Home NEWS Local Scene “I’m Still Here” – Our MIAs Re-Surface After Months In Lockdown

“I’m Still Here” – Our MIAs Re-Surface After Months In Lockdown


This COVID pandemic has been tough on all of us, no doubt. We’ve lost some good people, had others drop off the map while they Battled the Bug or just hunkered down, and we can’t help but feel that all our lives have been changed forever.

We’re lucky to have an engaged community of readers who contact us pretty much round the clock so that kept us from feeling entirely cut off during the worst of this but we were keenly aware that some “voices” were dropping out of the daily dialogue for various reasons. We screwed down our misgivings and tendency toward fatalism – and hoped folks were just off perfecting their cooking or banjo skills while safe at the country house.

And then came the phone calls and emails from grieving relatives or mutual friends, and that first tremulous line: “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but…”

We heard. And we hoisted a virtual pint to the lost each time word reached us. And then, on days like yesterday, a few of the MIAs – those missing voices – checked in after long months under lockdown.

“Attempting yet another comeback from the near-dead and a 4th hospital stay since I first crumbled last June,” wrote one of our faves, DancingQueen, who frustrated us by rendering our return email to her as undeliverable (don’t do that, folks, we were trying to respond!) “That doesn’t include a long stint in a rehab facility in WC into July, then another over Thanksgiving which is where I picked up Covid and spent Christmas into New Years/19 days in John Muir…”

Holy Cow, we thought things were bad when Lunardi’s began to run low on Haagen Dazs.

Despite all that, DQ ended things on a high note: “Hope you and yours are staying well and strong,” she wrote. “Hug the ones you’re with…”

So we did just that. Boy, was that mailman startled.

And then there was “Iron Mike,” a rock around here and all-around good guy who checked in after many silent months – from the East Coast, where it turned out he moved for reasons he said were unrelated to the “Maskdemic.”

“There were many ‘final straws’,” he wrote. “Fire season, environmental issues, cost of living, too much pressure from every conceivable angle… The cons of staying quickly outweighed the pros, and we decided (Destination Redacted) was a great place for the next season of our lives.”

“Mike” was a businessman and entrepreneur, a visionary with a heart and a love for his adopted state that made it especially hard to hear that he has left us. We need more like him.

And then there was Sean, who began his note to us with: “Howdy y’all, its been a minute since I’ve reached out. Hope all is well in the newsroom.”

Sean and Liam

We always liked Sean, for his direct approach, eclectic collecting habits and shared interests, and we looked forward to hearing what he has been up to. Apparently, it was quite a lot, taking a “Facebreak” from social media to help make a baby boy (George) with wife Teal as well as a film for Amazon Care with his 11-year-old non-speaking Autistic son Liam.

Sean was touting Liam’s commitment and screen skills, as well as mum’s after she landed a part, too.

“We are very proud of Liam for bringing representation of the Autism community to this short film and the effort he put in to over 3 days of filming,” Sean wrote, so nice job Liam and Fam and those are the kinds of notes we like to get from our MIAs.

Don’t wait so long to write next time.


  1. Hello, JD! I was happy to receive your dispatch in the morning’s email, and recognized a few of the quotes as my own. I thought I’d check in, as one of the aforementioned MIA’s! Life here in the Eastern Mountains (they aren’t as tall, but boy are they old) has been treating us very well. On the drive across Our Fair Country, I wondered how I’d feel seeing the “Welcome To California” sign in the rearview mirror, after nearly 15 years there. As I passed the “Welcome to Arizona” sign on scenic I-40, I was taken by the caves and roadside tourist traps at the border, and completely forgot to look back for the opposing Welcome to CA signage.

    I miss friends and neighbors, but for now, that’s all that’s coming to mind. It’s nice to be on bedrock again, with plentiful groundwater and a slower pace of life. People are more patient here and there’s no sense of competing for resources; natural or otherwise. It’s also much easier to do business here, in terms of due process and cost, and a dollar is worth about 50% more.

    That all said, I’m looking forward to visiting the great Golden State as soon as reasonably possible, possibly even getting to say a proper goodbye to friends and neighbors. The Pandemic Departure was awkward, to say the least. I had to stop at Mo’s Gas in Orinda to wipe the tears from my eyes, before getting onto eastbound 24.

  2. Good one….. interesting to see where we’ve all been. This extraordinary condition has changed us all. Lost a relative and my brother moved to Texas. And then there are the kids…..

  3. Our housecleaners survived. Their small business employer survived thanks to many people like us who paid for housecleaning even when they weren’t permitted to actually do the work. They got 59% of their regular income during the lockdown. 59%. Imagine what little they had even before that. Not everyone could or would help out…but just enough did. A lot of us stepped up to help those less fortunate. Our annual food bank contribution is now monthly. It’s quite a story we have been living, and we are still here, Thing One and Thing Two.

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