What Got Me Through the Pandemic: How Columbus Residents Made it Through COVID

Five prominent Columbus residents discuss what helped them survive a horrible year

Columbus Monthly staff
Igloo Press owner Allison Chapman

Allison Chapman, Igloo Letterpress 

Even before the pandemic, Allison Chapman and her family enjoyed eating at home. “We had a really strong rotation of burrito night, pizza night, noodles,” says Chapman, the owner of Igloo Letterpress, who lives in Worthington with her husband and two children. Yet the pandemic compelled the family to get more creative in the kitchen. “We got much better at making more exciting salads at home, and lots and lots of roasted vegetables,” says Chapman, who cooks vegetarian at home. Food prep became a way to have fun—a spiral apple peeler was repurposed to make crispy potato skins—and there were relatively few mishaps. “We did have a few baking soda/baking powder mix-ups,” says Chapman, but on the whole, “I’m very thankful for the extra time that we had as a family.” —Peter Tonguette 

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes, WCMH-TV 

When the pandemic hit last year, it inspired the Channel 4 anchor to hit the links. Almost immediately, Barnes started playing at area courses as often as three or four times a week. “The only way I felt safe being around my friends at that beginning part of the pandemic was outside,” he says. “Golf is a socially distanced sport by nature.” He found the afternoons a respite from the sort of news he encountered at work, though he remains modest about what all those extra rounds did to his game. “To say I’m a good golfer, I think, would do injustice to the good golfers who are out there.” —Peter Tonguette 

More:Columbus Monthly’s Best of Columbus 2021

Amber Knicole

Amber Knicole, MojoFlo 

For many Central Ohioans, the pandemic felt like an abrupt end to social life. Get-togethers ceased; dining out ended. But Amber Knicole, the lead singer of MojoFlo, used the time at home to reconnect with friends and family members she hadn’t been in touch with as often as she might like. “We’re all sitting here; we’re not doing anything,” Knicole says. “In fact, being busy is the reason why we lose touch a lot.” Knicole reached out using FaceTime, while her husband set up once-a-week Zoom meetups. “All of the things that you meant to do … you got to do a little more of,” says Knicole, who, nonetheless, is looking forward to in-person contacts resuming. “I’m a hugger by nature.” —Peter Tonguette 

Rick Harrison Wolfe

Rick Harrison Wolfe, North Market 

The historic North Market never closed when the COVID-19 outbreak hit. As an essential worker, the market’s executive director of eight years says he simply dug into his work, doing everything he could to keep the 145-year-old institution afloat during the pandemic. “We were open in 1918, and we survived,” Wolfe says. “I found a lot of motivation in what I do.” The market’s two huge expansion projects—North Market Bridge Park and the future North Market tower—offered plenty of motivation. There was one other thing as well, he says: chardonnay. —Erin Edwards

Linda Logan

Linda Logan, Greater Columbus Sports Commission 

Last April, Linda Logan, executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, and her husband, Will, went on their first COVID-era road trip. They decided to visit the then-closed campus of Linda’s alma mater, Ohio University. “It’s 90 minutes; it’s a quick trip; we’re familiar with it,” Linda says. “We were just learning about socially distancing, so we were like: ‘Wow, this is great. There’s no one here.’” From there, the couple went on a tour of the Buckeye State’s numerous institutions of higher learning, hopping from college town to college town on weekends: Gambier, Granville, Yellow Springs and on and on. “We started a theme,” says Logan, who checked out the sports facilities of each. “My husband’s never met a historical marker that he didn’t stop to read.” —Peter Tonguette