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Volume 6, Issue 76  | September 21, 2021


September sadness and hope for a good October and beyond

By AMY SENK

This weekend, I was shopping at the Newport Coast Pavilions when a display of sugar cereal nearly made me cry. There they were, lined up in a special display – Boo-Berry, Count Chocula, Franken Berry.

I am a shopper who is a marketing person’s dream. That nostalgic, retro cereal, straight from my childhood, now only available for a Halloween treat – who could resist? Not me when I had little kids in the house. 

September sadness cereals

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos by Amy Senk

No more sugar cereal for me?

But these days, they are grown and flown. I have no business, no need, no excuses to spend money on such junk. And that realization made me so sad that I struggled not to cry as I continued my way onto the produce section for very mature and grown-up tomatillos, lettuce and squash.

No more sugar cereal treats, no more costume shopping, no more mandatory pumpkin patch visits…My kids are too old, and wait, does that make me too old, too? 

Most of the time, I am quite content with my empty-nest lifestyle. I do not miss finding a parking spot at Back-to-School Night or making trips with forgotten items to school eight times in a day, only to be guilted about those trips later by experts who think kids only learn by suffering the consequences of their mistakes. I’m proud of my kids, and happy for them, for going out into the world and creating independent and fulfilling lives.

I am very aware that it is stupid and indulgent to give into the blues over sugar cereal, especially when there are so many other serious problems in the world. But maybe my Boo-Berry tears were more reflective of the feelings about bigger issues.

We have Yom Kippur, a time of deep reflection for Jewish people, which includes my husband and kids and therefore also me. We light candles to burn overnight and all day to remember our loved ones we have lost. 

We marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a horrible day. I almost can’t bear remembering it, but we must.

We are in a seemingly endless pandemic loop, and we are topping it off with a recall election that has brought out the bitter side of everyone. 

When you feel overwhelmed, it’s time to get out and take a long walk and look for things to be cheerful about. And when you live in Corona del Mar, where September is one of the most gorgeous months, it doesn’t take long to start feeling better.

There are signs of normal life – a family movie night took place last weekend in Grant Howald Park, and later this month, the city is hosting two concert-in-the-park events. The CdM Sandcastle Contest also will take place on September 26, after a year off because of COVID.

September sadness Slices

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Slices pizza reopened this week

Slices pizza at 2801 E. Coast Highway had closed abruptly a month ago, with a sign in the window informing customers that a patron had exposed staff to the virus. But a new sign announced they were reopening this week.

September sadness Chipotle

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Chipotle replacing Baja Fresh is scheduled to open this November

The Chipotle restaurant replacing Baja Fresh at 3050 E. Coast Highway looks like an empty shell, but it too is getting closer to opening, a company spokeswoman said in November.

September sadness Mother's Market

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Mother’s Market sharing space with CVS pharmacy is looking at a December 15 grand opening date

And Mother’s Market, which will be sharing space with a CVS pharmacy in the former Albertson’s/Haggen’s/Smart & Final space at 3049 E. Coast Highway, already is looking so much nicer than the store had for many years. Demolition began earlier this year with a promised summer opening. But workers discovered roof issues, delaying the opening and leaving the building a rough, empty shell.

But in the past few weeks, the building has been painted a clean, fresh white, and exterior details have been installed. It is looking great, and a company spokeswoman confirmed that a grand opening is scheduled for December 15. 

I don’t know if I’m happier to have a convenient grocery back in town, or to have another construction project complete. Maybe it just feels good to see some normalcy returning. It gives me hope that more will be close behind, with fewer COVID cases, less vaccine vitriol and a calmer political climate.

And when Mother’s Market opens, with its ultra-healthy options on the shelves, I know one thing: I will be a lot less likely to find myself crying over sugar cereal. Here’s to the hope that it’s just the beginning of brighter days ahead.

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Amy Senk has lived in Corona del Mar for 20+ years and was publisher of Corona del Mar Today, an online newspaper that ran daily for seven years. Senk, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is involved in the Corona del Mar Residents Association. She and her husband have two children attending college at the University of Missouri and Duke University. She is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.

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