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West Linn Adult Community Center volunteer Mieke Wiegman shares thoughts on how the closure of the West Linn Adult Community Center impacted her.

Editor's note: As a precautionary measure against spreading coronavirus, the West Linn Adult Community Center is closed through April 30. Those requiring meal service are urged to contact Oregon City's Pioneer Adult Community Center, where lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for a suggested donation of $3 for those age 60 and over and $4.50 for those 59 and younger. The City of Oregon City Meals on Wheels program is operated out of the Pioneer Center with service to residents in Oregon City, Beavercreek, Redland, Holcomb and West Linn. For information about either meal program call 503-722-5979.

The Pioneer Center is located at 615 5th St. in Oregon City.

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COURTESY PHOTO  - Mieke Wiegmans trip to Holland was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But friends cheered her up by leaving flowers and a card on her front porch.

The decision to close the West Linn Adult Community Center was, I am sure, not happily received by many. And no wonder, as the center is the home away from home for a lot of us. Many of us enjoyed our three times a week excellent lunches, which were really our dinners for that day. A blessing always, for not having to cook or get something ready leaves us with the option of take out, not always the healthiest of choices. Apart from the fact that patrons are not able to take any of our wonderful classes to keep us fit, and our brains active with all the games and activities usually going on, what do we do with our time we now spend at home in isolation? The hours spent at the center were numerous for many of us, and the loss of friendship, companionship, good conversation and simply sharing part of the day has all been put on hold. Will we survive? Of course we will. After all, we are the 50-plusses, and then some, and have seen it all. We know how to survive this storm, and we will do anything to make sure we all keep safe. Still, isolation can have a profound impact, especially for those who live alone.

Because of the coronavirus, I had to cancel my trip visiting family in Holland. A few days after I should have arrived, I was meant to celebrate my birthday with them, and they had planned a great get together. The day before I was to travel, I cried when I put my clothes and suitcase away. In retrospect it was just as well I didn't go, because I would not have been able to visit my 95-year-old auntie, or my oldest sister who has respiratory issues, nor would I have been able to enjoy shopping with my "shopping" sister or having luncheons or dinners with others. The worst part would have been if I had been unable to come back to the USA. As an American citizen, yes, I would have been able to enter the country, but at the same time, most flights were cancelled from Europe, and if I had to go into quarantine, my poor dog waiting for me at home, or my dog sitters, would have been quite upset.

On waking up on my birthday here at home, I felt very lonely. My poor dog didn't know how to sing "Happy Birthday". But, soon, when having my breakfast coffee, the calls, videos and chats were coming in. Everyone in Holland had waited to call me until they thought I might be up. (They are eight hours ahead at the moment.) I received numerous birthday songs, in English as well as in Dutch. I could see them through the WhatsApp video calls, and had wonderful chats. My landline was also kept busy, and that morning, I was very grateful for the modern technology we have these days. Yes, even when you are so far apart, you can still be close. Before I knew it, my birthday had gone, after many more well wishes from friends and family here in the USA. Earlier on in the day, I also received a text message from one of my neighbors that there was something on my front porch, and when I opened the door, I found a beautiful small vase with some wonderful spring flowers and a birthday card. I feel grateful and blessed living in this community.

No one knows how long this pandemic will last. It seems to get worse everyday, but I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. I'm sure many of us also miss our two wonderful coordinators Tiffany Carlson and Meghan Matthies, may they also stay safe. Both of them were always there to talk to you, inform you, and help you feel comfortable and special. "We miss you and hope to see you both again soon."

Mieke Wiegman is a volunteer at the West Linn Adult Community Center.


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