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Staying Positive Under Quarantine



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In light of Governor Ned Lamont’s recent “Stay Safe — Stay At Home” directive, urging Connecticut residents to stay home as much as possible to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19, Newtown Bee readers were recently asked: What are you doing to stay positive now?

From good news and unexpected window displays to messages in chalk and mother-son bonding time, residents continue to find joy even under quarantine.

Among the first to respond was Eileen Gallo, who said she and her husband were playing Cribbage, among other things.

“Al has read two books already, and I am crocheting all sorts of new stitches,” she shared via e-mail. “We are cleaning drawers and mailing out cards to family and friends. We watch Sunday Mass from St Rose Church. We enjoy the outdoors every day.

“There is always something to do,” she said.

Jacky Fountain received a phone call recently and was given some of life’s best news.

Her grandson, she shared, has been battling cancer through chemotherapy sessions since last summer.

“He was just about to finish his last round,” she said, but “Memorial Sloan Kettering said no need. He’s finished with treatment!”

Jon Miller shared a photo he took recently at Fairfield Hills. First Selectman Dan Rosenthal has for weeks been asking residents to heed social distancing cautions, and not always with success.

Miller was glad, he said March 31, to see people finally listening to town, state, and federal officials. The paved loop at Fairfield Hills was still busy, but more people were keeping distance from each other.

“Much better than what we’ve seen in recent weeks,” he said via e-mail.

Recent visitors to that popular trail at Fairfield Hills have also been welcomed with messages. Among messages in chalk found by Kim Duffy were “Thank you Health Care,” “Thank you Grocers,” “Smile! (If wearing a mask, smile with your eyes)” and “Thank You Teachers.” The notes she found, Duffy said, “start at the cul-de-sac leading up to the back meadow.”

Christine Miller also reached out, saying she knows “there is a great deal of kindness happening” these days.

She thinks about, she said, those who are making masks, delivering to the elderly, and otherwise doing good things to help others.

Miller also shared a few photos with The Newtown Bee, one of her son Kenneth and one of Sandy Hook School paraeducator Kristy Davenport, both of whom recently took time to pick up roadside trash.

When Christine and Kenneth were out, mom carried the trash bag and Kenneth used a picker-gripper to pick up the unfortunate amount of debris the pair found.

“He did not touch anything but the picker with his hands,” Christine pointed out. “We carried hand sanitizer and washed hands and showered as soon as we got home.”

(Kenneth, by the way, has a lifelong honorary title: He was The Newtown Bee’s 2009 First Baby of The Year.)

Leslie Ballard was driving through town recently when she spotted something that made her smile.

“To send some positive vibes during the pandemic, Grant Ossendryver arranged solar lights in his school windows at the town hall,” she said, referring to the owner of Rock Elite Music Academy, located within Edmond Town Hall. “It really lifted my spirits,” said the musician and Newtown native.

Newtown United Methodist Church Pastor Lori Miller said the people at the Church Hill Road house of worship are bringing her joy “in this odd season.”

In a note last week, Miller said, “Really without exception they have leaned into both the possibilities and challenges of staying together via technology, phone conversations, live-streamed worship, and Zoom!

“They are reaching out to one another and to people in the community who have needs. They are all turning into prayer warriors! I am grateful to be serving among them.”

Calling this “the truest expression of joy I have seen in a long time,” Jacky Fountain explains that it shows her grandchildren celebrating the news that her grandson has finished treatments for cancer, earlier than planned. He had been undergoing chemo, she said, since last summer.—photo courtesy Jacky Fountain
“Much better!” is what Jon Miller said after taking this photo of people sharing the 1.88-mile paved trail at Fairfield Hills last week. Residents had been a little too close last month for the comfort of First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, who repeatedly implored people of all ages to practice social distancing. —Jon Miller photo
This Tom Turkey had time to pose for a few pictures on Monday, March 30, when he was spotted by Public Works employees at the town’s transfer station. It was certainly a moment of levity for those who spotted him. —Anthony Capozziello photo
Kenneth Miller went with out with his mother to pick up some roadside trash recently. Kenneth used the picker to grab the trash, mom held the bag as they progressed and had sanitizer handy, and both scrubbed down as soon as they returned home, according to Christine.—Christine Miller photo
Sandy Hook School paraeducator Kristy Davenport also picked up roadside trash recently.—Christine Miller photo
Multiple messages in chalk have been shared on the paved path at Fairfield Hills, including this simple note of thanks to educators.—Kim Duffy photo
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