Jeanetta Hawkins Oral History, 2022/10/03


Title (Dublin Core)

Jeanetta Hawkins Oral History, 2022/10/03

Description (Dublin Core)

Self Description - "My name is again Jeanetta Hawkins and the name of my company is Personal Touches by Jeanetta. It's a family owned Christian based specialty event decorating company and event rental company that's located in St. Louis, Missouri, right downtown. We're right on north, north of downtown. And we've been in business for over 34 years. All of my children were raised in the business. And now I'm so excited that my grandchildren are now in the business as well and doing pretty pretty well with it."
Some of the things we discussed include:
Running a special event rental/decorating company; family business.
Being at a trade show in Vegas when the pandemic hit the USA; traveling home to St. Louis, Missouri.
Catching up on sleep during lock down; visiting family through glass, not getting to see family; hugs.
First visit with a family member during the pandemic.
Being nearly completely booked for 2020 by 2019; clients canceling events while St. Louis began shutting down; policies decreasing the number of people who could gather.
Applying for any available government support for small business grants/loans; high success rate; waning support in 2021.
Looking out for employees during lockdown.
Pivoting business from a pre-pandemic focus on decorating toward providing rentals; shifting from large conventions to more intimate events.
Adult children taking on certain business tasks for age-related safety reasons.
Loving what one does and staying busy; decorating as an art and as a passion.
Husband retired from law enforcement; protecting the family.
Born Again Christianity; being more spiritual than religious; online services; feeling support in spiritual community.
Division in the USA over issues like masking.
Not taking life for granted; making the best out of every situation.

Other cultural references: NBA, Habitat for Neighborhood Businesses, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Anthony Fauci, President Obama

Recording Date (Dublin Core)

October 3, 2022 08:05

Creator (Dublin Core)

Kit Heintzman
Jeanetta Hawkins

Contributor (Dublin Core)

Kit Heintzman

Link (Bibliographic Ontology)

Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

English Biography
English Entrepreneurs
English Government Federal
English Health & Wellness
English Home & Family Life
English Religion

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

business owner
trade show

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

Born Again
small business
St Louis

Collection (Dublin Core)

Black Voices

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)


Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Date Created (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Kit Heintzman

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Jeanetta Hawkins

Location (Omeka Classic)

St. Louis
United States of America

Format (Dublin Core)


Language (Dublin Core)


Duration (Omeka Classic)


abstract (Bibliographic Ontology)

Running a special event rental/decorating company; family business. Being at a trade show in Vegas when the pandemic hit the USA; traveling home to St. Louis, Missouri. Catching up on sleep during lock down; visiting family through glass, not getting to see family; hugs. First visit with a family member during the pandemic. Being nearly completely booked for 2020 by 2019; clients canceling events while St. Louis began shutting down; policies decreasing the number of people who could gather. Applying for any available government support for small business grants/loans; high success rate; waning support in 2021. Looking out for employees during lockdown. Pivoting business from a pre-pandemic focus on decorating toward providing rentals; shifting from large conventions to more intimate events. Adult children taking on certain business tasks for age-related safety reasons. Loving what one does and staying busy; decorating as an art and as a passion. Husband retired from law enforcement; protecting the family. Born Again Christianity; being more spiritual than religious; online services; feeling support in spiritual community. Division in the USA over issues like masking. Not taking life for granted; making the best out of every situation.

Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Kit Heintzman 00:00
Hello, would you please state your name, the date, the time and your location?

Jeanetta Hawkins 00:05
My name is Jeanetta Hawkins. I am in St. Louis, Missouri. Today is October the third and it is five.

Kit Heintzman 00:16
And the year is 2022.

Jeanetta Hawkins 00:19
And the years 2022.

Kit Heintzman 00:22
And do you consent to having this interview recorded, digitally uploaded and publicly released under Creative Commons License attribution noncommercial sharealike?

Jeanetta Hawkins 00:31

Kit Heintzman 00:33
Thank you so much for being here with me this morning. Could you just start by introducing yourself to anyone who might find themselves listening? What would you want them to know about you and the place you're speaking from?

