Gwen’s Call Home

Gwen’s call to families.

Good Evening Jackson Street School,

This is Gwen Agna, your principal. I’m calling with a message, please listen carefully. 

Thank you to those who have listened to and commented on the story times with Ms. Agna. I’m getting more comfortable with the weirdness of reading to a screen and will continue to do this. I didn’t read or record one today (Monday, 3/23), but I will do tomorrow. 

Tonight I want to give you two messages. Number one, if you are observing the advice to social distance, to stay home most of the time, or take walks outside with your family, to wash hands for twenty seconds, cough & sneeze into your sleeve, and only go out of your home when absolutely necessary and stay away from gatherings of more than ten people, thank you so much on behalf of us all, your fellow citizens. If you are not, I urge you to do so. This includes not going to playgrounds, basketball courts, having playdates, dinner parties, et cetera. This is a very sad way to live our lives, but I believe if we do live our lives this way, we may all live through this pandemic. Please take care of yourselves and others and take the public health advice. 

And the second message is please do not feel that you have to be your child or children’s teacher, at least not at the elementary age level. Many thanks to the JSS teachers and to the Northampton Schools for providing resources, Chromebooks, internet access and many opportunities for enrichment. Please do what you do best, which is to cherish, hold and love your children, reassuring them that there will be a day when things return to normal. We are in an historic moment. They will be able to tell their grandchildren about the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020.

Here’s a Little Ms. Agna story: My grandmother, Gwen Jones Allott, I was named for her, was a young nurse at Camp Sherman in the Flu Epidemic of 1918. She had many stories to tell us, her grandchildren. I have her medical kit form the time, and a beautiful picture of her in her nurse’s uniform. She was so proud, and so were we. One day, my mother, her daughter, was at a museum in Columbus, Ohio, and saw one of the docents, that had a name tag on and had her name as Gwen. My mother was interested because Gwen is kind of an unusual name. SO she stopped her, and said “Gwen, ah. My mother’s name was Gwen, and we named our daughter Gwen after her. The docent said to her. “Oh, my dad named me after a nurse that nursed him back to health in Camp Sherman in the Flu Epidemic of 1918.” That’s a moment that lives forever in our family, and I think it helps all of us think about the meaning of life and the meaning of connections that we have. So please stay home, unless your family takes walks outside, watch the spring emerge in spite of the pandemic, and know that I am thinking of you with so much love. Goodnight.

Healthy wishes to all.