her reading skills to grade level. Here, she reads to Wendy's new grandson.


“I had a trip to Portugal, Morocco, Spain and France scheduled for four weeks in April and May 2020. We all know why that didn't happen. I had plans to meet up with friends from Denmark and Paris along the way. Also no luck with those plans."

But the year also brought her some joy.

"I stayed in strict quarantine so I could be the caretaker for three when my daughter had a baby and ended up staying at the hospital for five days. FaceTime was a godsend. I helped a kindergarten foster daughter catch up on the reading skills she needed to complete, and by the end of the school year she was at grade level. I was so proud of her when she was able to choose books to read to me. I also spent time with a grandson on some pronunciation with “Deck the Halls” as our fun song. A lot of fa la la la las in there."

Wendy L workout room.jpg
A clipboard holds the home workout routine Wendy Lichtenwalter developed during the pandemic. "I'm proud to say I work out more than I did before," she says.

She also found a way to reinvigorate her fitness routine.

"I never had much dedication to working out at home, but I used hand weights I had, borrowed some from a generous neighbor and modified my workouts to use doorways, stair rails, dorm-type backrest pillows. My TV is the big mirror and purchased some new exercise band. I measured my neighborhood for a daily two-mile walk. Slapped on the sunscreen in summer, and bundled up when it was cold and I'm proud to say I work out more than I did before.

"I learned which restaurants I would really miss if they went out of business. So I got some takeout about once a week. I set the alarm so I could make it to the grocery and be home before 7:00 a.m. and learned the finer points of Zoom calls. I joined two more book clubs and was so happy when the library opened but also got the hoopla app for audiobooks.

"I hope I never have to do this again, but my life has been richer during the pandemic, and I know much better what I value in life, so I'm glad to have experienced it."
Listener Wendy Lichtenwalter

"I did all my favorite puzzles repeatedly and never had to go back to baking bread since I did that long ago. Now that some friends and I have been vaccinated, we meet cautiously. My church has been able to follow CDC guidelines for in person worship after we spent seven months listening to the sermon on our car radios.

"All in all, I'd say that I hope I never have to do this again, but my life has been richer during the pandemic, and I know much better what I value in life, so I'm glad to have experienced it."

From the beginning, the outdoors has been considered a safe space. That allowed listener John Duckworth to continue to enjoy a favorite hobby.

"We were still able to enjoy the wind, the water, the beautiful setting, and the friendly competition."
Listener John Duckworth

John Duckworth
"I belong to Berlin Yacht Club. We sail small sailboats out there, usually with one, two or three people on board. All through the pandemic we were able to continue our sport of sailboat racing.

"If people on board were all from the same family, then no masks were needed. If not, well, we just wore our masks. We were still able to enjoy the wind, the water, the beautiful setting, and the friendly competition. We were very lucky."

For listener Priscilla Kaczuk, the pandemic brought changes she’s come to welcome.

Priscilla Kaczuk
"I know a lot of people have talked about being stuck at home during the pandemic. I have enjoyed being home. I have grown to appreciate my house and my life and the things that bring me pleasure, little things. I’ve learned to sew, I’m reaching out to call friends more often and honestly, I've kind of enjoyed having a blank calendar. I'm not sure if I'm going to fill it up the way I did before. I like the open space."

"I've kind of enjoyed having a blank calendar."
Listener Priscilla Kaczuk

If you have questions or comments for us, we’d love to hear from you. You can record a comment with the WKSU app. Just tap on talk to us.