Thursday, January 14, 2021

Something to Say About It (Norman & Frances)

It's been a week since the storming of Capitol Hill, and there's an unease in the air. There's confusion and trepidation and fear about the way the rest of 2021 will unfold. There's a lot of hindsight and kicking ourselves and thinking "If only we'd listened" from all generations. And there's also the sobering acknowledgement that this was not the first time this happened, and we always have to be vigilant against injustice. Our older buds have seen a lot go down in this country, and they've got something to say about it:

Norman Cain 

04.18.2019

Researching Islam

I was determined to find out the truth. I want to know why Adul Mokun, in my class, did not dress in a black suit -like the male adherents of the nation of Islam- and why there was a houseful of Muslims not too far from where I lived who dressed in Arabic attire.
The aforementioned passage appears near the end of an essay entitled “The Great Neighborhood debate of 1955”, an essay that chronicles street debates between my mother and a member of the Nation of Islam whose focus was which religion was authentic: Islam or Christianity.
Throughout the essay, I wrote the way I spoke in 1955 when I was 13 years old. Also I expressed the negativity – based upon my Christian upbringing I felt towards Islam whose adherents suddenly appeared in my neighborhood. But as I stated earlier, I was determined to, without bias, find out about Islam. The first phase of my investigation happened when I was enrolled in a world history course, during my sophomore year in college. I learned about Islam history and tenets. Later I visited mosque. Eventually my oldest son and two nephews became Muslims, also my mother who initially was against Islam respected those embraced that faith.
As for me, my study of Islam has enabled me to accept that religion as I do others.
Today facets of the United States government portray all members of Islam as terrorists, a ploy to gain political dominance. Omar a young Islam congresswoman has received death threats for being outspoken about the way Israel treats Palestinians and the rising tide of Islamophobia. Seemingly those who embrace hatred of Islam and view its members as terrorists, do not recognize domestic terrorism. I recognize all religions, because I have taken time to study as many as I can.

 



Frances Bryce

10.29.2020

Unshakable Beliefs

Now that we are again in the last days of deciding who will lead the country for the next four years, will we continue with our present President or elect a new one? In the news there are many charges and counter charges whenever the TV is on. Not to mention all the campaign ads.
I decided to further limit my TV viewing by reading magazines, and Time Magazine which I get weekly was one of those. Also, some non-political entertainment sources. In one of the articles that I read and caught my eye one of the Time reporters who visited the suburbs and outer rural areas in Milwaukee, Pennsylvania and outside Ohio to mention a few of those. He was interested in hearing how people with ordinary voices determined the coming November 3 election.
As I read the outcome of the people he interviewed, many voters were not fazed by the reports of the President saying that soldiers were losers and suckers, the death toll of COVID-19 and admission to downplaying the virus when Woodward taped him. And so, he asked about these things and no one was talking about the headline and the people often decided that it was not true, or they did not care.
Most of the Trump voters interviewed has reasons for supporting him and they were logical. One said he had lowered their taxes, appointed anti-abortion judges and the stock market had soared. So, he was logical in his goals because the President was certainly doing the things that were important to him. Some supporters, according to the writer, explained reasons that were so devoid from anything that he had ever experienced, and the reason was divorced from reality. He called this un-logic, which is not ignorance or stupidity but distorted by suspicion and misinformation. Which is geared by fiction rather than established facts because they only listen to those things that they really believe.
He found that un-logic belief from QAnon that the COVID virus is a hoax and was perpetuated by the elite from Hollywood. Anybody else who challenged this they called lying reporters, so did not listen to them. So, the un-logic of the other side often said that the President was faking, and they didn’t believe him, it was only the flu. Such belief that Hollywood’s elite who could traffic and rape children, who were pedophiles, also that they had built tunnels under the U.S. to traffic in children and to drink their blood.
When he asked two women two days after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for their thoughts about the Judge they said, “I think that they were lying, we know that she died last year”. Their favorite news network was OANN and they said, “That station just gave you the facts.”
I understand why the term un-logic was used to explain these views by many of the voters he interviewed. And that was the thing that was so interesting to me that they didn’t believe anything that the leading stations reported, and they refused to listen to them. So, that was their reason for their feelings and nothing was going to change how they felt.

