If you want to know what other families are doing to have fun during the pandemic, ask Erica Klassen.
She and her husband Mark Klassen, their son Mark Jr., and son-in-law Taylor Klassen, live in their Virgil home, where they keep busy, active, and feel very fortunate to be having fun together.
Erica says Taylor is the one with the creative mind, and comes up with great ideas to keep them busy.
Last week, it was a scavenger hunt with 20 clues, the details planned by Taylor, says Erica. Rather than looking for objects, they had questions that were more of a personal nature, related to family history, and they had to find the answers.
They paired up, took selfies as they hunted, and raced to the finish, Erica and Mark winning by a slim margin.
“This was the most fun ever. It took us about two hours to find everything,” says Erica.
The two couples kept crossing paths as they searched, but the most fun was watching the selfies they took as they hunted, which “the boys,” as Erica calls the two adults who married last fall, turned into a slideshow for them all to watch on TV.
She says she looks forward to doing it again, with extended family, once they’re able to get together.
She’s had several people reach out to her, saying how much fun they seemed to be having, and asking about the questions for the hunt. While she’s happy to explain, she says, the clues are Taylor’s creation, and devised for the Klassen family.
They often have game nights, sometimes the four of them, sometimes virtual games with other family, Mark and Erica in the Henry Street garage Mark has turned into his man cave, Mark Jr. and Taylor downstairs in the space they rent. Other evenings the four of them just hang out in the garage together.
Erica says she’s grateful they’re able to be at home together — she loves having them close by, and finds just having them in the kitchen over coffee in the morning is time she treasures with them. “I keep thinking it’s amazing they want to spend time with us parents, but they do. They want to be with us. We’re so grateful. Mark and I keep it fun, the boys keep it fun, and we all keep active. It’s just such a pleasure to be with them.”
Erica also needs her “girl time,” and gets that virtually, when five female family members get together to have a glass of wine on Skype. “We vent, and we chat. It’s a ton of fun. We share some happy times and some sad times, and lots of laughs. They help keep me sane.”
Taylor is an essential worker, as a clerk at the Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, and apart from him going to work, the four of them are “keeping it real, and close to home,” isolating and doing what they can to stay safe, and positive.
The four of them — they call themselves the Klassen clan — are also taking walks together, with their two dogs, but still staying close to home, following a five-kilometre route through the neighbourhood.
“We do the same route every day, and see the same people. We’ve never seen people so friendly. Everyone’s smiling, they’re waving and saying hello. People are looking for interaction with others.”
There are sad days, says Erica, getting emotional when she remembers the Easter dinner she cooked just for the four of them, trying to keep the holiday “as normal as possible,” but missing extended family.
But overall, “it’s been a positive time” for the Klassen family, she says. The lesson from this time, she adds, is “family means so much. Certainly there are bad days, when it feels like this is never going to end, but we love being together. We love each other.”