Monday, August 22, 2016

Mo (Politics)

Well, it’s not just the summer weather, the presidential campaign has been heating up too. There isn’t much left to say here about the current campaign that the media has not said. So maybe, just to cool things off a teeny little bit, let’s look back at another campaign, told (as always!) with a child’s sense of wonder by our good bud Mo. Reading this story, I just hope our kids can look back on what comes out of the current state of things and see it as a positive piece of history, someday, somehow.

Mo McCooper

Hearing President Roosevelt speaking on the radio was my introduction to politics. I was 6 years old when he declared war after the attack on Pearl Harbor. My uncle, Tommy, who lived with my parents and I, entered the Navy a short time later.

Postcards and letters came from Great Lakes Training Center in Illinois and then places in the Pacific War Zone. Tom’s little sister Nancy who had lived with us too because her parents had died and who taught me to read before I went to school, prayed to God for Tom’s safety and taught me that also.

Although I was reading comic books made by the auto workers union and knew my family voted for democrats, I didn’t hear any political talk until President Roosevelt died and Vice President Truman became president.

A little later, Thomas Dewey of New York was the Republican candidate. The newspapers and radio covered the battle and all concluded up until the last day that Dewey would win and did win. They were wrong.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Fully Loaded Story Goodie Bag

I can’t tell you how excited I am about all the things that my team and I are working on for you behind the scenes – they’re all about bringing you more ways than ever to engage with the older adults in your family and community. Want the scoop? Here you go!

So I want to apologize… I have been a little slower than usual at sharing the fresh, new stories here on the blog that our superstar storytellers have been telling in our group! Can I make up for you today with a fully loaded post?? Is that cool?

Let’s start by putting Norman on the spot – I can because we’re super good buds and that sentence, I hope, Norman, made you smile!!

(And for the record, everyone, he is the definition of NOT lazy ;))

Norman Cain
The Unwritten Lazy and Overdid Story

When I came to the Phila Senior Center this morning, I intended to go to the computer room and type and print a long over-due story.

Instead of following my plan, I stopped in the dining room and became involved in two lengthy conversations.

The first conversation, one involving the insensitivity of church and fraternal organization towards the less fortunate, was held with a Center member that was a co-worker of mine at the Youth Study Center 25 years ago.

The second lengthy conversation was held with an acquaintance from the area of West Phila – known as the bottom – where I was raised. Names and incidents and landmarks became vivid. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with the two conversations I had this morning.

Hopefully, I will present my intended long overdue story next week.

Loretta Gaither
Death of My Husband

I took him back 9 times and he didn’t want to listen. So he got shot dead, 9 times over drugs. And he couldn’t find me. I’m glad he couldn’t find me in no bar and he said he got $11,000 but he was high on drugs. I’m glad I didn’t see him high. He didn’t have to die a horrible death. He chose this death. They could not find me, but they found out from City Hall that I had a house and I was divorced, but I still hold his name – G-A-I-T-H-E-R! I got married when I was 18 so you can imagine how old he was when he died.

I would’ve gone to his funeral even though he died of crack and cocaine. And I was a voice for him, but he taught me how to cook. A friend of mine gave me this ring today, and now they’re angry at me for having this ring. When I got that house, they started gossiping about where I got the house and money. But they should mind their business about what Robert Gaither put in his will, instead of spreading rumors and trying to make me angry.

God bless the enemy and thank you for writing for me. I come to the Senior Center to be happy, not angry. Signing off now. God bless the readers and everyone at the Center. Amen.

*Related to Alma Gaither of the Eagles.

Loretta Gaither
Funny Moment in a Bus

To the two people who moved into my building yesterday – We laughed and talked together. People in my building don’t like me because of their own reasons.

Two couples and me were riding on a bus. The driver was a young man and I was flirting with the driver and told him I am 37 years old. I was going into the water to put the flower for him as I was joking to him. I even teased him I wanted to drive the bus, but he smiled and said, “No, you can’t drive.” That was a very fun and teasing moment for me after a long time.

I would like to thank Neha for helping me write the story and hope to meet with her again.

Joan Bunting

Summer’s here everyone. Is everyone happy? It hasn’t been too long ago that everyone, or mostly everyone, could hardly wait for spring or summer to arrive (not me, I prefer the cooler or even the cold weather).

The one thing I do appreciate about the warm weather is that we took off all the extra winter clothes we had to wear.

But now, I believe some have taken off a bit too much, but that’s not any of my business.

I don’t have much to say but I can say this, “Enjoy the summer, keep cool, and God bless you one and all!”

Joe Garrison
New Words in 21st Century

For the 21st Century, a number of new words have been added in the dictionary. For instance, “emoji.” I have never heard of what an emoji is, but I got to know about it a year ago. It’s so wonderful how the various adjectives / feelings can be expressed graphically.

Now a days, people have started using abbreviations during chating like “LOL.” The other craze people are having these days is of SELFIE. People are taking selfies which is a new trend. The idea of taking a picture of myself has never got into me.

I watch an investigation channel on TV, I know they have writers who write the show. One of the expressions I have heard of is “Nobody needs electricity as you can light up the room with your smile.”

A woman from the South is called “Southern Belle” as if other women are not beautiful.

An other expression which I am tired of hearing is the word “Blockbuster.” During World War II, the people used a type of grenade and explosive to demolish a block of the city, so the word came into existence.

Now people have started using the wood “Doorbuster” that is the greatly reduced price and people are getting and busting the door to get the stuff and now the word came up.

Frances Bryce
Cooking for Two

My husband and I lived in North Phila in his mother’s house. It was a three-story, row house that if located in Center City would be called a townhouse. As newlyweds, I cooked for my husband. I could cook but my problem, because I am from a family of seven, my skill was to do meals for seven.

My first meal was for a family of seven and not two. So for a person of time, I had to scale down the portions. In time, I learned to accomplish this task.

We were living with a very limited budget, which prepared me for later when we had children and a budget made our living easier until our financial status improved. I didn’t have to make adjustments that were drastic. I still embrace living below our, now my, financial state.

Loretta Dotson
Age is Wonderful

Age is wonderful It’s good to be able to reach a high number. When we are very young, we can hardly wait to be a teenage. Then, I wanted to be 21 years old. Then the years run by so quick you wonder where did they go? These were a time you would be quick to tell your age. Now, it’s like pulling teeth. I used to say older than my teeth and younger than my tongue (smile). My late husband, God rest his soul, never knew my real age. I would tell him, “You’re not from the Census Bureau or from Social Security. I got this.”

Loretta Dotson
This is Love

I love you, no, I love the way you respect others.

I love you, no, I love your calm attitude.

I love you, no, I love the way you listen so attentively to my conversations.

I love you, no, I love the way you take time to explain different situations to children and others.

I love you, no, I love your calmness in handing serious issues.

I love you, no, I love the way you look in my eyes and promise me the moon.

Guess what? I really do love you.

Norman Cain
Re-Uniting With Friends

Fortunately, this past Sunday, I was reunited with a couple that I had lost contact with fifteen years ago.

Several years ago, I was reunited with a man whom I considered my friend after not seeing him for fifteen years.

Sometimes, I have dreams about friends who have made transitions. I feel that being re-united with lost friends is not a matter of happenstance; but rather the result of divine intervention.

It is always good to be re-united with old friends.

Joan Bunting
I’m So Excited

The best day of my life so far is today. Why? Because we have two new visitors from India.

That’s what’s exciting about being a part of the storytelling and writing group.

We not only listen to funny, historical, serious, and sometimes sad stories, but we also get to meet different people from various walks of life.

I’m really excited to hear what they have written.

Maybe I’ll learn something new about India and if not, it’ll still be exciting – for their just being here and hope they come again.

Welcome, hope you enjoy being with us.

Kadambari Mishra – Volunteer
Thoughts of Gratitude

As I sit down, invoking words to put them to paper, waiting for revelations, for something meaningful…

I realize that the best sanctuary for my being – my thoughts – are my most loyal companions.

They would not desert me like the sun does on overcast day…

They would not leave my side like a busy partner keeping the hearth aglow…

They would, silently, sit by, stand along, sleep beside me like air does with his beloved earth – invisible, necessary, undermining, forever giving.

And as I write these lines in their praise, their promise grows stronger to come to my rescue whenever I call upon them, whenever I am looking for revelations.

Neha Kataruka – Volunteer

In 2015, when I moved to New York (city of diversity), I joined a social organization (New York Cares) as a volunteer. That was the best experience of my life. I really liked the concept of that organization and am wishing to start a similar type of organization in India as diversity there is no such social organization running over there.

I have always been socially conscious. In India also. I have worked in an NGO of physically challenged and mentally retarded students for 3 year. The things that I have learned after getting involved in a social sector are:

1.    It has helped me in developing the leadership skills as everyone is encouraged to put forward their own ideas and suggestions.
2.    It has helped me build a good social network,
3.    It has helped me be open-minded as now I am able to see the impact of small changes/development.

Jana Henry – Volunteer
Happy Birthday

While I laid in bed last night, I realized it was way past my bedtime and the days had changed to May 26th 2016. My Granny would be 101 years old today. I was going to make a 7-up cake in her honor, but I’m trying to watch how much sugar I consume.

My Granny was my best friend. We spoke without speaking. I valued that - the closeness of silence. Just being in each others presence. We would bake, walk the neighborhood, go on adventures.

I think about how if I could just be half the woman she was, I’d be on my way to heavenly home where I’m sure to meet her again.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Elliot, Frances, Edward, Norman (Black Lives Matter Here)

Here, black lives have always mattered and always will. Our group, which meets weekly at Philadelphia Senior Center, is the first ever Best Day of My Life So Far group, and it just so happens that Philadelphia's population is 44% African American. Many of our older adult buds who have become my closest friends over the years are African American, and over the years, they have bared their souls to my volunteers and me about how it feels to be black. In light of the chilling #blacklivesmatter events in Dallas and Baton Rouge, I find myself thinking back about some of the conversations and stories. I want to thank Cailtin especially for going through our archives and curating this set of stories.

Elliot Doomes
The Herd

I grew up with the “herd” mentality. There was a group of guys – myself included – who used to band together, which gave us camaraderie and protection.

When we left our neighborhood, we had to travel with the herd for individual as well as group protection. I would do just about everything and anything to protect the herd. There was no leader. We were all there for each other. That’s why I call it the herd.

There were many days when I was surrounded by violence and aggression. I have been shot, stabbed and ganged. And there was no police protection for me at that time, especially in certain neighborhoods because they just didn’t care.

I have been told by the police, “I don’t want to see you in this neighborhood.” It was because of my skin color. This was in Philadelphia. This stuff wasn’t just happening in Alabama. For example, I was afraid to go to certain schools and certain parts of the city because of the racial conflicts that were happening at that time. One place in particular – Southern High School at Broad and Snyder – is still there today.

If I had a fight with a white boy at the end of the school day, all his uncles would meet me outside, grown men. My older brother went there so I had to get the herd together to go down there, to make sure he was safe. He was older but I protected him, because he was so outnumbered there. It didn’t matter if he wasn’t actually in a fight. When the men showed up, they were just looking for the first black kid. Just guys, they didn’t bother the girls. Any black guy. They called it setting an example. It worked.

Elliot Doomes
My Opinion

I get tired of hearing people say, "This is not a perfect world." There's nothing that we need that we can't find in this world that we live in. We have water, we have food, we have sunshine, we have shelter provided by the earth. For me, that makes the world perfect because we have everything we need.

The only imperfect thing about this world is the people in it. The people no longer see each other as people being a part of the whole. People look at the differences between people. We don't perceive each other as human beings sharing this perfect world. We don't think of other people as being a part of you, or a part of us, or a part of me. From human being to human being, what hurts me hurts you, so why do we want to inflict pain on each other?

Most people see differences in people from other nationalities. We all breathe, we all defecate, we all bleed, so where's the difference? Ignorance is the only word I can use. The differences come from our individual perceptions, which are based upon our own ignorance. If I don't communicate with you and you don’t communicate with me, we will never understand each other.

Most times if we understand each other, we will find that we both aspire to the same things. We all want to be happy. We all want to have freedom. We all want to love somebody. We all want to be loved by somebody. We all want to have a loving family. We all want to provide for our family. We all want our grandchildren to think we walk on water. Because they love me and we love them. You and I are the same. The differences are in our minds.

Frances Bryce

In 1965, I was living in Phila, Pa and went to visit my father who lived in a small town in South Carolina. I accompanied my father for his annual checkup to his doctor’s office. Two waiting rooms were still in use; one had been used excessively for white patients – the other for colored people. The outlines for the signs were still visible over the doors.

The large room was paneled with checkered red and mint green. Baskets of flowers and plants aligned the tables and the cabinets. A beautiful fern plant cascaded over the receptionist’s desk. The latest editions of Life, Family, Ladies’ Home Journal and Parents’ Magazines were neatly lined on a table. Bright lights illuminated the room. There were plenty of comfortable seats. This room was formally available to white patients only.

The other waiting room was small and windowless, dimly lit, and painted a drab gray. Ten dog-eared copies of Life and Ebony magazines sprawled out on the table. Draught-backed chairs lined the wall. This room had been the waiting room for the colored patients.

I entered the cheerful room, my father hesitated, and then reluctantly followed. I was not too surprised to see that most of the colored patients gravitated to the room that they had been required to use before desegregation.

My father said, “This room is nice.”

“Dad, you have never been to this room before?”

“No, Baby, I just always used our waiting room.” He thought for a while and then spoke again. “You know I never thought about using this room.”

I reached out for his hand and patted it gently. I spoke to no one in particular. “The signs have been removed from the doors but they have yet to be removed from the mind.” We picked up a magazine to read and waited to see his doctor.

Norman Cain
Defending and Respecting Dr. Martin Luther King

During the fall of 1967, when I was a cadet at the United States Army military police school at Fort Gordon, Georgia, at least 70% of the training consisted of classroom instruction.

One day, a 2nd L.t., who was teach a civics class told the class: "Martin Luther King is a communist, an enemy of the United States of America.

Believing that he was not aware who Reverend King was and what he stood for, I immediately arose from my desk, stood at attention, and sharply saluted the L.t. Then I began to speak.

"Sir, with all due respect," I said, "Reverend King is not a communist. He is just trying to get the rights that the Negroes are entitled to."

No one said anything. There was silence. After a while, the L.t. proceeding with his lecture. I assume that my statement had been respected.

Several days after the preceding incident, I was assigned to Kitchen Patrol or K.P. Now this was unusual because I had already served my required one time on K.P. I surmised that the company was short-handed, I was wrong. My being assigned to extra K.P. wasn't just for a day.

I was assigned to K.P. for ten straight days. I was awakened at 4:30am. I reported to the kitchen at 6am. I peeled potatoes, and sliced onions, shucked corn, and made salads, washed dishes and mopped floors and did a variety of other tedious tasks until at least 9pm. For sixteen hours a day, I had to toil unmercifully. And if that was not enough, I had to endure the harassment of the mess sergeants.

For ten days, I missed military police training. My superious refused to give me make-up work for my missed classes. It never dawned upon me that saying Dr. Martin Luther King was not a communist was the cause of the dilemma that I was experiencing.

I was dismissed from my K.P. duties the day of the final examination. Although I had missed ten days of instruction, I felt that I had, at least, barely passed the test. However, I was mistaken. I was informed that out of the 300 cadets in my class, I had ranked 298 on the final exam.

I had flunked out of military police school. I was devastated. I did not know what the future held for me. I was worried. Several days after the test, I was informed that the company commander wanted to see me. I had something else to worry about.

Attempting to maintain my composure, I entered the company office. Inwardly shaking, I faced and saluted the captain, a tall lean wirily individual who was quite the dandy. His boots were brilliantly shined and his pants were sharply tailored and pressed. He, unlike the other personnel, wore a battle helmet and carried a swagger stick (tip down). He drove throughout the post in a red convertible that always contained an attractive blond. He was meticulous, not vain. He was likable, a trait that most commissioned and non-commissioned officers lacked.

"Private Cain" he barked in an unfamiliar hostile voice. "Are you trying some trick?" He stared me down. I could read anger in his eyes. This was not the likable and cool company commander that I had grown to know.

"No sir." I answered, wondering what he meant by assuming that I was trying to be tricky.

"You got the second lowest score on the final examination." By his tone I knew he wanted a verbal response.

"Yes sir" was all I could think of to say. I was literally shaken up inside.

"I think you are trying some kind of trick and I am going to get to the bottom of what you are trying to do." He said, "When you first got here, I recruited you for officer's training school, explained to you that there were too few black officers in the Army. You said that you were going to sign up, but you didn't. I didn't give you a command but I thought we had a gentlemen's agreement. What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Sir," I said, "When the recruiting officer opened the door and saw me, he slammed the door in my face."

The captain's stern look softened for a second. "What about this low test score of yours?" he asked. "You finished college, was in graduate school part-time, taught school and was accepted by the Peace Corp. How could you flunk the final examination?"

"Sir, I did not go to classes for ten straight days."

"What, why?" he asked. By the tone of his voice I could tell he was astonished.

"I was on K.P. for ten days." I answered.

"You were on K.P. for ten days?"


Norman Cain
Defending and Respecting Dr. Martin Luther King (Part 2)

In 1965, I defended Dr. Kin's honor, when as a cadet in the military police academy in Fort Gordon, Georgia, I corrected an officer who said that Dr. King was a community. I never regretted the dire consequence the Army gave me for defending Dr. King's name.

Ten years after the Fort Gordon affair (1975), when I was living in Atlanta, Georgia, an incident occurred that prompted me to respect the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. The incident in question began one spring night when I injured my left wrist, which I assumed was sprained.

When I arrived at Grady memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta, four doctors attended to me. Because I had been employed as a surgical and orthopedic orderly at the Middlesex hospital in Middletown, Conn, years earlier, I had knowledge of orthopedic procedures.

I felt that only two (not four) doctors were needed to attend to me. After looking at my wrist, the doctors huddled, conferred and then returned to me. One doctor yanked my wrist. My entire left arm was set in a cask.

I had the feeling that the four doctors had conspired to experiment on my wrist. Like, I said I had worked as an orthopedic orderly. I had often held appendages in certain positions when doctors placed plaster on patients. I remained in Grady Memorial hospital for a week.

After being discharged from the hospital, my arm itched constantly, but I was unable to scratch because of the cask that covered it. I couldn't work. I had to worry about eating and paying the rent on the efficiency that I was renting. I went to the Unemployment office to file a claim, but was told that I didn't qualify for benefits; because those on unemployment compensation were required to seek employment and if an ailment or physical situation would prevent one from being hired by a prospective employer, unemployment compensation was out of the question. I was told, however, than an overdue Philadelphia claim that I had initiated months earlier would be activated. I accepted the disheartening/good news without an argument; however my calmness soon evaporated.

When I was on my way out of the Unemployment office, I overheard the case worker who had interviewed me tell a co-worker my situation. They laughed. How can people, especially those who held a position to help others, be so insensitive? I lost it, I read the culprits the "Riot Act." They called for security. I was not in the position to remain in the office, so I left.

What was I to do? In addition to being broke and hungry, I was worried about paying my rent and could not scratch the constant itching of my arm because it was covered with the plastered cask. That night, I decided to go to the tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King to meditate. When I arrived, no one was there. I sat on a concrete bench which was in front of a pool. Dr. King's tomb (which set behind an eternal flame) was located in the center of the pool.

The inscription on the base of the tomb read: "The eternal flame symbolizes the continuing effort to realize Dr. King's ideals for the 'Beloved Community' which requires lasting personal commitment that cannot weaken when faced with obstacles."

I could not be weakened because of the obstacle that I found myself in. I could have gotten enough money for a decent meal to quench my hunger, for resting at the bottom of the pool were an array of coins that visitors had thrown in for "Good Luck." But, I could not weaken when faced with obstacles.

Although I was broke and hungry, I did  not think about wading in the pool and confiscating some of the coins. I stayed at the tomb for two or more hours. My mind was clear. It was not burdened by my problems.  It was the realm of a spiritual Peace. I had never experienced the feeling of serenity that had overcome me at Dr. King's tomb. That night, I developed a plan that I instantly knew would solve my problem.

I knew that men were not given welfare in Atlanta in 1975; however, the day after the night that I had meditated at Dr. King's tomb, I went to the welfare office anyway. I was interviewed by a nice caseworker who showed sympathy. She told me that unemployment caseworkers should have sent me to see her and while men did  not get welfare in Atlanta, she was going to make an exception in my case.

She game the some paperwork and instructed me to go to the welfare office in my district. Ironically, I was sent to an office that was named after Dr. King's name – and which was located within a block of his tomb.

When I arrived at my destination, I was greeted by another nice caseworker who not only informed me that my first check and food stamps would arrive within a week, but gave me enough money to purchase a meal as well. Things were looking up, but there was still another obstacle facing me.

A month after receiving my welfare grant, I reported to the hospital to have my cast removed. The same four doctors that were present when the cast was placed on my arm were present. As the cast was being removed from my arm, I intensely studied each of their faces. When the cast was removed, I saw that they were deeply disappointed. Their experiment (at my expense) had failed. They did not give me an appointment to have the pins removed from my wrist. They just left the room without uttering a word.

I spent the next month constantly going to the hospital to have the pins removed from my wrist. I was always given the "run-around". I chose not to return to Philadelphia for the operation. I did not have insurance and the Philadelphia General Hospital, which had been a public hospital, was closed. Finally I was given an appointment to have the pins removed from my arm.

When I entered the operating room, I immediately felt at ease, for the orthopedic surgeon and his two scrub nurses projected an aura of peace. I was not put to sleep during the procedure; I was, rather, heavily sedated. During the operation, I had a heartwarming conversation with the young doctor. He was from Brooklyn, New York, was familiar with Philadelphia landmarks, and spoke fondly of Foo Foo's Steak shop, that at the time, was located at 52nd and Locust Street.

Several weeks after my operation, I received my long overdue unemployment checks and returned to Philadelphia. I truly believed that if I had taken money from the pool that housed Dr. King's tomb, my ordeal in Atlanta would have been prolonged. Taking money from his tomb would have made me a grave robber.

I will always respect and defend the legacy of Doctor Martin Luther King.

At that point, the captain called for the first sergeant, who was directly responsible for the "day-to-day" activities of the recruits to come into the main office. When he arrived, the captain directed him to stand at attention.

The captain began to spiel x-rated language to the first sergeant. He definitely let the sergeant known that he had been irresponsible in the performance of his duties. Finally, the captain dismissed the first sergeant. He then told me that I still had to respect the first sergeant, and he assured me that I would be sent to another company for three weeks and thereby, be able to fulfill graduation requirements. He sincerely wished me luck.

When I completed the three additional weeks, I was told that I had received the second highest grade on the final examination. Perhaps I never flunked the first examination. Perhaps I had received the highest score in the class on the second examination. Only the army personnel involved knew.

By troubles, which started when I proclaimed that Reverend Martin Luther King was not a communist did not end with my graduating from the military police academy. Seemingly, my pay records mysteriously disappeared and for my first six months in Panama, my permanent duty station, I was not paid.

I survived by depleting the $400.00 I had saved in Philadelphia's Continental Bank. To say the least, my experience in military school was prejudiced to core. It was initiated by my defending Dr. Martin Luther King, something I have no regrets for doing something I will always do; He gave his live for his dream of unity and freedom.

Edward Molizone

Born illiterate, teachers never taught you about reading or writing. Teachers never took the time to help you with learning. In the 1930’s, teachers never showed special attention, just passed you by. Born before the Civil Rights Era. They could read and write, my sisters and brothers. My sisters would help me, but there is still a fear to read and write in front of people. Parent’s didn’t know I couldn’t read or write. Always had a job and retired just a few years ago. My kids don’t even know I can’t read. When I was sick with cancer I thought I wouldn’t make it and it would be a secret I would die with. I do believe my children would be hurt if the found out. I always encouraged my kids to finish school. I found out at a very late age that my birth certificate said I was white. My father was white but my mother was not. This was a shock to me.

Elliot Doomes
My Opinion

I get tired of hearing people say, "This is not a perfect world." There's nothing that we need that we can't find in this world that we live in. We have water, we have food, we have sunshine, we have shelter provided by the earth. For me, that makes the world perfect because we have everything we need.

The only imperfect thing about this world is the people in it. The people no longer see each other as people being a part of the whole. People look at the differences between people. We don't perceive each other as human beings sharing this perfect world. We don't think of other people as being a part of you, or a part of us, or a part of me. From human being to human being, what hurts me hurts you, so why do we want to inflict pain on each other?

Most people see differences in people from other nationalities. We all breathe, we all defecate, we all bleed, so where's the difference? Ignorance is the only word I can use. The differences come from our individual perceptions, which are based upon our own ignorance. If I don't communicate with you and you don’t communicate with me, we will never understand each other.

Most times if we understand each other, we will find that we both aspire to the same things. We all want to be happy. We all want to have freedom. We all want to love somebody. We all want to be loved by somebody. We all want to have a loving family. We all want to provide for our family. We all want our grandchildren to think we walk on water. Because they love me and we love them. You and I are the same. The differences are in our minds.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Loretta (Have a Nice Day)

Whew! I have a serious problem of Attention Excess Disorder. I focus on everything I do a trillion percent. Well, the past couple weeks have been extra intense because in addition to the usual work and mommy responsibilities, our little family moved to the burbs, so now I have moving related responsibilities too... haha, no, I can't stop till every little thing is clean and organized!! Let's just say I have been really – I mean, really – looking forward to propping myself and my laptop on the couch and reading some stories right here with you, to just chill out, or learn to chill out. From day one, this blog has always been a calm retreat for me, to check in with myself, to connect with you. How cool is it that when I started looking through recent stories to share with you, this one by Loretta is the one that fell from the digital heavens onto my lap? It's exactly what I need to hear. Thanks Loretta! I feel so much better after reading your story. And you out there reading, promise you'll have a great day on me, alright ;)?

Loretta Dotson
Have a Nice Day

I feel good when someone wishes me a nice day or a blessed day – or a great day, or a safe day. I feel most people really mean it, when they wish these pleasantries to us. I feel it is more up to date and more personal than the usual “See you,” “Bye,” “Good-Bye,” or “Later”. These wishes really leave you with a pleasant farewell. Yes, a pleasant departure has the tendency to lift our spirits and morale, it makes my day. Sometimes, those simple wishes make you stop and think and believe. I can have and do have a great day and a blessed day, and a nice day. Thanks for reminding me I have access to all of the above. So everyone have a great day on me!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Tip #15 Challenge yourself to tell YOUR story.

The Tip:
If you've been reading along, you've probably figured out a common thread in the tips I've been sharing. You've probably figured out that the real secret to good storytelling is not making your older adult bud tell stories a certain way, but getting yourself to listen the right way. Well, this tip puts a spin on your role because it challenges you to up your listening game by... ready for this?... turning into a storyteller yourself and forming your own circle of listeners! Here's how. Challenge yourself to (a) reflect on how your life has transformed through the listening process and (b) share your reflections with friends and family on your own social media pages. When you do this, you will go back to your listening process with even more passion and clarity. You will inspire your family and friends. And most important of all, you will empower your older adult bud by showing him or her that you are the one who is really being helped, not just the other way around. Oh, and don't forget to tag us on your posts so we can give you a shoutout! (Facebook/Instagram: @bestdayofmylifesofar) (Twitter: @bestdaysofar)

So guys... we've come to tip 15! Woohoo! With the next blog post, I will return to posting my buds' stories for you. Still want more tips? You got it! I will be giving out more tips via video tutorials for you!!! Get sneak peeks on the content and on my video production process by subscribing to our newsletter and also following us on your fave social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.)

The Moments that Inspired This Tip:
When we first started talking, I was quick to notice that my grandma was happier and happier from our conversations together - think it took just a couple of calls. But I think it took me around ten weeks to admit to myself that my conversations to my grandma was having an effect on me. The phrase "Best Day Story" to me has two layers. At its core, it's a younger person's loving collection of many little moments from an older adult's past. But soon, the act of collecting - the act of  loving, the process of collecting as a gesture of love - becomes a story of its own. And THAT story grows bigger and more beautiful with time.

Similarly, when I started the first Best Day group, it took me 3-4 weeks to know for a fact that the participants' lives were changing in front of my eyes, but 3-4 months for me to wrap my head around the fact that my life was changing, thanks to their friendship, as well.

Who's "Best Day" is it then? Who is the one calling today, "The Best Day of My Life So Far?" To a listener starting out, he or she will probably be quick to answer, it's the best day of the older adult telling the story. But if you stick with the process and keep listening for some time, you will soon realize that it's your best day too. The ultimate story is that of your own transformation. Whenever you're ready to tell it, the Best Day community is ready to listen, and I will be your biggest, loudest fan cheering you on.

The ultimate moment that inspires this tip is YOUR Best Day Story that is waiting to be told. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tip #14 Celebrate milestones.

Want more tips and inspiration? Get them Here

The Tip:
As you share stories, what you are really doing is having meaningful conversations and spending quality time together. Soon, you will discover THE Ultimate Best Day Secret: the the "real" story you are sharing is the one that is unfolding of your growing friendship with your older bud. So go ahead and celebrate the milestones of your friendship. This can include the day of your first conversation, or the day your bud tells you a heart-baring story for the first time (which may or may not be during your first conversation), or the day your bud gives you permission to write down his or her stories, or the day he or she picks up a pen to write down him/herself, or the day you open up your ongoing conversations to a larger group (this could be the older bud's family). All of these are worth celebrating and remembering because they mark how far you have come, together. There is no need to do anything spectacular or spend any money. Just snap a photo and post about it on your own social media pages, to record it in the virtual timeline of your life while inspiring your own friends.

The Moment:
The moment that inspired this tip? Well, it's tomorrow! Tomorrow I will be attending one of our satellite groups' 2nd anniversary party and am SO EXCITED! In our original group, we have celebrated 6 anniversaries and are getting closer to our 7th. Every anniversary is not only a milestone in itself but also a time to acknowledge all the big and small milestones that has happened throughout the year.

The Story:
Thought this would be a good time to "dust off" and freshen up a blog post that I wrote on our original group's 3rd anniversary on Sept 24, 2012…

3 years ago today, this project was born.

It needed a name.

The Best Day of My Life So Far were the only words big enough to encompass the positive spirit of my grandma, and the deep joy her stories and friendship make me feel. I had started calling my grandma on the phone in 2006, at the age of 25. On these phone calls, she would tell me stories from her past, opening up to me about her deepest hopes, fears and dreams that she had never expressed before. I wanted to share this amazing experience with people all around me, old and young - so I started a storytelling group blocks away from my house, together with a blog, and called the project, The Best Day of My Life So Far.
What I didn’t know was that this string of little words are even more massive than I realized, stretchier by the day to welcome more stories, more lives, more friendships. I didn’t know how many people this project would soon connect - and I mean truly, emotionally connect - from older adult storytellers to their families, to volunteers and readers of all ages worldwide. Turns out we were never just collecting stories. Turns out this project is the ultimate intergenerational story – of strangers coming together from diverse backgrounds to become one community, one family joined by deep joy and love – and you and I are all a part of it.

What better time than our shared 3rd birthday, to bring back 30 of the most memorable moments from our shared story… so far? Click Here to celebrate each and every one of them!

Want more tips and inspiration? Get them Here!