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COVID-19 Archive

Images and Stories from Vermont

In The Good Old Days A Month Ago


In The Good Old Days A Month Ago


This poem is a general coverage of the first month (approximate) of shelter-in-place. I live in Hubbardton and shop in Rutland


Sandra J Wall


April 10, 2020


Sandra J Wall

Spatial Coverage


By Sandra Wall

In the good old days a month ago
I used to clean up and put on fresh clothes
And brush or wash my hair
To be presentable when I went shopping

Now, I wear old clothes or yesterday’s clothes
They go into the washing machine when I get home
And then I shower and wash hair
To get rid of germs

In the good old days a month ago
I could walk down the grocery aisle in any direction I chose
Ticking items off my list
And they were always there for me to buy no matter what time of day I shopped

Now I go every other day with a short list, and think three weeks ahead
Half the things I may need in three weeks are not there now
I have to follow arrows on the floor
And stand on dots in line to checkout, to maintain Social Distancing

In the good old days a month ago
There was way more traffic on the highway and in town
I could go to any restaurant and walk in
Get food, and sit down to eat it right there with other people

Now people drive slower for no good reason, many eateries are closed
And when I do want “commercial” food,
I have to wait in line at the drive up or call ahead to pick it up
And eat alone

In the good old days a month ago
I’d go to town to see human faces and hear human voices
I went to two writing groups, the ukulele group
And anxiously awaited the spring start-up of the seasonal kayaking group

Now I go to town to see human eyes and hear human voices
I wonder if someone not wearing a mask
Was exposed to a corona case and not gotten sick yet
But is contagious

In the good old days a month ago
People were marginally friendly
In the checkout line
Though someone was always grouchy if the line was long

Now we stand on floor markers
Everyone is far more patient
And, I think, more inclined to gab
Now that they are out of the house for a little while

In the good old days a month ago
These casual conversations were
Usually about the weather
And not much else

Now they are just as likely to cover things like
“They had some toilet paper yesterday at Big Lots”
“Why weren’t the staff at my drug store wearing masks?”
Then we try not to stare or glare at staffers and fellow shoppers who are bare-faced


In the good old days a month ago
When I could eat inside a restaurant
I rarely took my food to a pretty place
To picnic in the car

Now I take it to Rutland Marsh
Or go to a boat launch
And watch geese or some little birds
With my cheap always-in-the-car little binoculars

In the good old days a month ago
It was easy to take the things in life for granted
Easy to count on going out on a whim
To eat or to shop or plan a future minivacation

Now I plan ahead and still dream of future travel
But meantime I relish nature more
I enjoy my drives to town watching the season change along the highway
I will go to places where I can see new scenery, take more car picnics

The good old days a month ago
May never come back the way they were
But we are adaptable, we are adapting, I am adapting
And one day some part of the good old days will return




Sandra J Wall, “In The Good Old Days A Month Ago,” COVID-19 Archive, accessed August 19, 2022,