Thursday, April 27, 2017

Long Tables (Norman)

 Typically, the folding tables at the Philadelphia Senior Center are arranged to be compact and close together. Every time I come in I'm used to seeing three small tables arranged in a sort of pi-symbol shape, but without any space between the two bottom parts. This week, there were closer to four or five tables arranged in a C shape, with all the extra space included. This arrangement is perfect for larger classes, but when there's only five people in the room, they tend to spread themselves out and leave lots of room between seats. It makes the room and the class look more sparse. I thought that we'd have all clumped together so we could hear each other and talk to each other more easily, but we like our space between chairs. I've seen it on Septa, and I've seen it all over the U.S. The Europeans don't need nearly as much personal space as we Americans.
Not actual tables from the Philadelphia Senior Center.
Norman Cain 
Having Our Say  
Several Sundays, I had the pleasure of being a part of a senior group from Scottish Rite Senior Housing Development that saw the play entitled "Having Our Say" at the Suzanne Robert theater located across the street from the Phila Senior Center. 
The play was adapted from the 1995 memoir of the Delaney Sisters which 
chronicled the first 100 years of their existence. The 2 scene play was enacted in a spacious and 1990s modern kitchen in New York. Through dialogue and photography, their story was unveiled. Their father, an ex slave, was from Florida. Through perseverance and luck attended and became principal of the Saint Augustine school in Raleigh, North Carolina. He and his wife were the parents of 10 children. Sara, Louise. «≤Sadie«≥ Delaney was born in 1889 and her sister Anne Elizabeth "Bessie" was born in 1891. 
Eventually, Sadie graduated from Pratt Univ. in New York and went on to graduate from Columbia Teacher College. She became the first teacher in genetic science in NY in 1923. Bessie graduated from Columbia Dental School. The sisters lead a rewarding life, filled with giving back to the community through their lives They were well respected and were friends of Walter White, W.E. Dubois, Booker T Washington, Pearle Bailey, and Cab Calloway.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chicken Soup For The Soul (Joe, Frances, Norman and Clarissa)

Hi again everyone. I had a doctor's appointment to go to, so I wasn't able to make last week's workshop. You know how they say April Showers bring May Flowers? And do you know what comes after May Flowers? Pollen-related allergies and sinus problems. So I thought I would post some stories about sickness and health (of all kinds) for people to binge-read while they're feeling under the weather. 

Joe Garrison
A Word From Our Sponsor

There have been times I’ve written about stories. “Golden Age of Radio.” I remember the old commercials with memorable household phrases. Here are some popular ones from my formative years.

The Lone Ranger was sponsored by General Mills for Kix Cereal. “You’ll get a kick out of Kix.”

Baseball games would have sponsorships. One company would sponsor 3 innings. Another company would have another and so on.

Arco Atlantic keeps your can on the go. For business, for pleasure, for any kind of weather.

In the 50’s we had Schaffer Beer. “Schaffer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one.”

All purpose cleaner
Lestoil – It’s so easy when you use lestoil.

Deodorant – Arid
“Don’t be half safe. Be completely safe.”

Alka Seltzer – “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Ok what a relief it is.”

Bromo Seltzer “Fight Headaches 3 ways”

The Cheerio’s commercial scared me because I thought the announcers were going to pop out of the radio.

These commercials remind me of a more innocent time, a happier time where people lived simpler lives in the 1940’s. A time of relative innocence.

Frances Bryce
Health Care Can Be Unhealthy 

The new meant a new Health Provider the Affordable Care Act Reserve as Obama was not the reason for the change.  My late husband’s work had provided the insurance; all I had to do was produce my card and see my PCP (Person Care Provider).  

The fun began when I had what seemed like endless options to choose from; I selected what I thought was the one agency that would fit my needs.

My ophthalmologist was in the group so I went to keep an appointment made six months previously; my dismay was that I needed a referral.  That made me wish for the good old days, calling my PCP after listening to many prompts.  I learned that I needed a PCP, when I explained that I had previously given this to the insurance company, the person said I needed to call the insurance company who would give them the information (my PCP) then they would call my ophthalmologist with a referral number so that I could be seen.  I called the ophthalmologist’s office and was rewarded with good news.  I could now be seen.  This wasn’t my best day so far, but it sure made me appreciate those days that were some of my best days.  If I am not satisfied that the end of the year I will be afforded to enter into another opportunity to change.  I fear that this time may became my best day.

Norman Cain
Lost Found Story

Up until several weeks ago I was always early for the best days of my life storytelling and writing club. Lately, however, I have been as much as 15 minutes late. This is because I have been involved with a poetry/discussion group each Thursday between 10:45 and 12 p.m. at the Center in the Park, Senior Center or at German Town and Cheten Ave.

I consequently have to rush to get to the Best Day of My Life sessions.

In my rush today, I unfortunately left the story – all type written – that I going to present to our class today. Fortunately, when I called Center in the Park, I was told that my story was there. So after this class I will be heading back to Germantown to retrieve the lost found story.

And the class can hear it the next time. But for now, what you have just heard, is my story for today. 
Old age has not only affected my knees, but my memory as well. 

Clarissa Tate
My Son Gregory

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and also, it’s my son Gregory’s birthday. He was born on this date 37 years ago at 1:37 p.m.

Oh what a joy that was, one of the happiest days of my life. Greg was such a happy and energized child. He was quite a large baby at birth weighing in at 8 lbs 14 oz. He had lots of curly hair. I used to braid it as it grew longer. He was a very smart kid, he did very well in school up until high school, being a teenager, he started to goof off and I wasn’t having any of that. Things that Greg enjoyed, I simply took away until he resumed his academic responsibilities. After he graduated, he attended Pierce Jr. College. He has that 2-year degree, he’s had jobs after that and always took care of himself. He’s been with Homeland Security, checking for bombs at the airport for the past 12 years. 

Last year he also started his own business of demolition, moving, and hauling. That’s doing quite well. He also is back in school for carpentry so that he can get larger bids on contracts in his business, they kind of go hand and hand. Needless to say that I am very proud of him and his family, my beautiful daughter-in-law and most importantly, my two grand sugars. WOW, they are my Baby’s Babies!

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spring Has Sprung (Mike and Ruth)

Despite those odd warm days we've had in January, February, and March, it is only now that it feels like Spring truly has sprung. The weather's consistently nice, and more of our older writers have been coming back to the workshop. Spring is a time for renewal and revitalization, and I'm starting to renew interest in our First Thursdays.

The First Thursday of each month, the writers and volunteers move from our usual room to the computer room to check on our blogs. Ever since we started posting these stories online, we knew how important it was to show the authors that their works were being read. But I had realized that I had been doing everything for our writers instead of letting them search on their own. That's a disservice, no matter how good or bad they are with computers. So by the end of the year, I want to make sure every single member of our group can find this website on any computer and search for specific stories and authors.

We've also had a few new writers join us over the past few weeks. I've posted them this week and am excited to see what they think of seeing their work online.
Michael M. Tsuei
The Experience of Scuba Diving

Almost twenty yeas ago, I had change to visit the Florida Keys, long famous for their only-here invention and laissez-faire idiosyncracies; the type of place where you grow accustomed to the unexpected. Unexpected indeed. At the time I had worked at Princeton University. The R/D programs for develop the new medication. Conforms with FDA, the research involved some travel to different place, Key Largo. There, what I have my scuba diving experience.
Joint marine scientist in educational workshop and seeking to learn about coral health may bring to us better understanding the new way to cure the killer disease.
Most people know that the large-liver, trophy-fish-cacthing author Ernest Hemmingway once lived at Key West. His wooden Spanish house on Whitehead Street is now a museum famous for his sea collections. And inquisitive six to a cat. The war president Henry Truman once spent six months at Key Largo, famous for it and called "Little White House."
I can only saw this is life experience for me.The trip to Key Largo is a one. Scuba diving taught me several lessons.
1. Never alone in the ocean water. Always close to your partners.
2. Do not touch anything in the water ever. You are so interested in things to find out. Just don't touch.  Urchin can react and extend their spike and hurt you while you touch them. Don't step on things, because the ecosystem in the ocean water is very ephemeral. Environmental impact by human over the boundary invade their territories.
3. Always know your location in the ocean water. Never swim away or too far from the boat. Timing is essential for scuba diving.
4. Ocean floors are so quiet, so tranquil. Almost felt that the time had been stopped, as like the whole worlds frozen up in time. Any excess movement can cause excitement and chain of action. I still remember I had made eye to eye stare to a marlin hidden in the hole of coral reef. Turn out the marlin so large, the head alone's about 2 feets in diameter.

Ruth Lewis
My Cat Xena

My cat Xena is no longer with me. I had to leave her when I moved away ten moths ago. Before that time we were together for two years. I met Xena after my 1st cat, Mr. Bobo, died after living with me for seventeen years.
I was not looking for another pet but there she was in my life and feeling as if she belonged there.
I was not used to having a female pet and found out it was much different than a male, more independent, more self assured.
Xena and I became the best of friends. She would follow me, talk with me, show me how she did things and how she wanted things done for her. She was very demanding in her routines, like whenever i went into the bathroom she thought it was my responsibility to turn on the water in the tub so she could drink from the facuet before she ate. She had to go outside in the yard, at least for a couple minutes.
I miss her a lot. I miss her constant meows  and conversation. I miss her smell. I miss her comfort.
Ruth Lewis
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Diversity of Opinion (Odessa)

At Best Day, we pride ourselves on having stories from all sorts of backgrounds. Our older buddies come from all over Philadelphia, and many of them are from the suburbs. As a "young senior" and volunteer, I know that there is a lot I don't have in common with the writers, but for the most part I know the class pretty well. But every so often a story or two pops up that I don't expect.

One of the stories stirred a lively debate between the writers about whether or not transgendered people should be forced to use the bathrooms that match their assigned sexes. The people on both sides were very passionate about what they said, but more importantly, they were civil. They didn't want to win, and they didn't want to beat down the competition. They just wanted the other side to understand. It was a very friendly debate, and I wish all debates could be more like that.

On the other hand, our newest writer Odessa didn't strike up any debates. But she had a very interesting story about fast food.

Odessa Bond
Best Day of My Life Class

I was surfing the internet, when I come across a news article about McDonald’s. Investigators had gone into the slaughter house in Oklaholma. What do you think they found? Well, they found people!!! Yes, people. It appears that McDonald’s is serving us white people. I was asked by my white friends “How do you know that they are serving us white people?” I said, “You are the only people that look like chicken.” I never liked McDonald’s chicken. I always thought it tasted strange. Now, I know why. Now, when I get on the bus, I don’t see white people as white people. I see them as food.

Normally I'd just end the post with the story, but Odessa's story reminded me of when I was a picky little kid. Every time my family took me to KFC, I would only eat white meat because I thought dark meat was gross. The cashier must have heard me complaining, so he told my parents to "Drive around to the pick-up window to get your Whitey meat."

Curated by Caitlin Cieri