On March 22, my last full day at the Fairfield University Bookstore and the last time I would have contact with my colleagues during this pandemic nightmare that has gripped the world and could kill as many as 240,000 Americans — April 1 update — I glanced around the bookstore and wondered whether this was the true beginning of Armageddon. There was an uncomfortable silence about everything and the trickle of customers who came and went, trying to grab a last jigsaw puzzle or multiple copies of current New York Times bestsellers or piles of activity books for their children, offered us barely a wave or a head bow. Social distancing was in full force.
Even my daughter and two grandsons, who came to the bookstore at my suggestion for a last experience in their favorite place before returning to indefinite isolation, kept to their 6-foot distances and gave me an affectionate fist bump goodbye. This deadly virus had robbed us of any warmth and affection — those familiar hugs our daughter Stacey and from my older grandson Lucas and that chance to hold our other beloved miracle Caleb, soon to be 8 months old. As they walked out the door to the parking lot, I wondered when we would see them again.