By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
My Uncle Russ had a bit of a shopping problem.
For the last 10 years of his life, due to decades of hard work in maintenance at the York County Prison which resulted in a back injury, , my uncle spent a lot of time sitting in his favorite chair watching QVC and the Home Shopping Network.
The pile of treasure he amassed filled his garage. He also loved to share the stuff with me when my mom and I would visit. Thanks to Uncle Russ I have become the proud owner of a “professional” hot dog roller, a turkey deep fryer, a very early version of the Instant Pot, a Ron Popeil food dehydrator, a cast iron dutch oven, countless pairs of blue blockers and other little things.
My favorite, though, by far, were the Hess collectible vehicles that he’d been gathering for years. Among other ventures, Hess Petroleum operated gas stations up and down the East Coast. Every year, they would release a toy truck, which later morphed into cars, planes and helicopters. My uncle loved these trucks and he’d give me one or two when I’d come to visit. They’re among my favorite things in the world.
On Jan. 18, My Uncle Russ died. It wasn’t much of a surprise. He’d been sick for a while and dementia had really begun to take over. Because of the explosion in COVID-19 cases and being at a high-risk for the virus, I couldn’t go to the funeral.
I’m not the only one. A lot of people lost their lives during and because of the coronavirus. The Pittsburgh Current’s Brittany Hailer wrote about it last year. Every portion of our lives were interrupted in the past year, including how we grieve.
We all have stories like this. The pandemic resulted in many different things for many different people. To mark the one year anniversary of the day we locked down, here are a few more of those stories: