COVID-19 story by Jasmine Banks, 2020

Jasmine Banks shares her story of being part of a 5 generation family in Madison and how through her daily walks during social distancing she is rediscovering Madison.

This story was originally recorded and shared as part of an episode of the Madison podcast Inside Stories. Listen to that episode and subscribe to the podcast here:

  • Identifier: covid19-029
    Narrator Name: Jasmine Banks
    Interviewer Name: n/a
    Date of interview: 4/1/2020


    Jasmine Banks: I remember having a conversation with my dad when I was a teenager: “Why Madison? Why didn’t you ever leave? Why this house? Why this side of town?” To which my dad simply replied, Madison was his home. He loved it here. It was beautiful to him. Through my teenage eyes, I couldn’t understand. As I grew older, I never could really see the beauty in this city, but I did see the beauty in the people. People are my passion, so of course they’re beautiful.

    My family’s been in Madison for five generations. They migrated from the South around 1925. My dad was born at Madison General Hospital. My grandpa, like most others, worked at Oscar Mayer—the same as my dad and, later on, the same as me.

    Most recently, as we all know, Governor Evers ordered Safe at Home. That order has provided me the opportunity to work from home, something that I’ve always wanted to do. Every morning I start my day off with a walk. I’ve walked from Lake Mendota, to Lake Monona, to the Capitol Square, to Olbrich Gardens, down East Washington, Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. I’ve walked through residential neighborhoods to see the beautiful old buildings, the architecture next door to these new high rises and buildings. I find it so interesting as I inhale all that surrounds me. I appreciate the sounds of the birds, the water as it flows, the sun as it shines. All the things that my dad knew when I asked him that question as a teenager, why he stayed. And he said because Madison was his home, and he found it beautiful—something that it took a pandemic for me to see.

    I’ll leave you with this: my hope is we all come on the other side of this pandemic seeing the beauty in things that we never thought were there before.