Quarantine story: Charlie Baker ’20

Charlie Baker’s school portrait

The blaring alarm sounds wake Charlie Baker up around 8:05 a.m, giving him roughly 25 minutes before his first virtual class. Charlie reaches over to the nightstand on his right, turns off the alarm, takes out his retainer, and puts on his NIGEL Tortoise Salt Glasses. With his eyes now adjusted, Charlie sees the two shelves with the assortment of Rubix cubes, the board with the 2019 Haverford/EA golf match scores, and the frame that displays his American archer medals from Camp Dudley. Once out of bed, Charlie walks over to his black drawer. On top of his drawer are three gold trophies he won from several junior club championships at the Merion Golf Club a couple years ago. 

     Before he eats breakfast and showers, Charlie completes his daily sets of push-ups, sit-ups, and crunches to feel accomplished before his day starts.

     “Working out before school gets you going and makes you feel like you’ve already done something with your day,” Charlie says. 

     Exercising before classes is nothing new to him.

     Before the quarantine, Charlie woke up around 6:15 a.m, left his house five minutes later, and drove eight minutes to LPE Fitness

     Close to 6:30 a.m, Charlie’s trainer Rene accompanied him as he worked out, who he traded jokes with, quoted lines from Top Gun, talked about golf, and discussed the science behind exercise.

     “We’ll go right from making fun of each other to actually trying to have an interesting conversation,” Charlie says. “I always learn a lot from him.”

     Charlie completed his deadlifts and squats, followed by rotational, power, and plyo exercises, including pull-ups with a 25-pound plate, plyo-push-ups, box jumps, and curls, and finished with a shoulder circuit and cooldown. 

     By 7:50 a.m, Charlie left LPE Fitness and arrived at The Merion Cricket Club, where he showered and ordered two bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches before heading to school. Since LPE Fitness is currently closed, Charlie’s lack of access to the same equipment makes him create a shortened morning workout.

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Carson De Marco ’20 interviews with Charlie Baker ’20 over a FaceTime call – screenshot  by Carson De Marco ’20

     After his workout, Charlie leaves his room, makes a quick left to go downstairs, then a quick right into the kitchen. From the refrigerator, Charlie takes out five eggs, two pieces of bacon, a Chobani yogurt, and a healthy serving of fruit to complete his breakfast. While his mother and two brothers have yet to come downstairs, Charlie’s father accompanies him in the kitchen. 

     His father Samuel works at Allen & Company in New York, an American privately held investment bank that specializes in real estate, media, technology, and entertainment. Before the quarantine, Charlie’s father left for New York every Monday morning and returned every Friday evening. Mr. Baker started the job when Charlie entered the fourth grade, so the quarantine gives them more time to spend with each other.

     After eating breakfast, Charlie returns to his room, showers, heads back downstairs and walks past the kitchen, passing the dinner table and the glass doors to the outdoor patio and lawn, and down a long hallway until he reaches his desk. On his desk sits his laptop, a lamp, a calculator, some paper, and a computer charger. Charlie logs onto his computer, puts in his AirPods, and starts his virtual day. 

     During the first fifteen-minute break between his first and second class, Charlie’s mother stops by to greet him. His mother Molly is a journalist, and a current freelance writer for The Wall Street Journal. She periodically writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer

     After reconvening with his mother, Charlie returns to his digital classrooms.

     When the virtual day ends around 12:30 p.m, Charlie walks back down the hallway to the kitchen, where he’ll either make a panini with salami, pepperoni, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and butter, or peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread. In the kitchen, Charlie sees his two older brothers, Otis and Satch, for the first time in the day. 

     Otis and Satch are both graduates of The Haverford School, Otis graduating in 2015 and Satch in 2018. Otis attended Yale University and majored in political science focused in the Middle East. After Yale, Otis went to work in New York at Societe Generale, a financial service company. Satch, a current sophomore at Dartmouth College, plans to major in computer science. The Baker trio discusses an array of topics, ranging from the intricacies of politics to talking about friends.

     For Charlie and Satch, the connectedness that has brought them together due to the quarantine will continue into college.

