The world is changing. Real haircuts. Crowds at the ballpark. More and more mask mandate flouters at the grocery store.
I try not to cough on them.
It’s time to catch up, too. I was surprised to look back at the last six months and see that not everything I wrote about started and ended with a virus.
Thanks for following along, and here’s what’s new with a few of those old stories:
"The Least Interesting Place": Matt Steinhausen’s Nebraska photo book with the ire-raising, tongue-in-cheek title has proved interesting to quite a few people. Including Lincoln Libraries Director Pat Leach, who invited him to chat on her radio show "All About Books," and the Bone Creek Museum in David City, where an exhibit of his photographs will be on display June 11-Aug. 29 with a visit by Steinhausen himself on July 10 (time to be determined).
Here’s something unique to the show, inspired by the creative mind of the photographer: “I've created custom frames for the images out of wood flooring salvaged from local buildings.” Can’t wait to see them.
Lincoln heroes: This winter, pediatrician Phil Boucher and friend Kathleen Allan put their caring heads together and came up with a way to support front-line workers in the pandemic. LNKHeroes supplied meals and floral arrangements to health care workers and teachers and others who sacrificed to keep us safe. Donations topped $15,000, enough for 150 family-sized meals from Honest Abe's and 140 flower arrangements. Bravo.
New club in town: Lots of love for the Asian Community Center’s Kind Neighbor Society. When I wrote about the fundraising effort — a way to show support to Lincoln’s refugees — last month, the organization was shy of its $15,000 goal. On Monday, they’d topped $31,000. Contributors left comments on the fundraising site; my favorite? “Of course, I want to be a member of the Kind Neighbor Society.”
MYOM: After Cameron Van Hoose lost her mom, Sue Hill, to cancer last summer, she made a commitment to honor her with a shared memory every week on Facebook. Missing You On Mondays is in week 41 of 52, and is always powerful. And her legacy continues: The Sue Hill CNA Sponsorship Program is taking applications, a joint effort of Tabitha, Lincoln Literacy and Bryan College of Health Sciences.
Art Bus LNK Part 2: Letura Idigima bought an old school bus a few years ago and turned it into a mobile art studio serving kids who might not have access to art classes. Now the Lincoln photographer -- and hardworking creative wonder woman -- has a second bus ready to roll. It will travel Lincoln and Omaha this summer and be in Omaha neighborhoods full-time by 2022, Idigima said. Watch for it.
Sarah Rogers-Arellano remembered when Letura Idigima came up with the idea of free mobile art classes in 2018, when the pair were working together as paraeducators at Lincoln High. “And the next thing I know, she got the bus.”
Read all about it: Lincoln seventh grader Josh Schulte is still delivering the Schulte Weekly to a small but loyal contingent of readers. The paper started as a daily during the pandemic and is going strong, said subscriber Jess Hustad. Long live print.
Love for Littlest Angels: Mary Spencer, the woman in charge of locating the unmarked graves of babies and children at Wyuka and raising money for headstones, was showered by kindness after a column on Spencer and the efforts of her fellow volunteers.
They’ve received more than $2,000 in donations — enough for 10 headstones — including a donation from a family in town from California to sell their parents’ home. (Mom and Dad loved to walk the cemetery and admire its beauty.)
“I have heard from many asking me to help them find a baby relative that they know is buried at Wyuka,” Spencer said. “So far, I have been able to assist everyone.’
Reminder: Fake flower sale in the Wyuka Stables from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Proceeds benefit the Littlest Angels program.
More Black history: While researching a Black History Month column on Lincolnite David Lee, who eventually opened one of the first all-Black law firms in Los Angeles, I interviewed his niece Dr. Stephanie E. Myers, who runs a D.C.-based publishing company with her husband. She also authored “Invisible Queen,” a biography of British Queen Sophia Charlotte, a biracial mother of 15, a botanist and abolitionist who introduced the world to Mozart. (The book can be ordered at myerspublishing.com.)
