Poems, stories, and reflections, written by faculty, staff, and volunteers currently serving in the Village.
In my past life, I was a waiter in a senior home.
Between sips of ginger ale and minestrone soup, the residents liked holding my hand. They’d take it, comment on how cold it was, and say, “Erin, listen to me.”
What followed was always my favorite part of the shift; I was fortunate enough to connect with people who had most of their lives already behind them and the wisdom to prove it. Often, it was a proverb, sometimes it was a story, and on special days it’d be an indictment of their dinner and a request to “just bring me a hotdog, please.”
I think about them a lot nowadays; I wonder how Betty’s doing, what Hugo is reading, if Etta’s alive, who will bring Charles his avocados in quarantine. These were my people when my friends were in college and I was actively avoiding going. They gave me a purpose; I went into work because I knew I was the only person they were guaranteed to interact with each day.
And in some miniscule, butterfly-effect way, staying home is the easiest thing I’ve ever done for them. It doesn’t hurt my beak, doesn’t make me cry (OK, most of the time), and doesn’t require me to break up political arguments among the elderly.
So tonight, my 13th night in a row spent on Chalet 3’s couch, I will thank them. I will thank them for giving my boredom a purpose.
Erin Schultz is Vice Housekeeper at Holden Village. This column was originally published on March 29, 2020 in a daily newsletter, "The Quarantine Quarter," which is compiled by various staff members and sent to all Villagers.