In March of 2020, San Diego was in the early days of an unprecedented shutdown. Governor Gavin Newsom told everyone in California to shelter in place with few exceptions as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
Since then, many peoples’ lives have changed dramatically. Families lost loved ones. Millions lost jobs. Some lost their place to live. Essential workers, from hospitals to grocery stores became the lifeblood of the community. Businesses shuttered, classrooms became computer screens, and bedrooms and kitchens became offices.
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Now as some San Diegans take off their masks and return to a life that looks more like it did before the pandemic, we each have our own pandemic story. KPBS Midday Edition spoke to four San Diegans about how their lives have changed during the pandemic. Here are their stories.
For Marcie Colleen, a Bankers Hill resident, what began as a way to thank doctors and nurses, ended up helping her form lasting bonds with her neighbors.
‘It was a really special time to be able to have people close to you when you know, up until that point I didn’t really feel like I belonged’
“At that time we could hear the cheering going on downtown and every night it felt like it got a little bit closer to Bankers Hill. And I could not wait until it finally made it up to Bankers Hill so that I could go out and cheer as well. And I think we waited until it got to about three or four blocks away and I couldn’t contain it anymore and my husband and I went outside. We took a cowbell with us and we started cheering, and several of our neighbors came out too, with pots and pans and clapping, hooting and hollering. This went on every single night at 8:00 p.m. We even have some neighbors on our block who work at the hospital, and we would sometimes cheer them home as they would be pulling into their driveways.
A few of the neighbors who turned into friends during the pandemic in Bankers Hill, March 23, 2022.
“Every single month it seemed like we got a little bit closer. We would take a few steps closer to each other as we were cheering and one night we just chatted afterwards, introduced ourselves, of course standing six feet apart, and eventually we started texting each other, sharing phone numbers. And when most of the mandates were kind of lifted in June of 2021, we decided that we were going to finally stop cheering. We had been cheering every single night from April 2020 until June ’21, and we decided that we were going to mark the occasion with going out to dinner together. And we all went out to dinner at Liberty Station and it was a great way to just kind of meet each other. And since then, we’ve celebrated every single person’s birthday in the driveway. We’ve had pumpkin carving parties on Halloween. We’ve toasted midnight on New Year’s Eve, and every single day now when I go out for my morning run, I’m waving, I’m stopping, I’m talking to my neighbors because we actually came together during the pandemic and it’s a really good feeling.
“In February 2021, I did lose my dad to COVID, and just having my neighbors around me— I don’t know many …….