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Letters from the Homefront: ‘A Freshman’s Guide to Quarantine’

The following “Letters from the Homefront” account is part of our new initiative, Collecting in Quarantine. Inspired by the poignant letters in the Maryland Historical Society collection documenting past adversities from the Spanish flu of 1918, to the Annapolis yellow fever epidemics of 1793 and 1800, MdHS is calling on Marylanders to send their personal stories of how the pandemic is impacting their lives.

Portrait of Leonard Bahr
Today’s contributor recommends picking up new hobbies during quarantine. Portrait of Leonard Bahr, photograph by unidentified photographer, circa 1950, PP92.176. Emily Spencer Hayden Photograph Collection, PP92, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society.

April 27, 2020 – On this day, Danny Palmer from Baltimore writes:

Life was good up to quarantine. I had just begun to really enjoy my freshman year at Mount Saint Joseph High School. I liked all of my classes, I was in fun extracurricular activities, and I was finding good friends.

Then quarantine struck and life became so boring. Everything good that I was planning to do flew out the window. Like going to the Spring Formal Dance or performing in the school musical NEWSIES with my friends…

At some point I decided to write this short guide based on my experiences with “Coronacation” that would help me and others to deal with quarantine:

● Keep in Touch

It’s healthy to stay connected with family and friends. A daily text like “Hey! How are you doing?” or just a quick five minute phone call as a check up on friends and family will not only improve your mental health, but others’ too. Without this you may feel a sense of loneliness.

● Unplug

Though it is good to stay informed, too much news can be bad for your mental health. Read a book. Try picking up new hobbies. Like an instrument or making art. Maybe if you are fortunate enough to have a large backyard, practice the sport you’re a part of.

● Do the Work

Even though school hours are shortened and pushed back, we have to remember that school is still a thing. It’s important not to fall behind. If you did — go ahead and catch up. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re together in this.

● Exercise

I think that quarantine is actually the best time to get in shape and work out. We are at home 24/7 now. Make use of it! I like to jump rope and do pullups on a bar we have in the doorway at my house. And don’t forget your basic pushups, sit-ups, crunches, etc. No equipment necessary!

● Be Thankful

Enjoy your family. Pray together. Have meals together. At the end of each day try to remember the three things you are grateful for that happened that day. Have fun together. Don’t be afraid to get silly. By this time we have already passed the fifty day marker!

Stay safe, stay strong, and care for each other.

Please note: The views, information, and opinions expressed and shared on the underbelly through the Collecting in Quarantine project do not necessarily represent those of the Maryland Historical Society. Our staff does not verify for accuracy the information contained within these submissions. We also do not edit the content beyond minor modifications for formatting or to remove personally identifying information, if applicable. Just like the historic letters in our collection, each letter presents the writer’s own perspective. The primary purpose of this series, with the permission of contributors, is to share and collect the experiences of Marylanders living through the COVID-19 crisis at this moment in time.

To learn more about the Collecting in Quarantine project and how to share a story of your own, click here.