25 March

Jean’s In Limbo

by Jon Katz

The strongest sense I get from talking to Kelly, Kevin, and Kelsie, is that they are living in a kind of nerve-wrenching limbo.

People come in clusters to order take out food – breakfast, and lunch-time, in between, there are periods of quiet.

I come every day with Zinnia, and chat briefly, keep six or seven feet away, pick up my food and leave.

Everyone there loves Zinnia and comes out to see her and touch her. There are all kinds of ways to do therapy dog work.

I get the sense they are hanging in there for now, but that they can’t hold out this way for too much longer. They are trying to follow the news, but it seems to change almost hourly.

The community is very attached to Jean’s Place and is fighting hard to support them. The parking lot was crowded with pick-up people, we all came in one at a time and kept our distance.

It felt eerie, the very opposite of Jean’s and the atmosphere there. Usually, we are all on top of one another, yakking and joking.

The laid-off staff comes in to say hello, and offer their help. I think the hardest part for Kevin and Kelly was laying off the people who have worked with them almost all of their lives.

Tomorrow, Kelly is making cupcakes, pies, and muffins for the residents and aides at the Mansion – 43 people at the moment. She’s charging $100, it’s sponsored by the Army Of Good.(Six desktop wooden easels with pain and brushes are on their way to the Mansion.)

At the Mansion, they follow the news and talk with their friends and customers who come in for sandwiches or coffee to take out. But they admit that like everyone else, they are confused and don’t really know what’s going on.

They just know it can’t on for too much longer or it will force them to close, maybe temporarily, maybe longer. If the authorities decided to bring some parts of the country back to work and life, I hope they pick this part.

Then Jean’s can open.

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