House Arrest in Clairemont (2020)

Bill Swank outside the Buena Vista Garden Apartments on Cowley Way in 1955 with East Clairemont in the distance.

These are perilous times. Although the younger generation is physically and financially threatened by the corona virus, they still have to venture into the world to carry on with their lives and to help others.

In the meantime, most Clairemont seniors have found safety in “house arrest.”

Ironically, the first San Diego resident officially placed on house arrest over 40 years ago was a Clairemont juvenile. Today, he would be a senior citizen under new guidelines for house arrest.

On March 11, 2020, seeking immunity, my wife and I entered the witness protection program so the corona virus can’t find us.

Since then, we have only been away from home twice.

Once for a Filippi’s Pizza. Paid by phone and a smiling young man put the pizza in our trunk. We got two meals out of it.

A week later, we ordered a big dinner from Bombay Coast. The friendly owner, Zubin Kolah, carried it to the North Clairemont Square fountain.  I thanked him and carried the bag to my car in an empty parking lot. We feasted on Indian food for two nights.

Otherwise, it has been strict house arrest.

Grandsons Joey and Jake Schaeffer make a delivery to their grandparents who are under house arrest (Bill Swank collection)

Early in our detention, Grandson Jake called to ask if we needed groceries. Grandma gave him a list and that evening the doorbell rang. Jake showed up with his older brother, Joey. I opened the door and, as they stood back, practicing appropriate social distancing, I called for my wife to bring the camera.

Jake held several bags of groceries and Joey was holding a 20-pack of Coors. It wasn’t on grandma’s list, but the boys know their grandpa. They are GREAT grandsons.

I have always believed the main reason people join Costco is for the toilet paper. Fortunately, we bought a 30 pack in February.

Near the end of March, there was a clever article in the San Diego Union-Tribune about alternatives to toilet paper that included using the Union-Tribune.

Santa Claus used the Union-Tribune during corona virus pandemic (Bill Swank collection)

I made a roll of U-T TP, put on my Santa suit and Mrs. Claus took the picture. We’ll use it in our Christmas Letter.

I even watched “Plan 9 from Outer Space” which has been called “the worst film ever made.” I also saw “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” which was shot in San Diego. It is worse than “Plan 9!”

To pass the time, we have looked at old photo albums. My wife hates camping (it’s too dirty), but she laughingly showed me a picture of herself applying makeup in a tent during her first marriage.

Even though we don’t see anybody else, Jeri continues to do her makeup every day. She continues to keep house and work in the yard. She is who she is…

I make the bed every day. Neither one of us likes to look at an unmade bed. It’s just who were are and the way we live.

In 1980, Jeri Lynne Wayne puts on her makeup in a tent while camping (Jeri Lynne Swank collection)

Apparently Clairemont recently received 4-1/2 inches of rain. How would I know? I was inside the house the whole time.

Today the sun is shining brightly. Today is April 15, 2020… Jackie Robinson Day.

Oh, how I miss baseball.

I was looking forward to attending the Padres-Rockies game this evening at Petco Park with Johnaa and Carlos Battle. Johnaa’s father was Johnny Ritchey, the Jackie Robinson of the Pacific Coast League who “broke the color barrier” with the San Diego Padres in 1948.

Johnny Ritchey, San Diego Padres (Bill Swank collection)

In 2019, the Padres established the Johnny Ritchey Scholarship to be awarded annually to an “individual who upholds the values Johnny Ritchey embodied, especially the capacity to overcome challenges and barriers in education, sports and/or in the community.”

Laila Williams, a San Diego High School senior, is this year’s recipient.

People forget that twenty-five years ago, the Padres didn’t play their first game of the strike-shortened 1995 season until April 26th.

I missed baseball then and I really miss baseball now.

I’ll be cautious when the quarantine is lifted, but I can’t wait to hear, “Play ball!

As a nation, we will continue to face challenges and barriers that we will overcome.

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