Jeanetta Hawkins 00:44
Good morning, my name is again Jeanetta Hawkins and the name of my company is Personal Touches by Jeanetta. It's a family owned Christian based specialty event decorating company and event rental company that's located in St. Louis, Missouri, right downtown. We're right on north, north of downtown. And we've been in business for over 34 years. All of my children were raised in the business. And now I'm so excited that my grandchildren are now in the business as well and doing pretty pretty well with it.

Kit Heintzman 01:33
Would you tell me a story about your life during the pandemic?

Jeanetta Hawkins 01:38
Oh, man, that was a scary moment for us. When it first happened. I was actually in Vegas at a special event trade show. And I had been there for the week. And it was winding up and very excited about all of the new products that I've found. The new services that we were going to introduce into our business, couldn't wait to get back to our clients. And all of a sudden, we started hearing little things bits and pieces about something nobody knew what it was what what was going on, or either they weren't communicating it. I don't know which which one was the truth. But things started shutting down in Vegas, and I received a phone call from my husband saying the NBA, they are shutting down the NBA. And so whatever is going on is pretty serious. And you probably need to try to make your way back home. And so I I did after the show, because again, I wasn't clear on what was going on. And I had four events booked for when I returned for that weekend. And once I reached St. Louis, I started getting text messages from my clients. And it was, I'll never forget, I'll never forget it. They were saying that they were not hosting the events because St. Louis was shutting down and they did not want anyone to have any events over at that time. It was maybe I think 100 people, and then it dropped down to 50 people and then 20 people. And it was a scary, scary moment because we were completely booked for 2020 back in 2019. Not completely but we were booked for the whole year. And so once I got home and we started my husband I we started watching the news, fear just gripped my heart seriously, because I know that without the revenue, I could not pay one bill without you know, the the business. And so I my husband looked at me and said, What what are you gonna do? I said, I have no idea what I'm gonna do. And I just remember staying glued to CNN, and CNBC. I don't even know, CNBC. And then every time an official would come on the news and they would start talking about the pandemic and the death and it was just a lot but the saving grace was because I was watching the news. And they, the government just really stepped in to really support and help our businesses, our small businesses, were really all businesses, I applied for any and every thing available. And I would say received 90% of everything or 99% of everything that came my way that I heard about on the news, or locally, people would call me and say, hey, you know, apply for, we have this grant money, or we have this loan, that's 1% 0% 3%. And so that was our saving grace. And also my husband, he, he is a day trader. So he began to help me take the investments that I had already had and to and he started teaching me and showing me how to invest what I already had in hand and grow it. And that's what I ended up doing for the year 2020 is investing and, and it really helped us believe it or not, in 2021 because there weren't as many lifelines for small businesses or any business during the month of May, during the year of 2021. That was probably the harder month, year 2021. And then the beginning of 2022. So that is what we went through and being afraid to go out. And because we're in the special event industry, we actually had to pivot our business was strictly decorating. And during the pandemic, we actually started renting, my kids stepped up because I was not going to go out. But my kids went out which are their adults. And they said that they weren't afraid to go out. And we just started renting our pipe and drape and tables and chairs and podiums. Because there was a there were a lot of press conferences, there were a lot of there were a lot of stations, food, food, state food banks, stations, and so people needed tents, they needed tables and needed chairs, they needed podiums to have press conferences, and backdrops, they wanted to look very presidential, you know, and that's what we do. So my, my two adult children, they stepped up and they started getting out there and renting out all of our products. And then the other thing that started happening is, after there was like a little bit of a handle on everything. People started having events, they weren't letting go of their birthdays, they weren't letting go, if they were engaged, wanting to be married, they still kind of wanted to have family gatherings, but just smaller family gatherings. So we're a business that have been known to do conventions, large events, you know, 5,000 10,000 4,000 2,000. So of course, all of that was shut down. The hotels were shut down. The convention centers were shut down, because we do travel nationally to do national conventions. And so all of that was shut down. So we actually had to pivot from doing the larger events to do my very personal private events, which means rentals. So that's what happened in 2020.

Kit Heintzman 09:32
Do you remember when you first heard about COVID-19?

Jeanetta Hawkins 09:35
I do. It was I think it was March 13, 2020. Because I was in Vegas. And that's when, Well, actually it happened before I went to Vegas, but our shutdown for our city was March 13, 2020.

