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Michiganders get creative to come together during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Barrett looks on as fire trucks, police cars and family members drive by in her drive-by parade birthday party. (WWMT/Tarvarious Haywood)

During the months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michiganders have gotten creative, coming together even though they’re apart, to celebrate milestones in times of crisis.

Meghan Buffenbarger, an educator, described life as a new frontier, uncharted.

"I definitely thought this was something that I would never have to do,” she said.

Her normal lifestyle as a teacher went from from being in the classroom to working with students virtually.

Buffenbarger said the crisis has taught her patience.

“I am working from home, doing meetings, contacting parents, and talking with kids and that’s a bit difficult with a 2 1/2 year old at home that can’t go to daycare right now,” Buffenbarger said.

Helen Barrett turned 102 years old on Friday, May 22, 2020.

The stay-at-home order, which was extended on her birthday until June 12, prevented her family from throwing a party. Instead the party came to her with a drive-by parade.

Barrett said she grew up in a big family with neighbors who all took care of each other.

She called it, "the simple life."

Barrett lived through the Spanish Flu, another deadly pandemic that killed millions around the world in 1918.

Barrett said during the Spanish Flu pandemic, she learned the importance of patience and family, something Buffenbarger and many others have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Just go day to day and thank God that you have another day ahead of you and a little glass of wine," Barret said.

Barrett said her best advice, and the key to longevity, is to just take a ride and enjoy life.