Victoria’s Diary: A new year like no other

Rebecca Seawright with Jay Hershenson and their children Bradley and Haley Hershenson.

Who could imagine it — a world where we are frightened to see our family, our friends and our colleagues.

As if COVID-19 wasn’t bad enough, now a new strain of this deadly disease has invaded our lives. And so many of us are still waiting to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

I thought about that on New Year’s Eve, I was never much for reveling on that night. It felt different this year because COVID-19 has caused overwhelming fear when it comes to celebrating with friends and family. 

Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, a dear friend of mine, had just won her hard-fought reelection and at midnight on New Year’s Eve, she was being installed for her next two-year term in office. Marty and Jean Shafiroff, mutual friends of ours, invited me to their home to celebrate, and I almost went. But fear got in the way! Or was it smarts?

Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright is sworn in for another term.

Sadly, my colleague at our Dan’s Papers Southampton office tested positive for COVID-19 five days after we had spent time together.

Fear ran through everyone who saw her that day. I felt fine. I had just gone with my daughter Elizabeth and my darling grandkids Addy and Jonah to dinner. The restaurant we went to has a tent with warm air blowing into our seats and we felt safe as we ate our dinner together. 

But, as I drove home, I got the call from my employee that she had just heard from the hospital where she was to have surgery the next morning that her COVID test came back positive. Because of the positive test, she could not have her long-planned surgery.

With fear in my heart, I headed immediately after to a GoHealth Urgent Care center to see if I could get a rapid test to put my kids and me at ease. But they were closing and told me to come by at 8 a.m. the next day.

In the morning, I made call after call to find a testing place that didn’t require me to wait in line for hours. Then I thought of Bob Mittman, doctor extraordinaire and my Bayside office landlord. I remembered his office was doing drive-through COVID testing. With a fast call, we arranged an appointment and he conducted the test as I sat inside my car.

Then the waiting began. Being the optimist I am, and the fact that I was feeling well, I tried to put it out of my mind and carry on in quarantine. All my kids were shivering with fear until I finally got the news: the test was negative!

Each day I feel grateful that I missed “the bullet,” but being a people person like I am means there is a risk of exposure each and every day. 

My doctor friend reminds me repeatedly to “wear a mask, wash my hands regularly and keep 6 feet apart when dining with people indoors and outdoors.” This is good advice that we should all follow!

Beauty covered up 

One of the beautiful things about the East End of Long Island are the hedges and massive shrubs that surround the beachfront homes. The flowers are gone now and remarkably I saw the once proud greenery covered up with sackcloth and transformed into a “work of art.”

Covered hedges are transformed into works of art.

Ironically those covered majestic trees have taken on a new life and they are a thing of wonder, too.

I get much pleasure looking at the changed, yet beautiful winter scenery. Be sure to take a look around, as there is so much beauty in nature!

Walking with Brooklyn friend Karen Auster along a baron beach on a sunny day.

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