Two weeks ago, we lost one of our most influential older buds: Mei Chiu.
Some of you already know about Mei, but if you’re new to Best Day then Mei was the grandmother of our fearless leader Benita. She was also the reason why Best Day was founded in the first place. Over a decade ago, Benita and Mei had a long and in-depth phone conversation all about Mei’s childhood. One story in particular was about a widowed friend of Mei’s mother became so obsessed with Mei that she took her to raise as her own. When Benita asked how Mei’s own children reacted to that story, Mei said, "No one knows any of this. No one knows because no one asks."
"I realized it was my responsibility to record her stories,” Benita said, “Somehow. No matter how imperfectly."
Benita had more and more conversations, and that led Benita to wonder about all the other seniors of Philadelphia. That inspired her to start a small six-week workshop in the basement of the Philadelphia Senior Center that exploded into a nation-wide storytelling phenomenon.
I only got to meet Mei once over Skype, and she was just as vibrant as her stories. I also remember her giving Benita some crafts from China to share with the people of Best Day. Unfortunately, she lived in Seattle and I never had the opportunity to go there, so that was the only time I got to talk to her.
Benita and her friends wrote some lovely posts about Mei’s passing, which you can read here:
And you can read all the stories about Mei—as well as stories written by Mei—here:
We’ll miss you, Mei. You really embodied the spirit of The Best Day of My Life (So Far), or as you called it in Cantonese, Day Day Good.