Oak Bluffs: How our expectations have changed

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“March is the month of expectation, the things we do not know.” So said Emily Dickinson, American poet. How our expectations have changed since March 1. It was a different world we looked at back then, and never did we expect so many changes in a few short weeks. Just as I finally recovered from a serious case of bronchitis and was looking forward to once more being able to shop and go to lunch with my friends, and had rescheduled appointments I had to cancel because of illness, the wall of isolation slammed down again, so I am back to square one. But I am healthy for the moment, even though in the highest-risk group for catching this virus. My grocery shopping has now been taken over by family, and they have forbidden me to go out but insist I stay safely home. 

Our house is active, with four youngsters ages 3 months to 10 years old. There is always some kind of project going on that either ends in gales of laughter or wild, noisy bickering. Their mother takes them on nature walks, sets up exercise competitions in the yard, and has a set time for their homeschooling. The most exciting observation made this week was the dead mouse the 5-year-old found in the front yard. Immediately upon discovery, he announced to all that he had found a dead mouse and it was NOT alive. 

Reading has filled many empty hours for me, and I actually had the time and inclination to read “The Scarlet Letter” for the first time. I also read and would strongly recommend Kate Quinn’s latest novel. She is the author of the bestseller “The Lilac Girls.” Her latest novel is “The Huntress,” and what follows is a review written by NY Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff: 

“Quinn deftly braids the stories of a female Russian bomber pilot, Nazi hunters, and a young Bostonian girl staring down evil in the most unthinkable of places. The result is a searing tale of predator and prey, transgressions and redemption, and the immutable power of the truth.” A powerful story based on many true facts. 

I want people to know how hard teachers have been working these weeks to continue to educate our children. They have set up home study packets, constantly updating work, and much more. I spoke with Jennifer Robinson, who is a second grade teacher at Oak Bluffs School. Jennifer is going to retire at the end of this school year, after 30-plus years of teaching our children. But she has not stopped teaching, even now with schools closed. She has work packets that students can pick up at her house or downtown where her husband works; they have journals so by only writing a couple of sentences a day they will have a history of this time. 

Jennifer has set up a new Facebook page so parents and students can view more info and ask questions. She had a few suggestions for kids to also have fun at home: Hold a Lego tower contest, put a video on Facebook, jigsaw puzzles, and more. 

And here is some more happy news. I received a letter from Sandy Mott, the secretary clerk for Deer Run Association in Oak Bluffs. This is her message: “Today I received a lovely, thoughtful note from one of our Deer Run neighbors, Phil and Suzanne Reppert, reminding me how great we can all be in time of crisis. They said they would ask me to send out a note to our neighborhood members to tell them that they, the Repperts, were available if a neighbor needed some help during this corona crisis. They said I could include their phone number. Well, I did this. I sent out the offer to our neighbors. And I am not at all surprised that I received immediate responses; each of those neighbors wrote back saying they were willing to help as well, and including their phone numbers.” See, the best of us seems to always emerge during a crisis! 

I have had many people call me to see if I needed help or knew someone who did, anyone making a trip to pick up groceries offers to do so for others, the stores are doing their best to keep everyone safe, and some restaurants are still offering takeout as long as they can do it. Our Alpine Avenue. neighborhood sports rainbow pictures in many windows; walkers with children have made a game of counting as many as they can, most people are greeting walkers with a friendly smile and hello, so good things do blossom among the bad news. 

We send birthday smiles to James Rebello and Hannah Gibb on March 27, Kailyn Hart on the 28th, Garrett Broadly on the 31st, Robin Meader, Tyson Araujo, and Sandy Moreis on April 1, and Richard D. Combra on April 2. 

Enjoy your week. Peace.