A woman walked into our local bookstore
this week, looking for a children’s story to help her six-year-old daughter. My wife sold her a copy of “Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster,” about a girl and her teddy bear who must summon the courage to confront a giant beast. It was the mom’s first step into the bookstore since winter, 2020. Her daughter, meanwhile, wonders if it’s safe to take off her mask. It got me thinking again about just how much weight people are shouldering 20 months into the pandemic - I don’t get around much any more.
But two Penn seniors sure do. This spring, Max Strickberger and Alan Jinich logged 7,300 miles as they talked to people in 16 states about their lives disrupted by COVID. There’s the young woman in Utah who was first in her community to get sick: “People can be very judgmental around here.” And the Santa Fe woman who yearns to leave the trailer where she feels trapped with her brother and his girlfriend - both in addiction - and their new baby. But she’s holding down two jobs and there’s school …
It’s amazing what these students got people to tell them in Generation Pandemic.
Studs Terkel would be proud.
A Philadelphia Citizen piece about their project kicks off today’s 10 reads. There’s also a Melamedian dive into the fraying record of the city’s fabled chief homicide prosecutor, a splashy family mystery from Joe Hagan, we hear from Aimee Mann and Little Steven and of the virtues of Joe Buck (!) - and post a brave, brilliant, not-so-funny clown video from last weekend’s SNL.