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Neighbors: Time to follow another CDC guideline

  • Amanda Odato of Greenfield on her front porch with a few teddy bears. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 4/5/2020 6:00:43 PM

Good morning, neighbor!

I hope you are well and staying safe. Before I tell you about a fun event that has been happening throughout the county and beyond this past week, I wanted to check in.

I know you are probably on COVID-19 overload at this point — we all are — but I think in times like this there can never be too much information. As a reporter, I feel that way about everything, of course, but this is so very serious and information is power. The more we know, the better choices we’ll make.

Most recently, the CDC highly recommends wearing masks in public. “I keep you safe, you keep me safe” is the idea. We have to assume right now that everyone is a carrier because come to find out, many who would test or have tested positive are asymptomatic. It’s the only way to slow down the spread and flatten the curve, and don’t we all want to do that as soon as possible? Keeping each other safe and looking out for one another is what being a good neighbor is all about.

We should all be staying home as much as possible, keeping all surfaces around our homes clean, and we should be washing our hands at least once an hour — more, if needed. We need to continue to keep our distance from each other (at least six feet), even while wearing those masks. If you leave your home, your mask should be on. It’s so important. There are people all over the county making and sharing them. You’ll hear more about some of them this week.

I was actually very happy to see that people were following CDC guidelines and wearing masks this weekend. I went for a couple of walks and a short ride, and many people who were out walking and biking were wearing homemade cloth masks. We must do anything and everything to stop this terrible virus from making our family, friends and neighbors sick.

I miss my grandchildren terribly, but I want to keep them safe and stay safe myself. Facetime video chat has become my new best friend. I’d really like to get back to some semblance of my former life and I’m sure you would, too. We can do this together. So, stay safe and well and remember: I take care of you, you take care of me.

Teddy bears

On a lighter note, I spoke with our neighbor Heidi Shattuck earlier last week. She started a teddy bear hunt throughout Greenfield and Franklin County as a way to keep parents and their children — well, anyone really — occupied during these trying times. And while you won’t be invited to a teddy bear picnic any time soon — remember, social distancing — you can get in your car and drive around to see what kind of displays our neighbors have created.

You can find teddy bears and other stuffed animals waving from windows. Some neighbors have created outdoor displays. There are teddy bears hanging from the eaves of houses and others sitting on front lawns.

Enjoy these stuffed treasures from a distance, of course. Heidi had planned to ask people to participate two weekends in a row, but it became so popular, people have decided to keep the displays up. She told me that she came up with the idea a couple of weeks ago and within two days of sharing it on Facebook, she had 700 participants. I believe there are well over 1,000 now. People have started this all over the country and beyond, so it’s nothing new, but it’s nice to know that the teddy bears are popping up throughout our neighborhoods because of Heidi’s efforts.

“I just wanted people, young and old, to be able to enjoy something, have fun, during such a terrible time,” Heidi told me. “And, it gave me something to focus on besides the terrible news.”

If you go to Greenfield Teddy Bear Hunt on Facebook, there are clues and scavenger hunts to find them.

“My husband and I went driving one day and didn’t even see a 10th of what there is out there and we were out for about an hour and a half,” she said.

She said the response has been tremendous, and it turned into a full-time job for her, but she was more than happy to do it.

“It’s great because there’s nothing negative about this and it gives parents plenty of learning opportunities with their children,” she said. “It gives kids something exciting and fun to do.”

Thank you, Heidi.

So, get out there and find those teddy bears, and don’t forget to wear your mask. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks. Until then, take care.

Senior Reporter Anita Fritz grew up in Franklin County after moving from Spokane, Wash., when she was just a few weeks old. She is the Greenfield reporter for the Greenfield Recorder once again. She covered Greenfield for eight years and has served as features editor for the Recorder, editor for the Athol Daily News and is still covering state and regional issues, as well.

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