Our spring of 2020 was hijacked by the Coronavirus Pandemic. In early March—right after our ceremony at Borough Hall to award the winners of our 34th annual Poetry and Essay Contest, the entire state of New Jersey and much of the country shut down. Our club’s planned Derby Day fundraiser for the USR Ambulance Corps was canceled–as was the Kentucky Derby itself. Our annual Baby Shower for the Shelter and Children’s Aid and Family Services was canceled, as was our State Convention. When our USR Library closed, all club meetings there were canceled indefinitely.
We were to stay at home and self-quarantine. Social distancing, masks, and gloves became our out-of-the-house-wear when we ventured out to get essential supplies like food and medicine. When we went to the grocery store, we waited on lines to be admitted due to reduced capacity of shoppers allowed inside, followed arrows on the now one-way aisles, and we yearned to be able to purchase things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Pajamas, sweats, and workout clothes became daily wear, and hair grew long and wild. School was closed and most students and teachers moved to online learning at home. Places of Worship, restaurants, and businesses closed, flights were canceled, and travel severely restricted. The economy ground to a halt.
Families sheltered together and parents did their best to home school with some online help from their children’s teachers. Board games, reading, walks in the neighborhood, cooking, TV, and, for some, online gaming helped time to pass. “Virtual” became the new normal. Zoom joined phones and FaceTime as the way to communicate.
Graduations, weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries were all affected. Our USR Fire Department began drive-by birthday celebrations with engines, horns and a police car siren for children who couldn’t have a birthday party. Others had drive-by birthday parade celebrations organized by friends and family in decorated cars. No one could visit a family member in assisted living or a nursing home because the elderly were most at risk.
Days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months—three of them.
Now, at the end of June, there is some loosening of the restrictions in hopes of getting the economy and the population back to a semblance of normal. The numbers of new cases of the virus are lower, and the hospitals are not on overload with corona virus patients. Hospitals can now resume elective surgeries and preventative care. Masks are still required in public, and we tread lightly for fear of a new spike in cases that would shut us down again. To date, over 100,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.
Throughout it all, on the front lines, doctors, nurses, hospital and healthcare personnel worked unselfishly and tirelessly around the clock to cope with the hospitalizations and deaths. The number of those who succumbed to the virus mounted day by day. These essential workers, along with mail and package delivery, garbage removal, and transportation personnel, have never been more appreciated. Across the hard hit tri-state area, candles were lit in their honor, pots banged, and applause rang out of windows every evening in gratitude.
Our members did what they could to help locally—donating money for Feeding America and other organizations to help those in need, ordering lunches, dinners and making sandwiches and cookies for hospital and service personnel, writing notes and having Crocs delivered to Valley and Hackensack Hospitals, donating food for food pantries and the homeless, making cloth masks for friends and hospital workers, and supporting our police, ambulance and fire department volunteers. Most importantly, we stayed home to protect ourselves, our families, and others.
We hope that a vaccine will be developed soon to combat this world-wide pandemic. We look forward to meeting together again in the Fall, and beginning a new club year with our 4th Annual Garage Sale which is planned for September 12th.
Stay safe and stay well this summer!
The Woman’s Club of Upper Saddle River proudly sponsors a special fundraiser on Kentucky Derby Day–May 2nd, 2020–at the Brick House in Wyckoff from 5-9pm. Come and celebrate the excitement of the race with us! Have fun and help us raise funds for the purchase of an automatic CPR machine needed by our Ambulance Corps.
Tickets are $125 pp and $25 of your ticket price is a tax deductible contribution.
Details are on the flyer below. Please reserve your spot ASAP by sending your check (made out to the Woman’s Club of USR) to our P.O.Box 645 in Saddle River. Tickets are limited and going fast!
Thursday evening, March 5th marked the Awards Ceremony for our 34th annual Poetry and Essay contest. Because this year’s topic commemorated the 125th anniversary of the incorporation of Upper Saddle River as a Borough, our Mayor and Council graciously allowed us to award the children at their March Council meeting.
Winners read their winning entries, and Mayor Minichetti presented the awards. The topic concerned what might be placed in a time capsule to show future residents what is special about our town in 2020.
Club President, Nona Maher, surprised the students with the news that there would actually be a time capsule! It will contain the winning entries, photos of the places and things the students mentioned in their writing, a letter from the Woman’s Club, logos of the organizations in town and the historical and current maps of the town. The time capsule will be stored at the Hopper-Goetschius House Museum on the corner of Lake Street and East Saddle River Road for opening in the year 2145.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Woman’s Club members celebrated the upcoming holidays on Saturday evening at the Upper Montclair Country Club. It was festive night, and everyone enjoyed the camaraderie, food, music, and dancing. Many thanks to Kathie Durante who organized this special evening and her co-chairs, Christine Ferrarie and Robyn Ditkoff.
The New Jersey Federation of Woman’s Clubs celebrated its 125th Anniversary by holding a Day of Service on November 16th. All clubs were asked to donate goods that a young man or woman aging out of foster care might need when setting up their own living space. Among the items members donated were toiletries, cleaning products, blankets, socks, backpacks, hats, notebooks, t-shirts, snack items and many more. Members also wrote notes of encouragement to be given to the young people as they set out on their own. We filled a car with our donations. Many thanks to Sheila Ghorashi and Linda Miko who drove the items to Montville to our district collection location.
Won’t you join the Upper Saddle River Woman’s Club and donate to feed a family in need for the holidays? Your donation of $60 feeds a family of 8-10 (or several meals for a smaller family). We are partnering with CYACYL (Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life), and all meals (turkey or ham) will be cooked by a chef and delivered ready to eat. Included in each meal are meat, vegetables, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls, butter and dessert.
Send your check, made out to The Woman’s Club of Upper Saddle River, to our P.O. Box 645 in Saddle River. Write CYACYL on the memo line and specify your choice of gift (turkey or ham). Please send your check by December 5th, and join us in making a difference for many families this holiday season!
On Wednesday, members toured Washington’s Headquarters in Morristown. We learned about the encampment of 1789-1780 when George Washington and his men endured the coldest winter on record. Washington set up his command center in the Ford mansion. The home is furnished with some original and period pieces to reflect what the house most likely looked like when Washington, his wife, aides and servants shared the house with Mrs.Theodosia Ford and her children. The museum displays 18th century weapons, documents, and paintings from the war, as well as a film re-enacting the winter conditions the patriots endured. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at South and Pine Restaurant. Many thanks to Ronnie O’Neill who planned this delightful autumn day!
Upper Saddle River’s Town Wide Oktoberfest on Saturday, which benefited USR Cares and celebrated the town’s 125th anniversary, was a success! The weather was beautiful, and our club’s table drew many residents who wanted to learn about who we are and what we do–as well as many children who created their own autumn leaf decorations. Thanks to our members who set up and manned the table–and then broke it all down at the end of the day!