May 6, 2020

Jim Gillentine will be graduating from SIUE with a degree in English Literature and Philosophy and a Creative Writing Minor on May 9 but he, like others, won't attend a commencement ceremony.

SIUE will have an online ceremony to honor all the graduates on May 9 at 1pm. If the Covid-19 situation allows, the university will have a physical ceremony in August. Jim plans to post the link for the online ceremony on St. Andrew's Facebook page on May 7.

During his six years at SIUE, Jim was on the Dean’s List five times, awarded the 2017 English Department Scholarship Award, recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Non-traditional Student, received the 2019 Staff Degree Completion Award, and inducted into Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.

Jim will continue working at SIUE for two more years as the degree completion award he won last year requires that he continues as an employee for two years. For the near future, he will continue writing in addition to working at the university.
On May 10, 1908 the first Mother's Day was celebrated at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Anna Jarvis organized the event in honor of her late mother, social activist and Sunday school teacher Ann Reeves Jarvis. On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation that made Mother’s Day a national holiday.
Flying high!
The Pezzas
Kansas Street Home
Lyndia and Helen
-Nichole DeWall
Everyone in the Pezza-DeWall household is healthy and well. Graham and Helen stay busy with their remote learning schoolwork, Skype music lessons, and Zoom meetings with their classmates. Brian and Nichole have both set up makeshift offices in their home: Brian practices law from their bedroom; Nichole teaches her students remotely from their guest room.

The pace of family life is leisurely and calm. They take walks and long bike rides. Brian has been baking bread from scratch. Helen enjoys decorating the sidewalks with chalk; Graham likes to play his cello on the porch (often in his pajamas!). The kids spend hours bouncing on the trampoline, and most nights the family watches a movie from Disney+.

Brian and Nichole have more time to solve crossword puzzles, read, and watch shows like Press and Killing Eve. Lyndia Pezza is healthy and has been squeezing in some gardening time whenever she’s not taking care of Graham and Helen. Overall, they miss being out in the world, but are also trying to recognize this time of family togetherness as precious and rare. They tune in on Sunday mornings for remote worship, and look forward seeing everyone in person as soon as it is safe!
-Jim Weingartner

Diseases for which there are no available cures seem to inevitably call forth quacks who confuse and swindle the fearful and gullible with “miracle” remedies. That was true in London during the London “Plague Year,” about which Daniel Defoe wrote. He describes the proliferation of placards throughout the city advertising “infallible prevention pills against the plague,” “never failing preservative against infection,” “anti-pestilential pills,” and “the royal antidote against infection.” Londoners were informed that “an Italian gentlewoman just arrived from Naples, having a choice secret to prevent infection, which she found out by her great experience and did wonderful cures with it….” According to Defoe, there were so many bogus “cures” and preventatives being offered that they would “fill a book of themselves to set them down.”

Three hundred fifty or so years later, not much has changed, except the predatory efficiency conferred on scam artists by social media. A former American actor was recently arrested for the on-line hawking of a “cure that shuts down the Covid 19” by making “the cells from the corona virus detach, release, and die within 48 hours.” In North Carolina and Florida, crooks pretending to be from government health agencies, some of them appearing at intended victims’ front doors dressed in white lab coats, have attempted to separate frightened and naïve persons from their money.

Often, bad medicine can take the form of folk remedies, whose popularity is enhanced in times of crisis. In India, the drinking of cow urine has attracted many adherents. In Venezuela, a more palatable medicinal beverage has been touted–lemongrass and elderberry tea. Although not a folk remedy, chlorine bleach has been suggested by a prominent American politician. In Iran, an online shop advises visitors to “Drench cotton wool in violet oil before bedtime, then insert it into your anus. Not only will you then exude a sweet smell, but you will be protected against Covid 19.” That seems an appropriate end to this article.
Principals Find Novel Ways to Honor Seniors During Shutdown

(Source: NY Times)
With school closed and graduation canceled, the principal of a high school in suburban Dallas set out on April 17 with his wife, a bag of Snickers bars and a mission: visiting each of the 612 seniors at their homes.

Virdie Montgomery, the principal of Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas, said he thought it would take only a couple of days to see each student, deliver a note and a candy bar, and ask how they were doing. It ended up taking 79 hours across a dozen days, and about 800 miles traveled.

Wearing a mask covered in skulls and crossbones — a tribute to the school’s pirate ma scot — Mr. Montgomery, 66, took a selfie wi th each student. He told them the school was a much less happy place in their absence, but that one day they would “look back on this and snicker.”
Then he handed them a candy bar.

“I delivered the same lame joke more than 600 times,” Mr. Montgomery said. “I wanted to see them and make sure they were doing all right.”

Across the country, high school teachers and administrators are going out of their way to recognize their seniors as the coronavirus pandemic has  closed schools  and forced the  cancellation of proms  and graduation ceremonies.
The staff at Chesterton High School in Chesterton, Indiana delivered “Class of 2020” yard signs . Dozens of teachers at West High School in Salt Lake City  placed personalized yard signs  outside the homes of graduating seniors. And the principal, teachers and administrators at Wellington High School in Wellington, Florida masks and gloves to   surprise the school’s 626 seniors with yard signs .

In Texas, a  statewide stay-at-home mandate   went into effect on April 2. At first, Mr. Montgomery said, Wylie High School extended its spring break. But when the school was forced to close for the rest of the year, students’ attitudes changed, he said.

Bud, Deane and
Dave Thomas
Master Moseley
Maggie Slaughter
Dave Woelfel and Baby Cat Napping
The Douglas Boys
(Caroline's other children)
Kelley and Dixie
Raisin Edwards and John
Maya Caspers
Mopsey and Oreo Pezza (LYNDIA)
Raisin Edwards modeling mask
Doug and Ernie Callies
Holi Cooper
Sam Reinhardt,
the Elder
O God, who has made all the earth and every creature that dwells therein: Help us, we pray you, to treat with compassion the living creatures entrusted to our care, that they may not suffer from our neglect nor become the victims of any cruelty; and grant that in caring for them we may find a deeper understanding of your love for all creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In Touch is published weekly mid-week until June 1, 2020 as a way of keeping in touch with each other during our Illinois "Stay at Home" confinement. We hope it brightens your day!

Marian Smithson
Marianne Cavanaugh Jane Weingartner