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 you knwo have stories about insurrections, riots, and rebellions, then you or they can submit them 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, January 7, 2021

The First Post of the Year (Liz & José)

Happy New Year everyone. It's easy to get swept up in the joy of having finished 2020 and charge straight into 2021, but we have to remember the people who could not come to 2021 with us. Our lives are filled with all sorts of people, and every single person we've ever met has had an influence on us in some way or another. This post is dedicated to the influential people in our older buds' lives:

Liz Abrams

11.19.2020

Pushbutton- A Tribute to my Aunt Doris

And there in my life, a little girl’s life, appeared a new member of the family. A beautiful, so brown, this lady was my uncle’s new wife. Pretty, black, deep waves in her hard-pressed hair, neat. A big generous wide mouth smile that she smiled for me and that was sweet. That genuine smile, generous smile should only be from a mother for her favorite child. And I melted. She grabbed my hand, she squeezed my hand, I melted. Grabbed her hand and she squeezed my hand back and I would follow her for miles. I was so enamored with her.
The aunt changed from her Sunday clothes to a house dress and a head rag. She’s my uncle’s wife and my grandmother’s new daughter and caretaker. Boy am I glad. My grandmother warned me, “Don’t laugh at how she talks. This lady is from the Deep South and she has an accent”. I wouldn’t care if she did the camel walk, I was so enamored with her.
In the kitchen she swiftly went to work lighting a stove with the same match she lit her cigarette, grabbed a huge wash tub and scrub board, a bale full of soiled men’s shirts, filled the tub with hot water, fed my German Shepherd dog, wheeled my grandmother in front of the TV, made me a bacon sandwich (my favorite), and all the while she smiled. And after she did all that, she took care of her brother in laws, my grandfather, my grandmother, the German Shepherd, and also went to work from three to eleven in the afternoon to work at Linton’s. She was a superwoman. And she was a farm girl, she was used to doing hard work, so that was nothing to her.
A loose curl crept across her forehead, full of shine and sweat. She winked her eye at me and said, “How ya like that? Pushbutton.” and I said, “What is pushbutton?” And pushbutton taught me how to hurdle laziness. And you use pushbutton when you have jobs to do while you’re tired with a smile and a wink of an eye. Pushbutton meant you push yourself past what you’re able to do. I never saw her take a break. She was always happy working. But she called it pushbutton because she went past her tiredness to continue to get a job done, and so she was a good example on what to do when you’re tired but you still have work to do.
And that’s about Aunt Doris.

José Dominguez 

12.10.2020

The Meaning of a Kindness

That day that came to settle all my father’s dreams, fears, paradoxes and constraints, it came to him suddenly and painless as he would have desired. At the age of 72, he accomplished one of his dearest aspirations- to be productive and independent. The proof was that when his last night came, he was prepared to rest from the day of his work and from a life devoted to responsibly confront all kind of struggles, accomplishments, and issues as he always did. In his last day of his life, he prepared himself to sleep and sleep he did. He sat on his bed with his body wrapped with his pajamas, then he slipped downwards and the mattress received his dead body due to a generalized heart failure. He had no time to do or to think or nothing. Not a chance to say goodbye, not to say ‘I love you,’ not for even a farewell gesture or a welcome smile to the new life he was initiating. After that in this engagement moment, is idle to say that my parental house that always looked so alive lost that spring of energy and my mother who has always been like a mockingbird around my father turned into a hopeless, most incapable to provide the vitality that in past times was imprinted in each corner of the house. My wife Maria and I decided to live with her. My father’s name was seldom used since each of his memories was to my mother a reminiscence of his permanent loss. Several days after the passing away, one afternoon, the main door’s bell rang and as always I ran to open the heavy door. Outside, a lady was waiting for my appearance. She was almost 45 years old, rather small, dressed in a simple and a humble way, but with very clean clothes, and looked me shyly.
“Morning,” I said, “what can I do for you?”
“Excuse me,” she said, “I wonder if this is Mrs. Dominguez’s residence.”
“It is. What is the purpose of your visit?” I asked.
With gentle and low voice, responded, “I wonder if I can speak with Mrs. Domiguez.”
I replied, “Yes, yes you can. Please come in, and we’ll call her in a minute. “Please take a seat.”
“No no no no,” she responded, almost frightened, “I am here very well. Just tell her that Mrs. Lopez wants to speak with her.”
“Very well, please wait a moment,” I told her. My mother came immediately and opening the big door, invited Mrs. Lopez to enter. Mrs. Lopez advanced, her face look very serious, and began to speak before my mother could have the chance to invite her to sit.
“You don’t know me,” she said, “but I know your husband don Roberto. I sell newspapers in the street have a newspaper stand in the sidewalk. Nearby, 16th of September St. and Avenita Juarez. For years Mr. Dominguez as a clock, raining or snowing, in summer or winter, walked by that way. I guess he went directly to his work each day for years. He stopped by my tiny stand and after greeting me with a gentle buenos dias, he handed me a candy. He never missed a single day of this routine. That candy was for me a present of life. He didn’t speak a word more or a word less. It was part of my day, and also part of my life to see this gentle person going to work. Suddenly, his appearance subsided. I waited several days and didn’t see him. Then, I asked to my friends and neighbors and was informed that he lived in this house. I don’t want to bother. If he is ill, I don’t want to be an inconvenience to him. I just want to know how he is.” My mother was astonished. As Mrs. Lopez was explaining, my mother slowly and trembling began to approach her. At one point they were face to face.
Then, my mother said in a helpless voice, “Sorry, he is dead.” Both ladies embraced to each other, shaking as tears covered their faces. I guess, each of us is a witness or a recipient of the kindness and humanity. Nevertheless, each of our gentleness which this big human family around us that in a sense is our extended family. For sure, my father’s tenderness is living in Mrs. Lopez’s soul. God bless her.


