Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Birthday! (Frances and Diane)

Coming up next is the twenty-second part to Diane Richardson’s “When I Met My Hubby,” but first Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday Deborah!

We always make it a habit to sing "Happy Birthday" to anyone who has a birthday coming up. Some people really get into it, and some people roll their eyes, but we make sure everyone gets mildly embarrassed in the same way. Deborah had to join a last-minute meeting during Best Day, but rest assured we will be singing her a recording of all of us singing Happy Birthday! And in honor of birthdays, here's a story about another birthday celebration:

Frances Bryce

11.10.2021

The Honorees Reluctant Birthday Celebration

I met Regina at the Senior Center in a line dance class. Our friendship grew over the past years. I observed a lady, who when she dances did not miss a step, her fingers and hands and body moved with each beat.
I approached her after the end of the dance and said how much I enjoyed seeing her dance. Her reply, “You were watching me”, sounded surprised. I replied, “I observed and enjoyed seeing you dance and enjoying the event, which was enjoyable for me to see.”
Later after one dance, when she appeared cold as we took our break, the room is kept at a temperature a little cooler than other rooms for dance class. I asked her if she had a sweater in her bag. She replied that no one else had a sweater on. I replied, “Maybe they are not cold”. Then she put on her sweater. Another session when we were updating events of the past week standing in the middle of the dance floor talking and laughing, she remarked that people are watching us. I retorted, “Maybe they would like to have someone laughing and talking as we are.”
On her 100th Birthday, the center planned a special day (birthday) for her. She said she did not want a party and was not coming. She did not show on the designated time of the event. The waiting guests, most left after the time was since passed. Some like me stayed. Finally, more than an hour later, she came saying she was sorry and explaining she did not come on time, and then later changing her mind. The next two weeks she apologized.
Now 2021 (102 years in November) I started saying we were having a birthday luncheon for her. She said nothing to object to an event, at the time Sept. and Oct. She said that did not want a birthday party. People would not come. Working through changing her mind, we went ahead with a Cheesecake Factory reservation. When a knowing feeing arrived with me and Angie, we concluded the reservation and planned for home, taking all the things that are due for our invited guest.
When the guests arrived, especially the nieces who she told me about the day before, her face filled with joy as they hugged, took pictures, shared updates on the family, and promises to keep in touch.
I believe Regina still thought of those adults with families of their own as kids, not as mature adults with careers and responsibilities, but still cared with less phone calls in the early years, but still loved and cared for her.

We now return to our continuing story, "When I Met My Hubby, Part 22" by Diane Richardson:

Diane Richardson

09.13.2022

When I Met My Hubby Part 22

At this time, I’m on assignment at Planned Parenthood 1144 Locust St. I assist physicians with terminations, vasectomies, inserting I.U.D.’s, Depo injections, oral contraceptives, pre-termination counseling etc. These services are free to low-income persons.
On this day I was exiting the building when a young lady approached me and asked if I worked there. I told her I didn’t, and she said she needed to ask me a great favor. She said it was her first wedding anniversary. She and her husband were going away for the weekend to celebrate, and she didn’t refill her prescription for her birth control pills because she didn’t have the co-pay. She asked me if I would get her a pack. She told me what brand and strength she used. I went back in and got her what she asked for. I also gave her my number and told her to call me when she needed more. I said, “You don’t have to worry anymore about co-pays.”
I explained the pills are given to Planned Parenthood from the pharmaceutical companies. In anticipation the doctors prescribe the meds. The pills are only good until the expiration dated and when we have to trash them. So I give them away rather than throw them away, and I see no harm in this. If I can help anyone I will. They don’t call me Robin Hood for nothing. 


If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds have any stories about Thanksgiving, birthdays and any celebration, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.
 

And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.

 
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Two People (Ann and Diane)

Coming up next is the twenty-first part to Diane Richardson’s “When I Met My Hubby.” Yes, you read right. The twenty-first. I believe Diane skipped part twenty and went straight to part twenty one, but I'll let you know if I do find that lost part twenty. In the meantime, I'd like to start a three part series featuring older bud Ann and her friend Carolyn. The loss, and regaining, of a lifelong friendship.

