Thursday, July 25, 2019

Time Crunch (Brenda)

I bumped into an old friend of mine the other day, and we talked a bit about communications, storytelling, and World War II veterans. As we talked, he said that he only knew of four living veterans of World War II. I only know one. I know two former Japanese-American internees from World War II, but one of them was hospitalized a few months ago. That number will drop to one very soon. I also talked to an older bud who used to be involved in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival back in 2004; perhaps even earlier. I heard a good story from him, but I don't have permission to post it online yet. My aunt and uncle are in their late sixties, and it's getting harder and harder for them to come down to visit, or host visitors. A friend and I both talked about grandparents who had died, lost their memories, or both.

It hit me that life is short, and we don't know how much time we have with the people we love. I've said this over and over again on this blog, and I know this intellectually. But sometimes, you feel it more than know it. This is one of those days.

We need your help to end senior isolation. Our tenth anniversary celebration is coming up on November 8th, 10AM-4PM. You can donate here, and groups and families can get special rewards for contributing. If you have stories to share from the older buds in your life, please send them through this form.  I myself have posted stories about about targets, guns, potatoes, stubborn babies, and one about the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

And last but not least is a story to cool you down during the summer heat:

Brenda Scantlebury 
Winter’s Here 

Winter’s here, it’s back again! As a child, I loved Winter! The snow, cold winds and making snow angels and snowmen! I remember my mama making Snow Crème! She would put a big pot on the fire escape! We lived in an apartment building on the fourth (4th) floor. The big pot would catch snow flakes. Mama would take in the pot after it was filled. She would add vanilla flavor or lemon, some sugar and nutmeg. My brother, who we called “Butch” and I waited with expectation the delightful treat. Our mother would serve it in dessert dishes like we were in a restaurant! Seeing WINTER return, puts me in remembrance of my mom and “Snow Crème!”

Thanks again for reading. Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Unstoppable (Elliot)

I hadn’t seen Elliot at Best Day for a few weeks. I saw him in the cafeteria but he’d usually leave early to pick up a package or go to a doctor’s appointment. This week, Elliot came to Best Day and wrote a story. And I mean he picked up a pen, started writing, and would not stop no matter how long it took. This is huge for him, because he usually has me take dictation and I was prepared to do it again last week. But Elliot was a man on a mission and would not be stopped. And it was one of the funniest stories we ever heard from him:

Elliott Doomes
Kids Are Funny, And Don't Know Is

When I was a small child, my brother William (Bill) was complaining about a pain in his bottom. I said let me see Bill. He pulled down his pants.
I took a long look, becamed very disturbed. I shouted Mom. No wonder Bills bottom hurts. He's got a hole in it. It took years to live that one down. It told over in the family.
My granddaughter asked me one day PopPop do mice like cheese. I responded they sure do. Ten minutes I found her in the shed kitchen dropping cheese behind the washing machine. I shouted what are you doing. PopPop you said mice like cheese. She was about to cry until I started to laugh.

You yourself can share stories from the older buds in your life by filling out this form, or you can send in your own story if you’re an older bud yourself. You can also contribute to our Tenth Anniversary celebration. We have special rewards for groups and families who contribute, like handwritten stories, family photos, sponsored tables, and free lunch!
Thanks again for reading, and we hope your day is full of pleasant surprises.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Moths to a Light on the Summer Porch (Frances)

Last Monday, I went to The Moth at The World Cafe, along with older buds José, Ann and Frances. I was especially glad that Frances came because she doesn’t like to stay out late without a guaranteed ride. It was a treat to finally introduce Frances to the joy and energy of the Moth. She enjoyed the stories, and we discussed each one after the storyteller finished. José and Ann were old hands at The Moth, talking with some of the regulars and coming early enough to get the good seats.

José was the only older bud to put his name in the hat, so the whole night I sat in anticipation of his story. First one person was called...then two...then five...then eight...then nine. And most of the other storytellers were really good, too. Finally, José's name was drawn out of the hat; last but certainly not least. He told a story about how he, normally a shy and timid man, told off some Islamophobes for harassing a Muslim man trying to get his dry cleaning. He wanted to try something more serious than his last story, and he got some pretty high marks too. 

The Moth is just one way for older buds to share their stories with younger buds. You yourself can share stories from the older buds in your life by filling out this form. You can also contribute to our Tenth Anniversary celebration. We have special rewards for groups and families who contribute, like handwritten stories, family photos, sponsored tables, and free lunch!
And last but not least, you can read one of our older buds’ stories right here, right now:

Frances Bryce
A Lasting Bond 
Recently my friend and I after lunch, at almost the same time, remembered that we had not seen our mutual friend in almost a year. We had kept in touch but that does not replace a face to face, so we decided to do a drop by visit as that is the kind of relationship we shared over the years.
She was delighted to see us as we were her. She’s now experiencing some memory loss that she fears may be more than the usual age memory loss. We shared some of the things that we all shared; seeing people we knew but unable to recall their names, looking for things that we hid from the would-be thief only forgetting where they were hidden. 
She stated that her memory loss was more severe than those we mentioned. I mentioned some things to try, to lesson her anxiety. Such as writing down things, and having her husband keep track of her medications so she did not have to worry about forgetting to take her meds at the proper time. They had been married more than 40 years. He was always attentive to her and nothing seems to have changed over all the years. 
We all cherished the friendship bond that was never broken. Our husbands grew up in the same neighborhood and were friends. Her husband is the only one of the three that is alive. 
We ended the visit with all the happy days we enjoyed. Among them was seeing our children reaching maturity and all but myself with grandchildren, so I am the surrogate of my friends’ grands. Precious memories all enjoyed.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the balmy summer night.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Independence Day (Frances, Iris, and Norman)

Happy Fourth of July everyone! I know you all probably have barbecues to prep and fireworks to launch, so I'll keep this short and sweet. We have two new older buds, RC and and Kafi Zola, so keep an eye out for their works. Several older buds are excited about telling their stories at The Moth, and I'll be posting about that in two weeks. We're powering along with our 10th Anniversary Celebration on November 8th, but we're always looking for local donors. If you want to make our tenth anniversary the Best Tenth Anniversary of Our Lives (So Far) then go to and make a contribution. We have special rewards for groups and families who contribute, like handwritten stories, family photos, sponsored tables, and free lunch!
You can also check out our YouTube page, which is going to get a lot more video in honor of our 10th Anniversary. Our newest video features a "terrifying yet miraculous" WWII from our newest site in Murfreesboro, TN. I thought in honor of our first ever Southern site, I'd share some stories about the South.

Frances Bryce
Southern Norms and What I Like About the South

I was born in the South (Laurens, SC) with a population of approximately 10,000 people at that time. The population has increased, [though I’m] not sure what it is at this time. The growth has been due to favorable tax breaks granted to companies moving south, among the big companies, BMW and Walmart distribution centers among lesser known companies. The customs of the people remain intact.
The first time my husband visited my hometown, I stopped at a store to ask where my brother lived since he had moved since I visited last. The owner came out to the car and offered to drive me to my brother’s house. My husband was amazed that not only did he know my family and the courtesy that was shown. I said everybody knows everybody in this town.
The not so good practice is to feel free to call and ask if they see a different car in the driveway, someone will call and ask who is visiting.
Gossip often takes unfavorable tell on the people who now do not like this practice that some people haven’t decided that this practice should have been abolished years ago.
The good thing that still exists is the community responding to any event with help in sickness, celebrating any happy event and responding in an appropriate manner.
Southern charm rings out to this day.

Iris Wildflower 
The Best Thing I’ve Ever Learned in My Life

The best thing I’ve ever learned in my life is there are certain conversations not to have with my mom…because she will send you to another state…
When I turned 18 years old, I had graduated from high school (early 17 years), got accepted at Fisk University, and [worked] at the IRS for the summer. One day, I came home from work and told my mom that I was grown and about to leave for college in August and that I could stop by the bar for happy hour after work…
I waited for the good talking-to or the words, “What’s wrong with you?” but alas, nothing happened. Mom just sat there quietly. “Ok” she stated… Wow, that was easy, I thought I should have done this a long time ago…
For two weeks, I went as I pleased, happy hour, parties, staying out until the sunrise in the sky, even skipped church a few times…
Dad was waiting at the house when I came in hung over and with bloodshot eyes.
My dad said, “See you in church!!” Church? I thought, look at my condition… How?
Dad spoke, “You don’t answer back with a ‘why.'”
“Yes Dad.”‘
So I began to get ready for church. Dad then said, “When I turn around, I want to see you.”
“Yes, Dad.” I was hung over.
Later that week, my parents gave me a one-way ticket to Greensboro, N.C.
The dean’s phoned and advised me to call him and let him know what time my train would arrive. I would be attending Bennett’s Women’s College in Greensboro.
“But why mom?”
“You’re grown, remember?”
“No, I’m not grown, mom.”
“Two grown women cannot live in my house.” Thus I learned there are certain conversations not to have with my mom. She don’t play and will send you to another state. And set up everything for your arrival.
Thanks, Mom.
Norman Cain
My Grandmother's Laundry Room

My grandmother’s laundry room was not located in a finished, attractive basement. It had no shelves (containing detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners) that hovered above a modern washer or dryer.
And when clothes were washed, there was no humming coming from a washing machine. Likewise, there was no humming coming from the dryer and there was no choice about the drying cycle. No hot. No warm. No delicate.
My grandmother’s laundry room was located in the back of the family house, in-between the well and smoke house and chicken coop and cotton field. Instead of a washing machine, there was a big black cast iron pot filled with hot water that was mounted by fuel chopped wood. There was no detergent in the water, but rather home-made brown lye soap. The clothes were stirred with sturdy ax handles.
There was no modern dryer but there was a natural drier – the sun, which beamed down upon the clothes that hung absolutely dirt free from clothes lines.
My grandmother did not have a modern laundry room, but her wash was always 100% clean.

  As always, we're still on the lookout for stories from the older buds in your lives. If you have any you think would interest us, then send them our way through Happy Fourth of July!

Curated by Caitlin Cieri