Thursday, November 30, 2017

Happy Hour and Happy Holidays (Kara)

Happy Holidays, everyone. Both the older buds and the volunteers took a break from Best Day for Thanksgiving (or, for the international readers, our annual pre-Christmas turkey dinner.) I decided to ask my fellow facilitator Kara to throw in her two cents about our Happy Hour three weeks ago. Enjoy!

Kara Maria Naklicki
What could make Best Day even better? Happy hour!

A few weeks ago I was able to attend the Best Day Happy hour at City Tap House, and it didn't disappoint. I was greeted at the door by volunteers and made my donation, which ensured happy hour drinks and our own little area to socialize. I met up with Caitlin, who had talked me up to a few of the other volunteers and facilitators. She's great at it! I got to meet Benita Cooper, the founder of Best Day, for the first time. It was great to hear her tell the story of why she started Best Day and you can tell how passionate she is about the organization. She seemed to be so happy and devoted to it, and her enthusiasm was infectious. One of our older buds, Mike, came with his daughter Melissa. He's a great storyteller and conversationalist, so it was awesome to have a beer with him and chat.

There were a lot of new people, so I can't identify everyone, but I met a lot of Best Day enthusiasts and the vibe was very positive. We all shared how great it is to be involved, to hear stories, and to get to know all of the amazing people that come to the workshop. It's obvious that the organization touches a lot of lives and it was so cool to talk to everyone about their experiences. I hope we can have another event like this in the future, and hopefully more of our older buds will come too. It's such a great way to get everyone together and raise money to help such an important organization. I had a great night, and I think everyone else did too.

Just because Happy Hour's over doesn't mean we're slowing down. We've got all sorts of great things planned for Best Day in the next few weeks, including a five-week newsletter series that put the spotlight on our volunteers and older buds. If you aren't already a subscriber, then sign up here. And of course, we'll be having lots and lots more stories from our older buds!

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, November 23, 2017

What I'm Thankful For (Elliot)

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers of this blog. If you're reading from another country, then just know that this is our annual pre-Christmas turkey dinner feast. One of the traditions of Thanksgiving is to say what we're thankful for. I'm thankful for my friendship with the people of Best Day, and that they share as much with me as they do.

I make a habit of talking to my older buds outside of the workshop too. Every so often, they'll tell me about something amazing that would make a perfect Best Day story. When I tell them that they need to write about it for our collection, the response is either "I'd never thought of that," or "Who would want to read about that?" To me, it's odd that a person could have taught ESL, been a part if a TV show's studio audience, or had their brother literally throw someone out of the house and think it wasn't a good story for Best Day. I know a few of the older buds sometimes come into class claiming that they have nothing to write about; and some would even skip out because of it. So I'm thankful that I'm close enough to the people of Best Day that I can remind them how much more they can write about, and how much more people want to read about.

Elliot Doomes
Forgotten Hero
Octavius V. Catto, he was a Civil Rights and Human Rights leader who was assassinated here in Philadelphia, right on South Street. Most people don’t even know his name. He was never mentioned in school in any historical book of any kind.
I believe he fought in the Civil War. He graduated from college or university – I forget which one. I think it could’ve been Harvard but I’m not sure. He has a place named after him on 16th and Fitzwater, right here in Philadelphia.
As a kid, I went there many times for dances and recreation and parties and such; it was a great place to have a fun time. He had a band, he had marches in the City (well, not him because he was already dead). It was a traditional march with the drummers and majorettes. You had the girls twirl the batons and the boys with the trumpets and drums. In fact, it was the only parade with a black marching band and it was made up almost entirely of young people in Philadelphia. There were some older people there too, but it’s mostly young performers.
He was shot during registering voters at 9th and South Street right here in Philadelphia. His murderer, I think he went unidentified for 10 years, I think. And later he was identified but never brought to justice. His murder occurred in 1870 and went completely unnoticed by historians. O. V Catto was a hero and he has finally been acknowledged by a statue at City Hall. He was before his time, but he had courage because back in those days, Philadelphia was no different from Georgia and Alabama in terms of racism.

