Thursday, February 21, 2019

Benita’s Valentines (Elliott and Eleanor)

Valentine’s Day is a day to show your love for the people in your life, but it’s also a day to reach out to the underrepresented. St. Valentine himself was a champion of those persecuted by Ancient Rome. So it only made sense for our older buds to get lots and lots of Valentines last week.

Our fearless leader Benita has two school-age boys right now, and the youngest one, Kian, made Valentines along with the rest of his class. His teacher gave them to Benita to give to the older storytellers of PSC, and she surprised us with a visit last week. Our older buds were tickled pink (and every other color on those Valentines) to see her, and she even got to meet older bud Ann for the first time. We also made sure to take lots of pictures to send to the kids as a thank you.

The thing about Benita is that she doesn’t know how much she means to us at Best Day; especially at PSC. When she asked if she could come in, she worried that she’d be distracting us from our writing. But we assured her that it’s never a distraction to see her! After the workshop, she talked to older bud Elliot, who talked about how much she taught him. She said that she was no teacher, but that the older buds were the real teachers. But Best Day is a collaborative effort. Everyone is here for each other here, no matter what their age.

So Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Benita. Your love is what keeps Best Day strong! I hope you enjoy this week’s stories.

Elliot Doomes
Kids Can Be Funny

It was funny, kids are always funny. I don't care what they do or how they do it, kids are always funny. Kids will keep you laughing and the funniest part is that kids don't know they are funny. I remember one time I was talking to my granddaughter. She asked me, "Pop-pop, do mice like cheese?" And I said, "Yes." So she took out a bunch of cheese and started putting it behind the appliances for the mice. I caught her and I asked, "What are you doing?" It was the funniest thing. She thought mice were cute and wanted them to be happy. But when I asked her, "Why?" she looked up at me and said, "I don't know." And she looked so sad when she said it too. Those are moments that I will treasure forever. And when kids are quiet, you really got to look for them because you know they up to something. My daughter is a rambunctious, energetic kid so when she's quiet, I know she's up to no good. One day, she was quiet and I went into the kitchen. She went into the cabinet, opened the baking soda, and had it all over her hair and her face. I don't know how she got into the baking soda, but that's why you put things up on the shelf. Kid's will find things you can't. I'm just glad it wasn't anything toxic. I had to sneak out of the house if I wanted to do something on my own. As soon as she'd see me with my hat and coat, she'd go please and be right at the door waiting for me with her hat and coat. You know what I used to wake up to every morning? She'd be sitting on my bed singing the words to the theme song to "Captain Noah." I never thought she'd remember that but she knew all the words and what time it came on. Kids are so smart you know that? Any time you say, "Don't do this." Guess what they're going to do? Their curiosity level is very, very, high. 

Eleanor Kazdan

My mother had always been eccentric and difficult. You might say she marched to a different drummer. She started running at about age 47 and became a marathon runner, completing 37 marathons up to age 80. Around the time my mother was 80, she began to act even more strangely than normal. Once she picked me up at the subway station and didn't seem to know the payback to her house. It was a terrifying drive. Another time, while crossing the street, she didn't understand the walk signals. Then there was the day of her granddaughter's bat mitzvah. By that time we knew that my mother's mind was failing. I had reminded my father to make sure she had suitable clothes to wear that morning. When we came to pick her up, she came downstairs dressed in a jogging suit. Frantically, I went up to her bedroom to round up some party clothes. I hadn't set foot in that bedroom for years. To my shock, it was in complete disarray with pies of clothes, plastic bags, and old papers covering the floor. By the grace of God, I was able to find nice dress and a pair of shoes in the clutter under the bed. After much prodding, my parents moved to a seniors apartment complex. Six months later, my father suddenly died and my mother moved to an sister living facility. About 2 weeks after my father died, my mother called name and said, "Eleanor, do you remember this old boyfriend I used to have called Aaron Kazdan?" I felt a knife in my stomach, "Mom, Aaron was your husband for 60 years." Although my mother barely remembered my father, she thrived at the facility. She had a boyfriend. They sat in the lobby for hours holding hands and believed they were married. One day her boyfriend disappeared. He had gone to a nursing home. As terrible as my mother's decline was, it gave me a chance to like her a little more. Dementia had smoothed out her rough edges and made her a sweet person.

Share your love for the older buds in your life by submitting their stories here: 
And if you need a refresher on how to submit stories to “Joy Starts Here,” check out this handy-dandy link:
Happy reading, and stay warm!

Curated by Caitlin Cieri