The Highland Park cousins hit the streets – actually during COVID they go to their screens and telephones- to find friends and relatives and neighbors and teachers who are willing to answer a simple topical question each week. This week the interviewees are mostly family members, but in subsequent weeks, the Quizzing Cousins hope to branch out. So check your phones and emails for messages.
The reporters are Lily Solomon, HPMS 8th grade; Harry Solomon HPMS 6th grade; Rubin Hersh HPMS 6th grade; and Ilana Hersh Bartle 4th grade.
We start this feature with a question about the pandemic, which has upended lives all over the world. In New Jersey as of Feb. 25, 2021, we have seen 23,192 deaths and 780,000 cases. In spite of the overwhelming and shocking tragedy of the pandemic, people have coped and have found certain beneficial lifestyle changes resulting from the pandemic’s challenges. So we asked people to share their thoughts and provide one positive and/or one negative aspect of the past year.
As reported to Lily Solomon:
—-Pam Hersh, writer and editor– “The positive for me was the fact that I could take classes and go to concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City on week nights – because everything was offered on line. I am a jazz fanatic and never previously have been able to attend wonderful events in the city during the week – when all the classes and some of the best concerts occurred. The negative – aside from witnessing the unbearable health and financial trauma of individuals both dear to me and strangers to me – is being unable to hug my grandkids.”
—Eva Ouyang, HPMS 8th grade– “I like how I can make my schedule more flexible, because it is easier to change Zoom times and reschedule things.”
As reported to Harry Solomon:
—Rebecca Hersh, urban planner and downtown advocate– “In some ways, the past year has strengthened our democracy, because technology has made it possible for broader participation from members of the community in local government. In my own case, I have been able to attend municipal meetings and school board meetings which all have been Zoomed online – without leaving the house and my kids. In the past for me and other parents, it has been very hard to get to the meetings particularly on a school night.”
—Natai Blank, HPMS 6th grade– “My favorite thing of the past year was a regular meet-up and hanging out (outside and with masks) at Park Deli with a few friends, and my least favorite thing was being stuck inside at home.”
As reported to Rubin Hersh
—Christine Hersh, physician’s assistant– I have enjoyed spending more time with my family and appreciate that we continue to enjoy each other’s company. I especially liked watching the creation of my children’s Lego City, their self-designed and very creative Lego town. We also enjoyed games on pizza movie nights. However, I particularly have missed being indoors with our extended family especially during the holiday season. This year we had a remote Christmas Eve, fun but not the same. I welcome the day when we can go into each other’s houses again.”
—Matthew Hersh, local elected official and housing advocate–
“One important lesson I learned from the pandemic restrictions is that there are many ways to be involved in your community without being there in person. My least favorite thing has been seeing all the people who have lost loved ones, as well as those who are struggling to stay in their homes because of reduced or no income.”
As reported to Ilana Hersh
—-Phillip Hersh, Kindergarten student at Montessori –“My favorite thing was getting a dog. If we hadn’t been made to stay home (because of COVID), my family would not have had enough time to train and take care of the dog. What I don’t like about COVID is always wearing a mask, because it is really hot and hard to breath.”