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A Father And Son In Milwaukee Reflect On Life At Home During The Pandemic


The coronavirus pandemic has caused offices around the country to close. Many adults are working from home and feeling just a little antsy - their children, too.

ROWAN CLIFFE: I had to stay home, and it's weird staying home.

SIMON: That's Rowan Cliffe of Milwaukee. Mr. Cliffe is 5 years old.

ROWAN: So I have to do school at home. And also, I have to work on my dad's computer or my mom's computer or the iPad.

SIMON: And like many young scholars, Rowan is using FaceTime to keep in touch with his teacher and his friends.

ROWAN: We talked about lots of stuff that kids like to talk about. With one person that - who is my friend, on a video call, we did a virtual lightsaber fight.

SIMON: Yes, Rowan. Feel the force. He's also been spending a lot of time with his parents. His father, Ian, has also been at home. He's the co-owner of an Irish pub that's closed down right now, and we asked him to interview Rowan for us.

IAN CLIFFE: Ro (ph), what do you do for fun while we're in the house all the time?

ROWAN: I do lots of artwork sometimes, and that's really fun. And I did a lot of drawings of volcanoes, and I've been drawing lots of pictures. I'm a real artist now, and people have to buy. I have to sell my artwork to them.

CLIFFE: (Laughter) Rowan, who do you think is going to buy your artwork that you've been making?

ROWAN: I don't know who's going to buy my artwork. Someone that I probably don't know is going to buy it. We could sell it at the bar.

CLIFFE: There you go. Rowan, are there any - is there anything else you found around the house to do for fun?

ROWAN: We've made bread - white bread. It was very tasty. And I'm playing hockey for exercise. We are just running around on the porch. And we just, like, use our hockey sticks. My dad has an old wooden one and I have a plastic one, and it's smaller than me and we should probably buy myself a new one.

CLIFFE: (Laughter) We should get you one soon that's a little better sized. The porch hockey started because I had - I'm trying to get back into hockey. And when the rinks closed, I wanted a way to practice some stick handling. And Rowan decided that he should join in. We had a - our championship game yesterday. What was that like?

ROWAN: I won and my dad got a penalty.

CLIFFE: Do you remember what the score was from our hour and a half of porch hockey?

ROWAN: No, I don't remember.

CLIFFE: It was 25-24.


CLIFFE: Do you think that when you go back to school you'll miss the - you'll miss being at home all the time?

ROWAN: I will miss being at home all the time.


SIMON: Five-year-old Rowan Cliffe and his father Ian Cliffe, who's a little older, from Milwaukee, Wis.

(SOUNDBITE OF STRFKR'S "INTRO SEXTON") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
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