Missed the Best Day Happy Hour? Click here to read a recap and see all the photos.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Off The Clock (Mike)

As you probably know from reading all of my posts for the past few months, we hosted a Happy Hour at the City Tap House in Logan Square. I was expecting to see a lot of people from Best Day, and new people interested in our group. I did, but not quite in the way I expected.
As it turns out, Best Day was sharing the restaurant with two different groups with their own Happy Hour meet-ups. That meant that some of the new people coming over to check out our group...were from one of the other groups! I even met one guy who wasn't with any group; he was just hanging out at the bar. When I told him about Best Day, he was reminded of his father back in Brazil and the stories he'd wanted to share. I made sure to give him the link to our site before he left.

I also got to see my old friends at the event, like Jana, Mary, Cara and the fearless founder herself, Benita. Cara and I didn't know each other that well, but I recognized her face as soon as I saw her, and that made her happy. I still had photocopies of Jana and Mary's stories from the last time they were at Best Day, so I took them with me as soon as Jana said she'd be coming. I even got to introduce the newest facilitator Kara to all the people working behind the scenes, and she and Benita got on very well.

I was very excited to meet the various board members and volunteers of Best Day. There was Euney who ran the newsletter, Charlton from the Board of Members, and Diane the Professional Engagement Director of the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, to name a few. But one of the best parts was meeting Melissa, who came with her father...our own Mike M. Tsuei!

We weren't talking for more than a minute before Mike and Melissa invited me to sit with them. And when Kara came in, they invited her too. It's rare for our older buds to be able to make late-night events like these, so I took full advantage of Mike and Melissa's welcoming friendliness. Every so often when I was telling the new people about what Best Day meant to its member, I would direct them to Mike's table, sit them down, and let our older bud do the rest. Diane spent the rest of the night talking to him, and Benita said he was the prefect Best Day representative. All in all, a successful night and hopefully the prelude to many more people meeting our older buds.

Please enjoy another example of Mike reaching out to non-seniors, from a pen-pal letter he wrote back in June.

Michael T 
Dear Friend
Dear Friend,
Hi Titon. How are you? I love your letter – it is very interesting. I am much older than you! In fact, 60 years older.
While I was a young man, I am very much enjoyed working in the gym. Back then, no one even called it “pumping iron.” We just found the heavy objects to lift them up in the air and try to build up our body muscle.
Now, I am retired. I was a heart doctor for my profession. Now, I am just enjoying my day, going to the Philadelphia Senior Citizen Center, learning all the different subjects they have to offer to me.
My favorite food is nuts and honey.
I wish you all the luck in school.
Thank you for writing to us. 

Your friend,
Michael T

P.S. I was not kidding about taking Senior Selfie-style photos with anyone who wanted to.
And if you're looking for the Veterans Day story, then scroll down. It's right below.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Onstage (Dolores)

Last week, I wrote about a Veterans Day event taking place at the Philadelphia Senior Center, where veterans would go onstage and share their stories. Best Day has three veterans, Norman, Mo, and Mike, and all three of them expressed interest. Unfortunately, while the rest of Best Day was in the audience, none of our veterans were able to make it. And when it came time for the PSC veterans to share their stories, not a single one did.
We thought that the assembly would end there, but somebody stood up and talked about her friend, a late Tuskegee Airman, and how much he meant to her. Then someone else stood up and talked about the servicemen in their life. Then our very own Dolores stood up and talked about her brother who had been in the Air Force. And so on, and so forth. And we made sure our veterans knew they were honored.
A little later, I caught up with Mike and told him about the assembly. He said that a lot of veterans don't feel comfortable sharing their stories, let alone onstage. Yet Norman and Mo were more than happy to share their war stories with the rest of the older buds. I'm honored that they trusted us with their past as soldiers, and with how their past influenced their present opinions.
Before we move on to our weekly story, I would like to give a great big thank you to the men and women in uniform. I don't think I could ever do what you do every day.
Dolores Wilson 
Soaking in Pink Rain 

The tender drops of water washed over her soul. It removed all ill-intentions and beauty began to unfold. 
Deep in the rocky places of her hurt. Hidden from sight a pile of dirt. It was a refuse from shame and blame. Now to fit a picture perfectly framed.
After the Veteran's Day Assembly, The Best Day of My Life So Far hosted a Happy Hour fundraiser at the City Tap House in Logan Square. I will be posting about that event later today, so stay tuned.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Veretan's Day (Mike, Mo, and Norman)

Since Halloween was two days before last week's session, I decided to dress up. There weren't a lot of tricks, but there sure were treats at our First Thursday workshop; and candy too.

Veteran's Day is on November 11th this year, so the Philadelphia Senior Center decided to do something special this Thursday. Today, they're hosting a storytelling event where the veterans of PSC go onstage to tell their story. Edwina, one of the lovely people who runs PSC, told me about last week and said it would be on Tuesday from 1-2: the same time as Best Day. Naturally, this meant that we'd be holding Best Day at the Veteran's Day event. I'll give you the full details next week, but for now, here's some stories from the veterans at Best Day.
Mike Ming T. MD 
Pure Propaganda and Beautiful Things 

We are so used to thinking of propaganda as the work of malign force, and the enemy of our present freedom, such they are, that we forget what Boon "good" propaganda will do, war to the "art" in may cases. 
During the WWII era, British women discovered how to "make do and mind" use the old cloth draw away materials made a new outfit or fashion such recycle during the notion of the war. 
Populism is based on the notion that only few people can thing for themself. But the majority of peoples can’t and don’t want to! They need team up, follow the leader to guide them. Remember 1944 WWII had come to the end, God blessed us, we won the war to against fascism. But propaganda "sold" all of us the "good war" we fought. Even thousands and thousands of young men and women, children perished. We call them "great generation of heroes save our world."
The poem was famous, written as such: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers for he today that shed his blood with me shall be my brother be he never so base and gentlemen of my motherlands. Cheap while any speaks that fought with me upon Saint Crispin’s days."
Now that we live in a world of "alternative facts" perhaps propaganda doesn’t look as a menacingly presence as it once did, may you like to know, a number of decades ago, the CZA under the guise of the Congress for is called "Cultural freedom" ran a convent to publish a literary magazine called "Enconta" publicity command upon poem, article. Made up story, sometime most are untrue. The nation’s highest security agency well played the propaganda. Even Russian leader’s might die of shock as the Cold War goes on. 
Recently, I had read Metro News. The title of the article, "Trump looks might have made him President." The professor from Helsinki University said in the news "could it be that those with right leaning ideology are just because they are better looking? The research results suggest that the reason that politicians on the right are physically more attractive than the politicians on the left, the voter who lived political knowledge or sophistication are more easy influenced by the attractiveness that the chosen the candidate," the Dr. Longiver wrote.
I am very objective with his observation. Such baseless nonscientific research, very shallow, especially coming out of Sweden. I don’t believe the East European leader understood that America at all. No way the outside can really grass the cultures of politics of America, the racial war carried on may just for the fun of it. He wrote on his study that "just because you look good doesn’t mean you’re right." Sounds very fair-mind, in his common, but just skin deep he had undermined of American community did not know or how to pick a president for the country. 
Donald Trump is a man known for his comb over, orange head skin, his tiny hands, woman hater. Furthermore, he represented the fibers of conservative attitude and has been associated with instances lower cognition, simple, and more basic modem of thought. 
The notion of a rich businessman as natural-born leader, the character execute nation comes second to his more over policing message "Greed Is Good." Feel that, fight for more dollars is a good thing. 
Even thought you can bankrupt the small company, gipped up the small subcontractor, short change the work’s pay dodge the tax because "I am someone"
That's not good propaganda as supposed to understand it as Walt Disney, Steven Jobs will be agreed upon if they are still alive.

Mo McCooper
March 18, 2010
The Twins

Almost two years ago, I joined the Philadelphia Senior Center on Broad Street, south of Lombard to enjoy the daily hot lunches at a generous discount. Each day, I would search for an empty table to set my tray on so I could focus on eating!
The various members are fun to kid with. A set of twins can break my stones any day but as they are lovely ladies, they take it easy on me. One day after I had lunched, Beatrice took my arm and said, “You are a veteran and you’re coming with me upstairs to the auditorium.”
Volunteers introduced some veterans of World War II – each of whom spoke a few words. It’s been very rare in my life that I have “choked up” or suppressed tears. When my father died unexpectedly when I was 17 years old, I was so angry at God that I didn’t cry at the hospital or services.  However, I had good emotions while listening to the veterans and thinking of my uncles Tom and John and friends who had served in World War II.
Following some wonderful entertainment and a few more thoughts from veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, we had coffee and treats on the stage and I met a tall strong well ribboned Marine who happened to be one of the sons of Beatrice on leave from Afghanistan and/or Iraq.
Months later, when Bernice took my arm after lunch and told me I was going to be a visitor at the “Writing Class”, I could not resist the charm and power of the lovely twins of Broad and Lombard Streets.

Norman Cain 
Our Place 

In the last 5 or so years, things have come to my attention that were shocking but with a little bit of effort, II would have realized years ago. Busy making a buck and playing various sports in the evenings kept me in a comfort zone were I was unaware of even local obstacles in the way of many wonderful, fellow Americans. 
With curiosity as my formidable ally, I am excited about learning more in the area of enlarging the civic rights of the majority of my fellow citizens while enjoying much more of the experiences of my 5 wonderful children and 6 incredible grand-children. 
The perspective I have as a military veteran fuel my interest in provoking my civilian opportunities for high school students and graduation before entering the military. More to follow!!!

Today's the Day of our Center City Happy Hour! Meet us at 6PM at the City Tap House at 2 Logan Square in Philadelphia. There's a suggested donation of $10 at the door that will get you discounts on drinks for the night. Lots of people from Best Day will be there, including the founder and fearless leader herself, Benita Cooper. And if you want to be featured on this webpage, then hit me up and we'll take a Happy Hour Senior Selfie together!

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Before I Die (Frances)

Last Sunday, Benita hosted a workshop at the "Before I Die" Event at the Perkins Center for the Arts. I went through Benita's Facebook page looking for a little more information about the event, and I happened to see some people getting Dia de los Muertos face paint. Then I realized just how close "Before I Die" actually was to Halloween. It seemed a little morbid to put those two together, until I remembered that Halloween was originally the day the dead were supposed to come back to the world of the living. Nowadays, people think Halloween is just about the candy and costumes, but there's always the association of death; from the dying leaves, to the bone-chilling winds, to the latest urban legends. 

Halloween really is the perfect time to remind people that life is short. Our loved ones won't live forever, and none of us know how much time we have left. This is the time to listen to the people in your life, and to share their stories with everyone else.

Frances H. Bryce 
Holidays & Sales 

The holidays are, or seem to be another time for having a sale. One of the retail stores seem to have a one-day sale a week end sale, and of course Easter, Fourth of July, and now Halloween followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The children seem to enjoy Halloween the most. Time to get dressed in costumes and going out Trick or Treating. The treating part is the ultimate for the children – getting as much candy as they can acquire in their bags. I suppose the dentist will get some benefits from this popular holiday. 

Christmas is in competition with Halloween. The children have a long list of the toys that have been advertised on TV. Very few children ask for clothes, the present a number of grandparents buy, and parents appreciate.  

One of my neighbors in California never took down their Christmas lights, it finally made sense to me, since I have grown much older, it reminds me how fast the years roll around, so why bother taking them down only as it seems to have to put them up again! 

Don’t worry if you miss one sale, another holiday will give you a chance to save 10, 20, 30 and often 50%. Remember holidays keep America green. 
Next up, on November 9th Best Day will be having its Center City Philadelphia Happy Hour at the City Tap House. That starts at 6PM and the address is 2 Logan Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103. City Tap House is actually very close to my job, so you can meet me in person. We can even do some Happy Hour Senior Selfies!

If you haven't caught up with The Story Cure event, you can read Kaitlin Kortonick's (Best Day's Community Engagement Director) recap here. Also, you can read Story Cure's writing here.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri