Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cooldown (Loretta D.)

Good afternoon everybody. Like I said last week, there was no Best Day session due to the heat and the holiday. Things are finally cooling down, both metaphorically and literally, and we'll be back in the swing of things soon enough. I would like to make a fun little announcement: I will be at the run out in this year's Blobfest! It takes place every year in Phoenixville, PA, one of the cities where The Blob was filmed. The run out reenacts the scene where the blob oozes through the movie projector into the theater, ready to eat some cinema-goers. Naturally, the audience screams and runs out of the theater! I actually found out about this from the Jerry Spinelli book "Love, Stargirl" and I've wanted to do it for years.

This movie is such a cult classic, I'd love to find out if any of the older buds ever went to see it. Or if they ever went to a similar event celebrating cult classics, like a Rocky Horror show. And if you ever went to see the first showings of The Blob, or even the first Blobfest, let us know at In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying this story in a Healthfully Air-Conditioned room!

Loretta Dotson 
1.18.2018 
Family 

I remember when I was growing up, I wasn’t overly happy with most of my immediate family members, my sisters and brothers older than me were bossy. I had to obey them and do what they commanded or dictated or they would rat on me and I would get a tongue lashing or worse, “no dessert.”
I rarely got new clothing, coats and dressers were handed down to me, I didn’t mind because they kept very good care of their clothes and also they were new to me. I had aunts and uncles that needed assistance with care and housework. We were volunteered to help out, no pay. They would say thank you ma’am. I’ll dance at your wedding. I would smile and say, “thank you.” But, I would be uttering, “you’ll never dance.” 
I loved my younger cousins – I could boss them around, kind of, but nicely. They shared their goodies with me. Sundays were church days, all day long. We had a huge picnic basket with plenty of food. We often made visits to other family members homes and functions. We felt save everyone looked out for you. We had each other’s back. Now our family members are widespread. We don’t seem them too often. Even weddings and funerals can’t unite us all. But, Facebook and messenger, Twitter and Gmail and texting makes it easier to keep in touch. 

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Heat Wave (Elliot)

It’s been very hot in Philadelphia lately. Dangerously so, which is bad news for the older buds. At times like these, I’m ambivalent about whether or not I should hold a Best Day Session in this heat. On one hand, the senior center has air conditioning, which makes it a safe haven on days like this. On the other hand, our older buds come from all over Philadelphia, and they don’t spend all their travel time in the A/C. This week, I’ve decided to give the older buds the week off for the 4th of July. I’m also working on an Independence Day post for this blog too. It might not come up right away, because I want to make it something really special.

Even in the better weather, we’ve had people coming in late or people who just can’t write that day. But no matter where you are or what you’re doing, I hope that Best Day will always give you, as our newest older bud Sadie says, “a spark to write.” That’s what we’re here for. 

Elliot Doomes 
11.16.2017 
One Summer Day 

It was a hot summer early evening and the living room door was open. And in walks this burly insurance man with a cigar hanging from his lips. He said to my sister-in-law, Doris “It sure is a hot day out there, Honey.”
And my brother jumped up from the couch he was sitting on and he was very angry. 
And he said, “What the hell did you just call her? Honey? You walk in my house 
without knocking, smoking your cigar, don’t even take off your hat indoors. Do you do that when you go to people’s houses on the Boulevard?” (And back in the day, the Boulevard was where you had all the semi-wealthy people; upper-middle class). 
“You put out your cigar at the door, and you knock before entering and you take off your hat once you’re inside.” And before the insurance man could respond, my brother had picked him up and threw him out of the door and he gave him a couple whacks too! And my brother was that strong because that was a big guy he threw out. My brother weighed about a hundred seventy-five and the insurance man was about two ten, two twenty. And my brother said, “The next time you come back here, you gonna get the same thing.”
The next month, we had a lady insurance person. No more insurance man. I’ve never seen that guy again. 

