Florence Dean

Author and editor


With a background in the medical field and newspaper writing, I have been published in national and local magazines. I have a story posted on the New Mexico History website and currently have a Y/A book listed on Amazon.

I grew up in the northeast but with my husband have lived in the west and southwest. currently in the southeast corner of New Mexico. My three children all live in New Mexico but my grandchildren are scattered through Arizona and Florida as well as New Mexico. I am currently teaching a Continuing Education course in Creative Writing at NMSU/A.


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Stayin' Alive

Aug 01, 2021 1 year ago

Easter vacation was to begin the next week. I was volunteering as a mentor/teacher at an alternative high school, just beginning to get acquainted with the students. Because of the planned time off there was a buzz of excitement; my group was worrying about providing food during the vacation for the students who were at risk. Word circulated mid-afternoon that the school was actually closing indefinitely due to the Covid Pandemic. We didn't yet have a vaccine available and hadn't even begun to wear masks with any regularity. The available news was still speculative. There was, at that point, so much that we didn't know but it was apparent that it was not safe to shop for groceries, attend church or school or sports events. And, the availability of masks - and possible groceries - was a big concern. For the students I knew, and many were Seniors, some were happy to have studies curtailed but the concern was for graduation; would there be one? Would the Seniors be able to graduate? Ultimately there was an outdoor graduation ceremony with the student and parent groups widely separated. The Senior photos did appear in our local paper. Because of my age - ninety - I began avoiding contact with my family and friends, ordering groceries and other necessities online and keeping in touch via telephone, Facebook and Messenger. My son had planned a trip to meet my two great-great-grandsons to celebrate my ninetieth birthday. That didn't happen, but Facebook was awash with birthday wishes, my daughters sent flowers and my son and daughter-in-law arrived bearing gifts - and wearing masks. My church began providing You-Tube sermons and made each sermon available online. My Red Hat group no longer met for our monthly luncheons. Months went by and the daily wrap-up of Covid statistics was scary enough. A friend's father, in his 80's, died of a Covid infection and another elderly friend battled through the disease. A few of my grandchildren fell victim to the Covid and all survived. A daughter was exposed several times through her work at a veterinary clinic. I was thankful for television, my phone and my computer. It seemed time stood still and yet we had to survive, one day at a time. In October I drove 150 miles to my son-in-law's birthday celebration. He and my daughter live in a small town in the center of an oil field. I knew their exposure was limited and by that time I REALLY needed to "get out of town". When the vaccine was finally offered I think I was one of the first to sign up online, and to show up at our County Health Office for both shots! Most of the folks I know have now had the vaccine, but the reasons I've heard for refusing it range from "the government wants to inject chips with the vaccine so they can keep track of us" to "it wasn't tested enough"' I keep remembering the many thousands of people who died, some in spite of masks and the best we had available in medical care. And I think by this time, and facing the Delta variant, the very few cases of reactions compared to the millions of vaccine doses provided, would make getting the vaccine a very safe and smart decisions. I am old enough to recall WWII and the tremendous, concerted efforts of our country; and then there was the polio vaccine and we were so glad to be able to protect our children. We just can't seem to gather that optimism now. It has been wonderful to be able to dump the masks and go out to eat. My daughters are planning a long-postponed cruise in the fall. Now, of course, it appears those of us who had the two-dose Pfizer vaccine may require a booster shot sooner rather than later. I will be first in line

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