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: It opened up a lot here.
We were riding the stationary bike, Ron was exercising, the salons were coming back. Every Thursday, we got to go outside with four other people, and they gave us special treats like watermelon, ice cream bars or popcorn and lemonade. We were keeping distance and wearing masks, but we could walk around and see people and sit outside and talk.
But then we had someone test positive on Monday, and they shut everything down. Ron had a massage appointment, and he was very disappointed. Now we’re supposed to stay in our apartment. People can’t even come up to the gate. All the advancements we made kind of went away. We were so disappointed because everything had been going so well.
But now they say it was a false positive, and we’ll know tomorrow if we can open up again. So we’re hopeful.
Ron: Susan [Tabor], who’s in charge around here, wants to be careful. I think she’s doing an excellent job. It’s tough: She has to deal with all the senior citizens who’ve been very independent, and she just wants to keep us healthy.
Arminta: I want you to know that we got tested — we’ve been tested twice now!
Ron: But they cheated: They said they were going to have a State Fair day and they would have mini donuts. But if you had not been tested, you wouldn’t get any mini donuts. And I love mini donuts.
Arminta: He made me get tested.
Ron: Now we’ll probably get tested every two weeks going forward.
Arminta: You know it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It wasn’t that big long thing that you see where they hold the top of your head down. It was a smaller swab, and they went in each nostril with the same swab. They went around five times in each nostril, and it kind of tickled. It wasn’t painful.
It’s funny though because Susan said, “I wish I knew all it took to get Ron to mind around here is mini donuts. I’d have used that a long time ago.”
Ron: She found my weakness.
Arminta: Susan said the more people who test, the more we can open up.
Ron: We leave for doctors, dentists and Walgreens. That’s the extent of our social life.
Arminta: I talked to the gal who ran our writing group, and I’d love it if she could come back in. Unfortunately, one of the people had moved away and one passed away, and they need at least four people in the group. They’ve talked about having the book club again, but it would be too many people; the last one before the pandemic had at least 20 people.
I was shocked with [the unrest] that happened yesterday. We just can’t get on top of things. It’s sad.
We’re planning on voting by mail [for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris]. On my Facebook, I’m surprised by friends of mine who are so opposite in our feelings, but we’re still friends.
Ron: We’re going to have to mail in our ballots early, because who knows what’s going to happen. If you mail it in, you don’t have to worry.
Arminta: We were doing really, really well, and I was feeling the best I’ve felt for a while until we got shut down again. The thought that that can happen any time is scary. I would just like to have dinner with my friends here, and there’s just no way that’s going to be able to happen for a long time, I don’t think.
[Five hours elapse; Ron calls back.]
Ron: The test came back negative, and I’m getting a massage on Monday.
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.