The Pavilion by
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The Pavilion 

In March 2020 on the cusp of the Covid outbreak my husband was scheduled for surgery,  but the prospect of him spending even a few days in a large New York hospital was worrisome.  Luckily his doctor discharged him one day post-op,  I took him home,  and the next day we left Manhattan and drove to rural Connecticut to what had been – until then – our weekend house.

Thus we began our Covid quarantine as full-time country folks,  and in fact we didn’t return to the city for over a year.  During that time,  other than our son we had no visitors,  had all our groceries delivered,  baked lots of banana bread,  and learned to live in lock-down.  (See Sheltering in Place and The Summer of My Discontent)

Our house is in a resort community where we have a circle of friends,  mostly weekenders like ourselves.   But during those early months of 2020 as New York rapidly became a Covid epicenter,  many of them  – like us –  came up to sit out the pandemic away from the city.

Each night on the TV news,  with office buildings nearly empty,  and shops and restaurants and Broadway theaters shuttered,  we watched the city that never sleeps gradually become a ghost town.   And even our country community seemed deserted as we all stayed indoors, venturing out only occasionally to the local markets and shops,  while on the roads only a few intrepid souls could be seen out driving or biking or jogging.

And locked down with only my spouse for company led to some martial strife,  and I realized how much I craved the companionship of other women.

I was certainly not alone in those feelings,  and one day a friend called and asked me to join her and other women in the pavilion where summer parties and outdoor concerts were usually held.  “Bring a folding chair and we’ll sit six feet apart and talk.”,  she said.

And so the pavilion became a safe place to share our pandemic fears and our feelings of isolation,  and of course to talk about so much more.  We met weekly,  and sometimes only six or seven of us were there, and sometimes more than a dozen women showed up.  We began to bring bag lunches and often stayed together for most of the afternoon.

And there in the pavilion old friendships were strengthened and new ones forged,  and during that first spring and summer we all looked forward to those gatherings.  In the fall we continued to meet as long as the weather permitted,  and then over the winter we Zoomed,  and in the spring we returned to the pavilion.

But as time passed and with the advent of vaccines our Covid concerns lessened.  After that second pandemic summer many of us moved back to the city,  we resumed our old routines and responsibilities,  and we came to accept the new normal of post-pandemic life.  And altho our bonds remained strong,  we eventually stopped meeting as a group.

But those gatherings in the pavilion had been an antidote to our isolation,  an affirmation of our sisterhood,  and a lifeline when we needed it most.

– Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Characterizations: , been there, moving, right on!, well written


  1. Khati Hendry says:

    You described something that I think was played out in many outdoor settings, especially over that first pandemic summer. There were groupings of carefully-spaced lawn chairs in our nearby park, and I still see some of that to this days. The zoom communities—including Retrospect—became important. Everyone needed some way to connect despite adversity—and we still do.

  2. pattyv says:

    You definitely took me back to that pandemic beginning. It was a frightening time for us all, afraid to go anywhere. I think it was great that you had so many sisters to get through it with. I had a handful of friends who would visit. Afterwards it was still strange for such a long time. Today, maybe from habit, we don’t go out to restaurants too much or ever to movies. It changed so much of our lives. Hope we never experience it again.

  3. Dave Ventre says:

    Those with places to go to, and/or jobs that allowed relative isolation, had a different perspective. Mine was similar; our third-floor condo became an island visited mainly by delivery people.

    My most indelible Zoom memory was the Zoom shiva for our dear Stacy. Zoom is a great tool, but it’s not the same as a hug from a friend.

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    I totally get your feelings, Dana. Although my husband and I had just moved to our condo at the start of the pandemic and initially had a lot to do, I also missed my girlfriends. Zoom saved us back then. To be alone when it’s not your choice isn’t much fun.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    How wonderful that you could meet with this nice group of friends outside throughout the good weather and have real fellowship when you really needed human connection. And then move the group to Zoom. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a way to meet.

    I got to attend my brother’s Passover Seder two years that way! And my dear group of camp friends (dating back to the 1960s) has been meeting once a month for three years on Zoom. We just met today, mourning our first loss, our dear friend the Reverend Stephen Pieters, who’s obit is everywhere, even the Washington Post today. He led an extraordinary life. Perhaps I will write about his sometime. He faithfully read my stories every week. I will miss him terribly.

  6. Jim Willis says:

    Nicely written reflection, Dana, on how you and your friend helped each other find some needed balance in life during the time of Covid, just sitting out there under that pavilion in rural Connecticut. I love hearing stories like yours of how people survived their need for social interaction during the time of the pandemic.

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