Sunday, November 28, 2010

Arthur (Broken Hearts)

Hope you've all had a belly-filling, holiday-tunes-humming, thanks-giving week. My husband and I put up (and glammed up) our skinny Christmas tree at our condo last night, and now, oh yeah, I am holiday-ready!

What's a holiday without a little heart-to-heart conversation? We made a promise on stage a couple weekends ago, which was to respond to every one of your comments and questions on our Event Audience Cards - and we're sticking to our word (it'll take time but it will happen!)  So, how did we pull the first question out of the pile last week in class? Well, not one but two of you asked it - so we thought maybe more of you out there may have the same question as well. You asked our seniors for advice on how to mend a heartbreak. Believe it or not, the men at the table were the most enthusiastic - I thought that was awesome, I was silently cheering for them inside for opening up like that.

I especially liked it when Richard (who is normally quiet) said right away, "For some reason, women feel like they're the only ones who get their hearts broken, but that's not true." He then went on to share about his dating experiences, from when he was 19 (when that relationship ended, he was convinced it was "the end of the world") all the way to now. As you can imagine, Richard's memories unleashed an energetic conversation around the table. This is what Arthur has to say.

Thanks very much for sharing your stories with us! It was great to meet you all.

I would love it if any of you could offer some words of wisdom for how to mend a broken heart?

-Gina A, age 32

I loved today. It warmed my heart and made me feel so positive.
I have a question that I’d love advice on: How have you learned to deal with heartbreak?

-Katie E, age 27

Arthur Murray
Broken Hearts

Outside of being nervous Sunday November 14 everyone was so nice and the people that came were very nice. I don’t know where to begin. I was excited and nervous. Also the event staff and volunteers were so nice.

Well, two audience members asked about what to do or how to react on a broken heart. I myself believe when or if your heart gets broken, first you must pray and ask your Lord and Savior to help you, guide you and he will answer your prayers. Keep faith in him, you can’t let the joneses get you down. It may be good to have an ace in the hole, (smile) to have more than one friend to relate to. Sometime we think we’re doing alright until we drop our guards down. In life you never, you never know, what tomorrow brings. I would love to know more about the situations that brought you the broken hearts.

As for myself, I have experienced it five times, on and off. 1973 was the last time we broke up. Every time I had my heart broken, I started singing more. So, I'd say, fall on the next thing you love to do in life. Get off a bus; get on another. I changed my surroundings by meeting new people in life, new love, new people, new energy. Mainly keep God in your life no matter who tells you not to. I don’t have to worry or regret anything now. I feel good whenever I do something good in life to help someone.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brenda (I Want to Say Thank You)

What better way to ring in Thanksgiving Week than with a pitch-perfect note... to YOU?
To all who attended “Our Big Day” at the Philadelphia Free Library, I want to say thank you.  Your words of encouragement both in person and on our website, your attendance and excitement made everyone feel so special.

For some this was the first time being on stage in front of a live audience, but we were not nervous because we felt such a warm reception.  When I hear the stories of the other members of the group, I am reminded of some incident in my life that I had forgotten and I now have the opportunity to share.

You may not find our autobiography on a shelf in this library, but our short stories will be forever in the minds and hearts of the readers.

So join us whenever you can or share your stories with family and friends.

Again, thank you.
Brenda Bailey

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Seniors' Storytelling Day: Jason's Photo Essay

Let's keep the photos rollin'! As promised, today we've got event photos from last Sunday by Jason Bachman. Want more? You got it. Just click Here to "like" us on Facebook and scroll through loads more pix.

For those of you who are newer to our blog (hey hey hey and welcome!!) we are always posting new pix - and FB is where they're at! FB/Twitter is also the easiest way to read our seniors' stories - as they are posted here on the blog, they get streamed right away onto your personal walls. And YES! The seniors do check FB/Twitter pages in class and love seeing your lil' profile pictures ;) so take a second to "like" and "follow" us and "suggest to friends" if you like what we're doing.

