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Kelly's Story

Kelly talks with Jesse about her evolving family dynamics during the
COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly's Story
00:00 / 04:10

When COVID first started, it was my sophomore year of college. I was living on campus
at UMass. I remember specifically when I found out that it was going to be like a real issue. It
was when Tom Hanks got COVID. It was a joke in my family that that was the first time I
actually got a little nervous.

I was supposed to go on the UMass Habitat for Humanity trip to Georgia, but they obviously ended up having to cancel it. I have two older brothers Kevin and Timmy. My brother Kevin right now is 27. And my brother Timmy, or Tim, is 25. And I'm 21. My brother wasn't living with us initially, he was living on his own, but obviously COVID isolated a lot of people. He didn't want to be alone like that, especially since we didn't know how long it was going to be. So, he actually moved back home with us. It was the first time in quite a
few years that I had a full house.

It was weird at first, I think, obviously, I had to do online school. And my mom was working from home. My dad's an electrician, so he wasn't even working. My dad's a funny guy. He loves attention. And he hates being bored. So he was bothering my brothers who were working remotely too. So it was just a cluster of us on our laptops for a little bit. But I think it was really great overall, looking back at it, especially at that
time, it was nice to kind of get my family all back together for a few months. I feel like not a lot of people have that opportunity. So it was kind of nice.

I learned a lot about my own study habits, work ethic, and stuff like that. In terms of online classes, I feel like it was a hit or miss. Some professors were really good at keeping us engaged. We had more than a year online, because we left the second semester two years ago. So it's like I forgot what it's like to actually be in school. Learning in general, it just isn't what it used to be. It's less collaborative. I feel like the pandemic
helped me in some sort of way, it had as many benefits as it did the opposite. And I don't think I would change it. I think I was glad to have the opportunity to live with my family like that for a while.

I remember having Thanksgiving with my family, which is usually a very big holiday. Like we have people flying into town. It's like a very big thing. And for the first year ever, we had a just Thanksgiving with my family. Just my immediate family, which we have never done before. The turkey. I don't know if it caught on fire for a second. It was a Thanksgiving disaster. I think we ended up microwaving some pizza. It was fun. We had a lot of fun, especially since everyone's getting older. It was really nice to live in my family like that for a little bit, especially now that my brother moved back out. And it's nice. I feel like I wouldn't have had the
opportunity to get as close to them as I did.

There was one day when it was very early in the pandemic. I live kind of close to Boston. I'm up in Wakefield. They put in the stay at home order. And my dad wasn't working and he and I ended up driving around the coast, around Gloucester, just for the day just to kill time and stuff like that. And when we were driving, he was like “I really want a haircut. I haven't had the opportunity to get my haircut in so long.” So I told him, I
was like, “I'll cut your hair that would be great.” And we got back and I asked him, because my dad's getting older and he is losing some hair, I was like “I'm wondering what you would look like if you were bald.” We weren't seeing anyone, so he shaved his head fully. I started shaving, at first we did a buzzer, and then I got shaving cream and we made him completely bald. That was probably one of the highlights of COVID. He looked scary. And he looked like Mr. Clean. It was good though. I thought it was funny. I think that was a good bonding experience between my family.

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