Friday, January 28, 2011

Dr. King Past and Present

It’s been a snowy few days here in Philly. And I kind of like it! We’ve got just the set of stories for you to curl up with for the weekend…however the weather is like in YOUR city ;)

Last week in class, a few days after Martin Luther King Day, not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 different seniors wrote about Dr. King. Which, as you can imagine, led to a lively all-group discussion that prompted many more stories. And I don’t just mean the H word – larger-than-life History in the abstract – the seniors shared some very sweet childhood memories of hearing him speak (you know, like literally, in person!!) mixed with their reflections of TV programs that they had just watched and volunteering activities they had just done in the past week.

Huddled around the same table with my senior buddies, I was just one degree away from Dr. Martin Luther King himself. How surreal is that? Who needs time travel? Past and present – I realized there is no real line between the two. Wow. Even now, as I am typing here on the blog, I don’t think I’ve really gotten over that thought yet.

Helen H. Lahr
MLK Day           

It was on Martin Luther King Day that I sat in front of my television looking at a large group of junior high school students working together in an apparently closed school.  For some time, they were using either very bright or white paint on the walls.  Others were using hammers and nails on the walls and floors.  It was so interesting to see how conscientious and friendly they were with each other.  For you see, they represented black, white and Asian races.

I neglected to say that there had been a fire in the original school of some of the students.

As I looked through, I thought about how in the past that scene would never have occurred.  What a wonderful world it would be today if people would live together like that.

Beatrice Newkirk
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday

As a tribute to Martin Luther King, our group went to the YMCA on Christian Street. We talked to the younger generation. We enjoyed talking with the kids. We ate lunch with the kids. There were over a hundred kids.

We were given shirts to put on that had Martin Luther King, Jr.’s picture on it. Everyone had a good time.

There were kids there of different races. We talked of lots of things. I spoke to a little girl. Her name was Sayorah. She understood what I was talking about.

Hazel Nurse
Lucille’s Wisdom

It all started several years ago when I received a phone call from my mother inviting me to come to hear a speaker in Atlantic City.

Having just moved into another home a few months earlier and bearing the responsibilities of a wife and working mom, I refused.  She, on the other hand, insisted that I would miss listening to him tell America a few things.  She said “He has something on the ball”.

Out of respect for her, I reluctantly got my pregnant self together, grabbed my seven year old son and boarded a train to meet her. After his speech, we went and shook his hand, at the Atlantic City High School, in 1958.

Little did Mom know that a national holiday would be celebrated in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Loretta Gaither
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

I was 12 years old when I first heard that Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. I was very sad then and I make a point to remember him and always do volunteer work every Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year, I worked at the YMCA on Christian Street. I enjoyed talking to the young people and I “adopted” a young girl, Denkera, as my granddaughter. She helped me write a card and then gave me a card she had made. The card read, “Ms. Loretta, You inspired me as my grandmother. May God be with you and bless your heart.” She drew two hearts on the card – two hearts beating as one! It really touched me and made me feel good. I donated can goods and enjoyed lunch with the other volunteers and young people.

We have good activities in this senior center (Broad St. & Lombard St.). I enjoyed a class here a little while ago where I decorated dress shoes. I decorated two shoes: a “Cinderella” shoe with blue beads and sequins and a “Wedding” shoe with white flowers. The shoes are going to be in a show at a museum later this year. Yesterday, I enjoyed a concert in the auditorium.  I really enjoy this writing class and helping me write my stories.