Kit Heintzman 10:03
What was it like traveling back from Vegas while all of this was sort of just starting.

Jeanetta Hawkins 10:10
I was paranoid. Because people started coughing. And, you know, even today, when you cough, everybody looks into like, Oh, our did you cover your mouth? Are you spreading germs? Are you spreading COVID. So it was a little frightening. I just remember, you know, wanting to get back home. But I still didn't understand what was going on. We didn't know about the deaths at that mall at that time. We just knew that the NBA was shutting down. And that's all that I knew. So, and I didn't even know that my city had shut down because I was not in communications with anyone until I actually landed. So it, it was, you know, I just I was afraid because things were happening, Vegas had started to shut down, they were shutting down the shows they were shutting down some of the hotels while I was there. So just the uncertainty brought a little panic.

Kit Heintzman 11:26
To the extent that you're comfortable sharing, would you tell me something about your experiences with health and the health care system before the pandemic?

Jeanetta Hawkins 11:37
Before, well, let's see. I don't have any comments on it either negative or positively.

Kit Heintzman 11:58
Pre pandemic, what was your day to day looking like?

Jeanetta Hawkins 12:02
Oh, very busy. Like now, just every day, hustle bustle. Every every single day. So what I do what I love, so they say that if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life. And I believe that statement to be true. So just not afraid to go out not afraid to travel, working hard, providing, you know, for my team. And so that's what we did.

Kit Heintzman 12:42
How's that busyness felt in terms of work life balance.

Jeanetta Hawkins 12:50
My business has always been my life. So it does not bother me at all. Like I said, I love what I do. So because I love what I do it, it really, it's not work. To me, it's art. If you're an artist, and you love to draw, and you could draw every single day, they're there. It's you know, it's it's my passion. So so it's it's good. Now, if you were to interview my husband, on the other hand, and he may tell a totally different story, because I do work a lot. But you're not interviewing him.

Kit Heintzman 13:43
What's marriage meant to you during this period?

Jeanetta Hawkins 13:47
Oh, to have a partner that was in, you know, retired from law enforcement meant the world. He's very protective and very knowledgeable and very informed. And because he's retired, he gets to listen to the news almost 24 hours a day. And he makes sure that our family is protected and informed. So it's been great to have a partner like that.

Kit Heintzman 14:19
How did your day to day change when locked down happened?

Jeanetta Hawkins 14:23
Oh my God, I got so much rest, it was unbelievable. I think I slept for three months. It was amazing. It was amazing. So it was beautiful. The only thing that I did not like was being separated from my adult children and grandkids. I didn't like that part. You know, we had to see each other through glass doors, glass windows. And I love to cook and entertain my my family so I was not able to to do that during that time. So that part was difficult. But when you work the way I work, and you get a chance to rest, and you don't have to be anywhere, no demands on you coming from anywhere. That part was really nice to experience.

Kit Heintzman 15:18
Do you remember, one of the first times you got to see your adult children or your grandchildren again, without it having to be through a pane of glass.

Jeanetta Hawkins 15:30
Yeah, I, my daughter, and I, all I'm close with all of my kids. But my daughter lived right downtown, my youngest. And so we just decided we lived right around the corner from one, one another. And we just decided that we were going to take a chance, wear our masks as recommended, and see one another. And so I remember letting her in the house. And she sat on one side of the couch, and I sit on the other side of the couch. And just to have her in my presence was pretty awesome. And you don't realize how fortunate we are to have each other and in, in our lives. Until you can't touch that person can't you know? Embrace them. So that was that was pretty special to see her. And so and we kind of did it often. After that. We we stayed because she was off work, I was off work. There was no more busyness. And so we were able to just really connect and enjoy each other.

Kit Heintzman 16:59
Has your relationship to touch changed?

Jeanetta Hawkins 17:04
In what way?

Kit Heintzman 17:06
You had mentioned, being able to sit with but not yet being able to touch. I'm wondering about whether or not you have have just changed the way that you touch people or change the way you think about whether or not you're going to touch someone.

