Can it get more socially distanced than this? I wish it were otherwise, but on the bright side this is a terrific way to communicate with many more friends and fellow parishioners than I’d ever be able to talk to in a year of in-person coffee hours. Thank you to Laurie Brown for inviting me to introduce myself, to share a bit of my history as a member of CSMSG, and to bring you up-to- date on how Bob and I have spent our pandemic “time out.”
Bob and I both have lived within a couple of miles of CSMSG virtually all our lives. My parents, Jane and Arthur Bertelson, brought me to CSMSG after our family moved to Clayton in 1951. My father was a lifelong Episcopalian and my mother was Roman Catholic until she met Dr. Francis Sant, then rector of CSMSG, and decided to convert. It was a happy and life-altering decision for our family. My earliest memories of CSMSG are entirely sensory: the beauty of the sanctuary; the jewel-like windows and pudgy cherub corbels; the fragrance of Easter flowers; the silvery voice of the choir’s first soprano, Antoinette Petri; the soft curls of Dr. Sant’s standard poodle, Duley; and often the sweet bubbles of a cherry phosphate at Feldberg’s Drugstore after the service!
As a teenager I was fortunate to have both Tom Boudinet and George Fonyo as excellent, knowledgeable Sunday school teachers, and there was a thriving youth group led by Dr. Robert Wheatley who was a teacher at Country Day. At the time I didn’t fully understand how faith was taking root in me, but my teachers and peers were planting the faith, sense of community, and shared values that helped form the beliefs I hold to this day.
Over the years CSMSG’s leadership, liturgy, ceremonies, outreach and fellowship have become central to my life, embedded in my heart. (Hats off to clergy and staff who were physically present on Wydown with bottled water and encouragement the day the BLM marchers walked past the church.) The church is where our daughters, Becky Melander and Lily Streett (Ott), were baptized and were taught about Christianity. CSMSG also provides a private sanctuary for God and me, just us, free from outside influences, where I can conﬁde in Him, feeling loved and consoled. (WOW, 4 commas in one sentence!) Bob and I know CSMSG will be waiting for us when we can return safely.
While Covid-19 continues to isolate us I’ve been doing the same things I expect everyone else has done. Here’s what has occupied me:
Over the summer I met my five granddaughters on FaceTime almost every evening to chat with them and read to them for about half an hour. It was meant to be a change of pace for us all, a little wine time for their parents, and a way to keep in contact from a distance. We finished several books including Tuck Everlasting, A Wrinkle in Time and The Mysterious Benedict Society.
My own reading: The Classic Slave Narratives, The Bird Way, 4321, Bear Town, some mysteries from the Shardlake series, Therese Raquin, Upstream, and many more.
- Weeding out closets…brace yourself, Goodwill!
- Trying new recipes: a marvelous cheese souffle a la Alton Brown, pretty good English muffi bread, a meh moussaka and endless other meals…day after day after day!
- Following politics and chewing my fingernails to the quick.
- Since there’s no place to go, extra hours of delicious, blessed sleep!
- Bob and I continue to manage his health to the best of our abilities. He generally feels well.
I send my love to all and hope we are able to celebrate together very soon.