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For the First Time, Again: A Grandfather's Long-Awaited Roadtrip to Make Up For Moments Lost to Zoom

As people across the country get vaccinated against COVID-19, more of us are beginning to plan reunions with family or friends. Gerald Cooper, of Springfield, is mapping out his route to Virginia, where there's one person he can't wait to see for the first time, again: his 5-year-old granddaughter, Juniper.

We want to hear from you: What are you excited to do for the first time, again? Let us know at

(The excerpt below has been edited lightly for clarity.)

Why Gerald Cooper can't wait to visit his granddaughter: "In Charlottesville, Va., lives this brilliant, charming 5-year-old, Juniper, that had her own bookcase, loaded with books, at age 2. For Christmas that year, my wife, Barbara, and I each read and recorded several books for her, so mom could catch a break now and then. By age 3, Juniper was reading books to us. By age 4, she graduated to studying the planets, [and] visiting the observatory at the University of Virginia, where her Mom, Rebecca, manages the library for the School of Architecture. This year, [Juniper] is focused on Greek mythology and its many Gods, advising me on Zoom about their various roles and relationships. 

It has been over a year since we were able to give her a squeeze and listen to her latest adventure at her Montessori school. We miss her and her mom and dad so much and can never recover moments we would have shared over the last year. Thank God for Zoom and other video chat software that has at least kept us in touch and seeing her growth. On April 17, my wife and I got our second COVID-19 vaccine shots. I laid out our drive to Princeton, Philadelphia, Maryland and Virginia, saying hi to dear friends and family on the way down and back. We can’t wait to give Juniper a squeeze!"

What are you looking forward to doing again for the first time?  Get in touch with us by sending an email to, or leave us a voicemail at 603-513-7790. You can also click here to learn more about our First Time, Again series.

Zoey Knox is NHPR's newsroom engagement producer. She has spent most of her radio years at college radio stations in Madison, WI (WSUM) and Seattle, WA (KXSU).
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