Jeanetta Hawkins 17:21
Oh, I'm a hugger. So I always embrace so No, it hasn't changed. It's just now we do it, we still are very conscious of the pandemic because it is not gone away. But at the same time. It's something that I just have to take a chance on because I'm going to hug my family. So if anything has changed is the fact that that I hug them knowing that you know, every time I hug them, it could you know, it can lead to illness, you know, so there's just an awareness, but it's something a chance that I'll just be willing to take.

Kit Heintzman 18:16
You've mentioned being Christian, I'm wondering if you could share a little bit about your spiritual journey?

Jeanetta Hawkins 18:23
During the pandemic or just my life period?

Kit Heintzman 18:26
Your life period and then the pandemic if you're willing to do both?

Jeanetta Hawkins 18:29
Yeah. Well, yeah, I'm a born again, spiritual Christian. And I, I practice Christianity. And strongly believe in Jesus Christ, as my Lord and my Savior. And and do and I, I am not religious, very spiritual, though, believing that God leads and guide me and my family, you know, through life and life challenges, lifes ups, life downs, decisions, you know, I always pray about it, and try to get some guidance. not perfect. But, but, but working on it striving for for perfection, and what I mean by perfection, just being kind and respectful and loving and supportive to all of mankind. No matter what race, you know, no, no matter what creed no matter what nationality, male, female, no matter what your beliefs are, you know, just try and be a good person. You know? And so during the pandemic, that really helped me get through everything because it was a lot, it was a lot I have, I'm responsible for a lot of my employees. And during the pandemic, you know, I wanted to make sure they were good, as well, and their families were good. And so, you know, I, it's a lot of pressure to have a business that was thriving, and then, you know, to pump the brakes, and not know what the future holds or not know how long the, the brakes will be pumped. So, and I've always strived for better, bigger, more awesome. And so trying to climb that mountain, feeling the weight of the business, feeling the pressure of the responsibilities that come along with that, and the families, you know, you feel like giving up, you'd feel like man, Lord, okay, is this it, you know, should I quit, should I Is it time to, you know, go to another phase in your life, and just having that comfort of not not only just my my spiritual life, and prayers, but also other colleagues and mentors and friends that will kind of encourage you to just keep, keep pushing, keep moving forward, and keep moving on, and my dad, he's my spiritual dad, he's not my natural father. But my spiritual dad and his wife were very instrumental to and just encouraging the entire congregation, to, you know, just hold on, and take it a day at a time. And, and because of that, I'm still here today, you know, and our business is thriving once again. But there were moments, a lot of moments when I just didn't think that I could pull through.

Kit Heintzman 22:25
I'd love it if you shared more about the congregation in your spiritual and your spiritual communities. And how the pandemic may have impacted your ability to connect with one another.

Jeanetta Hawkins 22:41
Well, I know that we started doing online services, which was great for me, because I run so much to not get in that car was everything and so to still be able to hear my spiritual father preach on Sundays, or whenever they call the meetings, and to give us some encouraging words, all of us. It meant the world to because sometimes when you're in your own head, your own thoughts. They're not necessarily the right thoughts, you know, and usually, when you're in your own head, sometimes it's, you know, it's like I can't make it I can't I don't know if I can go on with this, you know, what am I going to do about you know, all my responsibilities or whatever, but then you you're reminded through the word of God, that you can you know, you could do all things through Christ Jesus, this like act, I think is called acclamations. So, you know, you hear all of those words that come from the Bible that changes your mind to say, yes, okay, I can I can do it another day, I can go another day. And and then when you have your spiritual sisters and brothers praying for you, lifting you up, calling you, making sure you're okay checking on you. It just makes a it makes a difference. You're not alone in it. And when you know that you're not alone, and you have a great and strong support system. It really helps. And then also, there's another organization that I belong to, which is habitat for neighborhood businesses, and they too make sure that all of the businesses that were a part of their agency, were looks out for, you know, and they checked on us and provided resources. So when everybody was sharing information, our church was sharing information every time they got information about the pandemic, what to do, how to protect yourself, you know, trying to find out what what the needs were of the congregation and meeting those needs. People were sharing, they were sharing information, almost like on a weekly basis, all the agencies, so I had a great community. And they're the reason why, again, I'm standing other than my faith in God too, you know, that's the first reason is because of Him. But the second is my my family and my community.

