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  • Susan Russo Anderson

Boys with Masks

Updated: Aug 21

The year my mother was born, newsboys were wearing masks in Manhattan. To stop the spread of

influenza, I reckon. I wonder if masking saved them, or stopped the spread. I wonder if masking all these months has saved us. I don't think anyone knows. Not really. Not that they’d ever admit their ignorance. And by they, you know who I mean—all the powerful toadies.

I pray for families who've lost loved ones because of the pandemic. Their agony is beyond words.

But am I being outrageous for wondering if masks helped prevent the spread of this horrible disease? For my wondering at those in power who reversed course and mandated mask wearing?

A while ago the CDC revised its guidelines, and with state agreement, made mask wearing optional for the fully vaccinated. With exceptions. That make sense, especially if you believe that masking helps prevent spread.

Like many, I am sick and tired of masks. I am also appalled at the censorship of those who disagree with current popular opinion. For censorship is the end of freedom. It is one of the hallmarks of dictatorship—take the Nazi book burnings in the 1930s, for instance.

What would my character Serafina think me? She’d tell me I need more hardship in my life.

So enough of pique. Time to enjoy. Time to wonder. What happened to the boys in this picture? Did they survive the 1918 pandemic? Because of their masks? And what about the woman in the picture below who forever wears a sign, “Wear A Mask Or Go To Jail”? Sadly, her ilk are still among us.

My mother, who was born January 1, 1918, has now survived both pandemics. She doesn’t attribute her health and longevity to wearing a mask. Only to the luck of the draw. But she’s happy to remove her mask.We can see her earrings and necklaces again for she dons them along with lipstick and rouge every morning. She can go on living. Breathing.

I have a friend who doesn’t think the way I do. She doesn’t think she will ever remove her mask in public. I applaud her freedom. I respect her thinking. Maybe she mourns a loved one lost to this horrible pandemic. Just like millions do.




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