Quarantine in Clairemont (2020)

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South Clairemont neighbors wear masks and observe social distancing while enjoying weekly "Happy Hour” (photo credit: Linda Johnson)

Clairemont has been under quarantine for two months. How are residents dealing with “the new normal?” The following comments and observations are from a broad, cross-section of people who call Squaremont home.

Longtime Clairemont resident Diane Crane has been a nurse for 40 years. She works at a large San Diego health care system managing the corona virus epidemic.

She stated, “Working there shows me the impact of illness on families and patients. The sick patients are in the hospital alone without the support of their families. Fortunately the use of cell phones and iPads help out a lot.”

Diane advises, ” I encourage everyone to stay home if possible… wash your hands, wear a face mask when going out in public and optimize your health. Let food be your medicine – eat lots of colorful vegetables, fruit, and whole fiber foods.”

Frank Sheffield notes that according to city diagrams, he lives in Clairemont Mesa East. Frank thinks the area could also be identified as North Linda Vista or Kearny Mesa South.

“I am involved in medical treatment that requires leaving home,” he said. “The landscape has been modified considerably. First few days, the streets of Clairemont were practically vacant of automobiles and the sidewalks almost crowded with health walkers and joggers. Not so much of either, lately.”

“I did get a bit of a giggle at the gasoline station last week,” chuckled Frank. “I saw upper-face expressions I can only describe as dropped-jaw-related as the bearers watched me wipe down the pump’s nozzle with a Clorox sheet before grasping and gassing up. Got my cash change back in a sandwich bag, as well. Vulnerable is vulnerable.”

Linda Johnson explained that her South Clairemont neighbors meet for a weekly “Happy Hour” on rotating driveways every Saturday at 5:30 p.m.. Masks and six foot social distancing guidelines are strictly enforced. The only exception is when the masks are pulled aside to allow for the consumption of social beverages.

Carolyn Bell has lived in Clairemont for 25 years. She has lost two friends to the corona virus. Several others have lost their jobs and her own reserves have taken a hit.

Her hours as a dog walker have been cut because, now, her remaining clientele are first responders with pets.

Laughingly, Carolyn says, “I need two more weeks of quarantine to finish cleaning my house and I don’t want to cook anymore.”

She added, “This lockdown has really reminded me how important it is to be kind, caring and loving.”

Molly Wauson, a Clairemont kindergarten teacher, and her husband, Matt, have four school-aged children: 16, 13, 10 and 8. In addition to helping her kids with their school work, she has also been teaching “distance learning” online with her own little students since March 18, 2020.

Molly said, “While the learning is definitely different, I have seen some unexpected advantages. For example, my oldest son, Sam, isn’t the biggest fan of school. I have found though that he thrives in his current learning environment because the assignments are more project based and less pencil and paper.”

She continued, “Many of his assignments are making a recording of what he has learned. He takes much more time and is very creative with his videos. This has really helped me see how he prefers to learn.”

The Wauson’s oldest daughter, Abbie, is a junior at Our Lady of Peace High School. Since March 16, 2020, she has been attending regular classes daily on Zoom from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Abbie has two advanced placement classes and has spent the year focusing on tests that were taken this week. The format, length and even the content changed, so she is understandably nervous. She prepared on her own for these important examinations.

Molly realizes that the corona virus quarantine is teaching her children (and us) to become adaptable and independent. She is also happy that the kids are getting along well with each other. Rather than being bored, she said, “They really enjoy hanging out together and have been very creative about building things.”

Grant and Shannon Featherston have been in Clairemont since 2003. Grant has been able to work from home, but Shannon lost her job as a preschool teacher. She does the family shopping and visits her mother and young niece daily while her brother is at work. She misses the little kids at her preschool.

Shannon has a pet peeve about customers treating clerks rudely during the epidemic. She has friends and family members who are frontline nurses in COVID units and can’t see their families.

“They are safe now, but extremely tired,” Shannon said with great admiration.

Their 15-year-old son, Drew, misses his friends, but stays in contact through video games and texting.

“I miss seeing my friends outside of school and playing lacrosse. My first season playing was cut short. As for school, I am happy to be doing online schooling at home,” Drew said.

Walter Andersen says, “I’m  glad to sell supplies for people to grow their own vegetables and fruit in the new victory gardens like during World War II,” but feels bad many local businesses might never reopen.

He also offered some humorous observations.

“Many things will change when this is over,” Walter opined. “The big push to bring your bag to the grocery store… now they won’t allow it and plastic is free again. Gas is super cheap, but no place to go. Parks and hotels are closed. Schools gave out thousands of laptops. Kids won’t be on campus in the near future.”

“Who would have imagined playing ball games at empty stadiums? Do you think if a ballplayer hits a home run at Petco Park, they will have piped in cheers? The happiest place on earth (Disneyland) isn’t so happy anymore.”

Sheila Mura moved to Clairemont as a teenager in 1954. She misses get-togethers with her classmates who will be turning 80 this year. All of her social activities have been cancelled, but her vocation (accountant) is considered essential. It keeps her busy.

“I’m still doing income taxes,” she said. “I really enjoyed not being stressed to get everything done by April 15.”

Because she had so much fun as a high school senior, Sheila feels bad for one grandson who will miss out on robotic competition and graduation. Another grandson was very excited about starting his job as a bus driver at the zoo. She wants businesses and the beaches to reopen soon. She is ready to go.

“I really do need a haircut and color,” she admitted. “It seems to me all I hear people complain about is their hair and nails.”

Sal Brunetto, co-owner of Sardina’s Italian Restaurant near the junction of Morena and West Morena Boulevard, estimates business has dropped more than 50% since the quarantine began.

Sardina’s is still open for take-out.  He is grateful that Channel 10 News featured their $10 pizza kit complete with fresh pizza dough, cheese, pepperoni and sauce which makes a medium-sized pizza at home.

Sal said, “We sold 700 in the first two weeks.”

Zubin Kolah, owner of Bombay Coast at North Clairemont Square, wants everyone to know that his restaurant along with neighboring Burros & Fries and Dino’s are open for business on a take-out basis. He was unable to keep his new Butcher N Cheese open because expenses were too high, but plans to re-open soon.

Zubin tried to secure a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan from the government, but said, “Mom and pop restaurants were left out of luck after funding ran dry.” Like so many, he is sad that Troy’s, a Clairemont landmark, is closed permanently. When restaurant owners can’t make payroll, employees lose their jobs.

Ronn Rohe wears glasses and refers to his mask as “the fogging attachment.”

He and his wife, Carol, have been very conscientious about adhering to the governor’s request to stay at home. However, one morning while being walked by his dog, a police officer politely told him that Mt. Acadia Park was closed.

Then, as Rohe puts it, “At the other side of the spectrum, I bicycled over to (a local take-out business) and was appalled at the disrespect on display. The place was full… there was no social distancing… I was the only one in a mask. A guy was giving a hard time to a SDPD cop who had shown up to suggest a more appropriate protocol.”

“My take on that incident?” Ronn said. “The owner choses to run his business that way, I chose to stop doing business with him.”

There are always some who won’t follow the rules.

Obey the rules, Clairemont, and we will all be safer.

If you would like to share your Quarantine 2020 stories or routines email me at: Bill@ClairemontTimes.com

To read my other installments of confinement check out:

House Arrest in Clairemont (2020)

House Arrest in Clairemont (1977)

For even more Squaremont Columns visit here

Email: Bill@ClairemontTimes.com