Kit Heintzman 25:47
You've mentioned applying for levels of small business assistance, would you tell me a little bit about what that process was like?

Jeanetta Hawkins 25:57
It was, believe it or not relatively simple as was more simple, it was more simple than than it is probably now. But the government stepped in. And I mean, they just made it very easy. For a small business like mine to go online, put your information in, of course, some of the applications, you have to verify what you're putting in which I keep great documents anyway, so that was not a problem for me. But you've you filled, filled it out, they processed it, they got the money into your account, and then you were able to take care of the things that you needed to take care of, one of which was the PPP loan, it was very instrumental, because I did not lay off one employee during the pandemic, once that came, you know, of course, we all got shut down and couldn't get together. But once that money was made available, it was really set aside for you to pay your employees and to pay your rent. And so it was used, we use that, or I use it to pay rent and to take care of my employees. So even though we didn't have any business, we have a 10,000 square foot warehouse, full of props, and, and all of our rental items, tables and chairs and staging and all of that. So we were able to come in here and use that time to do inventory to clean repair. So they still were able to work, and still were able to feed their families. And that was a result of the help that we received from, you know, one of the programs. And then the other one that helped us get through the year was the EIDL. And that's the E-I-D-L, from the Small Business Administration. And that process, once again, was very simple to do just had to submit some documents, which I had. And once that money was in the bank, we were able to take care of all of the bills that were coming in. We were able the banks were very understanding utility companies were understanding. We have vehicles here we have trucks and vans, they too were everybody was they just jumped in and they were they were willing to help and to and they understood and they made it. They made 2020 less stressful, it could have been even more stressful because everybody had needs and but they actually took it off. The stress came even worse, like in 2021. Like I said, when the fundings and the programs were really closing. So that is what happened with that.

Kit Heintzman 29:25
I'm wondering with your experience working in events, what do you notice about large groups of people coming together?

Jeanetta Hawkins 29:35
Oh, that they missed one another. They're happy to see one another. The same feeling that I felt when I saw my daughter and my grandchildren saw both my daughters and both my sons and all of my grandkids you know, the that feeling of, you know, physically getting together. Because it was almost like two years, since we've actually seen one another. So it was a, it was good. It was it was it was good.

Kit Heintzman 30:17
2020 had a lot going on that wasn't just COVID-19, the same could be said for 2021, and for 2022. I'm wondering other than the pandemic, what have been some of the social and political issues on your mind and heart over the last couple of years?

Jeanetta Hawkins 30:40
Well, well, if we go back to 20, yeah 2020, 2020 and 2021. What disturbed me the most was when they asked us to social distance. And when they asked us to wear masks, and you had the divide in the country, where half of the half of the country believed in the science, the other half didn't believe in anything. And you just felt violated. Because of that. And I guess it went both ways. Those that refuse to wear masks, they felt like their rights were violated. And those that read that wanted to wear the mask, like myself and my family, we felt violated as well, you know, and we felt like, the way that they put it is if I wear a mask, I care about you, because I'm protecting you. And if you wear a mask, you're protecting me. And so when people didn't wear masks, you felt like they did not care about the disease or our other people. So whether they did or not, you know, it was just your, your perception of the way it was. So that was a little disturbing, and and a little annoying. And it was on both sides. You know, though, like I said, those that wore masks, they were irritated with those that didn't and those that didn't wear masks, they were irritated by, you know, the ones that did. So that was my political view, I believe that it could have been handled from the head a little bit better. And if our leaders had had stressed it from the top, I just don't think that and this is just my personal opinion that we would have had that divide. Because when it first happened, everybody was kind of on board and staying at home. So I guess I you know, I guess. But that's just my little opinion.

Kit Heintzman 33:06
I'm curious, what does the word health mean to you?

Jeanetta Hawkins 33:09
The word health. If you're healthy. Well, it would probably be better to tell you if you don't have good well, so health. You can have good health or you can have bad health. So the word health in and of itself. I can't tell you what it means to me, because I'm not sure. But good health means to me that I'm able to do the things that I need to do. It's important for me to have good health and, and for everybody to have access to health care. So that is the only thing that I can think of at this time as it relates to your question.

