A revealing series of self portraits during the quarantine
Here we are again. These profiles were photographed and written during the spring months when we were first introduced to the virus, when the city was in full lockdown, and before our focus shifted, appropriately, to this new civil rights movement. But here we are again. We present these diaries just as when they were written: vulnerable, real time snapshots by the individuals who experienced them.
By Miosha Williams
When the quarantine first began I thought it would be temporary. I didn’t realize the effect it would have on both my specialty cake business, and more importantly, my children’s lives, the way it did.
As the days turned into weeks, it affected my children in a way that I wasn’t too fond of. It affected my son the most because he’s the oldest and attends school. He had to complete his last few months of school through a computer screen. He didn’t get the chance to enjoy spring break or enjoy a formal kindergarten graduation. He wondered when he would be able to go outside and play with his little sister and enjoy the company of his classmates again, but I couldn’t give him a definite answer because I wasn’t sure myself.
Through it all, he prevailed and earned his certificate for passing Kindergarten.
For my daughter it was different because she’s only a year old and didn’t quite understand everything going on. She would just follow her brother’s lead and play in the house with him. If she ever went to the store with me, she knew it was time to put on a mask and never take it off while in the store.
Even though she didn’t understand that it was possibly life or death for her to keep her mask on, she knew the importance of not pulling it away from her face.
Store runs were challenging because I feared for their safety at all times.
If I had to take them with me, they had masks on and were told not to touch a thing. Trips were always short, and I knew exactly what I needed before I went. They couldn’t wait to get back in the car because they knew masks were off and it was time for sanitizer.
Although store runs were a challenge, nothing could prepare me for the difficulty of running a small cake business and juggling two children while in a pandemic.
While I took the necessary precautions so that my children and customers were always safe, there were times where I wanted to turn down orders because I feared my children getting the virus from a customer.
Never in a million years would I have thought that my family would be affected by a pandemic, and it definitely opened my eyes to the importance of teaching my children to always be careful and clean because not everyone is.
Going forward, I pray that everyone gets through this difficult time and that this virus doesn’t last forever.
Miosha Williams is a native of Memphis and a pastry chef. She owns a specialty cake business called Taste So Sweet. When she isn’t busy baking cakes, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children.
Photos by Vo Williams. Vo’s work can be seen on his Instagram at E.vo.lve
The Quarantine Dairies, Memphis:
On Monday, March 23, 2020, in the first of many safety precautions responding to the oncoming Coronavirus, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland issued the “Safer at Home” shelter-at-home executive order that directed all Memphis residents to stay inside their homes unless “absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.” All over Memphis, people from all walks and disciplines adjusted to a new way of life, almost entirely from home: teaching, working, holding online meetings, coping. With this profile series we have captured a sampling – Memphians willing to share their quarantine diaries. Compiled from submitted stories and various contributors, this series gives us snapshots of a variety of voices around the city and presents a part of the narrative that is the ever-changing landscape of 2020. StoryBoard is currently editing our compiled snapshot stories for publication – we are also collecting more stories for as long as the pandemic continues.
Edited by Kristin Jones and Mark Fleischer