A baby boomer’s coronavirus staycation

We invited you to write to us about your thoughts and experiences during this crisis with the coronavirus… and already we have some readers’ stories. This is from Meryl Baer of Ventnor, New Jersey, on the south shore near Atlantic City. Meryl says that so far, it’s an ongoing staycation… but unfortunately, part of a continuing saga.

We are lucky, and unlucky, to be baby boomers— I mean, the age of baby boomers— in these uncertain times. My husband Steve and I are not confined at home with kids to entertain 24/7. On the other hand, by age alone, we are more vulnerable than most to coronavirus COVID-19. We are lucky to live in a home that comfortably accommodates two people. Our neighborhood is conducive to getting outdoors. However, we spend too much time hovering in front of the TV listening to dire predictions, a mental health downer.

Meryl Baer

Speaking of our neighborhood… we live in a beach town ‘open’ all year. The population swells over the summer with snowbirds and second-home owners. The past couple of weeks though, many snowbirds, rarely arriving before April, were back. City folks, last observed Labor Day and not usually seen again until Memorial Day, materialized early this year, like the flowers that have sprouted prematurely in my yard.

As a result of the increased population, local stores, unprepared for the influx, quickly ran out of provisions. Local governments and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, concerned with the town’s capability to provide services, especially if folks get sick, urged folks NOT to quarantine at the shore.

Last Monday was a landmark day in our town. Our favorite ice cream shop opened for the season— but, take-out only. Steve walked over to get our first delicious taste in months. Quite a few others had the same idea. Folks queued up, standing several feet apart. Steve waited outside until a spot opened and he could go in, order, quickly receive his precious package, and walk home. A slice of ’normalness’ in strange times.

One morning we ordered sandwiches from our local bagel bakery. I feel it is important to patronize the few local businesses still open. They need our support to remain open and with any luck survive until better times.

I am not exercising enough. No classes to frequent, no gym to stop by. Steve and I take walks when the weather obliges. My zumba instructor schedules Zoom virtual work-outs, and although fun, it is not the same as an in-person session.

What would we do without the internet?! Our family, residing across six states, experienced a Saturday night Facetime get-together. We were looking forward to my granddaughter’s Bat Mitzvah in April, but that has been postponed until October. Now we hope to gather in Florida for the event and look forward to partying together— in person.

Going forward, special projects are on my to-do list. I’ve reviewed piles of papers and shredded lots of them. There are stacks of pictures to sift through, drawers to clean out, thrift shop bags to fill, books to read, virtual scrabble to play.

Our staycation continues indefinitely, but we look forward to restarting activities missed… going anywhere unconcerned about social distancing, socializing with family and friends, attending meetings and programs, traveling (anywhere!).

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