The Summer of Anna Simonsen



Photo by Anna Simonsen, featuring her and her cousin at a football game at West Morris Mendham High School.

Corinne Lance, Staff Writer for The Patriot

Over the summer of 2021, Anna, a sophomore at West Morris Mendham High School, was unable to gather together with her loved ones because of the pandemic. Both sides of her father and mother’s families were able to visit her. On her father’s side, a few cousins came over for the day and her grandparents. While on her mother’s side, her grandfather visited for a few days. 

PychWhen Covid hit and things got shut down, Anna like so many other people was forced into quarantine and couldn’t be with those that she loved. For Anna’s family, she spent her days with her mother, father, and two young brothers (Josh 13 and Luke 11). During this time they spent a lot of their time outdoors going for walks and playing frisbee golf.

Although they were unable to visit in person they still tried to keep in touch with other family members. They would often facetime, call and text each other, to stay connected and a part of each other’s lives. Even though this was a better alternative than being in complete solitude. It can’t be compared to the same experiences you get when you are physically interacting with others.

So when Covid restriction started lifting they jumped at the opportunity to meet together as a family again. Anna says that “I was excited just because I hadn’t seen them in a while!”  Finally being able to hug and interact with each other, brought so many warm and happy memories before the shutdown and restrictions.

The first loved one that they were able to see after the quarantine was her grandparents on her dad’s side. This was a special time because the last time that she saw them in person was during Christmas 2019. Anna says that “It was nice, they came over for an afternoon and then we grilled some food.” 

Later her Grandfather came from her mom’s side, spending a few days with them. It was nice because unlike her father’s side of the family who lives in New Jersey, he lives in Delaware. Which makes it a little more challenging to see him regularly. Even though sharing your space with someone else can be tricky and difficult, she says that her Grandfather brought Peanut M&M’s and york peppermint patties to share. So there might have been some bribing to ease that shift. While her grandfather was visiting they watched many movies and TV shows together. They also swam in Anna’s family pool which was “A lot of FUN!” Anna said.

Right before school started they were able to squeeze in one more visit from her cousins on her dad’s side. They came for a day, to spend time and reconnect with one another.  She is one of the oldest cousins on her dad’s side of the family and was able to watch one of her younger cousins’ football scrimmages for their high school team. Sports are something that brings her family together. Even though not everyone is crazy about sports. They enjoy the time that they get to spend with one another through their various activities.

Since starting school Anna hasn’t been able to visit with her family since their summertime visits. But they still stay in touch and plan on getting together again during the holidays. Anna says that she didn’t get to have a crazy exciting summer, but loved getting to visit with so many of her family. She is excited to be able to start to see them more frequently now.