Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Art of PSC (Loretta G.)

There’s a lot of crossover at the Philadelphia Senior Center. I can’t think of a single writer for Best Day who isn’t in at least one other class. I already knew that Mike Tsuei was in an art class, but I only just found out that his art’s on display! Here we have a landscape, along with a portrait of the artist.


This is something called an “encaustic painting,” which reminds me of a waxy collage.

And these two are papier-mâché sculptures. The shoes are traditionally worn at Japanese weddings.

Mike also got his portrait done by Yeung Choi, an older bud who hangs out outside Best Day.

He also mentioned that Linda Berry contributed some art as well. You might remember her from this post where she told the story of the Bird of Seven Colors. Linda’s not officially a Best Day writer, but we have talked about her illustrating some of our stories before so it makes sense to show off her work.

Not gonna lie, I’d love to hang that map of Stone Harbor on my wall. And since this post celebrates all kinds of arts, here’s our weekly batch of storytelling.

Loretta Gaither
Art Class

I drew City Hall and a car for drawing class. I cannot find the picture of a landscape that I drew last week. I enjoy my art classes at the Phila Senior Center.
I let the folks at my senior residence know that I have a surveillance camera like them. PCA came to my apartment to see if repairs are needed. The administration is peeved with me for notifying Harrisburg about violations in my apartment. I’m happy that we still have the writing class and of course, I miss Benita.
I am able to read and write but a physical disability prevents me from doing so.
Thank God I’ve come a long way. Now, I walk away from trouble.
I received a thank you note from Irma Bennet, who’s in a nursing home. I sent her a card and she appreciated my concerns. We have birthdays coming up in December 2016. Thank you Neha for writing for me. I love being in the writing class.
And our older bud Eugene has brought in (and pinned up) business cards for his book Messenger Blues.

This exhibit will be up for two to three months, so if you’re ever at Broad and South, pop in and see Mike and Linda’s art. And congratulations on the exhibit, Mike and Linda. Best Day, represent!
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Memorial Day (Hattie and Ruth A.)

The weather's starting to get consistently warm, and Memorial Day is right around the corner. That means that everyone's got one thing on their mind and one thing only: the beach. All my friends and co-workers are either talking about hitting the shore this Memorial Day weekend or lamenting that they don't know a single person with a beach house. During this time when families, friends, and families of choice head to the shore en masse, it's important to remember your older buds and family members too. When I was little, I used to go down to Rehoboth Beach every year, but one of the most memorable trips was the time we brought my Gigi and Poppop with me. We went to one of those seafood restaurants with outdoor seating right next to the harbor, and even though it was bright and sunny we got caught in a blustering sun shower. We were getting soaked to the bone, but we all stayed outside and finished our meal because "it's just water." That was one of my happiest memories with Gigi.

So don't forget to bring your older buds with you on vacation. You'll make some incredible memories and get some wonderful new stories out of it. And if you want a little reading material for the drive down to the shore, we've got you covered.

Hattie Ellerbe
It’s So Good To Be Back
It has been a little over a year since the passing of my youngest son, Keith Lee Ellerbe. My daughter Karen and I are taking one day at a time and still trying to cope. We are surrounded by the love of so many. We still get calls and kind thoughts frequently. Karen was recently chosen to be a deacon at her church, Child’s Memorial Baptist Church. She will have to train for a year before she is officially ordained. I am so happy for her. Her pastor is the Rev. Dale L. Crawley. I am so happy to be back, Benita!!! I am glad to hear we are expecting a “May Baby”… 

Ruth Alsop
Being a grandmother of seven grandchildren is very exciting. There are three granddaughters and four grandsons. Included in those seven are two sets of twins. Twins have always been an intricate part of my life. My first best friends were twins – Christine and Eileen. We became friends when I was thirteen years of age. We remain friends today. Then there is Jeanette and Jeanelle, we call each other sisters. We have been close friends since I was eighteen years of age and they were sixteen. We remain very close are very influential in each other’s lives and families. Last but not least are Jayce and Joan. They were my coworkers for ten years. We remained friends until 2008 when I retired. Never expected in my life to have twins as grandchildren. How exciting!

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mother’s Day (Frances, Hazel, Loretta D.)

Good afternoon everyone. I hope you all had a Happy Mother’s Day this week. My mom had to work that morning, and I had an event to go to later that afternoon, but we managed to squeeze in some time together. In honor of this past Mother’s Day, I thought it’d be fun to go through the vaults and see what was written during Mothers’ Days past.

Frances Bryce 
Mother’s Day 
The Friday before Mother’s Day, I had the strong feeling that my daughter was going to surprise me with a visit, she lives in California. Nothing she had said led me to this innate feeling, maybe because I had not gotten a card by Saturday which was unusual and no flowers had arrived. 
Sunday came, no daughter or flowers arrived. I received a call wanting to know if the flowers arrived. We were both disappointed. She (my daughter) was very upset that she had been assured that the deliver was to have been made by Saturday. 
The day was not lost, my lifetime friend’s son and his wife are like my biological 
children, had a present for me, as well as their mom. We decided not to go out for dinner on Mother’s Day. One of the busiest times for Mom’s to eat out and not get the best of services. 
I learned that sometimes strong feeling does not always come to fruition.

Hazel Nurse 
Mother’s Best Day 
They say that truth is stranger than fiction. Maybe that is why I look forward to this wonderful class each Thursday. 
It is such a privilege to share our joys, concerns, and experiences, not only with 
senior members, but also with Caitlin, Donnell and many other collegiate friends who volunteer their services too. 
Several years ago, with the approaching Mother’s Day, my husband and I planned a lavish Sunday for my mother. First and foremost was a lavish breakfast followed by a church service and later a dinner at a fine restaurant with our family members. 
However, Mom arrived early and when my husband said, “Mrs. Palmer, this is your day! What would you like to do?” She replied, “Alvin, I’d like to go fishing!” We packed a lunch and spend the entire day with her fishing at Grist Mill. She caught a ton of fish too.
Loretta Dotson 
Some thoughts to ponder. Is there life on other planets? Have or has aliens landed? I really don’t know if there are little green men or big pink ladies or purple pampered children or could they be invisible? Wouldn’t it be amazing if they do exist here and could transform to look and are like us? Does your floor creak in the middle of the night? Do your lights flicker? Does your door bell ring and no one is there? Who turned off the T.V.? Who put the dish cloth in the refrigerator? Is your pipe missing? 
Is your ice cream slowly disappearing? Maybe the kids are telling the truth and they did not touch your stuff. If not them, then who? 
E.T. and family perhaps.

I hope you enjoyed the reads, and I hope you all have several Happy Mothers’ Days for years to come.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Remember Me (Arthur, Jamie, Miss Mo, Gloria, Aileen, Amber, Gogo, Bernice, Helen, Hattie)

I watched Disney Pixar’s Coco for the first time a few weeks ago, and it’s a surprisingly good analogy for Best Day. The main theme of the story is the importance of family and passing down their stories, but the most important characters in the film are the grandparents, great-grandparents, and the great-great grandparents in the Land of the Dead.

The premise is that the deceased live in the Land of the Dead, a world not unlike ours. As long as the living have an ofrenda with a picture of the deceased, they can visit on The Day of the Dead, but if nobody alive remembers them they die for good. There’s one scene that takes place in a shanty town where spirits with no ofrendas live. A dying spirit asks another resident to sing his favorite song before he passes away, and the young protagonist Miguel is shocked to see him fade away.
"Wait, what happened?"
"He's been forgotten. When there's no one left in the living world who remembers you, you disappear from this world. We call it 'The Final Death.'"
"Where did he go?"
"No one knows."
"But I've met him. I could remember him when I go back."
"No, it doesn't work like that, chamaco. Our memories, they have to be passed down by those who knew us in life, in the stories they tell about us. But there's no one left alive to pass down Chiché's stories."
As someone whose mission is to preserve the stories of our older buds, that scene hit hard. Other moments in the film reminded me of Best Day as well: the single mother who worked hard to save her children from poverty, the father who’s desperately trying to find his daughter, the grandmother whose children don't actually listen to her, the people living in projects who only have each other, the list goes on. It's a reminder of how important it is to listen to the people around really listen and engage get them talking to you. In honor of that, I'd like to make this post in honor of our older buds who have passed on. They may be gone, but they're not forgotten.

Thank you for reading, and let someone talk to you today.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Theatre (Mo and Loretta G.)

Back in 2012, I first found out about Best Day from my internship at Philadelphia Young Playwrights. My co-worker Donnell went to their sessions and asked if I had wanted to join him. The first day I went, I’d fallen in love with the group, and I also wrote for Joe for the very first time. A few years later, I convinced Philadelphia Young Playwrights to perform their Young Voices Monologues at the senior center. But the Philadelphia Senior Center made even more theatre connections since then.

You may remember me mentioning a play that Nouria was in back in December. Not too long after that, I saw this poster for Heartfield Home back in March. I missed both of these shows due to work, but I did bump into one of the Wilma’s employees on my way out last week. It’s good to see one of Philadelphia’s prized theatres getting involved with our humble senior center.

Mo McCooper
The Earl Theatre
One of the great places my Dad took me to was the Earl Theatre somewhere in the main business section of Phila.
There was a movie and a live musical stage show.
Pearl Bailey was a star vocalist then and “The Burma Road” may have been the movie. That was a World War II movie probably meant for adults, but I enjoyed it and asked Dad questions later.
Mom wasn’t well enough to share these adventures but she loved hearing about them later.
Pearl Bailey performed all over the world as did her husband, drummer Louie Bellson who was from England and was considered #3 in the world at the time. Pearl was from Philadelphia.
Trips to the circus, the zoo, and the sportsman’s show were also taken.
Loretta Gaither
Love to Dance
Today I heard the music coming from down the hall. I was drawn to where it came from and I went down to see as I danced. My favorite thing is dancing. A short time I danced, then return to the writing class.
My son, Eric, takes good care of me. I am able to take care of myself but because of arthritis, he helped me a lot.
I love the way Neha and Frances talk. And there is a tree up down the street and I love it the way it stood there.
I come in the writing class riding a bus to keep me motivated. I like to have fun in the center with everybody.
Open Community Center, I go there and some students from Drexel University come there for volunteering and its good that they remember me whenever I go there. 

I wonder if I could arrange a collaboration...
Curated by Caitlin Cieri