Back At The CO-OP

Pam and Kelly at the Cambridge CO-OP

It’s easy for me to forget what things were like a year ago.  But the uncertainty and fear came back to me today when I went to the Cambridge Co-op to work a monthly shift after not being able to for over a year.

It was just yesterday, that the Co-op along with many businesses in New York State took down their mandatory mask signs.

I remember at the beginning of the shutdown, shopping at the Co-op and crying, thanking Kelly and Stephanie for being there.  I didn’t even know what the new manager’s face looked like under her mask until today.

Things are different than they were the last time I worked.  But that’s not unusual, the Co-op is always shifting and changing.  A year ago I would have been running the register, chatting with all the customers.  Today I was packing out the weekly order before the store opened.

It only took me a few minutes to feel at home there again.

Working alone in my studio, I appreciate the few hours a month working with other women.  I told Pam I missed her cackle (she has the best cackle I’ve ever heard) and I loved being able to work alongside Kelly who has grown into the Co-op with an ease that I haven’t seen many people do.

As I walked into the Co-op this morning I thought about how last summer I sat outside the back door under the umbrella, using pebbles to keep track of the five people allowed in at a time.  For a long time, I’ve felt a special connection to our Co-op, but that connection has new meaning after the past year.  The people who work there demonstrated a commitment to the community that was heroic.

I don’t need to relive the fear I was feeling a year ago, but I also don’t want to forget all the people who worked so hard to help the rest of us stay safe and have food to eat.

6 thoughts on “Back At The CO-OP

  1. How wonderful to be back to some normalcy! This week I was able to meet with my quilt group for the first time since December 2019. Since I still teach I meet with them in the summer and during school breaks. By the time spring break came in 2020 everything was shut down. Despite the shutdowns and restrictions we managed to make 73 quilts for those in need during the pandemic. Our fearless leader would drop off squares a backing and batting on our porches and we sewed at home. When we finished a quilt we called her and left the quilts on the porch to be picked up. I am so happy to see these wonderful ladies and work together again! It’s amazing how everyone around the world found new ways to continue doing good for people during this pandemic.

    1. Josie that’s a beautiful quilting story. So much what quilting is all about. And it must have been wonderful to do during those months where there was so little many of us could do. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. I am so glad you were able to step back in to your old/new routine and begin to feel comfortable after a while. I have experienced many of these first, also.
    In response to Josie’s quilting project with friends, I have am a quilter, also. During the pandemic I have been piecing, designing, and sewing quilts like a crazy. In the past 6 weeks I have put together 49 lap size flannel quilts that will be donated to those in need. Of course, this is just the top. I have a long armed quilter who will sew them and give them back to me to put binding on them. My husband calls it “Mary’s Sweat Shop.” Unfortunately, I don’t have others that are interested in helping. Would love it.

    1. What wonderful Work Mary. I so appreciate hearing your story. It’s funny that quilting can be so communal and then for others it’s solitary. I hope you find other people like yourself to work with.

  3. Thank you, Maria, for such a great tribute to the Coop! It was so nice to work alongside you again and to be able to see your smiling face! ❤️

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