Ann von Dehsen

12.14.2021

The Politics of COVID

Carolyn and I have been friends since kindergarten. Our neighborhoods were not far apart, and we’d meet on the corner to shlepp to elementary school together. She’d often come to my house after school and after socializing with my mother whom she loved, we’d practice “Shuffling off to Buffalo” or singing songs from South Pacific, although we excelled at neither. Later years in Elementary school, we’d meet at the man-made George Street Pond every Sunday in winter to skate for hours before going inside for hot chocolate. Our moment of shared drama at age 12 came when we were shopping at Woolworths, looking for a long time at their 25 cents nail polishes. As we left, a large man approached us and brought us into a small room in the back of the store telling us that he saw us steal nail polishes and had us empty our purses and pockets as we tried not to cry while eventually proving our innocence.
In high school we hardly had any classes together and were involved mostly with different crowds. We did have study hall together and were often threatened with detention for laughing too loudly. We also celebrated each other’s birthday every year.
Carolyn went south for college, and I went north, and we lost temporary contact. We reunited again for weddings, but Carolyn lived in Cape Cod and again our communication was inconsistent. Eventually Carolyn moved to West Chester just a short distance from my Media house and our friendship felt like old times. We celebrated our daughters’ weddings and the birth of our grandchildren. We were there for each other when it really mattered with a mix of tears and laughter.
And then along came COVID. We spoke on the phone, and it became quite obvious that we differed in our approach to the pandemic. While I was mostly staying home alone, my friend was living a pre pandemic lifestyle, socializing with friends and family at Sunday dinners, birthday parties and holidays. Phone calls were less frequent as we both knew we had different views on COVID and tried to resist judging each other. When the vaccine became available, I excitedly called her telling her “I got my vaccine, did you?”
“No, and I don’t plan to” was her response. I told her I was worried about her and didn’t want her to get sick.
“Don’t worry I won’t.” End of phone call. Our last phone call was in September when I called to check about the vaccine once more, thinking she must have gotten it, after all she still teaches 2nd grade. But no, her district did not mandate vaccines for teachers. This time I told her once again that I really worried about her, but couldn’t hold my anger when I said, “Don’t you feel it’s your responsibility to get the vaccine in order to end the restrictions that you despise?” Then she talked about how I must listen to “fake news” and our reciprocal anger grew as we ended the phone call.
And now it is Christmas and I miss her. It’s very hard—do I chose my own convictions over our friendship? For now, I tell myself when this is over perhaps, we can resume our friendship I sent her a Christmas card and hope she is ok. So another friendship gone bad due to the polarization of COVID politics.


We now return to our continuing story, "When I Met My Hubby, Part 21" by Diane Richardson:

Diane Richardson,

09.06.2022

When I Met My Hubby Part 21

So, this particular Sunday morning Joe and I were relaxing and talking, and I again asked him if I asked him for something could I have it.
He answered, “I told you before, you can have anything you want. What is it that you want?”
I said, ”I want to be your wife. I want you to buy us a house and propose to me. I don’t want to go on a honeymoon. We’ll honeymoon in our new house. Can I have that?”
He said, “You got it.” So, we went house shopping and picked out a nice house in Overbrook Park. We gave a housewarming and invited all our friends and family.
There were guests all over the place, including the patio, deck, and balcony. Joe called for everyone’s attention and said he had an announcement to make. He stood and took a ring out of his pocket and attempted to get on one knee, and asked me to marry him.


If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds have any stories about two people breaking apart or coming together, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.


And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.
 
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Women’s Services (Gloria and Diane)

Coming up next is the nineteenth part to Diane Richardson’s “When I Met My Hubby.” But first, a few words on women’s services.

Gloria’s story was inspired by the most recent election, and the issue of women’s services. Bringing a child into the world, raising them and providing for them is an incredible responsibility; and it should always be a choice. If it isn’t a choice, the child and mother suffer. The unsafe abortions women were forced to pursue before Roe v. Wade could be lethal. Older bud Gloria’s seen enough of that firsthand:
Gloria Nhambiu
10.11.2022
Women’s Services Must Be Legal and Available

