Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Deborah Weiner

I am not unacquainted with trauma and stress and the unexpected. Twenty years ago, while serving on the staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association headquarters on Beacon Hill in Boston, a perfectly ordinary day turned into a rolling horror show as planes flew into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and crashed in a field in Shanksville, PA. Our offices – at the time, next to the State House – were evacuated and we were sent home. There, I worked for up to twenty hours a day, interviewing families of Unitarian Universalist families who had lost loved ones in the tragedy.

No Pandemic Slow-down for Playwright Melinda Lopez

If the performing arts reflect society’s mood and outlook, Melinda Lopez’s optimism and workload are signs that good times are on the horizon.

Bedford’s nationally-known playwright said Monday, “I see lots of signs of hope. Of course, it all depends on the vaccination rates, and public safety. But I am feeling optimistic!”

Speaking Out about Violence against Asian-Americans

Three Asian-American residents active in town government along with the superintendent of schools and the principal of Bedford High School expressed alarm at recent national episodes of bias, but also gratification that Bedford remains welcoming and safe.

Their comments were in response to a killing spree in the Atlanta area last week, during which a gunman murdered eight women, including six Asian-Americans. The violence spotlighted evidence of a spike in hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders over the past year in the U.S.

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: First Church of Christ

On Sunday, March 14, 2021, members of First Church of Christ, Congregational U.C.C., gathered outside at the front of the church to bless and hang Remembrance Beads that represent each of the 16,281 deaths due to COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Sarah Stanton and the Select Board

“I didn’t think we would still be here a year later, yet here we are,” Town Manager Sarah Stanton said, echoing a sentiment that many can understand a year following the unofficial start of Covid-19 within the Bedford community.

In her March 8 presentation to the Select Board, Stanton offered her gratitude to individuals and organizations that she credits with helping the town through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Will Froehlich

Last year I was in first grade at Davis School. One day when my mom picked me up from Kids Club she said bye, see you in two weeks to one of the staff members.

In the car, I asked why she said that. She explained that a new illness was spreading so we are going to wait two weeks to be safe. But then we had to add an extra week.

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Emily Doucette

Oh, it’s been a year. A year of change, pain, growth, speaking up, and most of all, wearing a mask. At this point, I cannot recollect what it was like to attend a concert, eat out, go to a high school football game, or even go to school.

As a freshman, this year has been a roller coaster experience. Not only has Covid-19 disrupted my social life by forcing me to stay home, but it has created new challenges in school. Transitioning from eighth grade into high school is usually a topic of discussion that excites middle schoolers. For the class of 2024 and me, this usual level of anticipation was altered by Covid-19.

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Ryan Doucette

A mere two weeks before the world changed before our eyes I was touring colleges half-way across the country. Living life to the fullest I had no reason to believe that I would be writing about my experiences coping and overcoming a global pandemic within a year’s time, yet here we are. The experiences that followed last March will forever be ingrained in the memory of our world, nation, and community.

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Brooke Shamon

Freshman year is such a whirlwind. Looking back now I can see such a difference in who I was the very first night of college in August 2019 — so timid and unsure; to my unexpected last night there in March 2020 — sad to go but looking back on a year full of growth and strength. It’s a lot to process in such a short amount of time, especially when it’s cut short.

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Tara O’Loughlin

No, I’m not talking about the famed throwback Boston boy band (although that would be fun for another time!) I’m talking about all the new sweet and sassy puppy adoptions our Bedford neighborhoods have seen this past year; and our girl, Tenny, is one of them. 

Yep, we did it. We took the leap this past September and adopted our very playful rescue pup. And heaven help me, we can’t imagine life without her now. We are getting the hang of things, ‘step by step’ (see what I did there?) ver the past couple weeks, I had the opportunity to chat with several other Bedford families who have also adopted a pup this past year. To my happiness, I noticed how all our stories, experiences, and “why’s” are all so different. This even more-so confirms that, although it may seem like a “pandemic puppy trend”, each experience is special and purposeful to each family dynamic – with or without a global pandemic happening – and I find that comforting. 

So folks, sit back, relax and keep reading.  I’m going to share my puppy story and theirs with you – the poetic and the problematic.  Some of us have laughed, some of us have cried. Some of us have had our couches chewed, some of us wake up to a paw in the face. It’s all here. It’s real and it’s sincere. Enjoy!

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Stephanie Keep

As an anxious extrovert, the pandemic did not come easy.  As I recall I spent the first week or so of it figuratively (but sometimes literally) curled in a ball, my emotional brain firmly in charge.  If I stayed curled up, my emotional brain reasoned, I could be blissfully numb and unaware.  It didn’t work for long, of course.  As days and then weeks went by, I felt the tug to re-engage with the world.  Able to apply my training as a scientist to critically analyze and sort information, I got my rational thinking brain back in charge and saw things more clearly.

