Drexel Off the Road: COVID-19’s Good Neighbors

Drexel on the Road

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, Enga McLendon and her daughter Lorna, a high school senior, went into a tighter lockdown than many. Enga is a cancer survivor. Her daughter Lorna is a type 1 diabetic. Being around other people is out of the question. But, they refused to let “solitary confinement” steal their joy. Lorna, who had been taking an art class at the University of West Florida, had an idea.

“She said, ‘Let’s watercolor!” said Enga.

So, they went online and ordered watercolor instruction books and supplies. Then they set out to teach themselves how to paint with watercolors. The next thing they knew…

“They started piling up so I’m like, oh my goodness! What am I going to do with these?” said Enga.

They decided to share them with their friends and family. But with social distancing a lifesaving must, they had to get creative.

“I put a few on people’s cars and on their front porches,” said Enga. “I had to be sneaky in order to avoid actual human contact!”

Julie Hogan lives a few houses down from the McLendons and was the first neighbor to receive a painting.

“I went out for a walk and came home ane saw something on my car windshield and it was a painting that Enga had pa8inted of a whale and it said, ‘Whale, Hello!’, said Julie. “It meant a lot that someone was thinking of me. She took the time to paint that for me and I just appreciated it so much!”

Neighbors up and down the street have been surprised with watercolor greetings. And Lorna has added origami to the mix. Sneaky deliveries, with no human contact, have become adventures!

“It’s almost like a Secret Santa. It’s very fun being sneaky about it, trying not to get caught,” said Lorna.

A coronavirus-inspired new hobby that’s leading to joy in a small neighborhood. Proof that even a terrible quarantine can bring out the best in a person and unite a neighborhood while making isolation feel a little less lonely.

“She’s always thinking of everybody else,” said Julie. “All the neighbors are talking about it!”

Enga and Lorna are also mailing their artwork to friends and family who, like them, are stuck at home during COVID-19 isolation. If you know of a good neighbor story you’d like to share during this difficult time, email Drexel at producers@wkrg.com.

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