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 have stories about older buds, or the older buds in your life have stories about even more people, then you or they can submit them 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, December 31, 2020

The Last Post of the Year (Frances & Elliot)

It's rare that I'm able to do this, but I'm posting PSC Best Day's last post of 2020 on the last day of 2020. This year has been insane. This year has been a mad rush. This year has been a full stop. This year has been a learning experience. This year has been nothing but noise. This year we got knocked down. This year we pushed back. This year we lost and found important parts of our life. This year we made progress and we made mistakes. This is a year that might make more sense a few decades later. For some of us, this year will never make sense; and that's okay.

A lot of our stories this year were about COVID and racism. A lot of them were just about shopping, catching up with friends and finding weird radio programs at 2AM. Our lives will never be the same after this year, but they will keep going.

It's weird to have lived through a year that we all know will go into textbooks and encyclopedias. It's weird to think that our grandchildren's grandchildren will look at COVID-19 the same way we look at the 1918 Influenza. It's weird to consider that there will come a day when most people will have no idea what it's like to live through this pandemic; even the deniers and conspiracy theorists still lived through the same year we did.

I hope this blog, or at least its stories, will survive long enough for our grandchildren's grandchildren to read it. And I hope that they can read all these stories from all these years, and understand what a pandemic meant to us. These stories are personal, and they tell the truth in a way a textbook or biopic can't. And haring these stories with future generations is what Best Day's all about.

Happy New Year, and enjoy the stories:

 

Frances Bryce

01.02.2020

No Reservations Needed

My adult daughter and son usually spend the Christmas holidays together, now that she is married and lives fulltime in California, and I have a home in Philadelphia. I often travel to California. The cost of three people coming east is more expensive than one (my traveling) plus, I get to spend the warm season in the West.
My daughter came along this year. She did not have to decorate our home in CA and I chose to decorate at a minimum. Door wreath, candles on the table and lights around the window. My Christmas tree all of 2-3 inches with lights and decoration in place adorned a shelf, with some tiny presents (containing no gifts) were prewrapped. Our time was our own.
Christmas we set out to find a place opened and we started our search down South Street on the bus. We found a few restaurants opened (no one inside) we were not defeated, as we panned on the bus. My daughter had seen an interesting place, that caught her eye. It was a great find, an authentic Mexican Restaurant. The service and the food was excellent.
The only complaint that I have was a lady from the neighborhood (regular) who after a few minutes of conversation, as she sat across from us, acted as if she was a member of our table. My daughter tried with little success to get her to realize that she was not a guest at our table, even the event was a little disconcerting. We had a great time, and I will visit the restaurant again.

 


Elliot Doomes 

02.13.2020

Holidays Growing Up

I missed all of those holidays. I never got Valentines’ cards and all that. I never had birthday parties either. I threw myself a birthday party when I was seventeen. I invited over some friends and had them sing “Happy Birthday to me.” About seven people showed up. We had some music and a cake that my brother and I made. My brother was a pretty good cook. At that birthday party, that was the first time my mother allowed me to smoke one cigarette. The next day, my mother walked in and saw me lighting up. Her hand came out of nowhere and my head one way and the cigarette went another way. I said “But you said I could smoke.” And she said “That was on your birthday.” I felt so grown when I had that birthday cigarette, but that didn’t last. But by then I could throw my own birthday party because I’d been working since I was ten. I started in the wood cellar making bundles of wood, I sold shopping bags at 9th Street Italian Market (5 cents a bag), I worked on a fruit wagon with a horse down at the navy yard projects going door to door. “We got peaches, we got tomatoes!” I had a shoeshine stand and newspaper stand right outside Snockey’s the old Snockey’s at 8th and South. He was pretty well known at South Philly, and when the newspaper stand and shoeshine place closed, I opened up my own shoeshine stand and caught people coming out of Snockey’s.
That was my first birthday party. I always had people telling me “Happy Birthday,” but we didn’t have any money, and I never expected my parents to spend any extra money on me. It was just another day to me.
One time when I was twenty-five, or maybe even older, somebody gave me a birthday present. I’d never gotten one before, and I didn’t even know she knew it was my birthday. At first, I was stunned for a moment, and I looked at it. And then she said “Happy Birthday. Today is your birthday.” And I said “Oh oh oh…thanks.” It wasn’t as enthusiastic or as grateful as she was expecting, but I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even ask my friends to bring presents to my birthday party. To this day, I still have trouble celebrating my birthday party, and I thought that nobody else thought birthdays were a big deal either.
Back in those days in the 30s, 40s, 50s, the only holidays we readily acknowledged were Easter (we got a Sunday suit, shoes and a hat), Thanksgiving (we had a nice dinner) and Christmas (we got a new coat and a brand new suit.) These became Sunday clothes that you only wore to church. We outgrew these and the stuff we got at Easter wouldn’t last us until Thanksgiving. Being the younger brother, when my brother got new clothes, the old ones were usually handed down to me. I mean, that wasn’t just my family. Any family that had siblings, like older boys, when they outgrew what they wore, the older clothes were usually passed down to the younger siblings. Nothing was thrown away. I can remember, I was so happy when my brother’s long pants that he had outgrown and they were passed down to me. I was so proud because I had finally become a big boy, I had big boy pants! Back in those days, young boys used to wear short pants or knickers (pants that come down to your knees) with long socks and suspenders. And you’d wear belts with long pants instead of suspenders, so my mom would always used to say “You don’t have enough butt to hold up long pants.” So when I got my older brother’s long pants, I’d felt like I was grown up.

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 you know have stories to ring in the new year, then you or they can submit them 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, December 17, 2020

In Memory of Alex Trebek, Art Fleming and Donal Leace (Ann and Denise)

Every so often, we find out that one of our older buds personally knows or had an experience with a celebrity, like how Norman went to school with Wilt Chamberland's brother, how Ann's family sold a house to the parents of Senator Cory Booker, and how Hazel saw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak in Atlantic City while heavily pregnant. These stories, however, honor celebrities who have passed on, but not before having impacting our older buds' lives. It's always sad to hear about someone's passing, it's sadder to hear about your favorite celebrity's death, and it's saddest of all when they've had so much of an impact on your life. Saddest of all is when that celebrity is your brother:


Ann von Dehsen

11.19.2020

Jeopardy

The news of Alex Trebek’s passing brought back memories of the original Jeopardy when Art Fleming was the host and the show looked a lot different. I know this because in 1964 my Girl Scout leader took our troop to a taping in New York City.
As I remember it the 3 contestants each sat at a small desk and the playing board was revealed as a pair of drapes swung open. The money values for Jeopardy went from 10 to 50 dollars and 20 to 100 dollars for Double Jeopardy. I’m pretty sure the windows of the board were operated manually from behind by a stagehand. High Tech did not exist in 1964.
Very coincidentally, one of the contestants was from our own small town and whose children many of us had babysat. Being Jersey girls, we clapped and cheered loudly each time she gave the correct question. Having no idea that she now had hometown groupies in the audience, she looked really confused and surprised as we cheered.
Our verbal support was ended though when, during the first commercial Art Fleming climbed the stairs to tell us that this was not the type of show that encouraged cheering and asked us very nicely to please stop. We obliged and quietly enjoyed the rest of the show, although our hometown hero did not win. At the end of taping Art Fleming climbed the stairs again and thanking us for our improved behavior, invited us to stay for the next two tapings.
I think Art Fleming and Alex Trebek were cut from the same cloth. Gentleman with class, intellect and kindness and I hope that fabric is still available for the next host. 


Denise W.

12.03.2020

My Brother's Life

My story today, because I lost my brother within the last two weeks to COVID-19, I would like to share his life, if I could. Tell you a little something about him, I think it would be good. I will give you his song and if you want to you will be able to YouTube it and hear him sing.
His name was Donal Leace. Donal Leace is a singer, songwriter, artist, educator and entertainer and is one of those rare artists whose voice just gets better. Reflecting not just his increasing richness musically, but also the growing strengths of his passions, most notably for social justice and civil rights.
His roots are in West Virginia and in traditional American folk music. In more recent years his work has become more international and he has sought to incorporate the musical traditions of countries such as of South Africa and Cuba.
Since 1960 he has made Washington, DC his home base. In the early 1960’s while still a student at Howard University, working at the Cellar Door Night Club, Donal was affectionately known as Washington’s favorite folk singer. Over the years he has performed with many of the nation’s most outstanding jazz, folk, blues, pop gospel and country artists. He has appeared on the Today Show and Sunday Morning.
A graduate of Howard, he also holds graduate degrees from the George Washington and Georgetown Universities. In 1998 Donal was named the Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar to Japan and has had a 5-week Fulbright paid scholarship in Turkey. He has been a full-time faculty member of Washington’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts. In the year 2000 Donal was named to the Washington Area Music Awards’ Hall of Fame and he was also included in the 2003 Washingtonian Magazine.
My brother was very kind, he had a very giving spirit. He traveled the whole world, from every corner of the world, South Africa, Latin America, Asia. Of all of the places he visited he told me that he loved Cuba. He was able to go to Cuba on some special Visa because he was an educator. He said Cuba was very beautiful and the people were very friendly. He also loved Turkey, he thought Turkey was great. I remember a couple of years ago he went to Italy and I said to him, “I know you’re going to the Vatican”, and he said, “No I don’t any interest in the Vatican,” but I was a Catholic for years, so of course that fascinated me. He’s been to every place in the world and he loved traveling.
He has songs and they’re on YouTube if you’re interested. My favorite song he wrote is “I Flow to You.” That’s written and produced and sung by my brother Donal Leace. He also made the song in Spanish, but when I actually took it to my Spanish friends to hear they didn’t like it. He made “Eres Tu” which was originally recorded by a group in Spain called Mocedades. The song I think that presents the strongest range of his voice is called “Hare Krishna.” So, if you want to hear Hari Krishna, that’s beautiful by him in my opinion, but the one I really like is “I Flow to You.”
He’s worked with such musician greats as Roberta Flack, he’s worked with Peter Tork of the Monkees the list goes on. Comedians such as Bill Cosby to Lena Horn. He worked with a lot of celebrities and musical greats. He basically opened for Roberta Flack and he opened for a couple of other people. He actually taught Dave Chappelle, if anyone has heard of Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle is an African American comedian, he actually taught him; he’s a little controversial. He knew Phylicia Rashad because he was involved in the Duke Ellington School of Music. He knew Debbie Allen, and he was very proud that Kamala Harris made it to the White House because she is a part of the school that he attended and taught at.
He was eighty-one, he died in a memory care facility in Texas. At first they kept everything closed, then the state of Texas, the governor opened up everything. And during those two weeks, at least that I know about, four had died of COVID, because somebody brought it in. They didn’t know he had it, but basically what happened he actually had a fall because he had Parkinson’s disease at this point in his life, and a little dementia. So they took him to the hospital so he could be X-rayed to see what was wrong, if there was any damage physically. So at that point they diagnosed him as having COVID-19. He did not make it to the ventilator, he only lasted four days in the hospital, that was it. He’s cremated now, that’s what he preferred.
It’s just hard on us because we were literally talking to him every other day, and I just talked to him that Wednesday, and by Saturday morning he was gone. By Friday I knew he was getting sicker, and it progressed to no hope.
Thank you so much. You don’t know what this means to me to be able to talk about it.

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 know older celebrities or your older buds know or knew celebrities, then you or they can submit them 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, December 10, 2020

A Jewish Perspective on Christmas (Eleanor)

At Best Day we try not to use themes or pressure our older buds to write about specific topics. As a result, we unfortunately do not have a Hanukkah story to post for the first night of Hanukkah. However, we have older bud Eleanor's story about her experiences with Christmas as a Jewish girl in a mostly White Christian neighborhood. It's important to spread and share the traditions of older buds of all backgrounds, but it's also important to learn and share their experiences with the dominant culture, whatever that may be. Once you understand that, you can understand the best ways to share and promote the culture of the unknown and oppressed. You also understand how traditions can change and be changed by immigrants and celebrants all over the globe. For instance, did you know that many of our most famous Christmas songs were created by Jewish songwriters?

Without further ado, here's older bud Eleanor's Christmas Story:

Eleanor Kazdan

12/5/19

A Jew at Christmas

            Growing up in Toronto in the 1950’s there were almost no other Jewish families in our neighborhood. Many of the people on our street were Irish and Scottish immigrants. The Bells, the Charltons, the Youngs. It was no secret that we were Jewish, didn’t go to church, and didn’t celebrate Christmas. Our house was the only one devoid of beautiful Christmas lights, and magical Christmas trees. Our next door neighbors, the Bells often invited me to events at their church. I learned to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam.” At Christmas I went over to their house, where under their brightly decorated tree there awaited a gift for me.

            I was always a bit sad at Christmas time. I made a “Christmas tree” out of chairs and construction paper. I sang Christmas carols with the school choir. My favorite to this day is “Hark the Herald Angels sing.” As a young writer, I wrote stories and plays about Christmas.

            I must say that the modern world is more inclusive. My own children never felt the envy that I did. School concerts included token music of Hanukah and Kwanzaa. In some ways it’s easier to be different. But in other ways it’s worse. But that’s a story for another day.

 
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 know older buds with Hanukkah stories (or stories of being one of the only Jewish families in a Christian neighborhood), then you or they can submit them 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, December 3, 2020

Giving Thanks (Carolyn, Beatrice, Norman)

A lot of us weren’t able to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family and loved ones this year, so I’d like to invite you to Best Day’s table by sharing some Thanksgiving stories from our older buds:

Carolyn Boston
11.19.2020
The Little Drumstick Boy

Several years ago I was at my great niece’s home for Thanksgiving and we always looked forward to going to her house because she is an awesome cook. So it was with great anticipation that I and the rest of my relatives joined each other on Thanksgiving. We were all starving as we sat in the living room for the announcement that the food was ready and we could come to the table. The smell of the food was just setting us in a fit, and finally we sat at the table. Her little son Alex, Alex’s dad said the grace and we were ready to start eating and she announced, “we can now all eat.”
Before anyone could take a breath, Alex, who is either three or four, ripped off the Godzilla-sized drumstick and started eating. Everyone at the table was in shock. Little Alex ignored all of us as we burst into laughter. His teeth sank into the meat and ripped it off like a Neanderthal. We all laughed so hard that we were crying. Alex was totally unflustered by our laughter as he consumed gargantuan-sized turkey drumstick, and the funniest part of it was that the drumstick was almost as big as Alex. He had to be either two or three, and it just looked like this huge drumstick with this little body behind it. We laughed and laughed and laughed. We also took pictures so that we could never forget that moment. This is just a short story, but I can remember that picture with that drumstick to this day and laughing. It was just an amazing sight.

Beatrice Newkirk

11.29.2012

Having a Nice Thanksgiving Dinner

Having a nice Thanksgiving dinner, I went to my daughter’s house. She lives in Southwest Philly. We had so much food. I saw some of my grandkids and great-grand kids. My grand-daughter came here from Texas. She came by train and plane – her first time. I was so glad to see her. She has a good job in Texas.

We have so much to be thankful for. I think about the storm named Sandy. She did a lot of damage. God knows how much we can bear – my 29th great-grandkid was born last night at 9 o’clock. A boy, 7lbs 4oz. My family tree, still growing.


Norman Cain

01.23.2020

Ancestral Tree

When I was born my forbearers presented me with the key to the avenue of the straight and Narrow, where opportunity laid waiting. I Casted it to the wind. It landed on Bacchanals Wide, Wild Boulevard. I cared less. For to me, the key was nonessential to my chosen Destiny at that time: tenure in the dens of inequity, where I reveled hardily and drank Abundantly-starting At Sun-up to well after sun-down-from the vessels of Wantonness, Which caused me to taste the bitterness of defeat, feel the Painful clutches of despair squeeze lifelessness out of my ethereal core, leaving me in the vise of self-destruction.
One night, I in the clutches of drunken slumber, encountered, thru vision vivid, three ancestors, silently walking in a single file across the long dusty road. On each side of the road there were tobacco, cotton and corn fields. At the head of the procession was my great uncle Charlie, the oldest of the Cusack clan. He was dark, short and keen featured. He was a farmer and recluse. He was followed by his my paternal grandparents: his brother Lexington, a ebony hued, short stature, Congolese Featured man who was a farmer, educator fraternal leader, business man and his wife, Virginia, an olive Skinned, keen featured house wife.
When I told my mother, who had taken me, because of my transgressions, from the head of the dinner table when my father died, of the dream, she without hesitation proclaimed: “They came to tell you that you can make it.” This vision caused me to remember the time when I traversed the same dusty road that appeared in my dream during the scorching south Carolina summers (in the days of my youth) when I, a northern boy, was sent south to my grandparents farm after school was closed for the summer.
Then I would be barefoot, shirtless, wearing a straw hat and trudging to and from my grandparents’ tobacco field. The dream conjured memories of the house that Uncle Charlie, the first in the procession that appeared in the dream occupied. It was the house that was fronted by humongous, fully leafed cloaked tree, stretching towards the heavens and whose strong roots would not allow it to be moved, in spite of elimination four of the eight rooms that housed the family of my paternal great & their 1 children.
Each day, me, my sister and, Delores, my older cousin, who was raised by my grandparents in their house down the road, would visit Uncle Charlie, who briefly lived at 40th and Market Street during the 1920’s. There was a family portrait Upon the South wall of living room. It included my maternal Great grandfather George Wainwright Cusack who was seated and dressed in a black suit. Standing to his right and dressed in white was his wife, Nancy.
In the background stood the 11 children of the family; Charlie, Emma Georgia Lexington, Spencer Beatrice, Amelia, Lorenzo, Suzan Ellen, and Maggie. The house was like a family museum. Upon the floor lay the instruments that the Cusak Band played specifically during Juneteenth. Among the instruments were a snare drum, bass drum, tuba bugle and piano. Uncle Charlie would play the instruments and tell us folklore and ancestral stores.
The dream induced me to recalled how my grandmother, who when I contracted, on consecutive summers, the chicken pox and measles, physically healed me by applying the suave of roots to my infected body. The dream further induced me to, shortly after having it, visit my grandmother at the homestead in a futile attempt, to elude the sinful temptations Philadelphia. During that visit she bestowed healing, wisdom encouragement and family history upon my shattered soul.
The dream allowed me to recall how my maternal grandfather, who taught me how to shoot a rifle and handle mules, order me to kill as snake. He periodically told me about the time he and my paternal grandfather, Dan Cain, rowed a man, who was sought by the Klan, across the Pee Dee River and into of North Carolina. The man resided safely in North Carolina. He returned once to South Carolina. Then he attended his wife’s funeral. He avoided detention because he was dressed as a woman. After the recollections.
That Vision Vivid Dream had me experienced a common sense epiphany, which led me to seek/retrieve the key that my forbearers had given me. I unlocked the door to the straight and narrow Avenue. And I, consistently with opportunity in tow, transverse it to my genealogical tree, where I beseech. And greet my ancestors Legacy, rendering sincere “Thank Yous” and bowing before it in humble reverence.


 

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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