The national shutdown has been a challenge for millions of Americans, and children’s book authors and illustrators are no exception. We asked several of them to tell us their noteworthy quarantine stories, and today we launch a summer series with their responses. First up: Lisa Yee, author of Millicent Min, Girl Genius and several other books for young readers, shares an uplifting story of “love in the time of Corona.”
Over two years ago at Popeyes, Rob asked me to marry him. “If you’re going to propose, it should be a proper ask and with a ring,” I said through a mouthful of fried chicken. Three months later, on bended knee, he presented me with an engagement ring... in a Popeyes box.
I said yes. But I was in no hurry to get married. To me, it was the intention that was important. Then the coronavirus swept the nation. I was so stressed. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. And I certainly couldn’t write, but I had a mid-May deadline. Marriage was the last thing on my mind.
The writing wasn’t going well, but the relationship was flourishing. I couldn’t imagine anyone else I’d rather be quarantined with. As the deadline loomed, my editor confessed that because of the pandemic she wouldn’t be able to get to my manuscript for another month. Suddenly, I had more time. This didn’t help my focus on writing. However, something else became clear.
This time, I asked Rob to marry me.
We obtained our marriage license wearing face masks. The flowers came from the florist down the street. I bought a used wedding dress online. A friend of friends gamely agreed to officiate. And instead of a bride and groom on the top of the cake, the baker wrote, “Love in the Time of Corona.”
One week later, our immediate family joined us in our Massachusetts living room from California, Vermont, and New York. In front of a backdrop of paper hearts, the officiant wore a mask and began, “We Zoom together not to mark the start of Lisa and Rob’s relationship. Instead, we Zoom to celebrate a bond that has grown deeper over time and quarantine.”
I read Rob a letter I wrote for him and he sang a song to me. We exchanged pipe cleaner rings. And after the ceremony, our wedding banquet consisted of Popeyes fried chicken and biscuits.