Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Moth (José and Ann)

Many of the older buds of Best Day have a talent for both writing stories and reciting them to an audience. I’ve seen this before at our La Salle event, but every so often an older bud will tell a story that’s so funny, unique or powerful that I want to hear them tell it on The Moth. If you don’t know what The Moth is, it’s a live stage show where participants are given a theme and asked to tell a five-minute story from their own lives that fits the theme. You can listen to it on public radio, or any podcast streaming site, or you can watch their videos here.

After hearing José’s story about the time he passed his oral exam on a subject he didn’t study, I knew it would be absolutely perfect for the Moth. I told José about the story slams, and he seemed interested. So I went to the World Cafe where The Moth was being hosted a few hours early to guarantee tickets. I waited for José to come, and not only did he come, but so did Ann! She didn’t go onstage that night. José did, and even though he was a little nervous, he killed it. He fleshed out the story, he got everybody in the audience laughing, and he got some of the highest scores of the night! People came up to him afterward to tell him how much they loved his story, and even the host referred it later that night.

The Moth is such a great outlet for people to share their stories, and since they've teamed up with the AARP (just like us!) it only feels right to get as many older buds involved in this show as I can. I'll keep you all updated the next time one of our regular writers goes on stage. Wish us luck!
Jose Dominguez
The Day Mary Came Into My Life

To meet girls when I was a bachelor was very important, so I accepted an invitation of a friend of mine. She was hosting a little party in her house, so I went. Not too many people were present and I scanned the girls in the room. I decided to dance with Maria. From the beginning, she surprised me because of her uniqueness. She was so full of energy and her will of power, simplicity, and joy of life. So I spent the rest of the party with her and at the end, before leaving, I said to my friend, the owner of the house, if I see that girl again, I will marry her. And I saw her again.

Ann Von Dehsen
Special Children

I taught a preschool class for children with various disabilities. Though it was a while ago, there are many children I will never forget. Here are a couple of those stories.

Darren Stokes – Darren was a very tiny 3-year old who suffered from various developmental delays. What he lacked in stature, he made up for with a booming voice. We would do a morning circle and the kids would all take a turn to say their names. When we got to Darren, he would say, “Call me Mr. Stokes!” The other kids did in fact call him “Mr. Stokes.” On the first day of spring, I brought in some pussy willows. Mr. Stokes insisted on calling them duke-a-das. I told him I was pretty sure they’re called pussy willows to which Darren replied, “You can call them pussy willows, but I call them duke-a-das.” And to this day, whenever I see pussy willows, I always think of Mr. Stokes and the duke-a-das!

Another child, Matty, was quite autistic with limited language and would often withdraw from the group. The staff all worked on brining him back to the group and encouraged participation. One day, it was snowing, and there was Matty with his head against the window vacantly staring out. I went over and took his hand trying to pull him back to the group. He stopped dead, squeezed my hand and pulled me back to the window – pushing me to sit down. Then he tapped on the window, whispered the word “snow” and put his head on my shoulder. Needless to say, I stayed until he was ready to get up. Thank you Matty for teaching me to stop and see the snowflakes!

Until next time, to quote The Moth, we hope you have a story-worthy week.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri