Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Day 5 of National Emergency: Senior Shopping Times, Teaching Children, Impacted Jobs, Theater at Home

Stop & Shop announced exclusive new hours for senior citizens—6 am to 7:30 am—effective Thursday morning.

I’m not sure if the supermarket chain is trying to make shopping easier for seniors by making it less congregated and safer from the general public’s pushing and jostling, or if it is trying to shield younger shoppers from the most vulnerable age cohort. The company, in its press release, gave it a positive spin, saying the new policy for those 60 and older would “protect shoppers considered most vulnerable to coronavirus.”

Either way, my only real objection is having to get up so early. Perhaps some elderly are early risers but the 71-year-old who shares my bed and I sleep late. Our normal wakeup time is considerably later than the cutoff time for exclusive senior shopping. (BTW, for those who do not know, today is Gilda’s 71st birthday. I normally throw a big parade in her honor down Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, but concessions must be made during these coronavirus days.)

When I heard about Stop & Shop’s special hours for the elderly, I was a little concerned Gilda and I could be age-appropriate-challenged by the shopping police as we both are often confused for someone younger than 60. But Stop & Shop says it will not request an ID to enter, relying instead on the integrity of its customers not to abuse the privilege. 

After inquiring through a chat box whether Costco would be implementing senior hours as well, I was informed it is under consideration. My fingers are crossed …

My sister Lee, a retired elementary school teacher, and my cousin Steve, separately reposted the following on Facebook: “It seems a little ridiculous to me that people are so afraid that their children are going to miss a whole month of learning. How about using this month to teach them how to cook, check the oil in the car, do laundry, treat others with respect, sew on a button, deep clean, balance a checkbook, etc. Not all learning is done in a classroom.”


Most of my friends, professionals in various fields, are sequestered at home. Mostly, they can connect via the Internet to clients and documents they may need to conduct business, with the understanding it is not business as usual. 

Take a moment to consider some whose occupations are not transferable to new technologies, workers such as school bus drivers and crossing guards. The average school bus driver earns $34,349, according to salary.com.

With the economy in flux (sounds nicer than free-fall), it’s not a good time to be selling a home. Real estate agents are having a tough time setting up open houses. 

Travel agents are fielding lots of calls. Unfortunately, they’re mostly from clients who are calling to cancel hotel and travel plans.

During our walk today Gilda wondered aloud if house burglars are going through a slow period as residences are occupied virtually round the clock.

Raising two sons and a daughter in the 1950s-1960s while she worked full time with our father, my mother instilled what you might call a sing-for-your-supper ethos in her children. We did not literally sing (except z’mirot—traditional Jewish songs—after Friday evening Shabbat dinners). Rather, she had us augment taking care of our household on weekends when our housekeeper was off.

We had a rotating set of chores. Dusting one week. Vacuuming the next, followed by kitchen duties—setting and clearing the dinette table, loading and unloading the dishwasher and even scouring pots and pans. I learned to use Twinkle when cleaning the copper bottoms of our Revere cookware. I never stopped being amazed at how the greenish-yellow Twinkle paste made the copper shine like new.

We also had a daily assignment to pick up fruit and vegetables at Joe’s, the neighborhood produce store, and to buy a fresh rye bread at the bakery on Ocean Avenue (our father thought bread made any meal taste better. He also castigated Joe from afar for any melon that tasted like a potato). On Saturdays we shopped at our local supermarket, Waldbaum’s, a few doors down from the bakery.

Being the youngest I benefitted from a lighter workload until both my brother and sister moved out, leaving me for several years solely responsible for all chores. 

Bravo, Bravo: Finally, for those who enjoy Broadway musicals but are experiencing some feelings of withdrawal since the Great White Way has been shuttered by the pandemic, here’s a Playbill link to 15 shows you can download for viewing. Enjoy: