It’s possible that in a few weeks, we will be coming out of this strange hibernation we’ve been in.
Yawning and stretching, blinking our eyes in to the bright sunlight, we may feel more freedom than we have in many weeks.
But the world won’t be the same as it was in February. Things might feel different. We might feel different – maybe a little off balance.
Except for families being together and in the cases of frontline workers, we haven’t been around others in a long time. Some people are used to that, but for the vast majority, being social is paramount to our well-being.
During this restricted period, while working from home, we decided to ask people what they anticipate things will be like when we are a little bit freer.
I sent a letter to random folks on my email address list. There was nothing that went into the choices. I just clicked on names as I looked through my address book.
I sent 96 emails and had 42 returned, including replies from people who had gotten the email from someone else.
We received so many interesting responses. Some people seemed as though they needed to get some stuff off their chest. Others were light-hearted, others serious, others quite detailed. But overall, those who responded were generous with their ideas.
Since there were so many replies, this “little” story has become a series. The submissions have been edited for space and clarity.
We can’t take more submissions now, but please enjoy reading the things your friends and neighbors said. We certainly did.
These are in no particular order, but I have to say that resident Micki Batson’s poem captured my attention:
Life will be happier,
And we’ll laugh with each other and learn things anew.
How fun it will be to share what we’ve seen
While living “in place” under “quarantine.”
The movies, the series, the games that we played
The miles that we walked,
The food that we made.
How we shared the love with family and friends
Thru Facebook and Duo and all of those trends.
So 6 feet of separation will be part of the past,
And we’ll all join together and have a real blast!”
And John Weedo, Commander of American Legion Post 58, was succinct:
“Ok, so the garage is clean, cabinets rearranged, motorcycle shines like never before, car is cleaned and waxed, house is spotless, ‘to do’ list is all done. Waiting to reopen American Legion Post… The best thing to come out of this is that most people are more considerate and caring of others. Our heroes have changed from sports figures to true heroes, our first responders. Police, firefighters, doctors and nurses, grocery store employees and, of course, our military. I hope all Americans are more appreciative of each other and we do not forget when or if life gets back to normal.
Gene Mikolajczyk, Attorney:
“It’s odd. I seem to have the opposite experience of many peopled.
“I work at a job where I am alone and I work alone…I work alone on solo projects, and my office pretty much leaves me alone…[Now] my office has me working on large projects…We are all working from home. We have phone and conference calls…
“I hate it. I can’t wait to go back to my own world of isolation. In a bizarre twist, the coronavirus has expanded my social interaction (albeit over the internet and conference calls) compared to my work before the crisis. I hope and assume this more expanded work culture will not be a permanent thing when this crisis passes.”
Barbara Moran, Fountain Hills Women’s Club Scholarship chair:
“I have used this opportunity to telephone friends and ask how they are coping. Fortunately, they all are doing well and hoping this soon will be over. Our family has used Zoom to keep in touch. It is fun being able to see everyone while we can’t wait to visit in person.”
Linda Kavanagh, Former Fountain Hills Mayor, and John Kavanagh, Arizona State Representative, District 23”
“After the COVID-19 threat subsides, people will continue to be crowd-averse for a while…Restaurants will reopen with extra table spacing, which may become the new norm.
“…For the time being, many people will continue to wear masks in public, an especially good idea for at-risk populations, and this will provide a constant reminder that the COVID-19 risk is not completely gone.
“But much good will also come out of this horrific ordeal, including a deeper respect for doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, first responders, truckers, delivery people, farmers, grocery store and restaurant workers and others who often stood on the front lines without protective equipment, serving society’s needs.
“…We selflessly sacrificed many freedoms and allowed our economy to take a significant hit for the greater good in the post-COVID world, we will begin to incrementally and safely take our lives and our freedoms back.”
Mike Freund, Vietnam War veteran:
“It may be two years before we get back to normalcy as we knew it before COVID-19. Hopefully our scientists can come up with a vaccine that will protect the majority of us.
“I’m a hugger but I don’t think hugging or handshaking will come back until 2021, depending on what happens this fall.
“Large gatherings may not happen until 2021…
“Personal hygiene will be a high priority for everyone young and old. Hand washing and sanitizing at work and at home will be essential for everyone’s safety.”
Heather Baldwin, Fountain Hills Saxophone Quartet member.
“I thought I would share two things I hope we’ll see more of in the future as a result of going through this experience:
“1) A reevaluation of money management…I think it takes an event like the COVID-19 crisis to really underscore the importance of living below our means and saving for emergencies.
“2) More exercise and time outdoors…I’ve personally been able to get back on my bike and start doing some longer rides again – and I’m enjoying it so much…I hope others are similarly inspired to continue pursuing fitness and time outdoors, even after the restrictions are lifted.”
John Gibson, member relations manager, Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce:
“Personally, I hope things do not return to our old normal anytime soon…I fear that if we go back to our old normal, we will just take each other for granted again.
“I hope this situation gives us all insight into how important other humans are to one another.”
Paul Perreault, Financial Advisor:
“I know quite a few elderly people who can’t or shouldn’t go out to do their shopping. Each Friday I compose a list of their needs and go to the grocery store to help them out.
“My wife, Gena, donated her kidney about five years ago. She has stayed home as this disease seems to attack people with respiratory, kidney issues or weakened immune systems.
“We are getting through this, but it has not been easy. We feel that we are the ‘sandwich generation’ dealing with children/young adult issues and aging parents, of which neither listen to our recommendations!”
Barbara Hansen; Former President, River of Time Foundation Board
Hall of Fame Selection Committee:
“One day a while ago, I said, ‘I wish I had a free day to catch up on everything.’ This is not what I had in mind!
“I am thankful for the thousands who have stepped up on the front lines. I cannot imagine the stress that is in their lives.
“I am trying not to get ahead of myself on projections for the future. I will hopefully adjust as the nation adjusts.
“(Husband) Fred and I are grateful this did not happen years ago when there was no internet, cell phones and cable TV. We are able to keep in touch with our loved ones, and that is what is important to us.”
Peter Donzelli; Area Director, N2 Publishing:
“A new means of communicating with each other and our clients has materialized over the past eight weeks…Zoom, Google Live, et.al, may become the norm. Corporations are already closing their offices and finding it works to provide direction via the internet. Think of the fuel, hotel, air and travel savings that will develop due to such action.
“In my opinion, I believe this will be the greatest change in our ‘tomorrows.’ Businesses will adapt and continue to grow implementing new approaches.
“As a hugger, I will probably curtail much of that exercise in the future…most importantly to me is the need to see and be with people.”
Cindy Couture, Retired Fountain Hills teacher:
“Since the COVID quarantine, my life has become more peaceful but still busy. It occurred to me that my life has become more like life in the ‘50s, where folks stayed home evenings and seldom went out.
“I’ve spent my time quilting, making face masks, reading and completing home projects I’ve ignored for years.
“I still get to be social – I’m on FaceTime, Facebook or on the phone with friends, family and neighbors.
“I foresee another year of life like this, so I’m determined to look for the positives and continue to enjoy life.”
Stephenie Bjorkman, Sami Fine Jewelry president:
“My business will come back bigger and better than ever!”
Mike and Charla Archambault, 48-year residents and former business owner and builder:
“Charla and I have been discussing this very issue…
“People working from home…
“Movie theaters possibly selling subscriptions to first run movies for us to watch at home…
“Doctors may migrate toward teleconferencing and one would only go to the doctor’s office on an as-needed basis.
“Schools and work may require that all vaccinations be up-to-date before being admitted to school or hired for work. We may even be required to carry documentation to prove the vaccinations…
“Creation of a national stockpile for the federal government and a retooling of CDC guidelines...
“Airlines will more than likely eliminate direct flights and require one or two layovers to your destination…
“Whatever the outcome may be, I don’t think society will ever be what it once was. We are entering a new norm!”
Henry Leger, former Town Councilman:
“As Americans, we have sacrificed many freedoms to fight the worst public health crisis in a century while leaders have taken decisive actions to protect our communities under the CDC’s guidance.
“As restrictions are systematically lifted…wearing masks in public, avoiding large venues and in general maintaining social distancing will be required for some time. And getting back to a so-called normal, a ‘new normal,’ will be more of a marathon than a sprint.
“I am hopeful as a community…that much of the human kindness that has been displayed continues and that we once again are able to enjoy our freedom and simple pleasures we are afforded.”
Carol Comito, Co-chair Liberal Ladies andAcademic Success Specialist, ASU:
“I can’t wait to be let out. I miss my friends, my co-workers, my students. I think some of us will be back to hugs, some may not.
“We are pretty resilient and I believe we will be back to a lot of our ways of connecting, but I’m sure it will be a slow process in some areas.”
Bonnie Schweihs, pet portrait artist:
“I believe we will be more mindful of how we spend our time. We have been given a gift of time, and I think we will be more aware of controlling it. We may be more selfish with it. For example, I wonder if I will go back to my prior self-made busy schedule?”
Allen Fossenkemper, OK Chorale co-founder:
“All the plans for spring and summer travel and concerts were gone in a flash, and we were left with our imagination as to how to react and fill the voids.
