Last year at this time, I would not have thought it possible that five small rectangles on my computer monitor could make me so happy. But there we were, friends from our Brownie days of so long ago, together again, not in person but on Zoom, four months into Covid 19 and sheltering-in-place.
This was actually our second Zoom reunion during the Pandemic, following our first in-the-flesh gathering in Philadelphia the weekend before social distancing began. That first meeting was the miracle: five elementary-school friends who hadn’t seen each other in decades experiencing instant reconnection, and over the weekend discovering shared warmth, intelligence and humor.
And here we were again, this time represented as five rectangles on a screen, miles apart, catching up. As I took in one rectangle, then another and another, I saw that each one of us was beaming. Our life, individually and collectively, is so different now from what it once was, but nothing has changed in our feeling for each other.
We spent a few minutes catching up, though thanks to Covid, there isn’t much to catch up on these days. Mostly we discussed how each of us is coping, then quickly switched to politics. All five of us, from a middle-class suburban Philadelphia neighborhood in the 50’s, where parents were everything from professors and businessmen to owners of gas stations and neighborhood markets, share similar views and visions. With each of us having lived our life in our own particular way, I find it amazing that our political—and you can add literary as well—views coincide so closely.
After about an hour of talking, laughing and reminiscing, we said goodbye, promising to meet again next month. As I clicked to “leave” the Zoom, I threw everybody a kiss, and noticed how happy I felt. The shot of friendship I had just received from four members of my long-ago Brownie troupe had filled me with energy and joy. I felt lighter than I had before the Zoom, so much less isolated and so much more connected.
As I said, a year ago, I would have thought none of this possible: that I would bring a distant segment of my childhood back to life, become part of a circle of friends with whom I instantly felt a deep bond, and that through Zoom this bond would be renewed and deepened.
In the midst of Covid 19, the five of us were together again. I wonder if without the Pandemic, I would have had the joy of spending an hour with those five rectangles on my computer monitor. While deprived in some ways, my life has become richer in others.