We have received an email from a 1960 Daniel Stewart’s College alumnus, Tony Lord, based in California which we thought might be of interest to the community.  We hope to share further updates from alumni around the world with you in the coming weeks.  If you are an ESMS former pupil living overseas and you would like to tell us about your experiences, please pop us an email on development@esms.org.uk.

Tony says:

I thought that after the past 77 years on Planet Earth, I’d seen, and experienced, just about everything one can experience during a normal lifetime – post WWII Britain, drought and communist riots in Hong Kong, the intensity of daily life in Manhattan, the financial crash of 2007/2008, and retirement in Southern California. And now here we are, living with a pandemic!

Democracy, as practised in the United States, is a wonderful, controversial, and sometimes divisive system. However under the present circumstances, the negatives relating to freedom of speech and of actions outweigh the benefits. The Democratic (Labour) areas of the US including New York, California, Washington State et al are under “lockdown” instructions issued by the individual state Governors. Meanwhile many Republican (Conservative) areas are not nearly as compliant. For example, while we in California are basically restricted to our homes, and cannot “gather” with more than a handful of other people, in Florida religious events involving hundreds of people are permitted! I know it makes no sense, but each individual State has the legal right to determine where it wishes to be in many areas of life.

At times like we find ourselves in today, strong leadership is absolutely critical – a classic example would be Winston Churchill during WWII and John Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At this point in time, the United States is somewhat “rudderless” in that there is minimal support and direction emanating from the White House. Our President has, to date, refused to issue directives regarding self-quarantine actions, and thus the virus is not being contained as of today.

We live in a private country club in Palm Desert, which is about 120 miles east of Los Angeles. Our club covers an arear of exactly one square mile, and comprises 1067 homes built around two Arnold Palmer championship golf courses. When the Governor of California, Governor Newsom, issued instructions a couple of weeks ago that the population was to restrict its movements, our Country Club Board immediately closed all facilities – workout/gym, restaurants and other “indoor” facilities. However, golf, tennis, pickle ball (the fastest growing sport nationwide), and bocce ball were still available to members. This past week, Riverside County, where our club is located, banned all outdoor sports!

Our daily life is spent in the house, and a couple of times a day we walk around the club for about an hour. We only leave the club once a week to buy necessary supplies. We wear a mask and gloves when we go shopping. When we return to our home, we remove our clothes in the garage and change into freshly-laundered clothes.  The mask and the gloves are then put under ultra violet light, and we carefully wash our hands. We have not permitted anyone to enter our home and when we are outside we maintain a ten foot distance between us and anyone else. We are aware that we are amongst those who are at the highest risk, because of our age!

We have no idea how long it will be until life returns to the way it was pre Covid-19. Everyone is speculating about what the long-term impact on the economy will be – ten million people have filed for unemployment benefits during the two weeks since restrictions were placed on the majority of the population.   We are in unchartered waters!

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