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Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

Elizabeth Drake '03 in South Bend, Indiana

Elizabeth Drake ’03

Location: South Bend, Indiana

Submitted April 3, 2020

Drake’s freshman floor in Stewart. Tiffany Holmes ’03 is center, back row in a patterned sweater. Drake is to her left in the Middlebury sweatshirt.

Twenty years ago this week, Anisa Gamble, Tiffany Holmes, Iniko Johnson and Maika Prewitt (all ’03) were killed in a car accident during our freshman year at Middlebury.

A cover story in The Campus on the four first-year students killed in a car accident in 2000.

The class of 2003 learned before we turned 20 that fate could be fickle, and we were fortunate to also learn from Anisa, Tiffany, Niko and Maika that a person can make an oversized impact on the world in a very short amount of time. The complete and sudden capsizing of life as usual due to Covid-19 has caused me to reflect a lot about the few other moments in my own life when I was conscious that life as I knew it was never going to be the same again. 

Three weeks ago as I instructed my students, high school freshmen, to take home their laptops and any other supplies they would need in case of a quarantine, I was conscious that life was shifting perceptibly again. I sent my students home and welcomed my own four children, who are in the third through seventh grades, back to our house, not knowing what kind of new normal would await us. It was announced yesterday that Indiana schools will not meet in person for the rest of the year and my mind is struggling to make sense of the new reality that is unfolding beyond the grasp of my control.

What has been your greatest worry or day-to-day concern as coronavirus has spread?

I am most worried about my students and friends whose lives are already tenuous. As a parent of children with special needs, I know others whose existence will feel like an unbearable pressure cooker when the entire family has to shelter in place without the services and help that typically make challenging circumstances bearable.

My two children and our dog cuddled together reading on the couch.

What has made you happy over the past few weeks?

Our family has instituted a new tradition that during pandemics we always eat dessert for dinner on Fridays. Typically our schedule is busy and doesn't have much space for lounging around, but now we are watching lots of movies on the couch while eating popcorn and sharing blankets. These domestic comforts have made me deeply happy.