Thursday, May 23, 2019

To Drexel, Part 2 (Joan, Delores, Rochelle, Hazel, Frances, Norman)

We went to Drexel’s Dornsife Center again last week for another storytelling workshop. But before we did that, I bumped into older bud Eugene. He’s moved from storytelling to photography, and he brought over a photo he took of one pf our workshops.


And I also confirmed that he headed the Harlem Atheist Association in the 90’s. I saw that he did in this one book, but I wanted to make sure.




I always get warm fuzzies when the older buds are cited in other books!

Makoto couldn’t make it last’s week Dornsife workshop, but Tenara ran it like a pro. We split up into groups of three again and got to hear everyone’s stories from last week. It ran the gamut from getting lost in Japan, assumed infertility, proposals, a dancing thief, trash-talking your own reflection, and getting a part in a movie. And not only did I convince a few more people to come to this week’s session, but Joyce brought a framed picture she took with the Obamas.


We're back at the Philadelphia Senior Center this week, but this won't be the last we'll see of Makoto or Tenara. We'll be seeing Makoto's show with The Sincerity Project on Saturday, June 8th at 2PM. Also, Tenara herself is interested in a collaboration with Best Day as well. And no wonder, with incredible stories like these:
Joan Bunting
03.14.2018
Visiting Loved Ones

Last Thursday and Friday, I spent with my oldest daughter, Rose. I was very excited because her daughter and her four children would be there. They’re from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I have lots of other great-grandchildren but feel closer to these because before they moved to Johnstown and when they were younger, I used to have to take them to school and the youngest one to daycare and then pick them up. At that time, there was only three of them. I had to iron the clothes they had to wear for school the next day and make sure they were presentable at school.
I enjoy doing it and am glad I was available. My daughter worked and was not able to be there for them and of course, the children’s mother worked also.
My [favorite] television show that I watched with them was “Spongebob Squarepants.”
They have a little brother now. his name is Jcea. He’s not quite two yet and very sweet.
My granddaughter Tauheeda will be soon moving back to Philadelphia, sorry, I mean Chester, PA. At least they’ll be living closer.
I never heard of Johnstown until Tauheeda moved there. It takes about five hours from there to Philadelphia.
I also enjoyed visiting them while in Johnstown, and I know I’ll also enjoy visiting them in Chester.
The only thing I’ll miss now is the long ride from Philly to Chester. It’ll be long enough, but not as long.

Delores Wilson
03.14.2019
Eavesdropper

I started to go down the front stairs when I emerged from the bathroom and noticed that the back room door was now closed. Since the whole neighborhood was changing, several of my brother’s friends, my play brothers, stayed with us during the school days. The guys stayed five days and went home on the weekend. The boys had the largest room in the house – two big beds and two fold-up couches. Their room was near the back stairs that lead to the kitchen. So if the door was open, I would sit on top of the back stairs and converse with them. If it was just my brothers, I would sit on top of the dresser that was inside the room and talk with them while then shined their shoes and ironed their pants and shirts.
My mother always said an eavesdropper never hears anything good.
When I noticed that the door was closed, I did something that I never did before. I overheard one of my play brothers speak about one particular lady. It wasn’t what he said, but it was how he said it. When I emerged into the kitchen, my mom and her friends were at the kitchen table and they all said, “You look flush.”
I couldn’t tell my mom why. Lesson well learned.

Rochelle R. Tynes 
10.18.2018 
No Heat Ain’t Funny 

Well when it first got cold, I turned the heat on. It was nice and toasty warm. I turned the heat off the next morning and went about doing my household chores, took a short walk, ate and finally got ready for bed. I turned the heater on and around 4 am turned it off because I was too warm. When I got up yesterday (the 16th) the heater would not come on. I called the Gas Company’s Parts and Labor Program and was given an October 24th appointment. Hopefully they can repair the problem. In the meantime, I have either a burner on to give the house hat in the daytime and the oven on low all night. I really don’t want to see this incoming gas bill!
But I have to pay for the heat or freeze, maybe freeze isn’t right but be cold and achy because of the arthritis. In addition to the cold and coming gas bill I’m worried that I will have to buy a new heater. I’m telling myself that it’s probably time because the heater is forty-two years old and I’m thanking the Lord that it’s lasted this long and if I have to get a new, I’m sure he will make a way for me to do so because being cold – putting on layers of extra clothes that must be removed for bathroom purposes really ain’t funny.

