The Southwest Journal is documenting the coronavirus pandemic by recording the personal stories of Minneapolis residents and workers whose daily lives are in a state of flux. As the outbreak evolves, we will be checking in with the participants regularly. Read all of the stories here.
All interviews are edited for length and clarity.
Arminta and Ron Miller, residents, The Waters on 50th senior living community
Arminta: We are opening up more here.
The good news is they opened up the exercise room, though only one person — or couple — can be in there at a time.
Ron: We get two 20-minute sessions one day per week.
Arminta: Yesterday, I rode the bike, which felt really good to do, and Ron rode the bike and used all the machines. I wish we had more time.
They’ve also added an exercise class outside with Tai Chi. It can only be four people outside at a time because we have to be spaced apart. Ron does that, and I’m thinking I might try it, too.
Our apartment is right on the corner next to the garden. They’re starting to do 20-minute outdoor visits with families. We haven’t done it yet, but we’ve watched from our window. We’ve been seeing all these fun reunions.
We watched as one of the nice little ladies here, Lois Peterson, had visitors for her 96th birthday. They were giving her presents, and it was just so good to see her out there because we just aren’t seeing people. People are so tickled to see each other.
On the Fourth of July, they’ll have a celebration like a picnic, but it’s going to be delivered to our room. It’s usually held outside. One year we even shucked corn. This Lois Peterson is from Iowa, and I remember her teaching us how to shuck corn properly — it was so cute. This year we’ll have brats and cheeseburgers and potato salad. But we won’t be able to get together.
I’m trying to learn to use a computer my son sent me. I’m pretty slow at it, and I wish my grandson Aaron could talk me through it while sitting next to me. It’s pretty hard over the phone. But he’s been very patient. I’m sure he thinks his grandma’s not very bright.
Ron: We know nothing about computers.
Aminta: But I really want to be able to do FaceTime with my brother Robert, who’s at Mount Olivet. He’s 93 and he’s in hospice right now, but they say he’s doing very well. He gets angry — he’s got a bit of dementia — but they’re very patient with him, so I’m grateful for that. I want to be able to see him, though I don’t know if he’ll understand it. I feel guilty.
Let’s see, what else have we been up to? Our drugs got all messed up because our drugstore, the Walgreens at 54th & Lyndale, got looted.
Ron: They’ve finally set up a mobile drugstore, but we had to find other drugstores that have our drugs. There’s one on France and there’s one in Edina.
Arminta: It isn’t far — in fact, it’s closer — but it’s just that we’d been going there for so long.
Ron: And you know all the people.
Arminta: It just got very confusing. One prescription, they said they filled it, but they sent it to Montana of all places. So Ron’s been arguing with them about that.
Correction: This story has been updated to note that the Millers recently watched their neighbor Lois Peterson celebrate her 96th birthday, not her 91st.
VOICES FROM THE PANDEMIC
- Barb Joyce, infection preventionist, Jones-Harrison senior living
- Marcia Zimmerman, rabbi, Temple Israel
- Arminta and Ron Miller, residents, Waters on 50th senior living community
- Tracey Schultz, science teacher, Clara Barton Open School
- Peter Kumasaka, Linden Hills, emergency room physician
- Jen and Marcus Wilson, co-owners, True Grit Society gym
- Marion Greene, board chair, Hennepin County
- Jesse Vasquez, Uptown resident
You can read all of the stories here.