POTOMAC — A contagion of kindness has continued in community during this difficult and trying time. Last week it was reported that Tim Reardon of Lola’s Bar and Grill received notice from an anonymous man that he intended to purchase 30 spaghetti dinners for the first 30 patrons, and the same sentiment was continued by another couple this week, who also purchased 30 spaghetti dinners.

Two retired teachers, Janet Fults of Penfield and Vickie Johnson of Potomac, have been making masks for Fults’ niece, a psychiatrist in Gainesville, Fla., and have sent some to Champaign as well. Mason McMasters, a junior at Armstrong Township High School, has learned the art of sewing and has also been making masks.

It has not been determined as of yet where they will be sent. Jennifer Snyder of rural Potomac said her country neighbor, Joann Swires has been uplifting the spirits of residents on their road with a Saturday treat and a cheerful note. Chocolate chip cookies, caramel corn and cupcakes were among the goodies delivered.

Both Potomac and Armstrong-Ellis grade schools will continue to offer meals to any students in need every Monday until further notice. There is a mailbox mounted by the school doors at Armstrong for students to submit completed homework.

— Although it may be a given, the following have reported cancelations or postponements: all track practices and meets for Potomac and Armstrong grade schools have been canceled, as well as all Scholastic Bowl matches (including county) for April. The village of Potomac will be rescheduling its yard sales and clean-up day, originally planned for April 25 and May 2, respectively. The book club’s discussions of both “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Unorthodox” have been postponed until further notice.

— The Middlefork Seeders and Weeders garden club has extended the deadline for engraved brick orders until April 17, since the factory that makes them is closed for the time being. Anyone who is still interested or with questions is encouraged to contact either Elizabeth Osborn at 987-6457 (Potomac Public Library phone number- it is closed to the public, but she is still there working) or Angie Walsh at jawalsh76@yahoo.com.

The group must have at least 100 paid orders for this second order to go through. These bricks will be installed on the west side of the garden path. If the goal is not reached, those who have ordered and paid will receive a refund. Proceeds from the sale will be used for further community beautification projects.

— Today begins a series of interviews (conducted through email) focusing on our community members, some of whom are in unique circumstances, and how the coronavirus has affected their daily lives.

Clarenda McCarty of Potomac is a mother to Evan, Cooper, Adisyn, and Kenlee, fiancee of Travis Taylor, a healthcare worker, and a teacher at Potomac Grade School.

“As a kindergarten teacher and a mom of four, cold and flu season is always a time of year where I become more cautious. With having a fiance who is a healthcare worker as well, hand washing, sanitizing and changing clothes once we got home from work was just one of the regular things we did to help stop the spread of viruses and to keep our family safe and healthy,” McCarty said.

McCarty and family

Clarenda McCarty with her children, Evan, Cooper, Adisyn and Kenlee and her fiancee, Travis Taylor.

However, three years ago, when her youngest daughter was born with a congenital heart defect and had open-heart surgery at a week old during the peak of cold and flu season, she said their normal actions to combat the viruses got ramped up when she learned of social distancing to help keep the child safe.

In spite of all this, she said nothing prepared them for a world pandemic. She fears the exposure Taylor faces on a daily basis, even knowing that his place of employment is doing everything possible to keep them safe. There is always the chance that, if he is exposed, he will be quarantined away from the family. Her oldest, Evan, is a high school senior, and son Cooper is in eighth grade.

Her heart was heavy as she explained to them early on that the chance of all the normal rites of passage associated with their milestones would most likely be postponed, if not canceled. Then there was her class.

“No one teaches you in college how to explain to kindergarteners why you can’t hug them or hold their hand, or explain to them what a pandemic is,” McCarty said.  “How to explain to them we are going to spring break early, and how to go to some websites that have some fun work on it to prepare for what you know is going to happen. My heart broke the day that I told them goodbye on March 16.”

She credits her work family of teachers for stepping up through cooperative efforts and communication to make sure each student has what they need during this time. Through it all, she is grateful for children who understand the responsibility of keeping healthy, a support group of parents with conditions similar to her daughter, Kenlee, her school family and a supportive fiance who goes to work every day helping others and comes home making sure they are loved and cared for.

— Thought for the week: “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”- Christopher Reeve

Angie Walsh of Potomac writes a weekly column about Potomac area happenings. Information may be mailed to her at jawalsh76@yahoo.com