“One major benefit is the experience of not feeling guilty about just relaxing with a good book, a walk, a bike ride or a road trip…
“Serenity can come in many ways and acceptance of this problem is the key. Enjoy your health, pray for the speedy recovery of those who are sick and simply enjoy staying in the moment and in your own thoughts.”
Chris Brant, immediate past president, Rescue a Golden of Arizona:
“I am wondering how many individuals…will appear for the first time with new facial hair. I am personally growing a beard, my second attempt…The first one, years ago, (wife) Ellen told me it was very stuffy…it disappeared. This time, due to the weeks at home, I am anticipating the beard will have a chance to grow past the scruffy stage. For the limited occasions I need to go out these days, my facial growth is conveniently covered by my homemade face mask.”
co-chair, Fountain Hills Botanical Garden:
“I am extremely thankful for the people who are working in all their positions – grocery cashiers, grocery stockers, postal employees, landscape services, garbage employees, the list goes on. I do like the absence of ‘junk mail.’
“In the future, large venues will change the number permitted to attend. Social distancing will be the norm for a while…Hopefully, the many service businesses that had to close will be able to come back and be profitable. Going out to a restaurant will feel like real treat! Things we took for granted, like salons, libraries, etc., will be greatly appreciated.”
Sherm Abrahamson, retired attorney:
“My wife ad I moved into Fountain View Village about two years ago…Everything changed radically when the virus hit. We are now restricted from leaving the premises except for walking around the property…
“From a personal point of view, living this way is extremely depressing. We have very little to do with our time. A calendar is not important because we cannot get together with others.
“It is a bit scary to think about how long this will last. Good luck and good health.”
Cynthia Penrose Magazine, Liberal Ladies co-founder:
“Social distancing attempts, some continuing to wear masks and maybe gloves; restaurants and large retail business, even grocery stores will limit the number of patrons at any given time.
“My biggest hope is that the deep divisions we have been experiencing will lessen, we will learn to listen to others and value opinions other than our own…”
Donna J. Matlach, DMin, MMin, CDA, and Charles A. Matlach, DDS, MMin:
“The only certainties are the basic hygiene rules of washing hands, separation of 6-12 feet, no touching face.
“Working at home will be an integral part of any business that can ‘offshore’ certain parts of their systems, i.e., accounting, records, billing, research and development, sales contacts, meetings by Zoom, Web-Ex and other electronic media means. The wearing of face masks in public, …as well as hand sanitizer stations, disposable wipes and the like…
“The practice of medicine and dentistry will be drastically revised. The N95 masks, full personal protective equipment, face shields…will dramatically increase the cost of medical and dental services.
“In short, this pandemic will have lifelong affects on all of us who lived through it.”
Barbara Esposito, Fountain Hills resident:
Once the pandemic restrictions are lifted, we will be used to virtual communicating…We understand the bond of family because we experienced the pandemic.
“Using telemedicine abilities with our physicians will be common place. Our work environments will be changed by a large number of employees working off-site. This may help bring people and families closer together due to less commuting time.
“We’ll suffer through some inconveniences with grocery stores and shopping, but may find value in appreciating the small joys in life because our lives have slowed down. I do fear a friendly handshake may go away for a while.
Crystalle Ebbinga, New Journey Lutheran Church member
“In my opinion, the term ‘return to normalcy’ will not apply. … We have all been forced to adapt to new norms for along enough period of time that we must acknowledge that we can change. There are other ways of operating.
“My hope is we will be able to prolong the helping, caring, selfless attitude which surfaces at a time of need. I believe as a country we can sort out the good from the bad and emerge from the pandemic to be the compassionate people…A nation that learns from the enforced challenges into exciting new patterns of caring leadership and science.”
Al Roselieb; retired conductor,Fountain Hills Community Band:
“It is my hope there will be closer family ties and friendships…I also envision an explosion of empathy for every day workers, teachers, farm and factory laborers, store clerks and certainly health care providers…
“I hope our society will begin to demonstrate a new energetic appreciation for the tremendous value our teachers, counselors, administrative personnel and school workers bring to our families and our communities! May our sometimes-selfish concerns for ‘us’ be redirected to ‘others’ in our attitudes, generosity and outlook!”
Ginny Dickey, Fountain Hills Mayor:
“As Fountain Hills emerges, tentatively at first as each day brings more reassurance, it will be like a family reunion. In some cases, literally with grandparents (like us!) finally hugging those little kids. In the usual spirit of our community, I see those who are able spending a little more to help our businesses along, generous giving of time or resources to those in need or personally affected by the pandemic and a renewed gratitude for routine daily life and each other. And sports!”