Thursday, May 6, 2021

School Year (Ann, José & Frances)

School's been weird this year. Many schools reopened in March and April, and the students only had a few weeks in person before they were thrown into midterms and finals. Even our transcribers and copy editors are feeling the pressure of the school year, as parents, teachers, and students. So this week is all about the older buds going through school troubles of their own.

Ann von Dehsen,

07.02.2020

Miss Alice Strickler

This is a very random story and Frances already knows this story but anyway. Except for sewing on a button or taking up the hem my mother had no interest or desire to sew. She claimed she got a headache just walking into the fabric store. So when I was in high school, I decided to take sewing in Home Ec, hoping to discover I had a talent for it. Well on the first day of class while taking role the teacher, Miss Alice Strickler, paused when she got to my name. “Von Dehsen? Is your father named Paul?”
When I said, “Uh, yes” she just rolled her eyes and went “Huh” and continued on with the class.
So my first attempts at threading the sewing machine were unsuccessful, and Miss Alice Strickler seemed to ignore my raised hand for help, as long as she could. By the time I was ready to stitch, class was over
So that night at dinner, I asked if the name Alice Strickler rang any bells. He had no recollection at all, but I kept pressing him to jog his memory until he finally said, “Oh, I was friends with John Strickler in high school. And yeah, he had a sister named Alice, and I think I took her to a dance once. But I had no real interest in her.” And there lies the reasons for her eye rolling. Apparently, Miss Alice Strickler definitely had an interest in him.
So there I was each day, forty some odd years later, reminding the spinster Alice Strickler of her lost love as I struggled through the class. Turns out I had no flair for sewing at all, and spent many afternoons after school in the Home Ec room tearing out crooked seams and poorly placed zippers. Miss Alice Strickler gave me minimal guidance, rarely looking at me. I finally finished my skirt, which was made with a really poor choice of fabric. In order to receive a final grade, students had to wear their finished clothing to school and then show Miss Alice Strickler how it held up at the end of the day. Right away, I noticed my skirt had a lot of static cling and was constantly sticking to my tights. Then just before lunch I looked down and saw the waistband was slowly pulling away from the main part of the skirt, leaving a big three to five inch gap. I went to the nurse, who luckily liked me, and she helped me use her large stash of safety pins to make the repairs from the inside.
When school ended, I went nervously to Miss Alice Strickler for my critique. Somehow, she didn’t notice my pin waistband but did notice still crooked seams and zipper and gave me a C. I think we were both just very relieved to be done with each other. And now, following in my mother’s footsteps, I too get an instant headache when I walk into a fabric store.

 


José Dominguez

12.03.2020

La curiosidad mató al gato

I was in a class with a very, very strong professor and then one of my schoolmates was a very, he was picking on the professor, but the professor was very strong, and that’s why he wrote in his hand something. We were in one exam, and during the exam, and we were writing and he was looking at his hand and then the professor saw my friend looking at his hand he said ‘Come in. Come here. You are cheating.’
‘No, no, no I’m not cheating!’
‘You are cheating. Why are you looking at your hand?’
‘It’s not bad, that I am having my hand.’
‘Let me see your hand.’
‘I’m not cheating profe-‘
‘Let me see your hand.’
So he opens it. He wrote, “Curiosity killed the cat.” And he was out of the class. He said the class had put negative score because he was laughing at the professor.
“Oh my god, that is amazing.”
“He was doing what? Say that again.”
“He was looking at his hand.”
“And the professor was thinking that he was cheating, and the professor ordered the student to open the hand, and the student wrote in his hand, ‘Curiosity killed the cat.’ So he was joking upon the professor. 

 



Frances Bryce

02.25.2021

Learning to Listen

My daughter’s first year at Girls High, after she attended Henry School (this was in Mt. Airy), was one that we were really pleased with because it was an outstanding public girls’ high school. And we were delighted because she seemed to be attracted to this girl who was very much unlike her. This child’s greatest ambition was to see how many boys she could have and dress that were way past what a young girl should be wearing. And so, we didn’t have to worry because we knew she wouldn’t be going to Girl’s High.
So anyway, since her first year at Girls High she was doing well in all of her subjects, and then she had trouble with this teacher who was by all standards I call prejudiced. So, one of the things that Cynthia would tell me in the early age about this woman. And I said, “You need to work a little harder” because her grades were not doing well in English and that had been a subject that was a no brainer for her. And this went on for a while, and then one time she came in and she was very upset. They had been given an assignment about reading a story and the students were supposed to decide who was the main character for them and to support it which she did. And then when she got her paper the teacher said that wasn’t the main character even though she had supported her choice. And I was upset as well as Cynthia but I did nothing about at the time.
But right on the heels of that there was a substitute teacher who gave the same sort of assignment. Oh the other thing about this teacher, she gave the same assignment while this teacher was away, and when she came back the teacher re-graded the stories and Cynthia went from the teacher was saying how great it was and how she had done what she was supposed to do. And so, I decided then that I needed to go and see the teacher. And I did.
So, the first thing the teacher says to me is “Let me see if she belongs at Girls High because it was on your grades that you got there.” And she looked at it and said “Oh yeah, she belongs here.” And that was the only thing she could say to confirm what she had done. Even on the paper, when Cynthia got it, she had taken off for spelling, and her A wasn’t completely closed so she took off for that. And I just was beside myself.
So, I talked to the Assistant Principal there and she said well you can go and see the Principal and I said “No I won’t do that this time,” because I said I should have listened when Cynthia told be what was going on and I didn’t. So, I said “But this will never every happen again.” So next year she didn’t have to have this woman, so she did well and excelled in all of her classes as she had done before.
So, when we went to California, my son who was in the class, he was not one to be shy about saying or doing things. He and a group of boys, all 4 of them, were doing something that disturbed the class, and the teacher pointed him out. And he said he left immediately and went to his counselor and said he talked about her and said that she was prejudice. And I said well tell me what happened. So, he did and of course he was the only dark-skinned kid in the class and the other kids of course were Caucasian.
And so, I went to see the teacher and I told her what my son had said. And I said I heard what he had said about you, but I would like to hear what you said. And I said he pointed out that you were prejudice. And she was quick to say “Oh no I’m not.” And I said, “I don’t care if you are if it doesn’t interfere with my child in the class.” And we talked about it and she said “I have to agree that it was unfair for me to point him out when there were 4 kids there and none other were chastised.”
And after that she talked to me a lot and we became very good friends. She said she didn’t realize what she had done, and she apologized and would never do that again. So, I just wanted to say how teachers can do so much harm to kids. And I learned a lesson, I learned to listen more and to pay more attention to when kids say something and to find out what’s going on.



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 about their time in school, 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 29, 2021

Changing Seasons (Denise & Eleanor)

The weather's getting warmer and more people are going outside. So I thought I'd post some reading material for the people who like to read outside. Two different stories about two different changes in seasons:

Denise W

10.01.2020

Seasonal Tree

I have an artificial Christmas tree in my house that I decorate for every season.
But when A.C. Moore closed before the pandemic I got stuck, because after Christmas in July, we had the tree up. Now it's so close to Christmas we'll keep it up. For Valentine's Day, it's elaborate with the red hearts, and St. Patrick's Day we even have a leprechaun this big, and we have elves for Christmas, so we decorate for everything we can.
I used to put it all away in the attic because it's so big, and now we decided to make it a seasonal tree so it can be whatever we want.
But now it's almost close to, well actually we're going to see if, I’m going to look and see if I have enough stuff for the fall. If I do, I'll make it a fall tree obviously.
But other than that, we're close to Christmas almost, so we're going to keep it up.

Eleanor Kazdan

10.15.2020

Feeling Faint

At age 19 I was traipsing around Europe for 3 months with my best friend Kathy on a Eurail pass. After adventures in England, the Netherlands, Spain, and France, we arrived in Italy. Florence was our first stop. I had just started to learn about great art and was proud of myself for that. Kathy and I had visited quite a few art museums before Italy: The National Gallery in London, The Louvre in Paris and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The big thing about Florence was the statue of David by Michelangelo in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
So after a day or so wandering the streets lined with cafes and eating full course meals, which in those days, unbelievably, cost $1.00 including wine and tip, we set out to see the most famous statue in the world. After entering the museum it was a short walk to a rotunda like room where David lived.
I had seen pictures many times but was totally unprepared for the absolute grandiosity of the real thing. I felt like an ant looking up at this spectacular nude Adonis on a pedestal. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by lightheadedness and felt like I was going to faint. My heart was pounding it took a great will to gain control and continue on to see the rest of the museum.
Over the years I saw the statute a few more times but didn't have the same reaction. Many years after that first encounter I happened by chance to read an article about the very emotions and physical reactions I had experienced. There is apparently a psychosomatic illness called the Florence Syndrome It was documented by the 19th Century French Writer Stendahl and is also called Stendahl syndrome. The symptoms are rapid heart beat, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations in people who are exposed to extraordinary works of art. “Wow,” I thought, “That's what happened to me those many years ago.”
Since then I have seen countless great works of art all over the world, but that was my only experience of being overcome by Florence syndrome.

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 about the changing seasons, 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 22, 2021

WebTrans (Ann & Denise)

For my day job, I work as a transcriber for the Linguistic Data Consortium, which supports language-related education, research and technology development by creating and sharing linguistic resources, such as data, tools and standards. One of the tools they share is WebTrans, an online transcription service that's free, easy and safe for transcribers to use remotely; anywhere in the world. And now, Best Day is transcribing our older buds' stories on these brand new tools, and it's not a bad way to transcribe. Check the stories below and see how stories transcribed with the latest technology look:

Ann von Dehsen,

01.14.2021

6 P.M. News

When I was in high school my friends and I loved taking the bus to go clothes shopping in New York City. I funded this somewhat expensive habit by becoming the neighborhood babysitter. This wasn't hard to do since lots of young families with small children were moving into the neighborhood, And once I babysat for one family, the word just spread. I really liked kids, and the families treated me well, supplying me with snacks and paying me generously. But my favorite family was the Siegenthallers.
I love their children ages 4 and 2 and their Victorian house and furniture, and the way Mr. and Mrs. Siegenthaller, also known as Anita and Bob, often sat down with me upon their return just to chat about high school, boyfriends, possible future colleges.
Anita was pregnant with her third child, which meant an ongoing Friday afternoon babysitting job while she went into the city for A weekly doctor's appointment, and then met her husband at work to go out for dinner in the city.
Well, Bob's job happened to be the producer of the 6pm, New York City area local news.
And the anchor at that time happened to be the very young Peter Jennings, several years before he became the anchor of ABC's 6:30 nightly news. I had once mentioned to the Siegenthallers that I thought Peter Jennings's good looks resulted in more high school girls making a point to watch the news. Shortly after, Bob Siegenthaller invited me and two of my friends to come into the city to introduce us to Peter Jennings and watch the news cast in the shadows of the studio. Suffice to say, Peter Jennings was better looking in real life and could not have been nicer to three nervous, tongue-tied high school girls. He walked us around the studio and let us sit in his chair as he pointed out the different cameras and weather maps. I can't remember any news stories from that night because we just stood there mesmerized as we watched. There was also a sportscaster and a weatherman of which I have no memory. At the end of the broadcast, he walked over to us and gave us each a quick hug. Bob Siegenthaller drove us all home, and I think we repeatedly thanked him for the entire trip.
Of course, years later, when Peter Jennings did anchor the ABC Nightly News, it was the only news channel allowed in my house. 

 


Denise W

09.17.2020

The Obituary of My Mother

I would like to talk about, today if I could, and read the obituary of my mother because I was very actively involved in the planning of her service. My heart is still broken as I'm going through the process of grieving. But basically my mother had cancer of the lungs and she began to lose a lot of weight she wouldn't eat anymore, she continued to smoke. But I wanted to be very supportive of her. In fact, I wanted to leave my job retire early and just be there for her, take her to the doctors etc. But, she didn't want that. My mother maintained a certain amount of independence. And so I had to honor that , which was sometimes very hard.
So, as it became inevitable that she was not going to be here long I happened to go in Lord and Taylor’s one day and I saw this beautiful blue dress, in a size 4 and I bought it. My mother's favorite color is blue. She loves powder blue so I bought the dress, I went to her house and gave it to her, and she took it. She didn't say anything about it, but that was the dress, inevitably, that the undertaker put on her.
The singing to my mother's funeral was very important. She liked the old singers of old gospel, from like Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland. So I actually found a woman that had a very beautiful voice that could sing those songs. And that was the beginning of it. And now I will read the obituary for her too.
Its called Celebrating a Legacy of Love for Marita Carter, and my cousin actually read it at the sermon.
Sunrise December 13, 1933
Sunset October 14, 2014.
Today we bow in humble submission to praise God for Marita Carter who was born on December 13, 1933 to the late Frank Carter and late Lucille Henderson Carter. Marita accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior at an early age. As a member as of the 48th Street Baptist Church with an she sang second soprano in the McDaniel's Specials, a choir there. She recently joined Sharon Baptist Church under the pastorship of Bishop Keith W. Reed, Sr. She was a loving and devoted mother and grandmother who evangelized and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ and exemplified unconditional love for her family.
Marita's favorite scripture was found in the King James version of the Bible John Chapter 14, Verse 2. “In my father's house are many mansions If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Marita knew that Heaven was a place for prepared people and her top priority was to share the path of eternal salvation with her children and grandchildren. She exemplified unconditional love for her family. She was proud of her children and grandchildren.
Marita was charitable as she lived by the scripture of 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now by the faith, hope charity these 3, but the greatest of these is charity.”
Marita cheerfully gave her time talent and treasure to those in need.
Contributing to the hungry children around the world was a joy for her. Marita matriculated through the Philadelphia public school system.
One of Marita's spiritual gifts was that she had an empathetic attitude for a hospice aide.
She possessed a caring, committed and compassionate and competent work ethic as she worked tirelessly to ensure the comfort level of the sick and dying.
Marita insisted on maintaining a meticulous, decluttered home, her organizational skills were unmatched and unprecedented as she was employed for years as a housekeeper and factory worker also.
Marita savored so much in life such as traveling to New York, the islands etc., watching the Phillies' games, attending Broadway plays dancing to the beat and listening to the gospel music of James Cleveland and Mahalia Jackson.
Marita excelled a cooking, preparing the highest quality meals. She used only the finest ingredients and practiced professional techniques to ensure delectable meals for her family. Marita dressed eloquently according to the current fashion trends, like she just walked off the pages of a magazine.
Marita embraced the philosophy of Saint Francis of Assisi; “Remember that when you leave this earth and can take nothing of which you have received but only what you have given; a full heart enriched by honest service love, sacrifice and courage.” She nurtured and cared for several animals with kindness.
Marita had an affinity for animals. One of her fondest memories was of the beautiful turquoise Pacific Ocean in Oahu, Hawaii. She was in awe of the infinity and peace of God's oceans.
Marita lived a life on her own terms. She was determined to live her last days as the lyrics of the song stated, “I did it my way.”
Marita can be quoted as saying, "All is well with my soul.”
Marita ascended to be with the Lord on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014.
And then the rest just lists, Marita leaves to cherish precious memories a daughter, etc.
So, that's what I wrote for her, and once in awhile I enjoy reading it because I just thank God for the ability to write that and the abilities to also lead in the prayer, because part of the service, it’s a Baptist service, is a prayer of comfort. So I was able to do that very well.
So, that's why it means so much to me.
But I'm still grieving, I will grieve until I see her again.



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 about mastering new technology, 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 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, 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.

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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