In March 1959 I was a recent high school graduate with no marketable skills. I found employment as a nurse’s aid at a small South Philadelphia hospital that in no longer there. I worked from 7:00 AM til 3:30 PM as an aid to the clinic: wheeling patients to and from tests, delivering specimens to the various labs and doing whatever else needed to be done. From stocking shelves and sometimes listening to patents until they were serviced or cleaning up.
I hadn’t though much about those days. I was only there 6 months until I left for college. But it comes back to me as I listen to the conversations on the air concerning birth control and abortion issues. Many women came into the accident ward for an incomplete A.B. or an incomplete abortion. This was usually something they had done themselves or had someone else do for them. They didn’t come to the hospital until they had passed the fetus or were burning up with fever from infections. I heard from the nurses that some had to have surgery that rendered them sterile. Others went home still pregnant, but most accomplished their aim. Many, if not most, were married.
I really worry that women who do not have access to legal services will go back to servicing themselves with coat hangers, forks, or catheters, etc. Women’s services should be kept legal and available because “desperate women will do desperate things” when they have to.


We now return to our continuing story, "When I Met My Hubby, Part 19" by Diane Richardson:

Diane Richardson
08.23.2022
When I Met My Hubby Part 19

Today I am writing about Joe’s sister I’ll call her Sara. She’s never been married or had children. She’s been in a relationship with a man I’ll call Bob for over thirty years. Bob was a high-ranking politician and was married with children when that met a charity function. Sara was twenty-two and Bob was forty-two. They started having an affair and he made it clear from the beginning what the rules were, #1 He was never leaving his wife and family for her. He had children in college, and he didn’t want any more. And if ever she would get pregnant and have the baby, he would take care of the child without a doubt. But there would be no more them: The end of their relationship. Because that would be the end of his marriage. He made it clear at the beginning of the relationship, she’s twenty-two and he’s forty-two and she’s a virgin. And there would be no future together for them. She would not ever bear children and she could have anything in the world she wanted “that money could buy.” He asked her repeatedly, “Will you go along with these terms?” She agreed.
First, he paid for her education. Four years at U. of Penn, Master’s in Business Administration. Upon graduation he got her a high-ranking city job with an office and a car. When she was in school for four years, he paid all her living expenses and car note. He had her living in a high-rise condo and a new car every two years. What she really wanted most in the world is to live right next door to her mother. Bob approached the neighbors on both sides of her mother for the purchase of their homes. He bought the homes on both sides of mom’s house. He got the three homes built into one. Sara now has everything.
But then Bob died. His funeral service was packed and anybody who was anybody was there, even the mayor. After all the years of them being a couple everyone knew who she was, as they say, everyone knew what time it was. While his wife, children and grandchildren sat at the front Sara stood at the front door greeting the guests and seating everyone.
She was thanking everyone for attending and accepting and collecting all the sympathy cards while the wife and kids sat right there. Y’all ain’t never seen nerve like that. Luckily no fight broke out and the service and repast went well. Oh, by the way, Bob left Sara a half million insurance policy. To be continued ….


If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds have any stories about women's services, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.


And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.
 
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Shift (José and Diane)

Coming up next is the eighteenth part to Diane Richardson’s “When I Met My Hubby.” But first, the seasons are shifting.

I blinked and Diwali was over. Halloween was hard to miss, and Día de Muertos came on its heels. While looking through stories for today's post, I remembered Gloria seeing ads for Christmas movies in the middle of October. I also missed two weeks of posts due to my own madcap schedule, so I'm getting back on the horse while it's still running. Diane's story reflects the rapidly shifting schedule, and José's story reflects a classic Halloween tradition:

José Dominguez

08.10.2021

Levitacion

This is not a scary story, not an adventure trip, just a nosy 15 years old adolescent mingling with the power and trickery of the “prince of darkness.” My aunt's house was the most inappropriate place to do that kind of irreverence but we didn’t mind, for us it was only a play. The house was build according to a Spanish tradition where rooms were lined up in a square and communicated in between; all of them with a door to the central patio. I was sharing my rented room with Victor, my brother, and our furniture consisted in two beds and one small bureau in between … well, it's also necessary to say that there was a large color old lithography of Jesus Christ hanging on the wall as a permanent guardian or permanent intruder according to the circumstances. That night after dinner we gather in our room with the presence of Antonio, another tenant, Jorge Cordova, a neighbor friend and another guy who whose name I can’t recall. Jorge invited us to participate in a levitation session; “nothing serious” according to him. We agree and warned the group to be quiet since my aunt was super sensitive and super aggressive. He explained the procedure and at the same time we followed his instructions. “Ok, I need one volunteer to lay on bed with his crossed arms in the chest, motionless until we finish, and not to be surprised if he is risen.” Antonio accepted as volunteer and we started following Jorge instructions. I switch off the light and were distributed; two persons by each Antonio’s side. Then Jorge explained, “First we are going to do an experiment. Using your thumb and index of each hand we are going to rise Antonio, ready...one…two…three, up it goes!” Antonio was risen only a few inches, his body weight was not evenly distributed so the legs went higher than his trunk and head. “Ok,” said Jorge, “Now I’m going to utter something to José and he will repeat the same message to Victor and he to the fourth. Then, I will say something different and you will do the repetition person to person. Ok? Let’s begin, put your fingers in position.”
With low but clear voice he pronounced to my ear: “Este es un muerto ” (this is a corpse) and each of us passed to the rest the messages: “Ya apesta” (It stinks), “Pesado como un metal” (Heavy as a metal). “Ligero como una pluma”(ligth as a feather). “Vamos a levantarlo” (Let’s rise him). “En El hombre sea del Diablo”(In the name of the devil) and voilà Antonio went high up to our shoulders.
In that precise moment my aunt erupted screaming saying, “This is a Catholic house and you want to turn it in a devil’s cave. Shame on you, stop your sacrilegious play and repent.” Antonio fell down so strenuously that he only managed to say: “Who is screaming as Hell?”

 

We now return to our continuing story, "When I Met My Hubby, Part 18" by Diane Richardson:

Diane Richardson

08.09.2022

When I Met My Husband Part 18

I hope you all remember my last story on 7.19 where I told the story of the female inmate at a prison getting assaulted by a male prison guard. The guard was fired and arrested after all the tapes were pulled and viewed and after threats to my safety, I left the assignment. I sure miss the two hundred dollars a carton I used to get from one particular inmate. I still go to their clubs and restaurants on occasion. They appreciated me looking out for their loved ones. I still had people looking out for them after I was gone. They are all out now or transferred to another person.
If you remember my friend and coworker married the cigarette guy, we’ll call Al. They live in a lovely condo around the corner from me across from the Art Museum. They are living large and we sometimes dine together.
So getting back to Joe, his knee has been bothering him so I suggested he go see his new Dr.’s I recommended him to. Dr. Quintialani and DeSalvo. They suggested that he have arthroscopic surgery (same day procedure.) He had the surgery, and they gave him a note to return to work in six months, with pay. He went back to work two days later. The note wasn’t accepted so he had to go back to the Dr. and get the note reversed so he could return to work. They changed the note but told Joe it was against his better judgment. Who wouldn’t want to be out of work for half a year with pay? Him. Talking about loving your job. I’m not looking forward to his retirement.

If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds have any stories about paradigm shifts, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.
 
 
And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.
 
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Day of the Girl (José & Diane)

Coming up next is the seventeenth part to Diane Richardson’s “When I Met My Hubby.” But first, International Day of the Girl.

Tuesday was the International Day of the Girl, and in a surprising coincidence two older buds told excellent stories about women's issues. Gloria's story about the need for safe and legal abortions will need to be transcribed before we share it with the world. But José's story about his teenage daughter speaking out against a teacher is right below. And even Diane's "When I Met My Hubby" story revolves around fighting sexism:

José Dominguez

10/11/2022

Beatriz's Feedback With Consequences


Beware of what you ask, you may end up obtaining it and later, after you have what you asked for, the real struggle begins. I have learned that to ask a question I must be sure that I can stand the consequences of my asking. Perhaps that’s why Solomon asked for wisdom instead of stuff. After receiving an answer to my question, my response will show if I’m improving in human quality or if I simply ended with the expected answer just to continue social conformity. 

A long time ago when living in Ciudad Juarez. My daughter Beatriz was 13 years old. She was studying at the most prestigious secondary school in the city, which was called Colegio Mexico; Catholic Maristas Brothers were in charge of the school. They are Chatolic teachers dedicated completely to education, and they had a good reputation in this field; the school offered Secondary and High School levels. She was in the second grade. Since very little my daughter was very straight and outspoken and did not have limitations to express her thoughts. One day one of the school teachers, asked for feedback, according to him to improve communication and effectiveness, since, I suppose there was turmoil around his way of teaching due primarily to his personal traits. Accepting the teacher’s invitation Beatriz wrote an extended essay about her feelings and thoughts and delivered the paper to the teacher. The next news was that I received a phone call where I was requested to have a person-to-person talk with the school director. I attended punctually and was promptly received; after asking me to take a seat, the director told me that he had a paper with Beatriz's feedback to her teacher in his hand. 

“Well and what about?” I said. 

"It happens that it says things that puts your daughter in a position where we can not admit her in our school and I regret to tell you that she is no longer a student in Colegio Mexico." 

I felt offended for sure, but decided not to miss the opportunity to state my opinion. I said to him: “Fortunately this day came, so I can rescue my daughter from a school that praises hypocrisy as a fundamental value; I suppose that the teacher who asked for the feedback was waiting to be glorified even when he did not deserve it. I guess he rather prefers conformity and passivity from his students; for that reason, I think this is not the school I want for Beatriz and I believe that such a teacher is not at the level of honesty and maturity of her. Thank you for freeing her from this evil influence just in time, and I’m sorry about the harm that you are going to cause in the future to those students that will continue with that immature educator. Come, Beatriz, let’s go!”

And we disappeared forever.


We now return to our continuing story, "When I Met My Hubby, Part 17" by Diane Richardson:

Diane Richardson
07.19.2022
When I Met My Hubby Part 17

So, Joe and I are doing well. He’s so sweet and kind. I can’t believe I’ve been blessed with him in my life. Since he is now paying the rent, I can save all that money. I sure appreciate that. I’m still at the prison and most of the guards are fair to the inmates except this one. He’s especially cruel to the female inmates. He gets pleasure in demeaning them and denying them their privileges.
Most of the females bend over backwards to please him. There is one female that doesn’t, and he makes her life a living hell. He disrespects and degrades her every chance he gets in front of everyone; and she does it right back to him. This infuriates him.
One day he caught her alone in the hall, grabbed and started banging her head into the concrete wall. She started screaming and we ran out into the hall where her head was bleeding. He was saying she assaulted him, and he was restraining her. He pushed his panic button, and all the guards were coming. What he didn’t know was I saw him assaulting her.
So, the police were called to take an incident report and the female inmate was transported to the hospital and I reported to the police what I saw. There were incident reports taken from everyone. The Phila Police Department internal affairs were brought in to take statements from everyone. The guard asked all of us to make a statement in his favor verifying his statement. I told everyone if they did, I would swear they were lying, and they didn’t witness the incident as they were not there.
The guards often get the staff to falsify statements for them, but not on my watch. I said do you all want to risk your jobs to cover for his abuse? The inmate was hospitalized for a while and the guard was put on administrative leave. I got a couple of threats from C.O.’s telling me to mind my business. After talking it over with Joe, we decided it would be in my best interest to come off of this assignment.

If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds have any stories about the strength of women, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.


And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.


Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Change of Space, Change of Pace (Ann & Diane)

Coming up next is the sixteenth part to Diane Richardson’s “When I Met My Hubby.” But first, a change of pace and a change of place.

Deborah came to visit last Tuesday, and she got to finally meet older but Chong in person. Also, older bud Chong returned to her second class and is looking to be a regular now. It's always a joy when the new people become regulars. You may have also noticed that the room in this week's photos is slightly familiar yet slightly different from the room in last week's photos. That's because we've moved back into our old room! So in honor of the change in space/pace, I'm sharing a story from older bud Ann, which segues nicely into Diane's latest story:

Ann von Dehsen

02.18.2021

Ultra Coffee House

The summer of 1967 was known as the summer of love or more specifically the summer of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Hippies converged from Haight Ashbury to New York's Greenwich Village. Music exploded with sounds of Jimi Hendrix The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin. That summer I was 15, between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I lived in a small, conservative, middle class town but even there both girls and guys were growing their hair to never before seen lengths. We all sported bell bottom jean, tie dyed tee shirts, love beads and peace sign jewelry.
While I can't speak for all my classmates, sex and drugs had not yet happened in my immediate circle of friends; but Rock and Roll was definitely our soundtrack of the summer. I think every guy in high school was in a newly formed rock back, often giving impromptu concerts from their open garage door on hot summer nights. But as I said my friends were mostly 15 or 16 and in New Jersey you couldn't get a drivers license until you were 17, meaning our weeknight summer social life was pretty much non existent. We wanted a place where our high school bands could play and we could dance and socialize a couple of nights a week. So we decided to make that happen.
Our high school took in four towns so there were plenty of temples and churches with rental halls that seemed the most likely candidate. After several no's with finally got a yes from the Community Church of Harrington Park, which I am proud to say happened to be the church where I received my Sunday school education. The minister loved the idea and promptly put the youth minister in charge. For lack of a better term we called it the Coffee House Project.
Of course there were many details to be worked out, but the most pressing was finding furniture since the church only had those big old long banquet tables and hard folding chairs. Fortunately for us a year earlier a very expensive Italian restaurant had very suddenly been abandoned and deserted by its now vanished owners who left all its contents behind. Now the restaurant was in the northern New Jersey town of Northvale well known for its mafia connections. In fact years later the bowling alley scenes in the Sopranos were filmed at the Northvale bowling alley lanes. So I'm just saying the vanishing restaurant wasn't that hard to explain.
Anyway, the youth minister got in touch with Northvale police who agreed to meet us at that abandoned restaurant tear down the police tape, unboard the doors and windows, and allowed us to take whatever furniture we wanted under their supervision. I had never again witnessed such a haunted real life scene. Between the cobwebs there were stained linen napkins and tablecloths still on the tables, empty bottles of wine, random silverware and plates on the floor, busboy stands with half filled trays, discarded high heel shoes and coats and hats still in the coat closet. Apparently it was a very quick getaway.
So now we had our place, our furniture and our youth minister sponsor. We formed committees to figure out details which briefly ended up being the following: we were open from 8 to 11 on Tuesday and Thursday night. We scheduled those local garage bands weekly who were thrilled to play for free. It cost $2.00 to get in and that money went towards replenishing our food offerings consisting of soda, potato chips and pretzels, which was ironic since we once called ourselves the Coffee House; or to be more specific we had chosen the name Ultra Coffee House. Of course there were other rules and the youth minister and his wife discreetly monitored our behavior from afar. But all in all we were a huge success often turning people away.
I have fond memories of dancing with both girls and guys to songs like Light My Fire, Foxy Lady, Wild Thing, and Sitting By the Dock of the Bay. I smiled a lot during that summer of 1967.


We now return to our continuing story, "When I Met My Hubby, Part 16" by Diane Richardson:

Diane Richardson
07.12.2022
When I Met My Hubby Part 16

So, I’m currently assigned to Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center on State Road. A prison, and I work in the Medical Clinic taking care of the inmate’s medical needs. And they were so appreciative of us and thanked us all the time. Since they banned smoking in jails and prisons, the inmates would complain how they were dying for a drink and a smoke.
One of my favorite patients, an Italian mobster, asked me if I would consider smuggling in some cigarettes. He offered to pay me $200 a carton. I could have the money sent to me or I could pick it up. And he asked my co-worker Charlene to smuggle in liquor. These guys were Italian mobsters, and the money was nothing for them. They wanted what they wanted at whatever cost. They have been drinking and smoking all their lived and the withdrawal was killing them. They would do anything for a drink and a smoke.
I smuggled in two cartons of cigarettes at two hundred a carton. He would send the money to whoever I wanted it to be sent or I could pick it up. The choice was mine. My co-worker Charlene would smuggle in the liquor. These inmates owned several businesses, bars, clubs, restaurants etc. They would insist that I patronize their establishments on a regular basis and bring all my friends. They were so appreciative of me making their family members lives’ a little more comfortable and enjoyable. They couldn’t thank us enough. One establishment owner offered his catering services for Joe and I’s wedding for free.
I would sometimes bring my daughters, Tara, and Tia. They don’t like hanging out with old people, so I mostly took Pearlie Mae and her sisters. Joe never wanted to go so I just brought him a bunch of food home. My co-worker Charlene fell in love with one of the inmates. Charlene is the one that smuggles in the alcohol. Her and Al fell in love. She would call down for Al to come up for his blood pressure check. They would be in the exam room for a long time. The guards knew what time it was, and what was going on. They got married upon his release. They had a big, fat, beautiful wedding and anybody who was anybody was there. They now live around the corner from me in a high rise across from the Art Museum.
To Be Continued.....

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And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri