Sonya Begay and Kayle Eppele

Sonya Anne Begay is interviewed by her granddaughter Kayle Nanah Eppele about how their grandfamily came together and how their lives have been impacted by COVID-19.

Sonya: How did our grandfamily come together? Oh, my gosh. Well, it came together years ago. I think initially, we didn’t consider it a grand-family. We just considered it a family that was sort of broken at the point, where we had to put our family back together. Unfortunately, my son, your father had passed away.

Sonya: But years have passed, and we continue to think of your father and things of that nature in a positive manner. We’ve grown from that point on. Obviously, you’ve told us, you’re already 19 years old, and everybody has graduated from high school. Everybody’s doing well, and we just continue. But in his memory, we continue to flourish, and hopefully, things will get better in your life in the future. That’s my terminology, how we are a grandparent, grandfamily.

Kayle: How has a typical day changed for you since COVID?

Sonya: Well, I take the early train in the morning to Washington DC, at five o’clock in the morning. Now I get up here, and I just don’t have no train to catch. So, I had to figure out how to sleep in a little bit, but then I miss my friends on the train. I miss all the commotion that goes on. And all I do is get up, make a cup of coffee, turn my computer on, start working. And that’s it. So, it is a big change. And then when you guys leave for work and stuff, I kind of worry, it’s like hopefully, they won’t catch this virus. And it’s just different.

Sonya: It’s just, I emphasize that there’s no nobody around. Everybody’s stuck in their house, which is a good thing, but there’s nothing open. There’s no way we can get certain things. I think the beginning part was really harrowing, to see that you can’t even get the basic necessities. And I remember sending you guys out, and it’s funny, because just for you guys to get some toilet paper, just that stuff was …

Kayle: Went to Walmart, couldn’t find stuff. Like we went to a lot of different grocery stores to find things that we needed, like more toilet paper, more sanitizers, or hand soap. Things that we already had in the house, but that we already needed, and trying to go out and find that stuff. But everybody else needs those things, so, and everyone should buy more, get it while it’s there, and all this other stuff. But then like, it’s just, people need a certain amount, but they were taking more.

Sonya: Yeah.

Kayle: And I feel like that’s what really put everyone in a hard spot.

Sonya: Yeah. And I think that’s when we were talking about how the elders cannot get their certain things, because obviously there’s transportation issues, or there’s, nobody will take them over there. And even though you give them the hour earlier to get into a market or whatever, it still would take so much time for them just to even get the basic necessities. And that was a sad situation the whole time.


This segment was produced by StoryCorps, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

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