Let the Sun Shine In:  It is National Sunshine Week

There are still a few days left to celebrate “National Sunshine Week” which began March 16. For the past fifteen years, one week in March has been designated by the News Leaders Association to honor the importance of open government.

The name draws from the expression “Sunshine is the best of disinfectants,” attributed to Louis Brandeis, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He meant that government is improved when the public is able to see what the government is doing on its behalf.  Visibility is known to expose or prevent graft, self-dealing and plain incompetence. However, in a Town Meeting form of government like Bedford’s, it can also invite civic participation.

The current pandemic has underscored the importance of frequent, trustworthy information from public servants.  Last year, as the enormity of the Covid-19 risk became apparent, the Editorial Board of the Boston Globe honored Sunshine
Week by writing:   “Transparency by our public officials breeds credibility. And where there is credibility and openness and truth-telling, people will listen and will follow — and in the days ahead that may mean the difference between life and death.”

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Marjorie Roemer

One of the casualties of this pandemic year has been our sense of time.  Yesterday can feel like a month ago, and last year can feel like a week.  Things have merged together.  The signposts of our lives are smudged.  It’s been forever, or it’s been one moment that just doesn’t end.

At first, we steeled ourselves for a few weeks or even months of inconvenience.  And then . . ..   and then . . .  it was several months.  Now a year, and who knows how much longer.  And perhaps even the grim prospect of never getting back to what we used to call “normal.”

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Alison Cservenschi, Bedford Senior Center

On March 13th we reached the one-year anniversary of the Senior Center’s physical space being closed to the public and this is our 11th edition of the alternative COVID newsletter. As I reflect back, what a year this has been. I recently looked back at the April newsletter last year. We started in that month with no programs but COA staff being available by phone and email. This has continued throughout the pandemic and will continue until we are able to finally re-open this year and beyond.

Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Resilience, Takeout, and Bedford Restaurants

The past 12 months have been challenging, exasperating, and at times life-threatening for restaurants in Bedford.

But now, with Gov. Charlie Baker’s recent announcement allowing restaurants to open for seating at full capacity this month, many local business owners feel they’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

There have been two casualties. Panera on Burlington Road has been “temporarily closed” for several months. Sora, the restaurant at the Doubletree Hotel, closed with the onset of the pandemic and is just now starting to formulate reopening plans.

The Citizen reached out to every restaurant in town with seating to see how owners and managers felt about the relaxed dine-in restrictions and how they’ve survived the pandemic. Many noted that although the past year has been difficult, Bedford residents have shown their support for local restaurants in some unique ways.

Ash-less Wednesday ~ A Reflection ~ The Rev. Chris Wendell ~ St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

This week marks the beginning of the Lenten season for many Christians, a time of preparation, repentance, and renewal.  But unlike every other year for at least the last millennium, this year for many Lent will not begin by marking a sign of the cross in ashes on our foreheads.  Today may be the first Wednesday of Lent, but it is likely to be an “Ash-less Wednesday” for most.  The need to care for one another by limiting in-person contact to reduce the chance of spreading COVID has claimed congregational singing, preaching in person, the sharing of bread and wine, and now even the marking of our foreheads with ashes.

Ashes have been part of this day’s liturgical observances going back to the 6th century in at least some places.  Their formalization in the Western church’s customary was made universal in the 11th century.  Even in my part of the wider Christian family, which broke away from Roman Catholicism during the Reformation five centuries ago, the use of ashes on this day took a mere 250-year hiatus before working its way back into our traditions and customs.  It is one that many faithful Christians of all stripes may find themselves missing this year.

Fond Memories of an Earlier Bedford; Midge Caloggero Reflects on Happy Times

Margaret “Midge” Caloggero left Bedford for a warmer climate almost 20 years ago.

But her memories of growing up in the town in the 1940s and 1950s, a time of demographic growth and transition, are still sharp – and almost quaint in their simplicity.

“It was very peaceful where we lived; we had a wonderful childhood,” she said.

Born in 1942 at Emerson Hospital, Caloggero was the 10th of 11 children of George and Mabel Beatrice Lehman. The family homestead was on Railroad Avenue at the corner of Highland Avenue—at the time the only house on the street. The kids didn’t all reside at home at the same time, “but I always had older siblings around me.”

Her Bedford roots are deep. Mrs. Lehman’s half-brother was William Walter Hamilton, who was 18 when he enlisted in the Marines in 1899 and died in action on Nov. 2, 1918, nine days before the armistice that ended World War I. There’s a street in Bedford named in his honor.