Hazel Nurse 
10.25.2018 
A Dinner Theater Question 

After a trip to the “Light and Sound Theater” in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I will always remember this experience. With a huge cast of professional actors and actresses and a never-ending backdrop of exquisite scenery, this was entertainment at its best.
Some of the 30 fellow travelers on the bus were happy to speak about this Pennsylvania Dutch country. However, I still have a few unanswered questions. Following the show, we stopped at the “Good and Plenty” restaurant. This family style eatery seated our group at a long table where we helped ourselves from large bowls and platters of delicious dinner foods.
Oddly enough, the “Shoo Fly Pie” was untouched! Why? Well, I alone tasted a small slice! Can you help me? What is the history of Shoo Fly Pie?? Why was it shunned? 


Frances H. Bryce, 
February 21, 2019
Stolen Stash

My mother saved her extra money she made doing domestic work, which included washing and ironing for families. She put her stash under the linoleum rug in the living room. This money was used to buy us Easter outfits and back to school clothes that we had previously outgrown the past year.
Our small town had few places to purchase quality clothes and lots of shops. This was the shopping center that our small town visited.
My mom and two of her friends tried a taxi to take them to the shopping trip when the cab arrived she grabbed her bag and went into the living room to get her money. She raised the gray incision to get the money. She didn’t see her money. She looked to see if the money had stuck to the underside, nothing was there. Her face showed the shock and disappointment that was impossible to forget, the money was gone.
She went out to tell the driver and her friend that she would not be going that day. Money she had earned during domestic work and laundry for families was stolen and she knew who had done this terrible deed.

Norman Cain 
7.30.2018 
Youth Team Sports Today and Yesterday 

In my youth, I was a team sport fanatic: football, baseball, track, tennis, golf, and especially basketball consumed much of my time as well as the time of my friends. 
We would play sports from early dawn to beyond dusk, on streets, playgrounds, and parks. 
Some of us were good enough and fortunate enough to be members of junior and varsity Junior High and especially High School teams, which was quite a feat because there were only 16 public high schools and fewer middle schools during the 50’s and 60’s. Today, there are at least 65 to 70 or more charter High Schools that held league competitions. In most cases, varsity High School athletes participated in these leagues.
While I did not make my High School basketball team , I played on a YMCA basketball team that consisted of members of Junior High School Penn Relay 440 championship and two outstanding football players. One was an all-Delaware Valley first team and the other a member of the Baltimore Colts. Often times we played against teams that were actual complete High School teams of merit.
During the 50’s and 60’s, the cost to see professional and college athletic events were not as astronomical as they are now. Things are different today. 
Schools in Philadelphia – most having athletic teams. Back in the day, many promising athletes did not make school teams because high schools may have had upwards to 2,000 or more students. However, athletes did not have the opportunity (know what their level was) to participate at a competitive levels, because almost each neighborhood had a recreation center and playground. 
There are fewer recreation centers and playgrounds. Video games have taken place over creative recreation and the joy of playing as a team. I feel sorry for the youth of today who have athletic interest.

There's never a bad time or place to tell a story, so share an older bud’s story through http://bitly.com/shareastorytoday 
I've posted stories about about targets, guns, potatoes, and one about the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Or if you'd like to contribute to our 10th Anniversary celebration, then donate at
http://bestdayofmylifesofar.org/donate/
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, May 16, 2019

To Drexel, Part 1 (Delores, Jose, Rochelle, and Norman)

Last week’s session was a little different, because Best Day went to Drexel! We teamed up with their Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, FringeArts and Philadelphian performance artist Makoto Hirano. And the best part is, we got a new regular. Older bud Joyce came to our workshop and planned to come back, but things got a little busy for her. So imagine my joy when she found Rochelle and me right before we left for The Dornsife Center. After some expert navigation from Rochelle and nervousness from me, we arrive at the workshop and saw Delores, José, Norman and Victoria (another former Best Day Facilitator.)

We spent the day working with local artist Makoto Hirano, who was inspired by  his idea with the Sincerity Project and the many twists and turns his life took. We did a couple of exercises involving emotionally charged memories, and then dramatized each others’ stories. During one of the exercises, where we were asked to identify objects in the room, Rochelle and a new older bud named George had a lengthy discussion about exactly what types of pipes and plugs were being used in the building, so we got to learn a bit about electrical engineering, and how widely studied it used to be, that way. We also found out that Joyce started working as a Democratic campaign manager while recovering from chemotherapy, and got so good at it that she met President Obama...five times!


I didn't get the chance to hear everyone's stories from that day, but everyone there was excited to meet each other the following week. So I'll try to get some new stories to put on this page then. In the meantime, how about a few older stories from the folks who went to Drexel?





Delores Wilson
03.07.2019
Celebrity in the Mist

The patient and I hit it off in a good way. I liked her immediately and wondered, where did I know her from? I also noticed she was observing me while I was taking her vital signs. She asked me if I danced. My reply was responding, “Yes, for fun!”
As I was evaluating her she looked like a dancer herself and I wondered where did I know her from? She looked so familiar. After two days, I finally asked her where did I know her from?
She evaded the question and asked me quietly if I liked jazz. With a resounding, “Yes” I replied. Then she said Arthur Prysock will be [her guest] and she wanted me to meet him. True to her word, her call light came on in her room and there he was. I had just been to one of his concerts a few weeks prior. I got a chance to tell him how much I enjoyed his concert and was looking forward to the next one.
In return, he gave me an autographed copy of his latest album. The next day, she was discharged (the patient that is). I asked one of my friends who went to Juilliard in New York and he said she was Josephine Baker.


Jose Dominguez
09.21.2019
Some Examples of Pardons in My Life

When I do something against my conscience, there are options: I can continue as if nothing happened, or I can do something about it. But what to do about it. If I damaged the other person, I will have to ask for pardon. But a simple word “pardon” is not enough. I think I will have to recognize my fault with my excuses face to face and try to repair the damage. Nevertheless, life is not so simple. I will write some situations that I experienced related with pardons.
My first encounter with asking for pardon was when I was 6 years old and I was attending a Catechism class with a very gentle, but strict old maid named Snort Claudia. She was instructing me on the basics of Catholicism because my mother, who was a convinced religious person, wanted for us to be good Catholics. After finishing my studies, I will be prepared to submit my first verbal confession to a priest and after the priest’s pardon, I will be ready for my first communion. By that, I will say it means to have the soul clean to receive the body of Christ. Now I have that clear image, but at my short age of 6, I thought that it was like going to school, receive a class and memorize to pass a test because I didn’t want problems with my teacher, my parents, or with God. Imagine. I don’t know where my moral conscious was before because I didn’t understand how the 10 Commandments applied to my insipid and tentative infancy. Nevertheless, I acknowledged wrongdoing trying to put on words some of my deviant behaviors or trying to imagine myself doing wrong things often, offending God, my parents, and society and later asking for pardon. Pardon of what? Well, I learned also some general wrongdoings that helped me to cover the procedure in my infantile language. I learned to say: “I had had dirty thoughts,” “I have said dirty words,” “I have lied,” “I have been lazy,” etc. Perhaps, I convinced the priest of my sins and mostly of my repentance that solemnly gave the absolution since then, I have several tasks in my life.
What does my conscience say?
Do I repent of my wrongdoings?
If I do, do I have the courage to face the victim of my actions?
Have I made the real repair to the victim of my conduct?


