By Bob Ball
For the duration of this pandemic, Joy and Bob Reinstein don’t venture out of their rural Vicksburg home.
They cope with that. Religious faith helps. “You make your own spot of heaven no matter where you are,” said Joy, a retired Vicksburg elementary teacher. “My husband and I have a strong faith. At their home, “We have a spot of heaven.”
They keep in touch with friends and family, read, pray and enjoy the sunshine when it comes out.
“The hardest part for my husband and me is the distance from our children. Our oldest son is a detective in Battle Creek. Our youngest is a teacher in Byron Center. Our sons have sweetly but firmly stated we will not leave our property. If we need something, they’ll bring it.”
As this article was written, the couple had needed just one item – salt for the water softener.
Joy Reinstein taught for 47 ½ years in several school districts, landing in Vicksburg and teaching there from 1973 to 2007. In 2002, she earned the district’s Teacher of the Year award, the Golden Apple. Her husband, Bob, owner of an orthodontic lab, retired in 2012.
When older people were found to be vulnerable to the virus threat, Joy recalled, “At first, they said over 60. Well, we’re 17 years past that point. So we wanted to be respectful of the authorities. But it’s heartbreaking to see younger kids dealing with it. I don’t always like everything our government says or does, but we’re trusting our heroes and the authorities helping them do the best they can. But it’s a challenge. I don’t know how people get through things like this.”
“Our concern is for health workers, their responsibility, the lack of supplies. It’s heartbreaking for our heroes.”
Their reading list includes Charles Swindoll’s “Laugh Again,” the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and “books on health and exercise.” The music list includes bluegrass, country and hymns. The exercise includes gardening – just now, pulling weeds.
Being confined to the house isn’t easy. They’ve been accustomed to visiting family and friends, going on rides, to musicals, plays, Shipshewana, Miller Auditorium, Turkeyville, going to nurseries. “In time, our off-property trips will continue.” Before the lockdown, they visited a 94-year-old friend often. “I’m disappointed we can’t visit for tea and cookies. We talk daily, but it’s not the same,” Joy said.
“Our hearts ache for the illness, the loss of life, the financial and business concerns. But we’d rather talk about our heroes.” They include, she said, the South County News “that keeps us apprised…and we’re blessed because Vicksburg has such a wonderful stewardship. We feel very blessed.”