Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Career in Common (Ann and Rochelle)

One of my favorite things about Best Day is when the older buds' stories and conversations build on each other. In this case, older buds Ann and Rochelle both taught special education when they were younger:

Ann von Dehsen

06.04.2020

Special Ed Privileges

You know I was a teacher for a while too, Special Ed teacher, and we used to have conferences with the parents over the services the kids were entitled to and the white families would come in with all their information and often they would hire an advocate to fight for the rights they thought their kid needed; they thought they needed more speech, they wanted a longer summer program, they wanted the district to pay for activities in the summer like horseback riding and things and they would usually get those privileges. And then our Black families, this was in Delaware County, were mainly from Chester, living in poverty and they would come to these meetings obviously very, very nervous and frightened of us and sit there very quietly saying, “Okay. Okay,” and never voicing that maybe they needed more than what they were getting. And a speech therapist and I often spoke up to our supervisor and saying, “This child needs more therapies.” And after a while with the dialogue, they began to get more therapies, but once our supervisor called us in after a meeting and said, “You have to stop suggesting these extra therapies. It’s very expensive. It’s not in our budget and these people should educate themselves on what’s out there.” So how do you educate yourself on what’s out there when you don’t know and you’re living in Chester, you know? So that was huge to me too. I’ve just been trying to think of those types of stories.

 

Rochelle R. Tynes

06.18.2020

Special

It was interesting but you know, it was working with special needs kids. They tell you, even though people don’t do it, after a certain amount of time you should switch to so-called normal kids and then go back, transition back and forth. And I’m telling you, there ain’t much difference between the special kids and the so-called normal kids. They all have something, if its good or bad, they got something.
We special. Gosh, just the fact that we are writing these stories and telling stuff that we remember. The fact that we remember it is special. I’m telling you. 

 


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 careers in common, 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, April 8, 2021

Day Tripping (Eleanor and Denise W)

Yesterday, my mother and I went to York to get our second vaccine. The vaccination process has been very confusing, between the wait lists, the flawed Rite Aid system, and rush of people who trying to get vaccinated so that things can go "back to normal." Every site in my hometown was reserved, and Rite Aid didn't really have a "hang around at the end of the day and see if you get lucky" policy. We had to go two hours out of the way to get our vaccines, we couldn't really walk around or linger in cafes like we used to, we had to be careful with which bathrooms we used, and we could only eat take-out. But it got us out of the house and into someplace we don't usually go. It felt like a vacation. In honor of my own day trip, here's some stories about older buds on vacations of their own:

Eleanor Kazdan

06.18.2020

A Trip to Toronto

I probably won’t be at Best Day next week. I’ll be on a driving trip to Toronto to see my daughter. We’re driving on next Thursday to go. I don’t think I’ll be able to log in- I’ll be somewhere upstate New York. So, I’ll miss you all next week but I hope to be- I’ll be in Toronto for three weeks. We have to quarantine for fourteen days. We can’t go anywhere so, anyway I’ll try and join the group from my daughter’s place. Oh well, if I can get across the border without a problem I’ll be delighted. We are supposed to as a Canadian citizen.


Denise W

02.25.2021

The Best Surprise Ever

My story is called “The Best Surprise Ever”. My daughter and I were seeking tickets to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. This museum was a part of the Smithsonian institutions. It was established in 2003 and opened its doors September 2016 with a ceremony led by the President Barack Obama. This museum was free but obtaining access to this historical monument was challenging and frustrating. So I called the museum hoping to be on a long waiting list but that was to no avail. I wrote a letter requesting tickets far in advance; it didn't happen. I researched group trips to go into the museum only to find that several were full and there were no guarantees for waiting lists. Entry into the museum required a time entry pass. Time entry tickets were available for three months in advance, same day passes were available online starting at 6:30 am. We were in Washington visiting by brother Don, and we were unsuccessful in securing tickets online, so I asked my brother to please pull some strings and allow my daughter and I to go to this museum. And his attitude was a little nonchalant, he basically told me that he was able to go the first night, but I had a feeling he wasn't on a quest to finding our tickets. So of course I didn't give up, on a subsequent visit to visit Donny in Washington we decided to go to the museum and ask “How can we get a ticket to get in? We have tried for two years with no luck.” The Usher outside of the museum giggled and said “Oh do you want to go in today?” We anxiously said “yes.” He told us that all we needed to do was go to the back of the building, wait for maybe about 30 minutes and we would have access to the museum because they have a policy that the first 400 people standing in line will be able to just walk in. We couldn't believe it.
So we waited for 20 minutes, to our surprise we were in and did the same thing the next day. I think it takes about two or three days to really visit the museum. And special points of interest were, Harriet Tubman's shawl, Oprah Winfrey's studio couch, South Carolina a slave cabinet, Chuck Berry’s Cadillac from 1973, and the Emancipation Proclamation was there. There were 37,000 rare artifacts on three floors. We saw Muhammad Ali’s head gear, a Jim Crow railroad, Emit Till’s casket, Nat Turner’s bible, and the Green Barrel lunch counter that was a part of the protests, Michel Jackson’s fedora were just a few of the fascinating things that we saw. And of course there was another floor with the achievements of African Americans in every field, sports, history, scientists, etc, etc. It was just amazing, amazing and I am so happy, and one thing I did see was a hat shop that was in here in Philadelphia in the Philadelphia area and it had hat shop and that lady was featured in an exhibit, it's because hats were very important and still are important to many people, particularly the Black churches so. I was just so glad that we walked up and got in immediately after so many tries and that's the end of my story.


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 heirlooms and stories of your own, 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, April 1, 2021

Hey again. This week's blog post will be a little late, but I'll update this page as soon as I can.

Caitlin

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Heirlooms (Eleanor, Ann, Frances)

Best Day has mentioned before that it's done a project where people write stories related to their family heirlooms. With the weather getting warmer and Spring on the horizon, it only seems right to feature stories about the things we may find during Spring Cleaning.

Eleanor Kazdan

05.28.2020

Heirloom

This is a story about my father Aaron Kazdan, who was born in 1918 and the year never meant that much to me except it was his birth year but now the last pandemic in the world, the Spanish flu, was in 1918 so that year makes me realize that my father was born during a pandemic. And I never heard anything about that pandemic, strangely.
My father, when he was in his 20s, was in the Canadian Airforce. So, I grew up with this painting hanging in my parents’ house, my whole growing up years. My father died in 2005, very strangely he died on the very day we bought this house in Center City, so he never knew about it or got to see it. It was on the day we were closing on the house and we went ahead and closed even though my father had just died.
So about 10 or 15 years before my father died and my parents still lived in their big house, I got up the nerve to ask them if I could inherit this painting because I’ve been an art lover all of my life and I wanted to stake my claim to this beautiful painting that was done by one of his buddies in the Canadian Air Force. I don’t even know the person’s first name but I think his last name was McClellan. So, I was surprised when my parents said “Just take it now.” So, I took the painting and I hung it in my house. It hung in my suburban house for a number of years and now it’s been hanging in this house for 14 years.
It shows my father in his 20s. The other thing is that I also inherited—or I took, I guess you would say when I was cleaning up my parent’s house when they moved to another apartment out of their suburban house—I took all of my father’s letters that he had written while he was in the Air Force. A lot of them were to my mother. Somebody had fixed them up as pen pals when my father was in the Air Force and he wrote a lot of letters to my mother. He had actually never even met her at that point. But he seemed to be very taken with her and he told her a lot of details about his life in the Air Force. And I was very moved to be aware of my father’s voice when he was about 24 years old, especially now that I’m 70.
To have that view into my father when he was so young, and he was quite different from the father that I remembered growing up. My father was very quiet and didn’t interact that much. He was very introverted. But in his 20’s he seemed to be quite different, he seemed very lively. It gave me a very different perspective into my father. So, I have his letters and every once in a while I read them. I still think I should be compiling them and putting them into some kind of a book, but I haven’t done that yet. I guess the pandemic is the time when people seem to do those kind of things, but I haven’t. And I have his painting.

Ann von Dehsen

05.28.2020

Heirloom

So my namesake, Ann Von Dehsen, was my paternal grandmother. She died a few years before I was born, and I only knew a few basic facts about her. She was quiet, kind, and loved to laugh. She and my grandfather never had much money, but managed okay by living in a small New York City apartment before buying a small house in New Jersey. And she was well-loved by my father and his sister, my Aunt Dorothy. I had just one tattered picture of her laughing as she sat on a tiny fire escape of a city apartment. But growing up, she was more of a story than a real person to me.
Then, about ten years ago, my sister and I took a trip to Maine and visited our ninety-year-old Aunty Dorothy on the way. During the visit, she gave us each a piece of jewelry that our grandmother had once worn. My sister received a garnet pendant necklace and I received a ring that surprisingly fit me perfectly. We guessed that the stone was an aquamarine, and I have worn it proudly knowing that she too had worn it so many years earlier.
Well a few years later, while in a jewelry store, the jeweler complimented me on the setting of this ring and guessed that it was quite old. I asked him if he thought that the stone was really an aquamarine. After looking at it carefully, he told me, “Well, it’s actually just a piece of colored glass,” explaining that diamonds and gemstones were somewhat rare and therefore very expensive back in the late 1800s. He said that many rings had glass stones, and my ring very likely was also my grandmother’s engagement ring. So I liked this romantic story, and upon returning home I got out that very old, tattered sepia photo of Ann in the city. It was very hard to see, but she’s definitely wearing a ring, which I choose to believe is now my ring. So, knowing we share a name, a ring, and a love of city balconies, she’s become less of story, and finally more of a person to me.
Because looking back, my sister and I always wonder, we didn’t really ask that many questions about her. You know, she had died before either of us were born. We knew more about my maternal grandmother, but we just never asked much about her. And also, when we went to my Aunt at that time and she gave us the jewelry, granted she was older and I don’t think her sight was that great, but when we walked in, she said, “Ann, you look just like my mother.” So that was strange too. Now, through this I feel more of an attachment to her.

Frances Bryce

05.28.2021

Heirlooms

I just wanted to say about heirlooms, I have a large number of my mother-in-law’s, some very expensive jewelry. Some just fashionable. And so I hope my daughter will like some of it. It’s very precious and I wear some of it. She had a lot of jewelry.
Do I have a favorite? Not really because she had brooches and necklaces and bracelets; you name it, she had it. And what was important to me was that different time of the year like at Christmas time, she had Christmas tree pendants and so just had a lot of stuff. Some very nice things.
And long before she died she gave me the family silver, and that’s when my husband said, “You must be really in to get the family silver.”
She was very, very special. When people talk about their mother-in-law, I just can’t relate because we had a wonderful relationship.

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 heirlooms and stories of your own, 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, March 18, 2021

Working 9 to 5 (Carolyn & Ann)

March is Women's History Month, a month to highlight the contributions women made to society. But these contributions don't come without struggle or embarrassment, and the women of the workforce have to be prepared for anything. Carolyn's story, and Ann's response, are about female workers walking in on their male and masculine-presenting bosses and finding something they never expected to see.

Carolyn Boston

02.25.2021

Can I Have Fries with That?

When I received the promotion to work for a real estate attorney in the law department at the Bell telephone company, now known as Verizon, I was thrilled to experience a new challenge of learning something I had never experienced during my career at the telephone company or even been exposed to.
My first few weeks were times of adjustment, that is learning real estate terminology and processing contracts. The real estate attorney I worked for appeared to be OK. He was heavy on dictation, to a point where I feel almost overwhelmed. One day, he buzzed me to go into his office for dictation. When I went into his office I saw him lying face up on the floor under his desk. His head was pointing toward the door of his office and he wasn't moving; it appeared that he wasn't breathing. And I didn't see any response at all. I called his name but there was no response. So I ran out of his office, got another attorney and said that it looked like he was dead. The other attorney ran in, and I heard him say “Connie.” That was my boss's nickname in the department short for Conrad. “Connie, are you OK? Hello are you OK?” Finally there was a verbal response from my boss. I heard the other attorney ask “Why are you on the floor under your desk like that”. My boss responded “My back was hurting and I thought if I laid a flat on the floor it would stop the pain. And I wanted to put on my brace so it would relieve some of the agony I was in.” I was outside the door listening. The other attorney came out and said “Everything 's OK now.” My blood pressure had gone straight to the roof. Later the other attorney and I fell out laughing. Let's just calm him Jeff. Jeff comforted me “Don't worry about it, it's OK.”
Part two as usual I was on alert to take dictation; I wasn't disappointed. My boss buzzed me to come into his common for dictation and off I went with my steno book. When I entered his office he wasn't there. I couldn't imagine what had happened to him; he had just buzzed me. I left my boss’ office and sought out Jeff, and asked him if he saw my boss pass by. I said “He just buzzed me to come in for dictation” Jeff got up and we went into my boss’ office.
Jeff said “I didn't see him anywhere and I didn't see him his pass by so I don't know what happened to him.” There was no sign of him, there was no sign of him.
I said to Jeff, “This is crazy. Do you think he could be in here?” I pointed to the closet and I was laughing, just joking to Jeff with Jeff. Jeff said “Nah.” But before I caught myself I whipped open the closet door and there was my boss, in boxer shorts down around his feet with white socks and went up to his calves and his back brace slung halfway around his body. He had a little pair of white briefs or something on and I guess he wore that under the boxers. I almost passed out. I heard myself say Jeff, who couldn't see the inside of the closet, and pointing I said “He's in there.”
“What!” Jeff said. I said “He's in there” Immediately I slammed the door shut. I slammed it faster than a speeding bullet and along with Jeff got out of the office at warp speed. Later after I got over the shock Jeff and I were hysterical along with the other secretaries that had seen what had taken place. My boss didn't call me in for dictation for the rest of the day. Of course you surely must know why. I couldn't have sat across from him and kept a straight face taking dictation.
I just wanted to add to the story that I told because I felt that those of you that are participating in this class are thinking what bizarre behavior that the attorney that I worked with had. He was problematic but the general counsel lounge manager and administrators in the law department did speak with him and he never did that or carry out that behavior ever again because I know that it was very erratic behavior and certainly not something that should happen in an office. I took it with a grain of salt. But I did want you guys to know that he was reprimanded about his behavior. The whole law department—they heard—you know, we were all like in a group so everybody knew the story, we just laughed about it forever.
To this day when I think about what happened I still laugh like crazy. Both situations where hysterical and of course those two stories were the highlight of my experience in the Law Department of Bell telephone.

 

 

Ann von Dehsen

02.25.2021

Unlocked Doors

I had a friend that worked for a photographer once, in the big house, and he mostly took pictures of people in sports and all. And he would often lock his door. I guess she was sort of like a secretary to him. And he’d be in there for long periods of time without a client or anything. And one day she didn’t knock and the door was unlocked and she walked right in and he was standing there dressed up in his drag, in women’s clothes. Standing there and posing in front of the mirror.

And that sounds like it was only the beginning of the story. That session was pretty packed, so I only got to hear that part, but I'll send Ann a message and see if there was any more to 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 or the older buds you know have shocking stories from the workplace, 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

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Report Card (Eleanor)

I always like being able to show off artifacts in Best Day posts to go along with the stories, whether they're ration books or pictures from the Worlds' Fair. Back in June, Eleanor shared her kindergarten report card from 1955 during a Best Day session on Zoom, along with a short story to go with it:

Eleanor Kazdan

06.18.2020

My Kindergarten Story

I didn’t write anything but like a lot of people I’ve been going through some old letters and pictures at this time and I came across my kindergarten report card from 1955. Now just to back track a little bit, when my kids were young, I read a book called “The First Three Years of Life.” And the psychologist who wrote the book, his theory was that your personality is completely formed by age 3. And that always stuck with me. So, it was very important to spend lots of time with your children up until age 3 and well beyond.
So, I happened to come across this report card from Toronto. Here it is. My teacher was named Eileen King, its from June 29, 1955. And I was shocked. It’s a big narrative, I don’t know if they still do this in kindergarten but its written in this absolutely beautiful cursive writing. Front and back, very, very expressive. I doubt that teachers do that now, probably, no, no. So, I was pretty shocked because I’m 70 now and I’m really the same as I was in kindergarten.
So, I’m going to read a few excerpts. And of course, not all of you know me that well but this stuff is the truth about me. “Eleanor is a tall,” well I was tall in kindergarten, not that tall now. “Eleanor is a tall, serious 5-year-old with satisfactory appearance.” She didn’t say Eleanor is a gorgeous 5-year-old. “Eleanor prefers quiet table games, alone or with a small group, rather than more active play. She is more self-reliant now, able to solve her own problems. Eleanor does not find it easy to be expressive among a large group but is really trying to overcome this.” Well guess what, I’ve never overcome it, 65 years later.
“On the whole she is quite mature emotionally. Sometimes Eleanor prefers to sit back and let others contribute during music and discussions, while at other times she is ready to participate. Her detailed handiwork convinces us that she has many splendid ideas to offer. Emotionally Eleanor is stable and mature. She is a little more ready to chat with us now. Eleanor is alert to all that takes place in the classroom. She contributes ideas and completes her work with great care.”
This is kind of a summary. “In her own quiet manner has established a friendly relationship with each of her classmates. She prefers to follow rather than lead group activities. Eleanor seems a very steady and self-reliant child, able to solve minor problems without adult assistance.”
Well, I’m like the same. I am the same as I was in kindergarten. I am much better in small groups; I prefer to follow rather than to lead in groups. So, anyway that’s my kindergarten story. It was a real eye opener.




 


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 artifacts with interesting stories behind them, 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