By: Pat Winter

Clem and Dolly were living in Redlands, California, about halfway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, when the time came to retire. Clem, an industrial engineer, had spent his career focusing on the logistics of shipping 3M products to Pacific Rim countries and the western United States. Dolly, employed by the County of San Bernardino as a supervising public health nutritionist, oversaw the administration of the federal WIC program in the county. As retirees, they hoped to settle near at least one of their children, but the cost of living near their son and his family in the Bay area of San Jose proved to be prohibitive, so Clem and Dolly began looking at the possibilities of relocating near their daughter, who was living just outside Hertford. They were familiar with the general area of northeastern North Carolina because Clem’s mother was from Pamlico County. But it was their daughter who suggest-ed they take a look around our community.

After visiting here, Clem and Dolly liked our amenities and loved being so near a large body of water. They agreed our beautiful community had a “great feel to it,” and soon were making plans to move into their new home on Middleton Drive, but not, as you might guess, without a bit of COVID drama.
After packing up their California house and putting their goods into storage, Clem and Dolly moved in with their daughter and her husband in November of 2019.  In the early months of 2020, they traveled to Hawaii to enjoy their time share on the island of Kauai. While relaxing there, concerns about the Coronavirus were becoming alarming. Clem, a heart transplant recipient who is immune suppressed, learned that the entire island had only 15 ICU beds and nine ventilators. An immediate trip home was quickly planned, complete with Clorox wipes. They arrived home safely, but their scheduled move to the Plantation was delayed three weeks because of COVID complications, including the necessity to have all the moving boxes quarantined for a week before they could begin to open them.

Since moving into their home in May, the Wests have become experts at social distancing and creating ways to keep themselves busy and active. Walking for several miles around our community daily, they have met almost everyone in their Middleton neighborhood. Both Dolly and Clem enjoy travel and cruising, having visit-ed most of Europe, both polar caps, Taiwan, China, South America, and Australia. Clem enjoys gourmet cooking and gardening and hopes to play some rounds of golf when it is safe for him to do so. Dolly loves fishing and photography and is interested in joining a book club. Like the rest of us, they are anxious to participate in the many activities that can be found here when the health of the community allows us to safely do so again.
But the one thing the Wests are very eager to do is visit their granddaughter and meet their brand-new grandson who was born in California during this pandemic. Thanks to the efforts of AP’s CERT leader, Lois Pencinger, Clem is one small step closer to making this a reality, as he was recently able to get his first COVID vaccine injection.