Happy 4th of July! Enjoy the Senior Selfie from our older bud Frances!


Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Father's Day (Norman and Joe)

Good afternoon everyone. I hope you all had a Happy Father's Day a few weeks ago. I woke up early to make my dad shaskshuka and beef short ribs, because mom’s aren’t the only ones who deserve a home-cooked breakfast from their kids on their special day. Before I go into our story, I want to tell you about something else that happened at Best Day.


The Thursday before Father’s Day (the day of the fire drill), I happened to catch older bud Joe asking where Walgreens was. We got to talking, and he said that he and Deborah never had kids of their own, but he likes to buy himself a bottle of cologne each Father’s Day. We had a few minutes until Best Day started, so I walked with him to the nearest drug store so he could get his cologne. Joe’s blind, so I had watch out for whatever his cane couldn’t detect. At traffic intersections I’d say “Red light” or “Green light,” depending on whether it was safe to cross. I told Joe this took me back to my elementary school gym class; we both had a good laugh at that.



In honor of this past Father’s Day, I thought it’d be fun to go through the vaults and see what was written during Fathers’ Days past.






Norman Cain
6.29.2017
My Love for Nature

I am fascinated by a colony of industrious bees.
Love to inhale the savory scent of daffodils’
Captivated by the strength of the Shetland pony,
Enthralled by unified worker ants building hills.

I delight in inhaling a shivery spring breeze,
Being mesmerized by resounding oceans roar,
Sighting multi-hued autumn leaves floating from trees,
Strolling across cherry blossom pollen on earthen floor.

The gratifying warmth of a beaming sun upon my face,
The soothing fragrance of a garden of yellow rose,
These are buy a few things concerning nature I embrace:
There is the peacefulness synonymous with a virile grove.

Mother Nature conducting a chorus of chirping birds,
The breath-taking sight of a brilliant full moon night,
Currents of a bubbling creek between pebbles, swerving,
The deep cleansing, soul caressing somberness of twilight.

The vision of autumn’s V formatted migratory fowl
The fascination of witnessing mountain peaked capped snow
The elongated courtship hoot of the Great Horned Owl
The infallibility of untampered ecosystems striving in meadows.

Joe Garrison
The Dead Kennedys
6.15.2017

The Dead Kennedys? That makes me think of all those other weird names for bands.
There was the Dead Milkmen and the Chocolate Watch Band. I still think the
weirdest one was The Peanut Butter Conspiracy. And there was a band from
England and the Beatles gave them their name. I can remember if it was the Family Dog or Grapefruit! There’s some weird names out there like Hootie and the Blowfish and The Greatful Dead.
You know, the song, "Strangers in the Night" was originally called "Beddie-Bye." It was incidental music in a movie, but somebody liked it so much that they put lyrics to it. I only found out about that recently.
I just heard Cake’s version of "Stranger in the Night." I like the whistle noise they do in the background. I just listed to The Bird and the Bee’s cover of "Tonight You Belong to Me." You know after Patience and Prudence made those two records they never grew up to be singers. I never knew what happened to them.

And I leave you with this selfie taken by our guest and Frances' sister, Sadie.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Spotlight on Love (Mike)

This week, I’d like to give a shout-out to Love Now Media. Our fearless leader Benita’s a fan of their work, and older bud Mike went to see one of their shows along with his family. Last Friday, Mike’s daughter Melissa and her kids surprised him by taking him to Love Now Media’s performance The Love Story Exchange. It was set up like a gameshow where random Philadelphians were invited onstage and asked questions about their experiences with love. One of Mike’s favorite moments was when a woman with silver and purple hair was asked about the first time she fell in love. She hinted that if she answered, she’d be embarrassing one of the fellow contestants, a handsome underwear model. When the underwear model was asked to talk about all the times he felt like he’d felt true love, the silver-purple-haired girl immediately told him, “Don’t lie, now!” It was clear from their interactions that the contestant selection was not entirely random. It sounded like an amazing show from an amazing company, and I regret that I won’t be able to see it for myself.
I’d also like to say that our older bud Norman was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on June 12th, 2018. Like I’ve said before, Norman’s been working with Drexel University’s Writers Room project, and this article’s about how it started and what the Writers’ Room’s plans are for the future. I teared up when reading this, between Norman seeing his old neighborhood turned into an weedy, empty lot, and Natasha and Norman talking about what it means to be an outsider.