Kit Heintzman 34:15
What do you think we would need to change as a culture so that we could all access good health?

Jeanetta Hawkins 34:20
I'm not sure. And if they knew they would have done it a long years ago, so I definitely don't have an answer to that. I one, one thing I know that we find a way to do everything. So it's just shocking that we haven't figured out that piece yet. Well, we still fight about it. You know, one side says one thing and other side says another so I don't know if you know if taxes would help. I I don't I don't have the answer for that. I'm not sure.

Kit Heintzman 35:06
What does the word safety mean to you?

Jeanetta Hawkins 35:08
The word safety, what does that mean to me. It just, I guess, I guess it means that I would not have to worry about someone violating my right to live to be to exist. So that's my opinion.

Kit Heintzman 35:55
Under the sort of teeny tiny framework of safety from the virus, what are some of the things that you've been doing to keep yourself feeling safer?

Jeanetta Hawkins 36:07
Oh, well, I do check in with my doctor, I try to follow the protocols that Dr. Fauci set for us, which is wear, wear a mask. I don't necessarily social distance, but I do wear a face mask. I social distance where I can, but I'm in the event industry, and I plan an event. So that's kind of difficult to stay away from people. But those are the things that that I do.

Kit Heintzman 36:46
You'd mentioned your adult children getting into the business and sort of a different way. During the pandemic, would you share more about that?

Jeanetta Hawkins 36:56
Oh, well, what they, they, they were just, they would just take the event, people would call me and they would want us to come out and set up backdrops and bring tables and podiums and things like that, and tents. And I just refuse to go out in public during the pandemic. But my adult children who were raised in this business and had been doing it for many, many years, they just, they were courageous. They, they had no fear of going out, they wore their masks, they did the social distance they set up, they didn't have to come in contact with the client at all, they would stage it client would come and then after the clients gone, they would, you know, go and dismantled everything. But I just they were our heroes, they kept our business and front of everybody out, you know, out front, and they service the clients that needed to be service during the pan pandemic.

Kit Heintzman 38:11
What's motherhood meant to you during the last few years?

Jeanetta Hawkins 38:15
Oh, we could say through the last 50 years no, let me see, the last 40 years, this has been everything I love, I love being a mom, I love being a grandmother, my grandmother of 12, a mother of six. And I have an amazing adult children that are in this business. And that whether we are working together, you know, battling on who's right about the design, or whether we're at home in my living room, and I'm feeding them gumbo. It's just, it's, it's awesome. I love being around them. I love being around them and during the pandemic. It does make you appreciate them more, but I don't think I can love them any harder than I already do. Always.

Kit Heintzman 39:16
How much do you think your grandchildren understood about what's been happening?

Jeanetta Hawkins 39:22
Oh, they they they totally understand because it affected the kids too. They were in school, and they had to do homeschool for a year and zoom. Whether it's at my house for babysitting or whether it's at their house with their parents, they fully understand, you know, that there was you know, a disease that could harm them. So I believe that children are smarter than we give them credit for.

Kit Heintzman 40:00
How are you feeling about the immediate future?

Jeanetta Hawkins 40:04
Very positive and hopeful. Very positive and hopeful.

Kit Heintzman 40:14
What are some of your hopes for a longer term future?

Jeanetta Hawkins 40:19
Well, I do want to retire one day, you know, I don't want to work for ever. And, but right now, we are in the process of moving into a bigger facility. And we are working on that. And once we achieve that goal, I think that I'll be able to, to sit down and enjoy the fruit of my labor.

Kit Heintzman 41:00
When you felt in need of support over the last couple of years, who have you been able to turn to?

Jeanetta Hawkins 41:06
Everyone. I have a lot of girlfriends. I have a lot of guy friends. I have my church family, I have my business community. I have my family. So I have a whole community of people that I get turned to anytime.

Kit Heintzman 41:36
And what are some of the things you do to take care of yourself?

Jeanetta Hawkins 41:41
I love to sleep. I love to sleep. I love to go to movies. And all of that takes my mind off of what I have to do. I do practice close shutting my mind down from because I think about events all the time. And so I do know how to shut that down. Where I'm in the moment. And that's what helps me a lot is to live in the moment. Not live in a tomorrow not live in what yesterday brought our art. You know what it brought, but living in the right now. So if I'm at work, I'm at work. And if I'm not at work, I am not at work.

