Thursday, May 30, 2019

It's the Arts (Philip, Ann, and Iris)

There's always something to do at the Philadelphia Senior Center, especially for members of Best Day. On May 30th, some of our older buds will be singing in a concert, so some of us will be going to support them. Just this past week, older bud Mike Tsuei came back with a story...and informed us that he was part of an art exhibition downstairs! Not too long after Best Day, they opened the gallery to its ember and had a reception full of delicious snacks. You can see Mike's art and the gallery opening below:

And Best Day itself was packed to the gills! We had no fewer than ten older buds sharing stories last week. Not everybody got to write the whole story--this is always a risk when older buds come late--so some people had to finish their stories aloud. Also, the stories were so engaging that they sparked conversations before the story even finished! The downside is that we only have the room for an hour, and some of our writers have to leave early. That means as interesting as the conversations are, I have to cut them short to make sure everyone gets to read. It’s a downside to larger groups, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We didn't have time for our usual senior selfies, but we'll always have time to share our stories:

Philip Pan
April 18, 2019
A Lovely and Good Woman

There was a beautiful girl. She was very smart and kindly. When she was 17 years old, she married her neighbor. They didn’t have children. Her mother in law was blind. [In] not so long, her husband left her in order to go to a foreign country for school. She would take care of her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law was old, she couldn’t do anything. Sometimes she would make money for her husband’s tuition and he married another woman but she didn’t know. After many years, this lady was old and her mother-in-law died. Her husband didn’t do anything for them. When this woman was very sick, nobody took care. When this woman dies, her own brother cared for her.

Ann Von Dehsen
May 5, 2019
Do I Know You?
A long time ago when I was a college student walking along the sidewalks of Boston, I saw a man in the distance coming towards me. In my head, I was saying, “Oh there’s… there’s… there’s…” but I couldn’t think of his name or how I knew him. It seemed like he was someone from my past, but being only 20, I didn’t have much of a past. But I was sure I knew him and that it was really good to see him again, whoever he was. Meanwhile, he apparently was going through the same mental head game as we got closer to each other establishing eye contact and smiling and almost going into a slow-motion movie scene embrace. Instead, he said very hesitantly, “It’s good to see you again?” To which I replied, “You too?” Then almost at the same time, we said, “Sorry, I was sure I knew you.”
Then we spent several minutes trying to establish some connection – our names, where we grew up, where we went to school, friends names, relatives names, groups we may have been a part of in the past. Nothing. And it wasn’t that we reminded each other of someone we currently knew. We truly believed we knew each other at some point but maybe just not in this lifetime. Though we enjoyed this strange reunion, there was no plan to see each other again, but we hugged and wished each other the happiness in this life that we may have shared in a past life. I smiled as I walked away thinking, “It sure was nice to see him again, whoever he was!”

Iris Wildflower
May 5, 2019
Where Do You Dwell - Live?
Are you in the secret place of the most High God under the shadow of His wings? Are you living in His presence, isn’t that where we below, in His presence? That’s where we are, strong seeking His face, touching. His grace it in your presence of God. I want to go where the rivers will not overflow me, where my feet are on the rocks. I want to hide where a blazing fire can not burn me. It’s in your presence. Oh God, that’s where. I want to dwell. That’s where I want to live. Based on PS 91. He that dwelt in the secret place. Find the secret place for your life.

If you have an hour or more to spare, then share an older bud’s story through 
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
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

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
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

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 
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 
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 
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 
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
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
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
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

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 
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 
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
Curated by Caitlin Cieri