How many of us thought after 10 months we would still be talking about the pandemic and how it has impacted our lives? It has taken an emotional and physical toll on so many and the only thing that is within our control is praying that we receive the vaccine and our old normal becomes our new normal again.
As a now full time resident of Coronado who once only vacationed here, I have noticed so many things that I miss about the “old Coronado Island.” Things that draw so many to spend their family time here, or decide it’s the perfect place to retire and enjoy a simpler lifestyle.
I long for the days where I can ride my bike into town and wait in line with the summer crowds at my favorite restaurant. Go to the local grocery store and walk up and down the aisle in any direction I want. Walk my dogs on the beach without wearing a mask and feel comfortable saying hi to others enjoying our beautiful weather. Meet friends and neighbors for dinner and actually eat inside the restaurant.
This curve in the road has taken away the openness and freedom that we love about Coronado. The center of our Island home on Orange Avenue has become a strand of businesses with unusual signs in the windows. Pictures of masks, and rules that must be followed before entering. Some of the doors have been locked and the lights are never on. We have to get used to new phrasing like “social distancing” and “six feet apart.” Tables have been removed where we once enjoyed sitting outside with a gelato, and have been replaced with pop up tents where we wait in line for our “take out only” orders. I have even noticed signs on private homes reminding delivery drivers and neighbors to not enter or just leave packages or food “contactless.”
While the pandemic has certainly changed the way we face daily routines and made simple things difficult, it has also brought out the best in us. Because while I ride my bike around town I see things that make me smile and remind me I am still in the “old Coronado.” Families sitting on a blanket in Star Park having lunch. People standing on the beach at sunset with their cameras. Visitors seeing the Hotel Del for the first time in amazement. Children riding their bikes with a surfboard attached. Candy Cane Lane at Christmas. Flags lining Orange Avenue on holidays. Signs saying thanks to frontline workers. Shopping local.
Being a part of a community like Coronado is a special thing. As frustrating and impatient as the pandemic has made us, I know Coronado has not lost its magic. One day the things we miss the most will be back. The smell of popcorn at our movie theater will return, a new appreciation for live theater will sell out every show, and we will be setting up our chairs on the sidewalk at 4:30 a.m. in the morning for the best 4th of July parade.
Hang in there, Coronado. We are strongest when we work together.