The year 2020 … looking back

Looking back at 2020, it’s difficult to believe that the blog has been dormant since April. After all, with a global pandemic, there should have been nothing but ample time to create content. It’s amazing though how days filled up with things to do, and when they didn’t, my mood wasn’t right somehow for reflection.

Now that we’re in 2021 and can say good riddance to 2020, it’s time for me to get going again. What better time to start than with the clean slate of a new year.

With the said, here’s a bit of a synopsis of the extremes of 2020 for Dorothy and I.

The year started for me in a normal manner with an assignment to photograph a pair of Rosenbauer Panther ARFF units at the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. It was definitely a welcome place to visit in January!

#larryshapiro; #Rosenbauer; #FLL
photographing a truck at the Fort Lauderdale Airport in January
Arriving in Frankfurt on a Lufthansa 747

In mid-February, Dorothy and I took a trip to Germany with Am Shalom of Glencoe. We spent seven days touring the country with only briefly hearing about Wuhan, China and a contagious new virus strain when going through immigration.

#dorothyshapiro #larryshapiro
At dinner in Frankfurt, Germany in February

We were on a tour bus with 20 people and mingling in crowds in several cities.

Dorothy bundled up in Dresden
#larryshapiro; #Rosyred; #Rosenbauer; #Freightliner
photographing an off-road fire truck in Sherborn, MA

In late February I was in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for two days of fire trucks.

On the firing range qualifying for a concealed carry permit

In early March, Dorothy and I took a class on firearm safety and then had to show proficiency with a handgun with a target at multiple distances.

Dorothy firing at the farthest distance to illustrate her proficiency

On March 11, 2020, the WHO made the assessment that COVID-19 was to be characterized as a pandemic. It was largely considered to be distant from the US though sporadic cases appeared in the Pacific Northwest.

#dorothyshapiro #larryshapiro
Larry Shapiro photo

On March 12, we were fortunate to take advantage of a trip that we’d won to a beautiful resort in Nassau. Travel restrictions were being implemented to Europe, Asia, and other destinations to the west. We headed east, which was believed to be safe and not yet an area of danger. We knew that the future for Dorothy, as a Nurse Practitioner in pulmonary, was going to be intense and demanding for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, the brief visit to the Bahamas was fortuitous.

a self portrait in PPE while at work in the hospital in mid April

Soon after, things got bad throughout the country. Hospitals went into lockdown mode and personal protection from the virus was paramount, especially for those in healthcare and emergency medical services. Dorothy’s new normal was scrubs with a mask and eye protection from the time she arrived at work until she left for home each day.

a little respite from the rigors of work in the hospital day in and day out

With lockdowns and travel restrictions, we began to take long walks every day. On this particular day in late April, we went exploring in a nearby construction site.

#dorothyshapiro #larryshapiro
Vito Maggiolo photo

During a period of relative calm and lower infection rates nationally, Dorothy accompanied me on a work trip to Washington, DC in August. After a few weeks, hot spots began to pop up around the country which put the kibosh on her being able to travel with me. I made a few more trips to select areas after checking case counts and doing our own risk/benefit analysis.

#larryshapiro; #Rosyred; #Rosenbauer; HOU
on assignment in Houston – masked for safety

In October, I travelled to both major airports in Houston to photograph airport, rescue and firefighting units (ARFF) for Rosenbauer. While traveling, I wore safety glasses and an N95 mask. I kept my distance from those I came into contact with, and everyone that I met with at the fire department was respectful of my precautions.