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Letters From Home: 'We Shared A Common Thread Through My Poetry'

Woman writing on a dock.
T.S. Dusseau
Dockside writing at Poste Lake

WOSU's Letters from Home collects stories about day-to-day lives during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, we heard from Ohioans answering the question: How have you created or maintained meaningful personal relationships? 

Read responses to this week's question and other reflections from Ohioans below.

T.S. Dusseau from Poste Lake in Columbus

How fortunate am I to have forged a new friendship through my poetry writing! Although we've been distant neighbors for many years, my newly formed friendship with Mary Ellen has brought great joy during our COVID-19 mandates. Not only have we enjoyed a delightful rapport, but Mary Ellen has also become a trusted writing coach for my weekly poetry writing endeavors.

I found myself emotionally wrought by a visit to drop off a package to my daughter, which I was to leave on her doorstep. When I arrived, finding her behind her closed door, I felt the need to hug her, and unfortunately, that could not happen.

Suddenly, I broke down in tears as I made my way home. While in such a sad state, I penned a poem titled "A Mother's Pain." I dashed it off to Mary Ellen, and within the hour, I received her heartfelt response. She wrote, "Such pain, I'm with you." She, too, was longing to be with her daughter. We shared a common thread through my poetry.

For a little over a month, Mary Ellen and I have enjoyed our newfound friendship. It is quite rewarding to share life's treasures beyond poetry, as well. I especially enjoy our correspondence. Little did I know, a medley of words presented in the form of poetry from week to week would be the catalyst for a blossoming friendship. For this, I am grateful.

Today, I cried I saw my daughter through the glass If just this once, I'd get a pass Today, I cried Just one hug was all I'd need Tearful eyes, my heart did bleed Today, I cried There she was, locked inside By the rules, we did abide Today, I cried I wore emotions on my sleeve I turned away and left to grieve

Rohan Vernekar from Columbus

I’ve been staying connected to others through Facetimes with my friends, chats on Snapchat, and playing online games together. Even though we're physically apart, technology helps us interact with each other without meeting physically. My friends and I like to play online board games such as D&D through voice calls and we're able to interact with one another, maintain our friendship, and have fun.

Rami Ungar from Columbus

I've been lucky that most of my relationships are maintained online. A lot of people I'm friends with had busy schedules before the pandemic, so most of our interaction was through social media to begin with. Some of these relationships even started online! I'm friends with people whom I've never met in person, but felt at times like I've known them all my life.

So while the absence of seeing actual people is difficult (and God, would I like to hug without worrying about catching something) it's been manageable. But only because I've had plenty of practice.

Anonymous from a farm in rural Ohio

I am a widow and live alone in a big white house with only a cat for company. Sounds ghastly when I read that sentence, but my friends and family are keeping me sane. I’m thankful for a smartphone and an even smarter TV that keep me in touch with the outside world.

Jenny Fong from Columbus

The actual working from home is the easy part. The hard part is keeping the ship from going down when you have a six-year-old and a four-year-old who have a lot of energy and who don’t quite understand what it means when you are on a conference call or Zoom meeting to be quiet or to stay out of the camera shot. It seems like the minute they realize a camera is on, it’s time to ham it up.

I have definitely had to get creative in ways that they can be educationally entertained while I get work finished. I also think that I am exceptionally hard on myself to make sure that my kids are learning while they are home. I know that they are only 4 and 6, but it’s also the age that their brains are like sponges and they absorb so much.

I think that I have purchased just about every workbook and printed every teaching worksheet known to man for my kids so that I can help teach them. I have also learned about some great educational websites that I had no idea existed, but I definitely try to limit screen time and computer time.

The silver lining to working from home is it’s nice to not have to fight the morning and evening rush hour. I have also been wearing comfy, yoga pants and t-shirts, slippers, a loose, messy ponytail and sans makeup every day. Another bonus while trying to teach my young children is that I get to see them all day and I have a better understanding of where they are academically, how to help them with their school work, how to creatively teach them and knowing they are safe.


Jenny Fong's kids - silly pictures of them playing.
Credit Jenny Fong
Jenny Fong's been experimenting with ways to entertain her four-year-old and six-year-old - who like to "ham it up" while she's on Zoom calls.

Come join our conversation. This week, Letters From Home is asking the question: How do you feel about the reopening of businesses and services?

Answer this question using the form below, and try to keep below 1,000 words. Your response may be edited for length and clarity.

WOSU brings you Letters from Home in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art.
WOSU brings you Letters from Home in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art.