Kit Heintzman 42:31
Do you think of COVID-19 in the last couple years as a historic event?

Jeanetta Hawkins 42:37
Absolutely. Absolutely never happened before. Not at that level.

Kit Heintzman 42:49
Thinking back to your own education when you were young, what are some of the things you'd wished you'd learned more about in history?

Jeanetta Hawkins 43:01
I don't. I don't I don't, I don't even think about it. So it will be well, maybe wars, maybe some of the, you know the timelines and war, you know, why did we go? Who did we fight? What was the outcome? I wish I had paid more attention to that.

Kit Heintzman 43:30
What do you think scholars in the social sciences and humanities so fields like sociology, or literature or anthropology, or political science, what should we be doing right now to help us understand the human side of the pandemic?

Jeanetta Hawkins 43:48
Well, I think what you're doing is good, you're documenting some of the business experiences, and I'm sure others are documenting some of the other you know, I don't like some of the personal experiences not necessarily connected to business. So I think just like like you, you know, you can never it's difficult to know where you're going without understanding where you've come from. And I have a saying here at the shop when when we have mistakes that cost us dearly. I call it college tuition. And some people call it dumb tax. So if we document and we understand what went wrong, what happened then maybe we don't have to go back down that road again to get the same to get the lesson. And I don't know what that lesson should be I think the lesson was different for everybody. But But I don't think that we should ever have to have a shutdown like this if we can find out what the source of this whole pandemic where, where it stemmed from, you know, what, how can we avoid that happening? Even if it's a bat a snake, or was it a freak of nature? Was it something that we, we just can't avoid? And we just hope and pray that it you know, it doesn't happen again. And what can we do now, to, so if it does happen, you know, do we have plans in place to, to make sure that it is not as detrimental as it was. So I think what you're doing is, is a good thing, and that tell it telling this stories. Hopefully, we won't have to do it again.

Kit Heintzman 46:12
This is my last question. I'd like you to imagine speaking to a historian in the future, someone far enough away that they have no lived experience of this moment. What would you tell them cannot be forgotten about COVID-19?

Jeanetta Hawkins 46:29
Oh, God, girl, Mmmhmm. What I would say is from a human perspective, is to love hard, laugh loud, and dance in the rain. I mean, don't take life for granted. Do not think that just because you're young, just because you're smart, or you're well off. Or, you know, you're you don't have enough or you, you're living in a bad situation. And to live, live in the moment, enjoy where you are, no matter where you are in life, make the best out of it. Because it will change. It can change. And it could change for the better. It could change for the worse. But no matter what you you will you'll get through it. No matter where you are in life. But the main thing is to not take life for granted. Not take life for granted at all. And even if you are in a bad situation, and you're still living, and it seems like hell just know that that too can change your situation can change. So that would be my message is to, to not take life for granted. And and because I think what we do we forget that everybody's life is not great. And that was a wake up call for me. Because my life was great. And then to see others, you know, other people go through worse conditions. I had no, I had no right to complain. Because if I if I had to live their life, I don't even know if I could make it but people are making it every day. So, you know, check on your neighbors, check on others look out for others, care for others support, others try to lift them up. Because I LOVE what President Obama said is, you know, we are the human race. You know, we are all humans. That is our commonality we all have. You know, we all love our families. We all you know want a better life. We want to be healthy and strong and enjoy our life. We all want that. So that's the human race, not, you know, all the different nationalities. The human race, and that if we stay focused on that and treat one another with love and kindness and respect, I think we could not continue to repeat the same things over and over again.

Kit Heintzman 50:17
I want to thank you so much for the generosity of your time, and the beauty in your answers. Those are all of the questions I know how to ask at a moment, but I'm wondering if there's anything you'd like to share that my questions haven't made room for, please take some space and share it.

Jeanetta Hawkins 50:36
I don't. I think that you covered everything.

Kit Heintzman 50:41
Thank you so much.

Jeanetta Hawkins 50:43
Yes, thank you. I appreciate it.

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