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.