Blog Post

My COVID-19 pandemic journal and photos

This is my COVID-19 pandemic journal, posted in May 2020. Because I was a news journalist for nearly 30 years (before switching to humor and fun stories), I found myself wanting to chronicle just a little of this strange time for future generations. Of course, with technology these days, there will be plenty of photos and journals to go around but this is my little snapshot.

The photos were taken when Sweetums and I would take drives just to get out of the house. I didn’t leave often because I am in a high-risk category and took every precaution. I “stole” only one photo of something I didn’t witness myself, a photo of a mural in Birmingham of a giant set of eyes with a face mask added. It was taken by my friend, Wade Parker, and I thought it spoke volumes.

Last week, I saw a “memory post” being shared on Facebook, listing things that have happened during this pandemic so people will be reminded in coming years. I’m going to copy the list below for the same reason. I modified the list only slightly, to remove two or three items I did not personally experience in our area such as “no traffic on the roads.” Whenever Sweetums and I ventured out, there were always lots of people driving although traffic was typically lighter with schools and offices closed.

Before we get to the list, though, I’ll add a couple of items that were part of my personal experience:

  • My daughter’s wedding scheduled for April 11 was postponed. She was devastated, especially over cancelling her long-awaited honeymoon.
  • I already worked from home but my job at It’s a Southern Thing and changed slightly as we tailored our content to fit the “shelter in place” orders. I wrote a series of columns about the “quarantine,” which is a misnomer but was easy to use and became common terminology. Click here to get to a list of links.
  • I had to visit my specialist and a nurse was stationed outside the office to check for fevers before we entered the waiting room.
  • We couldn’t visit our aging Nanna, who is 91, but Baby Girl and I went to her house with signs saying how much we loved her and leaving her puzzles and activity books to help occupy her time.
  • Sweetums was not working during the quarantine period and, when I wasn’t writing, we spent lots of time working jigsaw puzzles, coloring our adult coloring books, lying in the hammock listening to audio books, planting flowers, etc. Unfortunately, I also spent a lot of time eating ice cream. A lot. Sigh.

I would also add to the list below two important societal items:

  • After the first six weeks or so, small groups of people began protesting the government controls mandated during this pandemic
  • People argued endlessly on social media about whether the pandemic was 1. Made up by the government, 2. A weapon made by a foreign nation, 3. Made to seem worse than it was by governments as a method of controlling us, 4. Would kill more people by effects on the economy than the disease itself, etc., etc.

Below is the post being shared on Facebook dated April 24, 2020 (I did not write it and deleted just a few items as mentioned above):

This is the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020. Why, you ask, do I write this status? One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted.

We have so much! Be thankful. Be grateful. Be kind to each other – love one another – support everyone.”

  • Gas prices are $1.59
  • Taxes are not due until July 15th.
  • The government sent us a stimulus check.
  • School cancelled – yes cancelled. Students are doing eLearning since 04/9/2020.
  • Social distancing and self-quarantining measures are on the rise.
  • Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other… all wearing gloves and masks. It’s like a movie. Grocery store aisles are one-way, marked with tape
  • Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the doors.
  • Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
  • Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
  • Entire sports seasons cancelled.
  • Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled or rescheduled.
  • Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled or rescheduled.
  • No worship services, churches are closed.
  • No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20, then 10 or more, STAY IN declared. Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.
  • Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers. Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
  • Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towels, no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer. Shelves are bare EVERYWHERE.
  • Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • Government closes the border to all non-essential travel.
  • Fines are established for breaking the rules.
  • Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients in some hard-hit areas.
  • Press conferences daily from President Trump, state and local leaders. Daily updates on new cases, recoveries, and deaths.
  • 26 million American have filed for unemployment.
  • Food lines are nationwide.
  • People wearing masks and gloves outside.
  • Church online is the only option.
  • Funerals are being streamed live for loved ones to say their goodbyes.
  • Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.
Empty shopping center parking lot (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Church sign in Toney, Ala.
“Because Jesus and germs are everywhere” sign Toney, Ala.
A Birmingham mural updated for COVID-19. (Photo by Wade Parker)
He’s the world’s best social distancer but even Bigfoot needs a facemask. (photo by Wil Elrick)
Sign at Sweetums’ office in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. (Photo by Wil Elrick)
Sign at CostCo in Huntsville listing out-of-stock items such as toilet paper, hand sanitzer and Lysol. (Photo by Wil Elrick)
Sign at Costco in Huntsville. (Photo by Wil Elrick)
People began wearing masks in April. This woman was shopping at Home Depot in Madison, Ala. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
People had to wait in line, 6 feet apart, before entering stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Costco. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Sign in front of Huntsville Hospital. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Masked worker greeting visitors at Publix in Harvest, Ala., letting them know of distancing protocols. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Messing around with Lucy Sue. She didn’t require a mask. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
McDonald’s on Highway 53 in Harvest, Ala. Most eat-in restaurants were closed and fast-food eateries offered drive-through service only. Workers wore masks and gloves. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Taking surprises to Nanna, Adelle Dodd, from a distance. (Photo by Wil Elrick)
I was holding a sign saying “We love Nanna” because I couldn’t hug her. (Photo by Wil Elrick)
My literal food pyramid during quarantine. Just add ice cream. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
At times, things got a bit out of hand. For instance, Chick-fil-A in Madison had to erect a sign to try to get people to follow normal traffic protocol. (Photo by Shannon Kazek)
The end-of-the-world crews were out from time to time, letting us know we were going to hell. Highway 72 in Madison. (Photo by Wil Elrick)
Sign on the courthouse square in downtown Huntsville, Ala. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Sign at Huntsville Hospital. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Worker at Publix in downtown Huntsville. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Hand sanitizer made by a distillery that retooled its line to make it. The label says it follows World Health Organization standards. (Photo by Wil Elrick)
Handmade facemask with quotes from Alice in Wonderland. ([hoto by Kelly Kazek)
Me in my Auburn facemask, made by Sweetums’ sons’ mother, Holly. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Bigfoot and creature coloring books for Sweetums. (Photo by Wil Elrick)
Working one of our jigsaw puzzles to pass the time. We did lots! (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
A quarantine gift from a friend to help cheer me up on a bad day. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Selfie in the hammock. Quarantine hair, don’t care!
Ollie’s discount store in Huntsville (Kelly Kazek)
Restaurants at Bridge Street Town Center in Huntsville reopening in July. (Kelly Kazek)
Sign at Sardis Springs Baptist Church in Limestone County. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Sign at Sardis Springs Baptist Church in Limestone County. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Sweetums and me in a facemask selfie.

Distancing instructions on the floor of Costco.

Social distancing instructions at Publix in Village of Providence. (Shannon Kazek)
Social distancing instructions at Publix in Village of Providence. Stores changed aisles to one-way foot traffic. (Shannon Kazek)
Bridge Street Town Center, Huntsville, after reopening but still following social distancing protocol. May 2020. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Designer Shoe Warehouse, Huntsville, after reopening but still following social distancing protocol. This station offers masks, hand sanitizer and gloves. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Designer Shoe Warehouse, Huntsville, after reopening but still following social distancing protocol. (Photo by Kelly Kazek)
Masks with local icons (Kelly Kazek)

3 thoughts on “My COVID-19 pandemic journal and photos”

  1. Good capture of this point in time (which so far has been ~2.5 months) We really ARE living history, aren’t we?!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.