• Jay Silva

An Intermission of Sorts



When I first got the news in March that my job would be put on hold for the

time being due to a contagious airborne virus, nothing really set in as to what this

new life would mean. I was the full time production manager for the lovely historic

performing arts theater that is the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut.

I remember plugging in the ghost light casting its elegant golden illumination upon

the thousand and more newly emptied seats. I remember checking to make sure the

exit doors were firmly shut and I slowly reeled in the big rope to bring the main

curtain down to the stage floor. I grabbed a few things from my office and walked

out the backstage door without really grasping the longevity and weight of losing

such a daily relationship I once had with this legendary 1928 theater. I remember

telling my fiancé Rebekah the news, saying “Hey so the Garde is temporarily

shutting down and I’m not really sure what’s next.” What came next is a bit of our

ongoing story as we continue to unravel our new life within a pandemic.


Rebekah and I were all set to get married in June, and as April started to roll

around the corner our family and friends would reach out with their gentle nudging,

like hey, any clue what’s planned for the wedding? Of course it was a constant

thought of ours that the safety of our loved ones could be at risk during our wedding

celebration but nobody really knew how serious this disease was at the time so we

were a little shaky at first grasping this life-changing curveball. But we are lucky

enough to have an incredible venue and such understanding vendors who helped us

make the tough decision and postpone our wedding another year to the summer of

2021. Alas, the intermission from my theater job has melded into an intermission

within our personal life goals as well.


We were also lucky enough to have just purchased a lovely home together in

New London and this couldn’t have come at a better time, to stay safe, healthy and

cozy. We shared our bubble with our sweet fat cats named Bumble and Cornelius

and Spock, our little lizard friend. Due to being born with a heart condition and

being more at risk if contracting covid-19, I turned to solace in our home and

garden, putting my energies into plucking weeds and planting beautiful flowers,

veggies and herbs. We hung artwork on our fresh walls, set up birdfeeders and sang

songs on our porch in rainstorms. We got to know the neighborhood with long

walks to the beach or through the woods, waving to new people with this unspoken

bond of togetherness in a crisis, sharing shrugs of “Well, I guess this is life for now”

but none of us really know how long this is “for now.”


With the uncertainty and chaos continuing in the real world, days blended

within our bubble, but we did have our own protest at the end of our street near a

busy intersection to join all those in the fight for civil justice, anti-racism, equity and

equality and we continue to stay vigilant, vocal, educated, informed and aware. As

we started creeping toward the end of summer and the start of a new fall school

year we had concerns as to how this new work and school life would affect our

safety. Rebekah is a school psychologist and her confidence in her district and their

safety precautions seemed to help her ease back into a working relationship

continuing to assist kids in their education. First virtually via the computer and now

in person to keep making a difference in her school’s community and the future of

these student’s lives, I’m extremely proud of her.


Since the performing arts industry seems to be on hold indefinitely and

Rebekah is back to full time employment I was eager find some new joy and energy

within my daily life, so we decided to adopt a puppy. Our new pup named Cosmo is a

Potcake (mixed breed) rescue dog from Turks & Caicos and he’s a wonderfully

smart, gentle and playful dog. He’s been an excellent companion, keeping me

responsible and alert but also sharing in our love for hiking, the beach, and of

course, cuddles. He’s been a shining light and a perfect new addition to our little

New London family.


I also felt the overwhelming need to get together with my musician friends

and figure out how we could safely play music again to sooth our souls. My bands

“the Jampson Jubilee” and “Straight to VHS” slowly began to get together outdoors

around a fire and play music, share stories, laugh and collectively grieve in our new

pandemic world. The energy was pure and the music was electric, even if it meant

we had to leave our comfort zone and pick up acoustic instruments, we made it

work. We even set up all the gear outdoors in our backyard one day, plugged the

amps in and let the music flow through the streets of our neighborhood. Our

neighbors began to set up chairs outside and came over to say hi and we all fully

embraced the impromptu show. It was one of my fondest memories throughout this

experience and I felt a joyous sense of normality for a day, even with all the masks,

hand sanitizer and without the high fives, we had a blast.


This has been one of the most important lessons for me, when something

goes awry, its ok, we can always try to make it work. I severely miss my brother

Matt in Austin, Texas, and my amazing sister Jenn in Park City, Utah, but we try to

video chat weekly and stay in touch. I miss the hugs, but I drive to visit my parents

as often as possible and my Mom loves being a new doggy grandma. It’s the little

things that continue to help us cope with the loss of our “would be” wedding event

and I’m honored to have such wonderful family and friends. I can’t help but be a tiny

bit thankful that my grandparents passed away before this virus changed our way of

life. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for those who are prevented from seeing

their aging family, and my heart goes out to them and to those who have lost loved

ones because of this disease. Rebekah and I make it a point to mask up and visit her

90 year old grandmother as often as we can, she is an amazing, strong, funny and

smart woman, and these visits are just as beneficial for us as they are for her, we

keep teaching each other, and I think she likes the puppy too. It is a strange new

world but it is still our new world and we can mold it as we see fit, I believe

naturally we can be resistant to change but we are strong, loving and adaptable

people.


Even though as I write this, the numbers continue to rise of those infected by

this disease. People are struggling to eat and losing their lives and their housing but

I will continue to try and keep my head up and my heart open. We don’t know what

the future holds, but I know who and what I hold dear to me and the memories I will

continue to cherish to conquer the fears and feelings of loss I sometimes feel daily.


I’m still trying to figure out this balance between safety and quality of life but I do

look forward to what this new chapter of life may bring to people.

Maybe the year 2020 is the soft reset we needed to decipher what really

matters to us in our life and how we can better fit into the puzzle that this all is. I

believe in our future as a people because our children our so resilient but we must

do our best to lead by example with understanding, compassion, intelligence,

strength and joy. The curtain will rise again someday and it may not be the show we

once knew but it will be a show nonetheless and I will always continue to do my

best to be a positive part of it all, to inspire, to live and to love one another. Thank

you for reading my little pandemic life story.



Submitted by Jay Silva on Oct 14, 2020

Created Oct 10, 2020

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The Perfect Storm

These are, indeed, difficult times. The pandemic is the perfect storm which has negatively affected every member of our society. It crept in and seemingly robbed each of us of our “normal way of life.

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New London Landmarks is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and promote  New London's historic character through education, advocacy and the rehabilitation of historic structures. ​We're located at 49 Washington Street, New London, Connecticut.