To all the loyal readers of this blog, take note! The Best Day of My Life So Far has lots of fun events coming up for the people of Philadelphia.
October 29th, 3:15 PM is our South Jersey Storytelling Workshop at "Before I Die" in the Perkins Center for the Arts, Collingswood, NJ. Featuring a presentation from Best Day founder and president, Benita Cooper!
November 9th, 6PM is our Center City Philadelphia Happy Hour at City Tap House. (2 Logan Square.) I've been there for a Christmas party before and it was a great place to hang out and swap stories.
Here's hoping you readers can make all three events and see all of what our nation-wide non-profit has to offer. For now, here's a contribution from a local older bud.
Fantasies That Became Reality
As a child, I was self-conscious, suffered from an acute case of low self-esteem, and had a learning disability. While I was not unkempt, I, nonetheless, had to wear hand-me-downs: pants that were outdated and either too large or small. My shoes were not in vogue and often had to have the hole in the soles covered by cardboard, a situation that caused problems when it rained. Since I was always the tallest student in the class, it meant that I was always the last in line, a situation that had me feeling isolated and different. Why was I so tall? Why were my clothes inferior to the other students in the class? I rarely spoke, was extremely shy, constantly harassed by bullies, and was withdrawn. While I excelled in reading and had a poem that I had written displayed on the bulletin board in the main hallway of the school and always received outstanding on my report card for reading, I failed all my other subjects. My teacher, on three occasions, tried to have me placed in a special education school. Each time my mother protested; as a result of her actions, I remained in her class for four years – the first through the fourth grade. One of the reasons why I enjoyed reading so much was because it gave me an outlet for my unhappiness and enabled me to find solace in fantasizing. The text that we read, Dick and Jane Time and Places was full of vivid images that provided fuel for the land of fantasy that occupied my inner existence. I immersed myself in the pictures of white picket fences, and the manicured lawn hosting brilliantly-hued daffodil images that were in contrast to the wall of cold concreted that bordered the steps that led to the scantily-furnished (well kept) row house, where I dwelled with my father, mother, two sisters and brother. Dick and Jane had ample room in their home, where they were able to move about effortlessly. They had separate bedrooms and meals that were fit for a king. They were always well dressed. They had a dog: Spot. My fantasies played themselves out in my art work which always contained pictures of modes of transportation: airplanes floating across baby blue skies, which always hosted a deep yellow, radiating sun; cruise ships occupied by stick figures smiling from its deck at the blue rollicking waves; automobiles, manned by smiling men in baseball caps driving down roadways bordered by magnificent houses set behind fully-leaved trees that a fluffy-eared, wide-eyed dog – that looked like Dick and Jane’s Spot – stared at. But in reflection, my fantasies manifested during the summers, when my sister and I left the swift-paced city for the tranquility that the South afforded. It was there that I was able – for a full 10-week period – to live in my grandparents’ home, which was undoubtedly the most magnificent house for miles. It was prettier than the homes of area white folk. While there was no white picket fence in front of the huge yard that lay in front of the house, there were two trees on either side of the yard. A lemon tree and a Chinaberry tree. It was there that at least six dogs resided: beagles, bulldogs and a little black and white dog – that looked like Dick and Jane’s Spot – which was a replica of the dog forever present in my drawings, who followed me everywhere I went on the farm. He followed me when I went to the well for water, to the barnyard when I poured buckets of slop into the trough for squealing-in-anticipation hogs. He followed me when I tossed handfuls of hardened corn kernels to clucking chickens, ever mindful of their position in the pecking order. He was with me stride-for-stride when I dashed down the red clay road in front of the house.