Virtual breakfast with the Manzke family

Susan Manzke
Zooming over Wyatt’s breakfast as he joins the family meeting.

Our daughter Rebecca and her husband Andy stopped by to drop off groceries. That was the closest I’ve been to my family lately. That is if you don’t count breakfast with the Manzke tribe last Saturday.

It was a special day. Arrangements had been made days ahead so we’d all be sure no one would forget our breakfast together.  I could hardly wait for the day to arrive.

Finally, it was Saturday. At eight o’clock, the whole Manzke family opened their computers and connected with Zoom. Except for family members pictured on my laptop screen, I sat in my kitchen alone. It was a virtual breakfast. Everyone was in their own home.

If you’ve watched television, many shows have reporters, weather forecasters, and features broadcast from the person’s home. Workers are having Zoom meetings all around the world. Our grandchildren have their virtual classrooms broadcast through Zoom, too.

Even if everyone was only a figure on my computer, it was so good to see and hear from everyone—well, not everyone. Our teenage grandsons, found the 8 am breakfast meeting a bit too early. These days they can sleep late and stay up until midnight. Time for their studies can take place morning, noon, or night and as teenagers, they never choose early morning hours.

As we looked into the view of each other’s homes, I heard positive accounts from each of our offspring. The first good news was that Rachel’s husband was out of his virus quarantine. Even with extreme precautions of working from home, Dave had caught something that gave him a fever. After a virtual conference with his doctor, the recommendation was to self-quarantine at home. Finally, now feeling much recovered, he was out of isolation.

Breakfast with the Manzke family from across Wisconsin.

Andy had been let go from his job a couple of weeks ago, but recently he was contacted to do at-home accounting work. He is so ready to take on this job.

Our son, Russell, has been very busy. He and his engineering partners are designing and creating ventilators. Working on this project for hospitals is setting a frenzied pace as everyone seems to want things done yesterday.

As most are doing, our son Rob has been working from home, converting their dining room into his office. His wife’s boutique had to close, as did so many other small businesses, but there continues to be activity on the clothing front. Tara’s store, Bria Bella & Co, in Stevens Point, has had success with online sales, car-side delivery, lifestyle events broadcast from the temporarily closed store—Tara is using creative methods to meet her customers’ needs, even if from a distance.

Besides hearing from adults, the grandchildren had a lot to say and show. A few new toys were brought in front of cameras. We also saw school homework and art projects, too. Caleb found he has a knack for making paper origami flowers and folded tiny notebooks.

Other Manzke family members look on as Arianna draws a heart.

To my surprise, my computer screen changed from that of family images to a whiteboard. There red lines appeared as a certain grandchild demonstrated her on-screen drawing technique. A big red heart filled one screen from Arianna. Of course, parents asked to have our Zoom breakfast view returned without the drawing—while I’m left wondering how she did that. Maybe, she’ll teach me one day

Zoom works for meetings and breakfast with family. It isn’t the best substitute for being together, but it helped get me through one more week of self-isolation.

We all want to stay healthy, so we are staying home. Luckily, we can reach out to each other with computers, the Internet, and telephones.

I’m praying that soon we’ll be able to reach out to each other with open arms for much-needed hugs. That day will really make this grandma happy. But I can wait. I’d rather see everyone safe at home.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;, past stories can be found on YouTube.