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Life Rekindled During a Pandemic

By John Rolfe / Red Hook, N.Y.

No doubt the Covid saga is one of society disrupted and people isolated in loneliness, fear and illness. So I am very thankful indeed that my family and I got off easy during the pandemic. Our bouts with the virus were mild and, while our daily life was grinding to a halt in the summer of 2020, I was blessed by the fruits of bonds forged during my lifetime.

Having been “downsized” in 2016 after 28 years as a reporter/writer/editor and website producer at Sports Illustrated for Kids and Sports Illustrated, I was driving a school bus, laying down the fat beets at a weekend farmers’ market, and scribbling a Sunday political opinion column (not the most comfortable endeavor) for my local paper (the Poughkeepsie Journal).

On the lookout for other places to serve up my word salads, I saw on Facebook that Amy Lennard Goehner, a former SI For Kids colleague, had written a piece for a website called The Insider. Her referral brought me here.

I was surprised to discover that this site was the creation and labor of love of Andrea Sachs, a former classmate of mine at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Though our paths first crossed in 1982 and we both toiled for decades at different magazines published by Time Inc., I didn’t get to know her until the pandemic brought us together in this undertaking.

I’d just like to thank her for the opportunity to write each week about everything from Covid, hauling urchins in my big yellow madhouse, and raising chickens, to sports, music and, of course, politics.

The past three years have been a slow, turbulent return to at least some semblance of normalcy in this country. Chronicling and commenting on current events here has been a balm for my mental health. I’ve been able to vent a lot of disappointment, frustration, and anger that otherwise might have left me cackling uncontrollably and pulling the wings off flies.

Best of all, while writing for The Insider, I felt like I was part of a family (a feeling reinforced when my wife Victoria joined our ranks). It has been a great pleasure to collaborate with other talented, insightful people from around the country. And I always had Andrea’s enthusiastic support and encouragement, something writers don’t always get from their editors.

So, I’m sorry to see the curtain come down on a lot of excellent work by everyone involved. In a way, it feels right with the pandemic officially over. Then again, there’s a renewed sense of ominous uncertainty.

Covid may have receded into the fabric of life, but climate change in all its catastrophic consequences has come roaring in to stay for the foreseeable future. America’s political scene is fraught with danger. Artificial Intelligence is raising its steely, unpredictable head.

Looking back, I’ll always treasure getting through an extraordinary time with a group of extraordinary people. Many thanks to them and all who took the time to roll their eyeballs over my contributions to The Insider.


John Rolfe is a former senior editor for Sports Illustrated for Kids, a longtime columnist for the Poughkeepsie Journal/USA Today Network, and author of The Goose in the Bathroom: Stirring Tales of Family Life. His school bus drivin’ blog “Hellions, Mayhem and Brake Failure” is parked on his website ( with the meter running.

1 comment

1 Comment

Jul 27, 2023

It was wonderful to see the bylines of former colleagues Amy Lennard Goehner and John Rolfe here as time and the pandemic rolled on. Staying connected was critical to getting by and so appreciated all that all of you did for your community of reader. Thank you. Margaret Sieck

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