(Heading to class in a few hours... I am pretty sure today's gonna be a riot and everyone's gonna have a lot to talk and write about. Can't wait to show them all the pix, and can't wait to show YOU our seniors' stories about the past weekend!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seniors' Storytelling Day Photos: Tracy's Faves

Bet you've been waiting for these: photos from this weekend! Our fabulous event photographers Tracy Ramone and Jason Bachman took over a thousand (!) pix of the festivities, and are now working hard to edit them down - we'll get them up on Facebook for you soon. In the meantime, a sneak peek. Here are some of Tracy's faves. Next up: Jason's photo essay.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thank You for Coming

Benita & her new bud. 7-year-old Baye stunned and inspired the entire auditorium when he raised his hand to ask our seniors, "What advice do you have for people my age?"

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to yesterday's event, and for making our seniors feel like the rockstars that they are! Below are some of the audience responses we've received. We will be sharing every single one of your responses with our seniors, and in time we WILL be answering all your questions. Please keep in touch via Facebook/Twitter/email - don't stop commenting and asking questions - our ears are always open.

I enjoyed listening to everyone’s thoughts. My heart was touched and I did cry!
-Kathleen K, age 27

Hi I’m Miyarrah (Miya). I am 11 years old. I would love to pledge a donation of $5.00. Your show was really inspiring. I loved it and I’m 11. One day I would love to volunteer, hope I can!
-Miyarrah D, age 11

As a senior who has just started doing yoga at the Senior Center, I would like to be a part of this class.
-Eileen H, age 73

I saw “multi-generational”, and from that moment I was impressed (this while getting my morning coffee at Starbucks). This is such a neat undertaking and I thank you for all of your hard work to bring diverse peoples (age, race, religion, socioeconomic status) together. That is the result when people seek to listen to others. Really liked the time/day of the event. Such much love and respect. Love the no frills, all heart approach. To the handsome and beautiful Seniors – Thank you so much for talking to us today. You are all such an inspiration. I loved seeing the confidence, strength, and joy. You are a special group
-Kaleigh E, age 24

You all rock! Such a great means of communicating and sharing ideas, stories, and love. People often forget that seniors are full of experience, wisdom, and life, so this was a fantastic refresher and way of getting to know everyone. Thanks for being such an inspiration, Benita!
-Monica G, age 27

I think this project is truly awesome (!) especially if you are a dreamer and love to hear about old times, good times, and stories of wisdom. My mother (Bea) never ceases to amaze me with words of inspiration. I would like to be a part of whatever event you sponsor moving forward and encourage/challenge seniors to put on a talent show. I’m so inspired by the group. Thanks!
-Evangela N, age 52

I think this program is great for seniors! I know many seniors who like to talk about their lives but do not have the opportunity to do so. A person could learn a lot by going to this program.
-Sam O, age 23

I think seniors are so full of wisdom – we really need to honor and respect their unique perspectives. So glad to see you providing a forum to showcase their talents and life experience. You should take it to a national level – call Oprah!
-Trish P, age 48

This is such a great idea and clearly something that so many people can benefit from. I hope it continues to grow and because it clearly brings so much joy to the seniors who tell their stories and those of us who listen. It’s great to see how much support the seniors offer each other.
-Kelly Q

Benita, this baby of your has been growing up and the future possibilities are endless. Expand your vision.
-Jay K

Thanks! This was very inspirational. How do I find out more about volunteering or getting involved? Thank you all for putting this event on today!
-Leah R, age 28

Wonderful! I would love to help this initiative grow. This is very valuable. Congratulations on getting this started.
-Jean R

I learned about TBDOMLSF from my girlfriend who is a volunteer. I am constantly impressed by the happiness that I see in her when she talks about the stories. To see the same joy on the faces of the seniors made for an uplifting day. Thank you.
-Drew P, age 23

I am privileged to have been introduced to this program and have been proud to lend my advice and experience to help it build and grow. You guys have a wonderful mission and message! Keep up the good work!
-William H, age 43

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I run writing groups in South Jersey and you have inspired me to expand into senior writing groups. I would be happy to volunteer, please contact me. I have run writing groups with urban teenage girls – we all loved it. It’s great that you are building bridges. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
-Valerie D, age 61

This program reiterated to me the fact that seniors are our walking, living, and breathing history. And most of what they have to say is not written in books. I enjoy them and their stories and I on a daily basis encourage people to get to know one of them or more a day. My mom is a great inspiration to us all and there are others like my mom out there.
-Sandra T, age 39

Very inspiring! Wonderful program!
-Laura H

I just got married young and wanted to keep on writing, but I have to know what inspired you to keep writing and how to keep doing it.
-Steph S, age 19

Thank you so much for coming and sharing your life stories. I was so inspired! And also encouraged to get to know my family better. Do you have some suggestions for what questions I should start to ask them?
-Rebecca L, age 26

What was your first job like? Pay? Work conditions? Bosses? Colleagues? How did your first job end? When, what decade was your first job?
-Carl R, age 58

Thanks very much for sharing your stories with us! It was great to meet you all.
I would love it if any of you could offer some words of wisdom for how to mend a broken heart?
-Gina A, age 32

I loved today. It warmed my heart and made me feel so positive.
I have a question that I’d love advice on: How have you learned to deal with heartbreak?
-Katie E, age 27

You all show a great deal of patience, courtesy, and kindness for one another that I really applaud. You show the ability to respect and learn from each other despite being from different backgrounds. Please offer your advice to people in this world who often do not respect each other enough. How can we all learn to listen better and break down boundaries between people from different backgrounds?
-Robert M, age 28

Benita, what a wonderful idea! I just loved listening to your seniors!
-Renee P, age 75

I love the concept of your organization and applaud you for bringing this group together to share their stories. Keep it going. We can learn so much from our elders if we only listen!
-Christine H

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Forever Friends"

Want to hear something sweet? During dress rehearsal, we passed the mic around to test the volume, expecting every senior to just say something like, “Testing 1,2,3.” Instead, one by one they started saying how much they love their friends who were sitting around them. Even through we were on stage, it felt like a cozy living room. And as I sat there with them in the semi-circle, I couldn’t help thinking, What a privilege it is to be among true friends. No, our Sunday event doesn’t begin or end with the hour, and it’s not just about stories. It’s a snapshot of an ongoing process: the making of friends.

I’ve never done a blog post like this one, but maybe it’s about time. A blog post tracing a senior’s transformation from first-time visitor to fervent core member of our class.

The making of “Forever Friends”. There are no steps for it. But it goes a little something like this:

Lucky Day

Today is my lucky day. My friend Mike and I came to visit this nice senior citizens center, and were fortunate enough to meet my new Chinese friend Benita on her birthday. She is a wonderful lady. She looks and speaks just like my daughter Dorothy.

I’m so very glad and happy to meet her, and all of our new senior center friends.

Forever friends,
Robert Leung
July 8, 2010

Robert Leung
A Great Fortune

Hello Everyone.  Actually I don’t have too much to write or tell…
I am very fortunate that I've started coming to this class at the senior center.  The people here are wonderful.  I wish that I did not live too far from here, otherwise I would surely love to be here more.

I like to come here as often as I can.

Yours truly,

Robert Leung
A Very Good Feeling       

I have a very good feeling whenever I come down here, because I have a chance to meet all kinds of different people.  Young and old.  Women and men.  They are very friendly, we talk and exchange ideas.  I come with my other friend, Mo and Michael.  And, of course the friendly lady, Benita, who is in charge of all the meetings.  Today we have fifteen very kindly people and couldn’t find a nicer day then today.  Outside, the weather is very, very nice.  It’s about 75 degrees.  Not too cold and not too hot.  It’s a perfect day.  I look forward to coming here for the meetings.  Hope to come here again and again.  

Robert Leung
Here Each Week

Hello.  My name is Yuk Tsun (in English you can call me Robert Leung), the Chinese “young” man.  I have been coming regularly to visit the Senior Center and listen to all these people speak, learning a lot of different things as I look forward to each week.  And the chairman (“chairlady”) is also a Chinese person.  She is very, very smart, plus, she’s so kind to everyone.  We are very fortunate to have her.  As the times pass by, I begin to know more people. Until then, I’ll know more and will be able to write more.

Robert Leung
A Meeting Day

Today is the 3rd week this month I am at this meeting. It is always fun to meet all of these wonderful folks – woman & man, young & old – they are all very kind!

That is why I look forward to Thursday each week. I am sure to learn a lot of different things and a lot about different people. Different ages, different races, man & woman – we are all the same living in this wonderful world!

Like myself, I came from far, far away, miles and miles away – China. That is why I learn a lot here, from all these wonderful people. I am really glad that I joined this class!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Have YOU Picked Out Your Party Outfits Yet?

The week we've been waiting for is finally here!! Sunday is not coming soon enough. Hope you like our Dress Rehearsal pics on Facebook. Click Here if you haven't seen them yet… or just want to see everyone's giant smiles again. We've got photos and of course we've got stories too! As you can see below, our seniors are busy inviting friends and picking out their outfits. So follow the seniors' lead and help us party it up by inviting your friends. The more the merrier!

BTW The crowd IS looking like it'll be pretty big on Sunday, so please be early to make sure you get a spot. We've got fun jam-packed into the hour so if you even miss one minute, you're gonna miss some serious good stuff… can't give it all away here… all I can say is we're starting with a bang, and you'll find out soon what I mean ;)

Beatrice Newkirk
Our Trip to The Library

I am looking forward to the November 14 trip to the Library.  I know we will have some fun.  Some of my kids are coming.  Some of my friends too.  And my great grandsons and my grands.

There are lots of things to learn.  My daughter who is also named Beatrice loves reading about our class on the computer.  She says she is getting lots of information from the class.  We have lived the stories.  We can talk about lots of things. 

I tell my kids what they want to know.  We have so much to tell them.  Without the past, there will be no future.

Hazel Nurse
So Much More

Last Thursday, as Dee and I descended on the elevator, my comment about our class was – “It is just sheer fun!” Dee is one of the volunteers who assist Benita with class and type our stories afterwards. This writing and storytelling class offers one the privilege of expressing feelings, meeting new friends, learning facts, appreciating family, preserving favorite photos, enjoying other’s stories and being fortunate enough to engage in good conversation with some of the greatest and most interesting classmates.  By way of our leader Benita, trips to Temple University, Channel Twelve and the Central Library have, as they say, “put frosting on the cake”! Now, Dee, this is More Than sheer fun!

Brenda Bailey
Where Am I?

I am so excited to be on stage at the Free Library to tell my story to everybody.  While riding the van home last week, I had the time to think about what I would wear, say, and how I was going to get there.  Then I noticed that the van was going past the zoo and down the expressway onto City Line Avenue.  I asked the driver, “Am I being kidnapped? I live near 53rd and Baltimore Avenue.”  He did not answer.  So, I repeated the question.  Then he said, “I’m lost.”  Now, my mind went to so many smart things to say, but I did not go there.  I just sat back and started my role as a “back seat driver.”  Turn right.  Turn left.  And, finally, I arrived home.  I really wanted to report him, but I just said, “Thank you, and don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.”  When I got inside my house, I totally forgot all I had planned in my head for the stage.  Now I’m back to square one, two, three. ???

Friday, November 5, 2010

If We Have This Much Fun During Rehearsal...

... wait till you see us "for real" on 11/14! Oh yeah, the seniors are on a total high - you'll see! Click Here for our photos from today.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Our Twins in the News

Good morning, everyone! We are so grateful for all the nice press about our big event on 11/14. Today, Milestones e-News opens with a generous article featuring none other than our very own twins! Below is an excerpt. Click Here to read the full article; Click Here to read Bernice's story "Black and White Grits". Want to hear the twins speak? You got it. Click Here for a short video.

And yes, as the article reveals, our event WILL be spontaneous and unscripted. Heehee, there's is a big surprise too. I can't say more… if you wanna know, you gotta come out. We'll ride the energy in the room and together make magic happen. Don't miss out, and DON'T BE LATE. You won't want to miss a single minute. 

Like others of their generation, the sisters have lived through momentous times, including the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights movement, and the election of the nation’s first black President.

Moore remembers going down South during the era of the Jim Crow laws, to visit her husband, then stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. “When the train got down to D.C., I had to change cars. They put on an extra car for ‘colored only,’” she says. 

A little white boy peeked through the curtain, Moore recently recounted about that incident. “He said to me, ‘What color are you?’ I told him ‘I’m red, white, and blue, the color of the flag.’”

Her story, “Black and White Grits,” based on that visit, is posted on ‘The Best Day of My Life’ blog.  ...

During the November 14 Senior Storytelling event, audience members will have the chance to meet and ask questions of the senior presenters. The free event, described by organizers as spontaneous and unscripted, is set for 2 to 3 p.m. at the Free Library of Philadelphia - Park Central Library (1901 Vine Street).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who's Who

Getting ready to meet your fave storytellers on 11/14? By popular demand, here's a lil' preview of who's who.