Skip menu to read main page content

Letters from the Homefront: Class of ’20

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.

Procession of graduates exiting Frederick Douglas High School.
Street scene. Procession of graduates exiting Frederick Douglas High School and crossing the intersection of Baker Street and Carey Street, Baltimore, photograph by Paul S. Henderson, circa 1949, HEN.01.17-026. Paul Henderson Photograph Collection, Baltimore City Life Museum, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Center for History and Culture.

March 29, 2020 – On this day, Margaret from Freeland writes:

I’m a senior in High School. It’s spring semester but it’s not the one I’ve been looking forward to for my whole life. I can’t leave my house. Every restaurant, gym, theatre, and non-essential store is closed. We have to remain six feet apart from everyone and we have to wash our hands every hour. I can’t see my friends – the friends that I’ll be parting ways with in a few short months. Our last memories together will be through text messages or over video calls. I don’t go to school anymore. Classes are online, taken from the comfort of my own home. Assignments are posted weekly and it’s up to me to get everything turned in from every class, every single Friday. I celebrate the birthdays of my family and friends over text messages. No gifts are exchanged, no hugs given, and no real human connection. There’s so much uncertainty. When will I return to school? When can I see my friends? How long will this last? Everything is postponed or cancelled. No more big gatherings, no parties, family dinners, concerts, or school dances. There’s so much that I took for granted. I am ashamed of myself for those long days at school when I just wished to go home. Now that I am home, the only place I want to go to is school. I miss walking through the halls with my friends and I miss the exciting labs we would do in science class. I miss working on projects with my classmates and I miss going to after-school sports games. I even miss the parts of school I didn’t use to like. I miss the cold morning walks up from the student parking lot and I miss stressing for tests with my friends because at least then, we were together.

Every day is new and every day seems to be getting worse than the last. As I am writing this, the United States has the most cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. This is a fact I’ve come to accept but absolutely not one that I am comfortable with. One wrong move could lead to sickness. I could so easily touch something that has dangerous germs. I could so easily get too close to someone sick. I could so easily get sick and spread it to others. So for now, I stay home. I don’t like spending every day in my home but the goal is to slow the spread, and that starts with every individual. So my senior year could be very well over, but I have to recognize that there are people who are in much more difficult situations than I. Whether it be the healthcare workers that work tirelessly day and night to deal with all the cases or those who are sick or dealing with sick family members, this virus has affected everyone in so many different ways. I can only hope that this will be resolved soon, but I don’t think life will ever quite be the same. There will always be some fear, anxiety, and uncertainty that this could return. And when it does, how will we react?

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 or edit the content beyond minor modifications for formatting. 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.