Thursday, June 13, 2024

Cheers to Four Years: ‘Fence Talk’ Outlives the Pandemic

What started as a way to safely connect during the 2020 COVID lockdown has become a beloved routine for neighbors in the 200 block of E Avenue. In the beginning, three couples gathered outside their homes, sat well apart from one another, and enjoyed a socially distant happy hour on Saturday afternoons. To avoid contact and prevent the spread of COVID, each couple brought their own chairs and drinks. One of the couples sat on the opposite side of the picket fence from the other two.

So began Fence Talk, a weekly gathering that has grown to a group of about twenty. Neighbors still gather on either side of the picket fence. Sheri Morgan, one of the founders, came up with the name, and it stuck.

Fence-Talk neighbors celebrate their fourth anniversary.

“Fence Talk was born out of the need for a social connection due to Covid isolation,” said Sheri. “We all needed a place to go to see and talk to others and what better place than a neighborhood front yard.” On Saturday, May 18, the group celebrated its fourth anniversary, marking the occasion with a potluck dinner.

Two constants remain: neighbors still bring their own chairs and drinks, and everyone looks forward to the gathering. “I know there will be someone to visit with every Saturday,” said Greta Coneway, another Fence-Talk founder. “I will learn new things and I will laugh. No frills, just a time to relax. I love it because people bring relatives and friends and we make new friends from all over the country.”

Clint Coneway, the group’s self-appointed historian, keeps a list of attendees. When friends and family visit, they are added to the list. So far, almost 90 neighbors, friends, and relatives have made it to at least one Fence Talk.

The original couples – George and Sheri Morgan, Clint and Greta Coneway, and Hal and Lisa Lamb – began meeting in the front yards of the Morgans and Lambs. After some time, more couples and families joined.

One possible reason that the gathering has lasted is the set up. What began as a way to prevent the spread of disease is now a feature that makes continuing to gather easy to do. Neighbors bring their own chairs and drinks, everyone sits outside, and there is plenty to discuss. The gatherings hearken back to the impromptu front-porch social gatherings that were popular during the 1880s through mid 1920s. Although Sheri organizes potlucks from time to time, there is otherwise little organization or planning involved.

Prior to the pandemic, neighbors knew each other but few saw each other weekly. Now, the neighbors from eight to 80+ share laughter and spread joy. The enduring tradition of weekly gatherings has not only fostered stronger neighborly bonds but also brought together generations, solidifying the community spirit within the neighborhood.



Lisa Lamb
Lisa Lamb
Lisa’s passion for sports journalism stems from her experiences playing high school sports and reading great sports journalists, especially those who write about her favorite basketball team, the San Diego State Aztecs. As a professor of mathematics education, she enjoys analyzing data to highlight the statistics that help bring the story to life. Lisa has lived in Coronado for almost 20 years with her husband and son. She loves the friendly neighborhood community and the walkable access to wonderful restaurants and parks.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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