COVID Journal Guest Post: Keeping Up Our Collective Spirits

Keeping Up Our Collective Spirits
by Aimee Olivo
Oh my goodness, this is so hard. I don’t need to go into how and why it is hard because it’s hard for everyone. It’s times like these that I’m even more grateful to live in Cheverly. Today I thought I’d highlight some of the many ways community members are working to keep up our collective spirits.

Six o’clock Front Yard Joyful Noise
Inspired by the videos of Italians singing out of their windows to each other, residents on 63rd Avenue began stepping outside at 6:00 pm to cheer, shout hello, and generally make joyful noises last week. One neighbor reports, “I’ve pretty much scheduled my stay-at-home life around our daily ritual of going out at 6 pm to wave to my neighbors and cheer for the first responders working around the clock to keep us safe right now. I ‘get off’ work at 5, take a bath, put on a fresh sweatshirt and sweatpants and go celebrate with the neighbors in a socially distant way. I highly recommend starting one on your block. Cheverly, East side challenges West side on who can make the most noise.”
Come out and wave every night at 6 p.m.
Here’s the information a family included on a flyer which they distributed on their and the neighboring street:
Bring your instruments, pots and pans to bang together or kazoos to make a joyful noise.
We come out at 6 p.m. to wave to our neighbors, celebrate our community, and cheer on the first responders on the front line of fighting this virus.
We keep socially distant, but it is a great reminder that we are all in this together and we are not alone.
Hope to see you at 6!

Are you or others on your block doing this also?

Rainbows – Andra Tutto Bene – Everything Will Be Okay
Also inspired by Italy, several neighbors have painted or hung rainbows in their front windows, often with the phrase, “Andra Tutto Bene, Everything Will Be Okay.” Teagan on 63rd Ave (Who’s got spirit? 63rd Avenue Does!) drew and delivered rainbows to several of her neighbors after her art teacher, who has family in Italy, posted a story about the rainbows there. Thank you, Teagan, for sharing your light with your neighbors!
Do you have a rainbow in your front window? Have you noticed rainbows on homes on your block?


Going on a Bear Hunt
I saw a Facebook meme that the “real winners of this pandemic are dogs”! I don’t know about you, but our family has taken more walks in the past 12 days than we normally do in a month! We sure are tiring out our sweet dog, Honey. As a way to make our collective walks more fun, some neighbors have put teddy bears in their front windows for kids (and adults!) to “hunt” for on their walks. Get it, a bear hunt?!

Have you put a teddy bear in one of your windows? Have you spotted teddy bears on your recent walks?

Birthday Surprise
This past Halloween both of my kids begged for inflatable costumes. I was extremely hesitant to make the purchase because we generally try to make our costumes or pull them together from things around the house. Also, they were expensive! But, I caved. And, as often happens, when I’m reluctant about something, I quickly became the biggest fan of the inflatable BB8 and T-Rex costumes. Like, they brought me a ridiculous amount of joy. So much so, that although my kids are way too old and cool for the Cheverly Halloween Parade, I convinced my then-13-year-old to don the costumes with me and we stood in front of our house (conveniently located on the parade route) to wave and give hi-fives to kids as they passed by. We were a hit! It was so much fun to see so many kids’ eyes light up.
Fast forward to the pandemic, and a few people tagged me in memes about wearing an inflatable T-Rex costume to the grocery store. Then a friend mentioned on Facebook that she was struggling come up with a way to make her son’s 6th birthday special in this time of social distancing. That gave me an idea!
What if T-Rex and BB8 visited the birthday boy’s front yard to wish him a happy birthday? With a bit of cajoling, my now 14-year-old was game. We pulled out the costumes to make sure they still worked and didn’t have any holes, and we can’t wait to surprise a special birthday boy!
We’re willing to do this again! Do you know a child in Cheverly who is having a birthday between now and April 15 (sorry to say but I’m guessing we’ll be in social isolation at least that long) who would like to have BB8 and/or a T-Rex wish them happy birthday in their front yard? Send me an email at aimeeolivo AT gmail DOT com and maybe we can arrange a visit!
Is there anyone else in town who has a fun costume who would like to participate in similar birthday visits?


What else, Cheverly? What are you or your neighbors doing to keep our community’s spirits up? Are you making joyful noise at 6pm? Do you have a rainbow or teddy bear in your front window? Have you seen them at other houses? Please share your photos and stories on the I Choose Cheverly Facebook page to help keep our collective spirits up! We WILL get through this together apart!

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