Thursday, February 22, 2018

All Types of Love (Dolores, Joan, Fallell)

Last week was Valentines’ Day, a day to celebrate love in all its forms. Romantic love, familial love, brotherly love, love for your fellow man, the list goes on. So in honor of that holiday, here’s a few stories about love of all kinds.

Dolores Wilson 
Romance Cha Cha
When I saw Norman, one of my fellow members of my story telling class at the Senior Center, Saturday pass, I was pleasantly surprised not only him being there (Norman) but he was a smooth dancer and knew every step to the different line dance. 
As I sat there and watched and listened to songs that were being played from back in the day, nostalgia came over me. 
It reminded me of my first beau who was an airman. He was a professional photographer and he told my mom that he had connection in the business. I had express I was interested and my mom could go with me at that time they were called House of Lawrence. Now, they called agency. My mom agreed “when she finishes school.” The last song at the line dance, reminded me of the romantic cha cha of my first crush.

Joan Bunting 
When families get together, why does there all the time always be one that starts havoc and/or confusion? 
My daughter, Joyce, from Hampton, Virginia came to visit us in Philadelphia with her daughter and five grandchildren. 
I spent the night with my oldest daughter, her oldest daughter, and her three children. 
Everything went smoothly that night, everyone enjoyed themselves. 
The next day, things started out well until a phone call was made and all hell broke loose. 
We hadn’t seen my daughter in five years (that’s when my children’s father passed) and were very excited about her weekend visit. 
I won’t go into detail, but other than the disruption, we all had a swell time. The family was sort of divided. Some had a different opinion about the situation. 
My whole point was if you hadn’t seen a close family member for five or more years, why can’t you just accept the plan that was made and be glad to have family get-togethers. 
I am strictly for family gatherings whether they live out of state, up the street, or around the corner. 
That might be because my siblings and I were raised in foster homes. 
Eight of us were place in one home, three of my siblings and myself were placed in three different homes. Being that I was next to the youngest by the time I was in my early teens, all of the older ones were on their own. 
So, I love being a part of a large family and it breaks by hear to see family members not get along.

Fallell Ward
Love of Life 
I feel so good to be alive this day. Life has so many ups and downs, but when it is up, 
it is wonderful. 
Today is an up day. A day that is filled with new changes and new people. It is nice being in a place where you know you can and will be helped to better yourself and hopefully others around you. I am looking forward to receive the blessings that will come my way, by being a partner in the resources of this agency. So for now and the future, thank you for letting me be… ME.
I hope you all had a Happy Valentines Day, and that you spent it with someone you loved.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black History Month (Elliot and Frances)

I wanted to do something special on this blog for Black History Month. I went looking through posts that Benita wrote for Black History Months past, and I saw this line: "The way history books tell about civil rights is big and ceremonial; the way my senior buds tell about it is personal and complicated." If you haven't lived through the movement, or if you haven't lived through racism, the Civil Rights era looks like  marches and speeches and Martin Lither King. If you have, it's about your school, your neighborhood, your police force, your boss, your family; an entire lifetime that leads to speeches and marches.

For the entire month of February, I'll be posting stories about the Civil Rights era, the Black Lives Matter movement, and about racism in general. Even in last week's post about the Eagles, one of the stories was written by a former Black Panther. I'm doing this because it makes sense to hear about the history of our Black older buds during Black History Month.
Elliott Doomes
I Wonder Why

​I wonder why I have no home country. I wonder why I have no language. I wonder why I have no culture. I wonder why I have no flag. I have no music. I have no history. As far as history goes, as a people, our history started 400 years ago. Everything was given to us by our former slave masters.
You can trace our history all the way back to the Mayflower and before. We were taught that we were nothing and never would be anything but a slave. The emancipation proclamation was supposed to free slaves, which only meant we were supposed to assimilate. I think we took on the worst of our ex-masters. Like the Native Americans were given alcohol, we were given guns.
We now have children killing children. When will it end? They see on television the police that are supposed to be protecting them are killing them. Everyday you see on the news that a policeman has killed an unarmed person or child with a gun. No one is held accountable for these crimes. Our young people think it’s alright to take a gun and go kill somebody because they never see consequences of these actions.
They see these kinds of actions as power. They have not had proper education. Education is a very expensive commodity in America.
They see people who are good at committing crimes end up with the cars and the houses and the pretty girls because they have money. Money is the violent force behind most of these young people killing each other. That money is derived from selling drugs. Since they have no education this is what they do. They sell drugs. They believe that what they do isn’t a crime. They don’t see it as anything wrong. It’s supply and demand. People want this so we’ll give it to them.
I remember one young man said to his Father, “How can you tell me what to do; I make more money than you.” He’s dead now, but his Father is still living. I have an idea for a solution to the problem of violence in our community. If the kids had something to occupy their mind and their time, they wouldn’t be in bad places. We have to show them there’s something else they can do.
It’ll be a hard time, but somebody’s got to do it. Most of these kids are angry. If we don’t give them something to occupy their mind and their time, we will lose them.
​I’m not worried about myself. I’ve lived my life. I’ve got children and grandchildren. They don’t know about the 60’s and the Civil Rights movement. They don’t know how we had to fight to go to school and vote. We already fought these battles. We shouldn’t have to fight them again.
If anything happens to me, the first thing I’m doing is buying a gun. I’m not talking about our streets. I’m talking about our judicial system.
Justice is for those who can afford it. I remember they used to burn flags in the streets and there was no uproar. Now it’s un-American. People are just protesting. It scares people that other people in the world aren’t right. When politicians go around the world, they tell people they need to straighten up their own backyards, and then they can come here.
That’s what we need. We have to straighten up our own backyard.