I’m so glad that Norman and Mike are spreading the Best Day values of storytelling, inclusiveness, and love all over Philadelphia.
Dr. Michael M. Tsuei
1.25.2018
Celebration Party at SJU

I had a wonderful time on Tuesday night at Saint Joseph’s University campus. The present of the school put out a public party for the year according to my knowledge. They had been doing the party for elderly senior citizens for people passed forty-two years old. The night we all enjoyed the good food, the music, and dancing, especially the musical group performing the old boy band music and quiet bets of frank conversations some and lots of dance and music. 

At our table, we had a lady named Mary, she is 90 years old performing the sound, sing the old jazz. Meanwhile, I had learned a lot of songs they had been experiences. By my own observations, the elder gentlemen at the party like to dang with the young college girls. They all volunteer for the major event, for my experience, the elder ladies also like dancing with the young boy students at the end. I also saw something very interesting at our table – two ladies got lucky, the winning the first basket at the drawing by the tickets. Also the table sitting only full up to half, so lots of food was left over, also that the flowers on the table with the vase had been away and stayed on the table in the table cloth. At our table, the ladies prepared for such an event. They all took out lunch bags, put all the food on the table. Nothing will be wasted. Then I remember the old proverb said, “when you're young, you over indulge, the eating and sleeping than when you get older, you grab everything around you before your life ends. By the way, at our table, one lady 95 years old, another lady is 91. Never the less, I had a great time, lots sprint, it’s a wonderful party. Thank you for Saint Joseph’s University for doing that.

And if you're wondering why we were outside for this picture, it's because there was a fire drill.

 


Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Good Press (Rochelle)

Great news, everybody. Older buds Delores and Frances were featured in last week’s issue of the Milestones Newspaper. This is something we’ve been working on for a while, so I’m glad we finally have the opportunity to share this with you. Click here to read their stories.

And speaking of publications, older bud Norman had his stories and photography published in Drexel University’s fourth Writers Room Anthology. In this issue, Drexel partnered up with Nikon cameras to teach its contributors photography. The end results were featured in this anthology. I’m always cautious with photographing pages of books because I don’t want to land the older buds in any legal problems. So I just took a few pictures of a few pages, including one featuring Norman’s family photos from this post.




And I would be remiss not to mention Eugene Charrington and his book Messenger Blues, available for sale here. And if you happen to be at Broad and Lombard, come in and check out Mike and Linda’s art.

And after such a monumental achievement as getting two of our older buds published in the paper, what else do we do but sit back down and do it all over again? Milestones is asking for short stories on the subject of adventure. And Best Day is chock full of that.


And as we continue writing and sharing our stories, I leave you with this story to take home with you.

Rochelle R. Tynes 
4.12.2018 
The Mysterious Prince and Princess 

During my younger years, while growing up in what was called the “Black Bottom,” I went to Kendrick School at 37th & Warren Streets after graduating to middle school. 
I then went to Newton School at 38th and Spruce. While there, I met a young Indian girl around my age. I don’t know what type of Indian she was – or what made us start talking to each other, but we did and she went home with me for lunch. 
I remember that all their was to eat at my house was peanut butter and jelly, so we had two sandwiches with some milk. After school, she came home with me and she told me that she had no place to stay. 
My stepfather was not at home a great deal of time so I told her that she could stay, but when or if he came home, she had to get under the bed because you had to pass through my sisters and my bedroom to get to the bathroom. 
The next morning on the way to school, she told me that she had a brother and that his name was Hershel Higgins and that her name was Mayola Higgins. She did not tell me where he was staying. She stayed with me for about two weeks, either seen, hiding under my bed, or in the cellar. I met her brother Hershel during our art. Our art teacher had him in on our session to help him with his art work. He was a terrific artists and he seemed to be about thirteen years old. 
One day during recess, a BIG black car with several men pulled up into the schoolyard and went into the building. Almost immediately, they came back out and took Mayola with them. The grownups were talking and word filtered down to the children that Mayola was a princess and Hershel was a prince. I never heard where their country was or from her since that day. I had throughout the years thought about them, but over time, just forgot them until this writing session came about. I sincerely hope that they both are well and she thinks of me sometime.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Caregivers (Pamela and Joan)

Last Sunday, I saw a play at Pig Iron Theatre called The Caregivers. The play dramatized the stories of several people caring for sick or elderly family members, and the lead actors were those very same caregivers. The most interesting thing about the play was...actually the most interesting thing was when everybody became parrots. They did such a great job imitating them and I cracked up laughing every time they came onstage. The second most interesting thing was when Ivan Villa interrupted Evelyn Goldberg’s nightmare to do Zumba in an embroidered sequinned vest singing "La Bamba."

But in terms of play development, the most interesting thing was how all the caretakers onstage were older buds themselves. If they weren’t taking care of their parents, they were taking care of their spouses. I had talked about this issue on the blog before, but The Caregivers addresses it much more openly than I had. In fact, one of the biggest themes of the show was how much of yourself you put into being a 24/7 caregiver. It’s a labor of love, with an emphasis on the labor.


Many of our programs are done with older buds who live at home, so in honor of The Caregivers, I'd like to introduce you to a few of them. Illinois in particular has lots of these types of sites.  When you’re done checking out the sites, you can enjoy this week’s stories from our Philadelphian buds.


Pamela Purdue 
5.17.2018 
Jumping Rope 

I was peeling an apple the other day. Upon completion, I realized that the apple skin came off all in one very long piece. I smiled to myself, remembering that my brother Russ and I used to watch a boardwalk orange-ade maker and his peeling machine. At eight and nine years old, we were once again spending our summer in Point Pleasant at a beach-front house. 
Though manually operated, the peeling machine removed the entire rind in only a few seconds. We’d grab the rinds and “jump rope” with them as we travelled the length of the boardwalk. Rarely did they break, but if so, we’d get back to the orange-ade maker and help ourselves to more rinds. Once in a while, we’d get a free, tiny cup of orange-ade; a “thanks” to us for cleaning up the peelings from the ground. 
We enjoyed such simple play, in simple times, in a simpler world that is long gone. 
To this day, I can’t drink orange juice without remembering our summers “jumping rope.”

Joan Bunting 
5.17.2018 
Mother’s Day 

Mother’s Day is a day to honor mothers. I believe that every day is Mother’s Day. 
One day out of each year has been chosen to show our mothers our appreciation of her love, care, and hard work to teach us manners, respect for others, and directs us to taking the right path in life. 
My oldest daughter, Rose, treated me to a concert at my church (Union Baptist) starring Shirley Caesar Friday evening. Before we attended, the concert, she took me to Penrose Diner. 
All of my children called to wish me a happy Mother’s day, even my youngest son, Harold, who is incarcerated. 
I feel so blessed because of how my children show their love towards me in many different ways. 
It hurts my heart to hear mothers say how their daughters don’t speak to them and sons that disrespect them. 
Someone told me that some children respond or don’t respond to their mothers because of how their mother acted towards them when they were growing up. 
But, if your mother has changed and has become a better person, forgive her and show her love. 
Regardless of how she was, she still is your mother. 
She may have regrets for doing or not doing what she should have done but didn’t do. 
If God can and will forgive, why can’t you? 


If you’re a 24/7 caregiver for someone in your family, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri