SARAH FRANCES COX
Interviewed May 14, 2020. Interview edited for clarity and length.
Sarah Frances, 8, is the daughter of Abby & Jason Cox and attends Morris Brandon Elementary. She’s been a member of PRUMC all her life, and she’s in the children’s choir program.
Tell me what it’s been like for you to be doing school at home? How do you like it?
I think it’s kind of crazy, ‘cause I don’t get to see my friends that much. But I’ve been bike riding around our cul de sac with my friends who live in my neighborhood. I kind of like being home-schooled because I can see my mom more, even though she’s on phone calls for work. And I get to help my sister, Sallie, and I like that. She’s 6. What are you helping her with? Spanish literacy. Math. Phonics. The calendar. Were you always doing that, or did you start when the virus came? I really just started since this happened. Before, I came home and did my homework by myself, and our babysitter, Damion – he’s a boy – would come and help my sister with her schoolwork.
[Abby, Sarah Frances’ mom, interjects, laughing: This has been one of those spillover effects of two parents who are working and also trying to be teachers. Sometimes it doesn’t work! But Sarah Frances has really stepped up and helped us, and I don’t know what we’d do without her.]
Are you using Zoom for school?
We do Zoom for school every day. Today, Thursday, was exercise day. Yesterday was alphabet celebration day, doing letters, with “L” for lions and things. Tuesday was experiment day, and Monday was camp day. Sometimes I’m in Zoom meetings while Mommy delivers meals to people, and Sallie likes to be in my Zoom meetings. Mostly that’s fun. But today I wanted to have some peace and quiet, so I didn’t help with Sallie today. For the first couple of weeks that we were home, school was four hours longer, but it’s shorter now ‘cause we’re nearly through. After Friday, I have one more week left of school, and then I’ll be in 3rd grade, which is crazy!
Besides your school being closed, what else has changed because of the virus? What are the things you like and the things you don’t like?
I don’t really get to see any of my friends unless they’re on my street. The other day it was my friend’s birthday, and we did a drive-by birthday parade. The teachers came by to give balloons out. Don’t worry, they still social-distanced! During spring break we built forts down in the basement or upstairs in my room or in the dining room, and we used blankets. And I tried to teach our dog, Nelson, some tricks. He’s not the best, because he’s 11. [Interviewer interrupts with the lame joke about old dogs and new tricks; Sarah Frances, no slouch in the humor department, gamely chuckles.]
For Mother’s Day I really liked it, because we had breakfast in bed with Mommy. I got her a big smoothie blender that doesn’t work the best, so we might have to return it to Costco! We had lots of cards for her. And my sister and I made her gifts. Like cool bracelets and headbands out of Rainbow Looms, which are sort of like little bitty hair-ties.
We went on a bike ride in March, and we had masks on, and Mommy took a picture so that we could remember it. One of Mommy’s staff who can sew made us some masks. I got a Georgia Tech one. Sally got a purple one. Mommy got a blue and yellow polka dot mask.
On Friday mornings we’ve been delivering meals to older people, seniors who can’t get out of the house. [Abby adds: One of my favorite stories during this time is about the girls delivering meals with me. They’ve been writing notes to everybody. Sallie’s very first note said, “Happy Easter. I hope you don’t get Coronavirus, because you’ll die.” So that’s a note that didn’t get delivered!] Yeah, they loved our notes. One woman opened her eyes really wide when she looked down at it!
What will you do during the summer, when you don’t have school anymore?
I was thinking, maybe ride my bike. I like doing cool tricks. Finn lives across the street with his sisters, Maeve and Catherine. We like riding bikes with them. Or sometimes Finn will be on one of Sallie’s scooters or sometimes my roller skates. We also like freeze tag. At the end of summer, if we can, I’m really hoping to go to Burnet, Texas, for Camp Longhorn. That’s at the end of July, and my birthday will be the day before. What do you want to do for your birthday? I want to have a Home Depot workshop and have a dog-themed party!
Are you getting to talk to your friends or your grandparents? How are you doing that?
The day before Mother’s Day, we actually went on a social distance picnic on our grandma’s back porch. We went in just to say hello to Big Mick. That’s what we call my grandpa. We had fun chatting with them and had a little scavenger hunt in the front yard. The clue would say things like, “Look under the pink,” because my grandma has lots of pink flowers. I like dark chocolate best, and I got a dark chocolate bar. Sallie found a coloring book. I found a lot of things, but Sallie found more stuff than me. We might go to see our Texas grandparents the week before camp and stay with them if there’s a vaccine. If we do, we’ll also go to my uncle’s house for the weekend, who lives in Austin. And then I’d go to camp. And then Sallie would stay for the week and just relax in the pool. It’s very nice there. Usually in the summer we have cousin camp, where we get to stay at my uncle’s house with our cousins.
If you were in charge of making decisions about the virus, are there any things that you would do differently?
I think I would close down what the governor just opened, and I would definitely try to social distance, and I’d let some doctors and nurses take time off. I’d have old dogs not interact with other people, because the dogs can get Coronavirus and die.
It seems like you really like dogs; are you thinking about being a vet?
No, I was thinking about maybe being an engineering teacher. I really like Georgia Tech. My grandpa went there and did engineering.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about what’s happening during the virus?
Hmm. We’re watching Fuller House on Netflix. Also, if we had to get quarantined and couldn’t leave the house at all, at least we have Disney Plus!