Chattanooga Mishap
Rochelle R. Tynes
01.08.2019

My only experience with Tennessee was when I went up to a sightseeing point up in Chattanooga. I was on the bus, on the floor huddled up against the wall on the passenger’s side praying, “Lord, if this is going to be the end, just make it quick. I don’t want to see it coming. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in bed getting my diapers changed.”
And the driver wasn’t even supposed to be going up that way. What she was supposed to do was to drive us to this old railway station so we could ride the train to the top. But she got on the wrong road and kept driving up very slowly, because you can’t go over 20. The roads were very steep and very narrow. I don’t know what made her stop, but she started driving down and people who lived up there were driving up and going up to their homes.
Still, she was a good driver even up those mountain roads. If I had too I’d ride with her again; but not up the mountain!


Norman Cain 
4.12.2018 
Dornsife Center 

Drexel University’s Dornsife Center, located at 36th and Spring Garden Street, is a 3-building campus that stands on a meticulously manicured carpet of white snow in the winter and the ultimate of green grass during the summers and spring, a bed of the fall found on the carpet of multi hued leaves that fall from the nearby streets. The western building serves as a middle school during the day and as a classroom for the side-by-side program which is a program that integrates Drexel students with the community folk. The students of course pay and receive credit, while the community students receive free tuition and books.
The center building houses classrooms among them: Recording Studio, Kitchen for Culinary Students, Medical Center and rooms for a choir, writers workshop, lectures, and many other programs including programs with certifications, writing, dances, and counseling.
The unique thing about the Dornsife Center is that its patronage is a community of interracial and intergenerational folk who co-exist in harmony. 


There's never a bad time or place to tell a story, so share an older bud’s story through http://bitly.com/shareastorytoday 
I've posted stories about about targets, guns, potatoes, and one about the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Or if you'd like to contribute to our 10th Anniversary celebration, then donate at
http://bestdayofmylifesofar.org/donate/

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Spring Cleaning, Part 2 (Dolores)

Last week during first Thursday, I read the story Dolores Malone wrote about slang books. Everyone loved hearing that blast from the past and Norman said that he was good friends with Dolores M. In fact, he was still in touch with her sister Ruth, the woman who was supposed to read “some of the most intriguing questions and responses.” With any luck, I’ll be posting those questions and answers on this very site.
 
 
Rochelle was reminded of another story Dolores M. wrote about how she “learned” where babies came from. Not too long after that, all of us at Best Day got to talking, and both Rochelle and Frances talked about finding their old ration books and other antiquities while doing their spring cleaning.
 
 
And what better place for a Throwback Thursday than a organization devoted to sharing its members’ stories that meets on Thursdays?
 

For now, enjoy this throwback story from Dolores herself.

Dolores Malone
4.9.2015
An Idealistic Dream Re: Corporal Punishment

In the United States, it is legal for parents to hit their children. A mother can, for example, get away with smacking her 4-year-old son across the bottom for being disobedient. As long as her child remains free of injuries, she can rest assured that the law is on her side. Yet that very mother can be arrested for spanking a stranger’s child. Why is it, then, that some laws exist in the United States to protect children from corporal punishment outside of parental authority, but none for the most part within it, except if it rises to the level of child abuse.
Many nations ban corporal punishment, such as striking, kicking, punching or using an object to discipline a child. Consequently, I dream of an ideal world – one in which we seniors rise up against the legal use of corporal punishment in the United States. I envision us advocating for laws similar to other countries. These laws would support the right of children HERE to never be subjected to any discipline intended to cause pain or discomfort no matter who would deliver such discipline.
Finally, I foresee seniors torpedoing outdated justification for spanking. I also picture seniors – just as some of us did and still do for black women and gays –protesting against unreasonable treatment of children. I envision us chanting out with “spare the rod, spoil the child,” and in with “spare the rod, respect the child.” 
So, I have a dream and an idealistic one, perhaps – that one day the United States, with the advocacy of seniors, bans corporal punishment. That day, if realized in my lifetime, would rank among the best ones of my life.


Celebrate Throwback Thursday with us by sharing an older bud’s story through http://bitly.com/shareastorytoday 
I've posted a throwback story about about targets, one about guns, one about potatoes, and one about the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Or if you'd like to contribute to our 10th Anniversary celebration, then donate at
http://bestdayofmylifesofar.org/donate/
 
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Spring Cleaning (Dolores and Frances)

The other day, I went through my phone and noticed some old screenshots I took of some Best Day stories from our Dropbox. I’m the kind of person who loves to take lots of pictures; I have 3,000 from a ten day trip to Japan! I knew I took screenshots for a reason, but I took them so long ago that I actually forgot the reason. Even at home, my computer is filled with folders called “Why Do I Have All these Pictures of Tarzan” or “Why Do I Have So Many Pictures of the Rival Band from Jem and the Holograms?”

Here’s the first story I re-discovered:

Dolores Malone
4.23.2015
Way, Way Back Before Online Social Media

Way, way back before there was MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, there was “The Slang Book.” Yes, the Slang Book was social media of its time. In the impoverished North Philadelphia, largely African American neighborhood where I grew up, it was the sine qua non of socialization for predominantly female teenagers of junior high school age. But some boys and high school students also indulged in slang books. Unlike the private nature of diaries and journals, the slang book allowed participants to share their opinion on current information related to such topics as entertainment and romance. Some subjects considered taboo by adults – related only to what teenagers felt were relevant.
All a team needed to create a slang book were a notebook, a pen, and lots of imagination. On the first page, the book’s creator identified herself and the book’s name; e.g., “Slang Book” by “So and So.” The next two facing pages consisted of a sign-in sheet. On it teens entered personal identifying information about themselves, just as is required of most online social media websites. This information included name, address, code, phone #, and age. (Hardly anyone worried about privacy in those days.) The code was analogous to today’s “username” or online name. The remaining pages were filled with questions to be answered by the participants.
As it happens, I recently discovered an old slang book that I created in 1957. I intend to scan each of its pages for my grandchildren to read, especially for my granddaughter, who is now 15 – the same age I was when I created the slang book. 
Some of the most intriguing question and responses in the slang book of yesterday. 
Ruth will now read some of the most intriguing questions and responses in the slang book.

Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a Ruth in Best Day that day, so we never got those questions and answers. Also, Googling “The Slang Book” just leads to books about slang. Dolores passed away in 2018, and I never knew what came of her slang books. Interestingly enough, Frances’ story is about losing an entirely different type of book.

Frances Bryce
6.18.2015
What Is Old Is New Again/Comic Relief

I fondly remember reading comic books in my childhood. Dick Tracey was one of my favorite. He had a girlfriend Tess who later became his wife. They had an adopted son Junior Tracey and later a daughter Bonnie Braid who was born in the back of the squad car in 1951.
Dick Tracey used his two way wrist watch to communicate with his partner Sam Catcher. Now, we have an iWatch, which shows that long before Apple invented the iWatch, Chester who wrote the story, had the technology in mind. I have been reminded that most things are not new, but are improved on things before.
Who can forget B.O. Plenty and his wife Gravel Gertie, who gave birth to a beautiful daughter – Sparkle Plenty. Now, comic books are priceless from the early editions. I think of all the treasures that my mom trashed after telling me and my siblings to pick up our comic books or they would be gone if she had to pick them up, if only we knew the value of all the comic books that we owned and had no sense of how valuable they would be later.
Today, I still enjoy some of the daily comic strips printed daily in the newspaper, but they do not evoke the memories of Dick Tracey, or Archie, Betty, Veronica and Judd Head!

 
If you or an older bud come across some cool stories while cleaning and tidying up, share them through http://bitly.com/shareastorytoday 
I've found plenty of hidden gems myself throughout the year. One about targets, one about guns, one about potatoes, and one about the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Or if you'd like to contribute to our 10th Anniversary celebration, then donate at
http://bestdayofmylifesofar.org/donate/
Curated by Caitlin Cieri