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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
It's Friday, which is when we hear from StoryCorps. And we have the voices of a three-generation family living in New York City. Vivian Leonard studied to become a pharmacist in Cuba before coming to the United States in the 1960s. Her daughter is Vivian Jr. and is also a pharmacist. Then there's Vivian Jr.'s daughter Marissa. They used StoryCorps connect to talk about their lives during the pandemic. Vivian Jr. begins.
VIVIAN LEONARD JR: The hospital I work in is a 160-bed hospital. We went to 260 beds. And the patients were coding so often that we couldn't keep up with the medications. It was insane. One of the worst moments was realizing that the trailer was outside my office window. The hospital would report out each day - we have 30 in the trailer; we have 55 in the trailer - and seeing the bodies. At one point, it went as high as the 80s. Mom, do you remember when Marissa came home that day from work and said, you can't go to work, Abu (ph); you can't go to work.
VIVIAN LEONARD SR: Oh, yes. She wouldn't let me leave the house.
MARISSA OCHS: Well, I just knew it was so hard for you to not work because you don't know what life is not working.
LEONARD SR: I know. I always work. My grandmother had good friends that owned pharmacy. And when I was a little girl, she used to take me there. And I always liked science and chemistry. And I always say that I'm going to be a pharmacist. That was my calling.
LEONARD JR: I had to basically tell you, OK, you want to go to work? You can go. Just tell me, who are the 10 people you want at your funeral? And I'm sorry I had to be that blunt with you.
LEONARD SR: I followed their instructions. But I miss the people. And I miss my work.
OCHS: I feel like I am who I am because of you. I wanted to grow up to be like you.
LEONARD SR: As a result of this pandemic, I think that we - we express more to each other how much we love each other and how much we need each other.
OCHS: I am just hoping for a fourth-generation pharmacist.
LEONARD SR: Right.
INSKEEP: Vivian Leonard with her daughter Marissa and mother Vivian Sr. They spoke using StoryCorps Connect, which allows loved ones to interview each other remotely. Their conversation is archived at the Library of Congress. And you can make your own recording by going to npr.org.
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