     Once Charlie graduates from Haverford, he will follow Satch’s footsteps and attend Dartmouth College. For Satch, this opportunity of coming home early allows him to connect and provide insight for Charlie for the upcoming years. 

     “He’s joining me at Dartmouth next year, so it’s been fun telling him everything to look forward to and how much fun we’re going to have, and it’s going to be great for him,” Satch says. 

     Close to 1:00 p.m, Charlie walks past the kitchen, the dinner table, and enters the indoor porch area to continue working on his 3D art projects. For his graduation project, Charlie plans to intern with TR Risk, a local artist who creates furniture and paints abstract florals and landscapes. Charlie plays a Chelsea Cutler playlist for background music and works meticulously on his current project: a table. So far, the table has an “H” at the center, a Philadelphia Eagles logo, the infamous “Ashley Jones” name on a corner, the Qdoba logo, a 76ers logo in the form of the Liberty Bell, and several other logos. Alongside the table, Charlie has made a 3D stormtrooper helmet and an umbrella using cardboard, paint, and sponges. 

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Charlie Baker ’20 works on his table – photo by Ms. Molly Baker

     Three hours later, Charlie leaves the porch and walks past the kitchen to a door that leads into the basement, where he completes a more elaborate workout. Alongside dumbbells, mats, rollers, and jump ropes, the basement has a golf simulator, allowing Charlie to practice golf during the quarantine. Expanding from the morning workout, Charlie implements agility and dumbbell exercises with extensive upper body, core, and leg circuits. 

     The quarantine forces Charlie to work out instead of regularly practicing golf outdoors in the afternoon. 

     By 3:15 p.m, when the school day ended, Charlie left Haverford and drove six minutes over to the Merion Golf Club, where he swung on the practice range for two hours, perfecting his craft, before coming home for the night.

     “I was golfing after school, so I wanted to make sure I was maximizing my time in the sun,” Charlie says.

     Instead, Charlie works out until 5:15 p.m. Afterwards, he returns to the kitchen and makes a protein shake complemented by a banana and apple. Charlie then showers and spends time either reading his book Predictably Rational, practicing his golf swings with the golf simulator, or watching the Netflix series Outer Banks until 6:45 p.m when he starts to make dinner with his brothers. 

     Normally, the Baker trio prepares spaghetti bolognese. Otis works on the sauce, Satch works on the salad and vegetables, and Charlie works on the pasta, completing the family meal by 7:30 p.m. Once the Baker family finishes eating by 8:00 p.m, they bring the backgammon board onto the dinner table and the atmosphere intensifies, each player strategically thinking about their future moves while mentally anticipating others moves.

     “If it’s not my turn, I think of what move I would do in their position, and when it differs from what they actually do, it’s always kind of a conversation after of why did you do that and the different strategies behind that,” Charlie says.

     When the game concludes and the tensions alleviate, the family relocates from the dinner table to the living room to watch a movie. Charlie returns to the kitchen and makes his own popcorn, using a little butter and salt, while they turn on Christopher Nolan’s film Inception

 By 12:05 a.m, Charlie closes his laptop, giving his eyes a rest from the screen, takes off his glasses, puts his retainer in, and goes to sleep, sleeping for close to eight hours before his alarm wakes him up again at 8:05 am.

     When the movie ends, close to 10:30 p.m, the family goes their separate ways and Charlie returns to his room, where he opens his laptop and virtually socializes with his friends via FaceTime. Charlie catches up and continues to learn about his friend’s quarantine routines for about an hour and a half. 

     By 12:05 a.m, Charlie closes his laptop, giving his eyes a rest from the screen, takes off his glasses, puts his retainer in, and goes to sleep, sleeping for close to eight hours before his alarm wakes him up again at 8:05 am.

Author: Carson De Marco '20

Carson De Marco '20 is a member of the journalism seminar. Recently, he won a Silver Key from the Philadelphia-area Scholastic Art & Writing Competition for his piece, "Wrongful Convictions; A Country’s Stain." Carson is a member of the soccer and lacrosse teams and a member of the Signet Society.