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NPR Arts & Life

How Quarantine Is Changing The Way We Celebrate

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

As people adjust to this new lockdown normal, they're also trying to hang on to those moments that bring joy and comfort. And so people are celebrating life's big moments, with some adjustments.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Do you, Amanda Wheeler, solemnly declare that you take...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: In New York City, Amanda Wheeler and Reilly Jennings got married on the sidewalk. And the officiant - well, he was several floors up, doing his part from a safe distance.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I pronounce you married.

(CHEERING)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: In Boston, two epidemiologists, Jen Andonian and Matt Shearer, stopped their 12-hour shifts for just long enough to exchange their vows. They got hitched at a historic operating theater inside Massachusetts General Hospital. Their colleagues were there wearing masks. And yes, he still did kiss the bride.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Here. Roll your window down, Dad.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And in Orem, Utah, Milton Eatchel turned 90. And his whole neighborhood turned out to celebrate, stepping into their driveways with signs and confetti to wave him a happy birthday as his daughter drove him slowly up and down the street.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MILTON EATCHEL: Appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Oh, my gosh. Thank you.

EATCHEL: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jack Torchia of Roseland, N.J., had a birthday, too. He turned 21 last Sunday. The plan was to have a big family pregame, then head out to a bar. That obviously didn't happen. Instead...

JACK TORCHIA: I was completely taken by surprise. I was only told by my mom to wear what you'd wear out to a club. And I was like, OK.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: His parents told him to walk over to the family's detached garage. His sister filmed the scene.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CAROLYN TORCHIA: Hi.

J TORCHIA: Hi.

C TORCHIA: Welcome to Club Quarantine. What brings you here tonight?

J TORCHIA: It's my 21st birthday.

C TORCHIA: Your 21st birthday.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: His dad played the part of a bouncer. His mom was behind the bar, serving up green tea shots.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

C TORCHIA: And we let the bouncer, the waitress - and I'll do one with you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Torchia says he had originally been disappointed his birthday plans were called off. But both he and the bartender, Carolyn Torchia, said there's a silver lining.

C TORCHIA: I think he'll remember his 21st a lot more than I remember mine. So that's a good thing (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF ROBYN SONG "DANCING ON MY OWN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.