Corona Chronicles: May 30, 2020

Until life returns to some semblance of normal, from time to time we will send out the Corona Chronicles. This publication will provide commentary, brief stories, poetry, book and movie suggestions, and ways to make our time at home meaningful and fulfilling. If you have ideas to submit, please contact Nancy Perkins at

There is a part of me that has found the past few months to be a period of reflection and a time to organize not only closets, photographs, and books but my thoughts and perceptions about the life I have led. I have spent many hours remembering childhood playmates, high school and college friends, the great group of neighbors we had with growing children, and now the new friends I have made since relocating to Belfast. I am so very gratified that Senior College has provided me with a feeling of fellowship and community and nowhere is this more evident than in the articles, essays, poems, reviews, and ideas generated in this newsletter. Please keep sharing for we are all finding pleasure in one another’s thoughts and writings. We will send issues as we gather content. In the meantime, I hope in the words of the Canadian Prime Minister sent to me by member Tyrone Townsend, “Be Calm. Be Kind. Be Safe!”

Nancy Perkins

Painting by Kristen Frangoulis

Penobscot Shores COVID-19 Response

There are 72 residents living at Penobscot Shores, all of whom fall into the age group considered most vulnerable. As the state toll of victims grew, the management, as early as March 16th, imposed several restrictions. Our main building, the Ocean House, with 28 apartments, was declared “off limits” and the outside doors kept locked at all times with admission of staff and any emergency workers only after screening. Residents who were away were required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return and everyone was required to wear a mask while outside their dwellings and to observe social distancing rules. All group activities were cancelled and any visitors, including family members were prohibited from visiting. Within a few weeks, our beautiful dining room was closed and all meals ordered after that date have been delivered to apartments and cottages by the wait staff.

Those forbidden entrance to the Ocean House included those of us who live in cottages as well as the mailman, who was required to leave his mail bag in the foyer to be picked up and distributed to individual mailboxes by the management. All in-house mail for cottages, then off limits, was delivered by a resident volunteer. Since our well-stocked library was then off-limits to cottage dwellers, we were required to make appointments to enter by the outside door after inside doors from the hall were locked. In addition, a person was hired to shop for groceries for those without a community member who could do it for them. Our shopper spends an 8-hour day two days a week providing that service.

As statewide numbers of victims has receded, some restrictions have been modified. The Ocean House is now open to all residents admitted by using a key and with strict requirements to wear masks, observe social distancing with no more than 10 residents allowed to congregate in one area. We recently had our first resident meetings face-to-face in masks in six separate meetings limited to 10 residents spaced 6-feet apart. We are still advised against being in the community to shop. Careful adherence to these rules has kept us safe so far. Rules are reviewed on a regular basis to reflect state guidelines and adjust our own community and age-specific guidelines.

What do we do for fun? Some of us do get out to purchase a take-out lunch and drive to one of the many scenic areas of mid-coast Maine to enjoy an in-car picnic. Walking the grounds and conversing with other walkers while masked and respecting the 6-foot rule allows us to get some exercise and keep in touch with our neighbors.

Other activities aided by warming weather include taking advantage of our raised-bed garden area to plant flowers or vegetables, masked even if no one else is in the area. Another on-campus activity is enjoyed by a small group of beekeepers who will serve our four hives from now until fall at which time we will all benefit from the honey they produce. As members of our larger community, about a dozen residents participated in the Belfast clean up campaign picking up trash along our frontage with Route 1.

Like everyone else, we look forward to being able to get back to life as it was before this devastating pandemic. However, we are all committed to taking the needed precautions to keep our community safe.

Ron Jarvella

Painting by Kristen Frangoulis

Monkey Brain
2:37 am. March 2020

The virus has come to Maine,
who is infected, contagious,
but not sick?
Am I infected, but not sick?
Tests are in short supply…
Will my wife get sick?
Will my family and friends get sick?
No way to know.

I wash my hands religiously
Is it enough?
The main point of masks,
also in short supply,
for folks not treating people…
don’t touch your face,
don’t spread the disease,

They say
I am in a high risk group,
73 years old.
I practice PT and yoga,
I ride a bike,
I walk outside,
six feet apart,
with old friends,
will exercise save us?

How long will we need
to “shelter in place?”
Is food shopping safe?
How long can local stores,
businesses and schools stay closed?
What about people laid off?
What about people who lack health insurance?
Paid sick leave?
If parents get sick,
who takes care of the children?

How can doctors, nurses and EMTs cope,
missing the tools they need?
How many in town will need hospital care?
Will there be enough beds?
Will there be a bed if I need one?
Should I update my “In the Event of Death” binder?

In the morning,
I will take a deep breath,
I will connect with family and friends,
I will look for opportunities to laugh,
I will listen to music,
I will persist.

Jim Owen
Belfast, Maine

From the kitchen of Lila Nation

Pommes es dauphinoise: pour six personnes. Voici ma recette pour les pommes dauphinoise, très simple, mais délicieuse. (C’est une combinaison de recettes de Julia Child, de Patrice Dord, et de moi.)

Recette française: Pour ceux qui aiment cuire et lire en français: Choisessez des pommes de terre de variété Belle de Fontenay (Yukon Gold marcheraient très bien aussi)

Préchauffer le four à 210 C.

Faites fondre le beurre dans une petite casserole

Pelez les pommes et émincez-les très finement en rondelles tranchées

Cuissez-les 15 mn à l’eau bouillante salée et puis sechez-les

Graissez le plat de cuisson avec une gousse d’ail et une cuillère à soupe de beurre

(un poêle de neuf pouces de longeur et de deux pouces de profondement)

Faites soigeusement se chevaucher la moitié de tranches pour qu’il n’y a pas d’espace entre elles

Couvrez les pommes avec la moitié de fromage

Ajoutez la deuzième moitié de pommes et puis courvez-les avec un quart de fromage

Mélangez la crème, le reste d’ail et de beurre, le sel le poivre, et le noix de muscade et verser tout ça sur les pommes et le fromage

Couvrez cette mélange avec le reste de fromage et mettez au four pour une heure jusqu’elle est pétillante et dorée.

Attendez cinq minutes avant de les servir.

Les ingredients

  • 1kg de pommes
  • 1 pince de noix de muscade
  • 25 g de fromage gruyère
  • 300 ml de crème légère
  • 3 gousses d’ail
  • 1 cuillère à café de sel
  • 1 pince de poivre