Frances Bryce
Southern Reality

Living in the south during times when segregation was a way of life, in the small town where I was born, as well as others in both the north and the south.
We learned early how to live in a town where we the People did not include people of color.
One of my experience living in the segregated city of Lauren, S.C. occurred when my high school was leveled by fire. I can’t recall how long the building of the new school took. We were housed in one of the Black churches until the completion of the new school. Soon the seats from the White school were placed in the new school (the ones that was permanent, that we moved to the floor and the new seats were sent to the White school.)
Old uniforms from the same school was given to the Black school (mind you they were not the school colors and the purchase of new uniforms were made available to the White school.
There were charges made after parents were given the choice of attending the Black school or the integrated (former all White school; a number of kids and parents opt to stay in their previous school.” I persuaded my brother to send his kids to the integrated school because I knew the resources would be in the school that was integrated and thus getting the best of what was offered to the education system.
Things have changed there in only one high school in Lauren, since the laws that were already implemented were now honored, not easily, but successfully.
If you enjoy these stories, then please share them with friends, family, or anyone else who loves storytelling. Happy Black History Month.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Fly, Eagles, Fly! (Loretta G., Joe, Hazel, Doris)

All the Philadelphian readers already know the Eagles won the Super Bowl. I'm pretty sure everyone in the world knows the Eagles won the Super Bowl. But unless you live here you probably don't understand the significance of this win. The Super Bowl itself was established in 1967, and the Eagles hadn't won a single Super Bowl since its founding...and they were around since 1933! There were diehard football fans who lived their whole lives without seeing the Eagles win a Super Bowl. In fact, after this win, all sorts of Philadelphians were saying things like "This is for you, Grandma," or "This is for you, Uncle Tony," or saddest of all "This is for you, mom;" I heard that last one from a 24 year old.

The Philadelphia Senior Center is closed for today's Broad Street parade. And even if they hadn't, I'm pretty sure all the older and younger buds will be too busy celebrating this historic win anyway. So here's a collection of some Eagles and football themed stories to get you all in the spirit! We weren't wearing silver and midnight green in these pictures because they were taken last week. And just because we were wearing red and blue didn't mean we were rooting for the Patriots, either! ;)

Loretta Gaither


I Had A Lovely Day Today And The Snow Had Left (Thank God For That.)

I had a lovely day today and the snow had left (thank God for that.) And I had fun sitting with my young teacher and we had so much fun talking with her. And I am so glad that she was chosen to be the teacher of this workshop. God chose her to be the leader of the workshop; it was a good choice. She’s much less nervous too. And I’m glad Benita was my teacher too and she made a good choice for a new teacher. Maybe one day she’ll visit us today.

It was a pleasure to have my son drive me to the center today. He’s my power of attorney and my nurse’s aid and a good son. There must be something wrong with my apartment, because my son’s going around and taking pictures. And the manager came up to inspect the apartment, but my son showed him the pictures so he knew I kept it clean. The manager of the complex where they fix things lied to me more than once. He said he got his work done, but he didn’t fix anything in my place since 2013. And I prayed to get everything sorted out, and it did! Now the manager doesn’t speak to me anymore and he got caught. I hope I’ll get moved to a better apartment soon.

Whenever we write, I hear the music from the other room, while they were doing their dance class. And I loved listening to music while I write so I just dance in my chair.

I was a Black Panther when I was a young girl. Loretta Gorham, yes I was. You can look down at the website at the Black Museum downtown, look up Loretta Gorham. You know Morona Africa? She came out of Munchie Prison and she was a friend of mine. And I was with many more and (I’m laughing because my writer can’t hear so well!) You don’t believe me, look in the Black Museum in Black History.

I put God first and me second. I’m laughing with these people in the class. May God bless the readers.

I have a dead man taking care of me and this is what I get. My late husband Rob Gaither, related to Omar Gaither who went down south with the Sixers, with the Eagles. You always get caught when you try to get wise.

I always laugh with them in the class. And teacher, always be aware of people who laugh. I smile upside down, I’m going downstairs to wait for my ride. Over and out, God bless the readers. Signing off.
Joe Garrison 

All through my life, I have heard about how kids can’t stand school, they want an endless summer holiday.
When I was 10 years old, I also started counting the days before the beginning of the school. I always thought that I had enough holidays and began to look forward to going to school. I usually enjoyed going to school.
Even during summers, I dreamt amused in school at my class with my classmates. I missed them. I became a football fan when I was 17 years old. We used to play “kicking the ball” without running.
There was a show on the radio named “Children’s Hour” which came on Sunday morning during summers. Thy used to sing certain songs about certain seasons of the year. Right around the fall, they would sing this song “Mr. Touchdown USA” and another one as well. The only reason I remembered the other song was because it went like this “You have to be a football hero to get along with girls.” 
Football is the only game I used to think about during autumn. I liked the smell of air and think about the smell of burning leaves.
Just like in spring, I can always identify the season because of the smell of DDT.
I guess autumn is the favorite time of the year and my birthday is also in autumn, October.
I guess even Humpty Dumpty’s favorite time is autumn because he says he had a great fall. Ha Ha Ha. 

Hazel Nurse
Football Addict

Years ago, when my husband and I were working full time jobs, Saturday was always welcome.
Although it meant grocery shopping, house cleaning, and family time, there was a “toss-up” as to who would have time off for fun.  Would it be him or me?
This particular day, I was able to join my card playing club for a few hours.  After which we proceeded to enjoy a fantastic repast at a restaurant.
Returning home at early evening, as I opened the door, the television was blasting.  My three-month-old son, securely wrapped under his dad’s arm, was sound asleep in the easy chair.  A squad of about five empty nursing bottles was on the floor by the chair.
I grabbed my child and let the popular football game continue to traumatize my husband.

Doris Lang
Chance Encounter

Twenty-five years ago, I had a store in Center City. A young woman came into my store.
I said, “You remind me of another girl that came into my store.” She said, “You say that every time. My husband plays for the Eagles and I live across the street. Here is my phone number. Call me when she comes in.”
When she came in, I called her and she came in.
They started to scream. I found out they were roommates in college and didn’t know where they were located after school. They looked nothing alike and could not believe I put them together.

Until next time, E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, February 1, 2018

One Book, One Philadelphia (Nouria)

Last week, Brittanie Sterner, The Free Library of Philadelphia's Director of Programming, came to Best Day laden with books and events calendars. Benita Cooper, our fearless leader, also dropped in to publicize the Free Library and introduce Brittanie to our workshop. Best Day and the Free Library of Philadelphia already have a strong bond, because the Free Library was the very first organization to host a Best Day reading. Our older buds were especially interested in the Free Library's future events, and Brittanie wanted to know how the seniors thought the library could be improved. 
Then she read a few excerpts from Another Brooklyn about the mutability of memory and what people choose to remember. It fit Best Day pretty well, because we know how powerful another person's memories can be; in written or oral form. After that, each older bud read Brittanie one of their most recent stories and we took a senior selfie. And I took a picture of Benita taking a selfie of us, and Benita took a picture of me taking a picture of her taking a selfie of us!


So thanks a billion to Brittanie and the people of the Free Library of Philadelphia for checking us out, sharing their books, and listening to our stories. Brittanie, if you're reading this then you've heard the following story already. But I wanted to share one of the stories that were read aloud but not yet featured on our blog.

Nouria Bennouna 
Two Weeks With An American Family 

Back in 1999, my oldest daughter (Ghada) graduated from highs school in Casablanca, Morocco, and she wanted to come to the United States, Florida for the university. I came with my three other kids to prepare for her arrival. 
One time I was driving with my youngest daughter (Emma) by a church and I saw that they were giving classes. I stopped and began to write the schedule at this time a minister (Gary) came. He told us that they didn’t give English classes (what I thought) but bible classes. Then he asked where we ere from, what language we were speaking. When he knew we spoke French, he was excited because his daughter (Heather) who was the same age as my oldest daughter Ghada, just began a French class in high school. He then called her and asked her to come meet us. She came and after that, he invited us to have dinner in his house, he called his wife Tammy and told her to make dinner. "We have guests" he said. He came with me to the motel to tell my other daughter (Sanaa) and my son (Amine). We had a good time at dinner, he took us to visit every corner of his big and beautiful house. Downstairs, they had attached to the house, a little apartment where his mother-in-law used to live. 
After dinner, he asked me how long I’m going to stay in the US. I said two weeks. Then he said, what do you think about living with us these two weeks in the little apartment. I was very happy and accepted his suggestion. He gave me the keys of his house and we went the same night to the motel to take our stuff. We spent two weeks with them. 
After dinner the 2nd or 3rd day, I asked him, how did he know to trust me at this point, to give me his house keys the same day we met, even though he didn’t know anything about me or my family. He didn’t have any proof of my background. He said that he worked with a lot of people and could know the sincerity of someone after talking with him.
Brittanie also wrote about her visit to Best Day on the Free Library of Philadelphia's blog. You can read her post here.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri