Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, 92, with his 73-year-old wife Sandra at their Buckhead home.
Caption
Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, 92, with his 73-year-old wife Sandra at their Buckhead home.

“Being quarantined is somewhat like rabbits being put in the briar patch,” says former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell in the latest of our series of audio postcard from Georgians reflecting on their lives in quarantine during the global coronavirus pandemic.  

Listeners to All Things Considered on GPB have been hearing voices of people who've recorded themselves on their phones or computers and emailed the audio to host Rickey Bevington. 

Born in 1927 in the Jewish neighborhood of Summerhill (whose modern landmark is Georgia State Stadium), Massell served as Atlanta mayor from 1970 to 1974, before Maynard Jackson took office as the city’s first African American mayor.   

Now in his early 90s, Massell retired in January from more than three decades of leadership at the powerful Buckhead Coalition business group. Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, 92, shares his reflections on being stuck at home in quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. This is one of a series of audio postcards airing during "All Things Considered" with host Rickey Bevington on GPB.

To hear more audio postcards sent to All Things Considered on GPB from people in quarantine, scroll down. 

Commentary from Sam Massell  

I'm going to entitle this "Been there. Done that." Because I've been an optimist for as long as I can remember. And I respect scientific research. I also happen to be a healthy 93 (well, on August 30) former mayor of Atlanta. I've recently re-married to a young woman (well, she's 73 and a half) of my dreams. And just retired from my latest job of 32 years.  

As a father of three grown extroverted children, plus being a former president of the Atlanta Humane Society and having lived through multi-day Atlanta ice storms, I've had an introduction to brief confinement in the stress of a busy home. I provide this introduction to attest to the fact that I feel we are all in this shutdown together. It will end, ladies and gentlemen, and we will be better for it all.  

Although the physical office of the Buckhead Coalition is mostly closed — our staff is working from home — we arranged a system where I'm brought a package of material from those quarters daily which I process and send back the next morning. Then there's work time, television and radio time, reading time, telephone time, dining time and sleeping time. It's actually a reasonably placid time in home sweet home. We've even tried to dance except my lame leg gets in the way.  

With all of that said, let me plead with the audience to find the sunshine to this path. There's some good in everything and everybody and such will help heal you through this hell. Stand tall and offer help to a relative, a neighbor or former college classmate. You'll be glad you did. As local businesses start reopening, patronize as many as you can to help them back financially.  

Now that I provided my preaching, let me change gears to confess that Sandra (my wife I mentioned) is due the credit for our comfort level. Even in this most difficult of times for our community, our city and our country. It happens that the scientific arrangement in our townhouse is we've each pledged to give 100 percent to the needs of the other. Not 50-50. Not 70% each. But all the way. There's no room to fail. Being quarantined is somewhat like rabbits being put in the briar patch. So, friends stay well. Stay safe. Thank you.  

Former Atlanta mayor Sam Massell with his wife Sandra appear at an Atlanta event before the coronavirus pandemic.
Caption
Former Atlanta mayor Sam Massell with his wife Sandra appear at an Atlanta event before the coronavirus pandemic.