Attorney Attie: In early March, when Andrew Weeks penned a Facebook obituary for his beloved corgi, Attison “Attie” Finch Weeks, the Lincoln attorney claimed she had a “jurisdogtor” degree. And now she does. The UNL Law School mailed Attie’s degree a few days after a column about the dog’s life and Weeks’ obsession with all things Welsh was published. Congratulations to Attie and her humans.
The angel in Room 255: Jamie Granquist saved Tom Bothwell’s life when the 65-year-old was hit crossing Normal Boulevard a few blocks from his home.
I wrote about the 46-year-old stranger who happened to be driving to work and gave the injured man CPR and tended to him in the hospital and then at Madonna.
I’m happy to report that after three months in rehab for his spinal injury, Bothwell is home and walking.
He’s golfing, going to outpatient therapy twice a week and finding joy in his new normal and his friendship with Granquist.
They talk every day, see each other three times a week.
He is forever grateful and humbled by all the support from friends, family and strangers and Madonna’s therapist, Bothwell said.
And from Granquist.
“From the depths of tragedy, we have forged an unbreakable bond.”
Mangle memories: Last week’s column on Pat Coldiron’s quest for a new mangle to press the sheets at her Seward bed and breakfast piqued the interest of readers who either: 1. Wanted to say they remembered mangles; 2: Wanted to fix her old mangles; 3: Wanted to share ads of mangles for sale; and 4: Wanted to share a mangle story.
My favorite is from a woman who remembered her mother mangling in the basement: “One day she had her ‘house coat’ on. My brother had left his football ball helmet on top of the washer. She had to remove the helmet and put it on her head to fill the washer, at the same time the gas meter man came into the backdoor and down the stairs to read the meter. She hid behind the washer. The gas guy did his job and on the way upstairs he turned to her and said, ‘I hope your team wins!’ When I read your story today, instantly, the memory came through.”
Shots in arms: In the past six months, I’ve written about Polio Pioneers, who were in elementary school when they tested the polio vaccine and now were retirees anxious to get a new vaccine. I’ve written about a mother-daughter nurse duo who were eager to get their COVID-19 shots and return to hugs, family visits and less stress at the hospital. (Michaela Lozano and her mom, Carla Pinneo, are hugging, and they’ve been volunteers at vaccine clinics, too.)
As for me, I’ve written — and read — more stories related to the pandemic than any other single topic ever. And I still can’t spell Phizer, Pizer, Pfizer right on the first try. (Although I did get their vaccine and am beyond grateful for it.)
Helping a fellow mom: After I shared the story of Tasha Lind's pandemic struggles, losing her job while going to school as a single mom, readers reached out with gifts of cash and gift cards and food. Most of them had been single mothers themselves. Lind even got a free vacation to Great Wolf Lodge with her three children, courtesy of the waterpark's marketing firm. (Lind had to cancel a planned trip because of finances.)
The kids had a blast, she said, and they are all grateful for the material gifts but also the words of encouragement. "That helped my mentality and gave me the extra strength I needed. I am humbled and want them to know how much that really helped me."
The cost of COVID: When we published the stories of those who died of the virus — as many as we could track down from Southeast Nebraska — we asked readers to share names of their loved ones so we could pay tribute to them, too. This one from a widow in York broke my heart: “WOW, I didn't ever think I would see a site like this, people who care about our loss.”
We do care. We’d like to hear from more of you.
Five Cindy Lange-Kubick columns from an upside-down year
Columns from an upside-down year: Soups and scones
This story is about nostalgia -- so many of us, packed so close together in the pursuit of good soup and scones. It gives me hope that those days will return.
Columns from an upside-down year: Remembering Chuck E. Cheese
Sometimes it's the little things that put a lump in your throat, like not knowing that the last time you took your sweet grandson to the germ-infested arcade parlor he loved would be the last time.
Columns from an upside-down year: Dying alone
So much pain during the pandemic, but none worse than the grief of families and health care workers as so many die alone in the hospital.
Columns from an upside-down year: An ugly baby?
Who doesn't love an ugly baby story?
Columns from an upside-down year: The Angel in Room 255
A story about hope and goodness and friendship at a time when people needed to hear about the angels of this world.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @TheRealCLK