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Mark Patterson – Class of 1976

My wife Debbie and I, with our 2 children (Tannith and Ryan), moved to America in 1998. For the first 7 years we lived in a small city outside San Francisco called Brisbane and later moved to Pacifica, a coastal town, 15 minutes south of San Francisco.

As you all know, life changed dramatically in March of 2020 as the dreaded Corona Virus spread it wings and infiltrated every nook and cranny out there and sent the world into turmoil.

My wife and I have owned a coffee shop, Pacific Java in Rockaway Beach for the last 3 years. As a small Business owner, the shutdown due to the virus has had a large impact on the business. While we were fortunate that the shop was able to stay open because we serve food which categorises the business as an essential service. The financial impact was large, as the number of customers wanting to buy coffee dwindled. This was also due to the strict regulations concerning people being out in public. We also had to retrain our staff and be fairly vigilant in enforcing the new rules to avoid the possible threat of losing our license. The business dropped over 90% for April and May as surrounding businesses shut and most of our elderly regulars were cautious and stayed home, leaving us no choice but to furlough some of our staff. Over the last month, with the easing of some regulations, the business has picked up and we are seeing about 80% of what we were doing before the pandemic.

As for my work, I am employed by a Medical Device Company and I am the Snr Director of Customer Service. My position was deemed to be an essential Service to the business, so fortunately I was at work each day from March through to now. Most of our customers are Dermatologists or Plastic Surgeons and the virus caused many of them to shut down for 2~ 3 months. Due to this large drop off in business, my company’s Board of Directors made a decision to reduce all Director’s and VP’s salaries until we return to business as normal and show a profit. So for the foreseeable future and probably into early First quarter of 2021 we are managing and coping with a substantial reduction in salary.

As for our children, the virus also wreaked havoc with our time together. Drop in visits were no longer on the table and we went weeks without seeing our granddaughter. Even when the children did come visit, they brought their own food and drinks and we entertained on the outside deck, as they were being cautious due to our exposure with customers at the coffee shop. There were no sleepovers for our princess and this was perhaps one of the most difficult impacts to deal with. Both our children were fortunate to be able to work from home when this all started. With the slowing down of so many businesses, my daughter lost her job 2 weeks ago but praise be to God, as she interviewed for a new position last week and starts her new job in a week.

I am also a High School soccer coach and due to the Pandemic our season has been pushed out 3 months until November. However, three weeks ago, when the Governor of California eased the county restrictions, I arranged for the team to have an unofficial kick around every Tuesday and Thursday at a local soccer field. We have around 12~14 players involved and are thankful that we have this opportunity to be out on the field playing as it is tremendously therapeutic.

We are all acclimating to the new normal way of life and finding ways for us to get together and enjoy family and friend’s time.

We are ever so thankful to God for protecting us through this pandemic and making us realise how important family time is, as well as our friendships with people in our community.

In closing, I pray for God’s protection and blessings on all the current students, teachers and all the Marist Linmeyer Alumni. May we adapt, adjust and stay safe.