Something as Small as Breakfast

There were real bagels for breakfast this morning.

Yesterday, my older son and I ventured off-island to run some errands. We are still living with stay-at-home orders, but grocers, hardware stores, and takeaway food shops are open with capacity restrictions. That meant my son had to stand out social distancing in the rain for a while, but the lines moved fairly quickly, and the precipitation was light.

Cheap coffee,
endless refills

Going out to breakfast is one of my favorite things. That might seem strange for someone who is not a morning person. But the act of getting up and getting out of the house with purpose, dressed and ready to start the day somewhere other than an office is really gratifying and definitely improves my attitude about the day. One of my favorite breakfast places re-opened for the season a week or so ago, but like everywhere else, it’s just takeaway for now. It’s not the same. I miss sitting at a table with a view of the marsh (and an occasional osprey) with my hands curled comfortably around a diner-sized mug of coffee, listening to my family’s banter and scanning the room for people I know. I miss overhearing the conversations of others in the tight, warm spaces where people gather.

It is Day 42 of social isolation – or thereabouts. We’ve learned that the High School will not open back up for the remainder of the year. Both boys are doing their school work online, but they’d much rather just sleep and play video games. My husband works for a company that makes a component of COVID-19 testing kits, so they are getting slammed with demand. Even on his days off, he is working. Planning meals the four of us will eat has been the biggest challenge. I am tired of takeout pizza.

I am doing reasonably well, and although my energy levels continue to be a challenge, I find I have been getting more done lately. Most of it is small stuff; a finished essay, or some decluttering. I have been able to finish a couple of books in spite of the difficulty concentrating. I’ve been trying to clear off the desk my husband has commandeered for when he works at home on his supposed days off. I haven’t used it in at least six months, so it collected a lot of junk. The whole guest room space needs this treatment, but I just look at the piles of stuff left there by various people in this house and get overwhelmed.

I’m not sure what accounts for the small rise in productivity I’m seeing, but I welcome it. It could be the extra daylight, or the warmth (though it is still that damp kind of cold here a lot in the Spring). Maybe I’ve reached the “Acceptance” stage of grief. It’s hard to say. True to my nature, I’m still anxious about what comes after.

Apart from his mishandling of the pandemic crisis, the Trump regime’s destruction of out country continues apace. Assuming we even have an election in the Fall, there will be a massive rebuilding effort needed to address the economy and decades of unequal opportunity. Health permitting, I’d want to be a part of that in some way. I just don’t know what I can contribute at this point. I keep turning in over in my mind, hoping the answer will come to me and that it will be something I can have some success with. I am desperately in need of a win.

In the meantime, I am immersing myself in a completely different era. I started looking into some of the history of the town my grandparents grew up in. I’m focused on the 1920s right now because of a rumor that my grandfather did a little rum running during Prohibition. My mother vehemently denies this, but it would have been way before she was born. It may be nothing. We are Irish. Family lore and reality sometimes part ways.

It turns out that there was a substantial rum running operating in New Haven at the time. I’m looking into that, but I also stumbled upon the society pages of my grand parents’ hometown. They were not the families at the beach cottages chronicled in the archives; my grandfather worked on a farm before he went to Wall Street, and my grandmother’s father was a pastor of some kind. Still, I’m enjoying the trip back in time.

Clipping from the Branford Scrapbooks – New Haven Register 1920

I’ve been going through the Branford Scrapbooks, as the social pages were apparently called. The positive and chatty tone is comforting.

Hotchkiss Grove was one neighborhood of Branford. Here it is described decades before my grandparents moved back to the town from New Jersey some time in the mid 1960s.

My primary interest is in a hotel with a storied past. My mother worked there for a summer in the late 50s. It has since burned down and been replaced by private homes.

One thought on “Something as Small as Breakfast

  1. It is fascinating to me to read such histories. My own family of origin lacks long=term roots in any one place so this is the stuff of novels and memoirs, and I read it as though I was peeking into another life.
    And fresh bagels… oh, that makes my mouth water!


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