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BEACON Senior News

Week moments from self-quarantine

May 05, 2020 10:30AM ● By Dick Wolfsie

“This is tougher than I thought it would be. I love you, but being in the same living space together for so long makes me a little nervous that we can make this work for much longer.”

That’s what my wife, Mary Ellen, told me on our honeymoon 40 years ago…and we’re still together.

Now, because of COVID-19, we really are cooped up in the same space, sheltering at home. Some sociologists claim that in nine months many couples will either have a new baby or a divorce. I’m relatively sure neither of those will happen to us. Actually, I am 100 percent sure one of them won’t. (When Mary Ellen read that last part, she said, “That’s so sweet.” I think she missed the point.)

A week in self-quarantine

Here are some highlights for us from each day last week:


I made a haircut appointment because I knew there was going to be a rush when this nightmare is over.

“Buddy, it’s Dick. Do you have anything available around 2:30 on May 18?”

“Sorry, Dick. I’m booked at that time already. Could we make it a little later?”

“How about 4:30?”

“How about September 4?”


I thought of a funny idea for a cartoon. I can’t draw, so I sent the concept to my friend Gary Varvel, political cartoonist extraordinaire. Here was the notion: Just like there is a gun buyback program in some cities, I envisioned a mask buyback program where the government encourages people to return their masks for cash, so doctors and nurses can use them. In the cartoon, we see bank robbers waiting in line to get their money. Not funny? That’s also what Gary said.


I posted this question on Facebook: While being sheltered inside, tell me something new about yourself that you have discovered.

My favorite answer came from my friend Johnny: “I discovered we have a cat.”


Mary Ellen and I had an honest conversation about how we would deal with the stress of the next few months.

“What would you do, Dick, if our Internet and cable went out while we were here together and the weather was terrible so we couldn’t even go outside?” she asked.

“I would hide all our sharp instruments.”


I decided to catch up with old friends. Herbie was my college roommate. With a little online detective work, I found his number.

“Herbie, it’s Dick Wolfsie, your roommate at George Washington U.”

“Geesh, Dick, I haven’t talked to you in 40 years. Actually, 43 years if you count when we were living together.” (CLICK)


For retired people, keeping track of the days of the week is tough enough, but it’s worse when you are sequestered inside.

“Dick, it doesn’t feel like a Friday, it feels like a Sunday,” said my wife.

“Funny, it feels like a Tuesday to me. Let’s ask Siri, to be sure. Siri, what day is it?”

“Feels like Wednesday to me, but I have no clue. I’ve been cooped up here all week, like you. How about the weather? I can do that for you…not that you are going anywhere.”


We made Sunday a day of rest, just like we did Monday through Saturday.