I couldn’t believe it when I first encountered this way of looking at death. On September 11, 2011, one of our very own passed away. Arthur was one of the “original” seniors in our group. His life-loving, people-loving personality is an essential part of the Best Day of My Life So Far spirit that continues to fill our room every week. I broke into tears when I had to announce to the group what had happened – I couldn’t even complete my sentence. The group comforted me, and we held a “special class in memory of Arthur” (not a memorial). There were so many guests (120+) that we had to use the senior center’s auditorium to accommodate everyone. It was a happy day, which Arthur would have approved. Check out the stories below and in our 2011 story archive, to honor the vibrant lives of Brenda's friend Evelyn, Millie's friend Bertha, Norman's aunt, Hazel's loved ones, and our bud Arthur.
Ode To A Friend
When we form friendships, most of the time they are out of kinship. There seems to be something about them "that we like!" Sometimes a bond develops because we have been to school, have worked, or lived together. My friend to whom I am referring to just died a couple of days ago. We have had a lot in common creatively. We have written and acted in plays, been road buddies, and traveled to many places. My friend was as close to me as one of my own sisters! I'll miss her very much.
Dedicated to Dr. Evelyn Felton Barr.
I submit this with love!
Friends for a Year
I have been coming to the Senior Center for almost a year. I started in May. I had just moved to the neighborhood and wanted to check out if this would be a good place. The first time I came here I met Bertha who had a regular seat near the window. She took me under her wing, telling me about getting lunch and to always register for special events before they sell out. She told me about the Jewelry class she attended twice a week and encouraged me to come. I did. I have never made jewelry before and have really enjoyed being in the class. I like the teacher, have made friends with many of the women and love making necklaces. I am working with beautiful, colorful glass beads. One of my necklaces will be in the May show. Bertha and I became friends and often laughed together. She was around 88 years old and died last week. I will miss her.
A Sad Happy Day
My aunt recently died. While I was saddened by my aunt’s death, I was happy to see family members and friends at her funeral and reception last Saturday that I had not seen...in some cases...for over 40 years.
After her funeral, I attended a Jazz Party that was hosted by an organization that a lady from the Senior Center belongs to.
I was again reunited with a lady friend from the past that was a childhood friend that I had not seen in at least 40 years. At the same event, I was recognized by a woman whom I knew from the old neighborhood. The day also produced a basketball story.
Later that day, I got a chance to talk to a man who I first saw playing basketball for BOK Vocational School in 1957. His skills amazed me and I’ve never forgotten his name Earl Hanes. If today were yesterday, he would be a professional.
We spoke of all the old Philly Players. I wish Big Mo had been there.
Earl was happy that someone remembered the memories of the past that manifested themselves with the appearance of old and new friends.
And my deceased Aunt, who was always telling me off, well, the last time I saw her alive we laughed.
Last Saturday was a SAD, happy, and memorable day.
I Won’t Go
During the past two weeks, notices of deaths and sickness have crowded my holiday season. However, after a chat with one of my long time senior friends, we agreed that as the years pass by, more and more relatives and friends reach the end of life’s journey. She exclaimed: “I’m not going to attend anymore funerals!”
My other friend, listening said, “You have to go to your own funeral!”
“No I won’t,” she quipped,” They’ll have to take me there!”