Public Media Arts Hub

A Brief But Spectacular take on surviving coronavirus at age 102


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Judy Woodruff: Throughout the pandemic, Americans in elder care homes have been some of the people most at risk from COVID-19.

But there are those in nursing homes who have survived the disease, despite their age.

Tonight's Brief But Spectacular features centenarian Grace Weissman Spiegel Davis, who shares what her experience was like.

Grace Weissman Spiegel Davis: I was a victim of the coronavirus. And I must say, I am happy that I survived this.

And I'm told I did come down with a fever. Truthfully, I wasn't aware of it. And it might be that I was not mentally facing it.

There has been no activity in the hairdressing salon because of this pandemic which is going on. So I said, when I was asked to be interviewed, only if I can have my hair done. And that's what happened. I had my hair done, so I'm number one on the hit parade.


I'm 102 years old, and I live in a retirement development called the Mary Wade Home, which is in New Haven, Connecticut.

As a little girl, we lived -- it was a tenement, actually, in Harlem, New York, on 116th Street. I never heard of a pandemic before this one. We had what we called epidemics, and one was whooping cough.

And I remember my mother taking us on the subway to the Staten Island Ferry during the whooping cough epidemic, because saltwater was good for the whooping cough. I remember that very clearly.

Well, my life hasn't changed much, and I feel like I still can have some fun and a few laughs and still have my mental facilities or faculties, I should say.


All I know is that I tell all my friends, if I die, please call my hairdresser first. I want to have my hair done and look well at my funeral.


I have led a nice life. I have been very fortunate.

I would like to be remembered as a good friend, as a good relative, and as a good person who lived on this wonderful Earth, and hope that it all works out well.

My name is Grace Weissman Spiegel Davis. And this was my not-so-brief, but spectacular life.

Judy Woodruff: Grace Weissman Spiegel Davis, we are so glad you survived, and a lot of us share your appreciation for hairdressers.

Support Canvas

Sustain our coverage of culture, arts and literature.

Send Us Your Ideas
Let us know what you'd like to see on ArtsCanvas. Your thoughts and opinions matter.