Thursday, August 22, 2019

Danger Zone (Elliott)

If you’re living in Philadelphia, you know about the shootout that happened in Nicetown-Tiago. Fortunately, there were no deaths and the injured cops seem to be fine, but it was a tense standoff and there were a lot of potential victims who either lived their or were passing through. One of those was our own Elliott. He wrote about it too, and I wanted to share it on the blog for you this week.
Elliott Doomes
08.15.19
Toasters Don't Toast!

Where I live, 16th and Erie, there was a shooting yesterday there was a shooting yesterday. One man with one of those guns that will shoot 100 rounds a minute or more held up a army of policeman. After wounding six officers he held off a army of policeman from 4:30 in the afternoon until past 12 at night. They cordoned off everything for blocks. As soon as I got off the subway I heard guns going "Pow pow pow pow pow," I was so scared, I tried to go back down to the subway. There was a policeman there saying "No riders! No riders!" So everyone had to get off. I don't know if they were thinking if some of the shooter's constituents would get on or I don't know what they were thinking. I was at Erie and they wouldn't let me take the westbound bus to go home. There were no buses going east, no buses going north, and no buses going south. so I had to walk west from Erie Avenue to Hunting Park Avenue, and that's a good stretch. There was a daycare center there too, and they put the busses there and loaded up the kids in there to wait until their parents could pick them up. I don't know how long they kept the kids in there either. I've never seen nothing like that in my life. It was like something out of a movie or something. They had SWAT teams, they had two or three different districts, they had at least 100 police officers on foot. 
And the people who were driving there, they had to park your cars illegally. They make them get out of their cars and go "Back! Back! Back!" I don't know how long they left their cars there, but the cops didn't want anyone anywhere near Erie Ave. And most of the people who were angry, they weren't angry at the shooter. They were angry at the police man impeding them from getting to their destination. "That's my baby! My pet's in there! My kid's in there!" t was truly a sight to see. 
Fortunately, no one was killed, although six were wounded. I keep hearing wise and smart people say that guns don't kill, but I remember that there's a mass shooting in Vegas and numerous school children mowed down and this last was in Texas with El Paso. Just within a week's time, 22 people died, by the gun. If guns don't kill, then toasters don't toast! 
If I was to point my finger at each one of these people in the room and say "Bang! Bang! Bang!" how many of them would be dead? If I had a gun in my hand and I pointed to each individual here and squeeze the trigger, the question is how many would survive. 
I sincerely believe that guns do kill. Especially a gun that can fire 100 rounds. you can't use that hunting. The only thing you can help with that is people. that's a weapon of mass destruction designed to kill the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time. without the guns, countless people would be alive today. I don't understand how people can say "Guns don't kill people" and validate that in light of all the evidence.

One of the things I always stress to new older buds is that they can write about anything in their loves: whether it happened ten years ago or ten minutes ago. We can learn a lot of history from our older buds stories, but it’s important to remember that history is being written every single day of our lives. We’re no stranger to writing about current events, and there’s always the possibility one of us will be involved in a monumental event; good or bad.

Life is short, so make time to talk to your older buds. Send us their stories through this form. And if you want to do more to end senior isolation, click here to participate in our tenth anniversary celebration, Friday November 8th, 10AM-4PM. Thanks again, and make today the best day of your life so far.
 
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Summer Reading (Eleanor, Frances, Ann)

Remember two weeks ago when I mentioned a whole bunch of stories about school days during one of our sessions? I thought you might like to read these stories for yourself. Consider it your summer reading! And if you get through the whole blog by September first, you can reward yourself with a single-topping personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut* ;)

Eleanor Kazdan
07.25.2019
A Very Bad Year

Seventh grade was a terrible year. My life seemed pretty uneventful until then. Junior high – a new school. Sudden interest in boys. Self-consciousness.
I found myself taller than almost everyone despite being a year younger. How I envied those cute short girls. My hair was unruly and frizzy. I put rollers in it trying to coax it into a flip. That was a flop.
I developed a whopping case of pimples.
And to top it all off, I was flat-chested. My mother assured me I would “grow” to be well-endowed like her. That never happened.
My mother also got it into her head that I had flat feet and needed orthopedic shoes. In the early 60s, people were obsessed with and terrified of flat feet. Actually, my feet were quite normal.
Well, I could go on and on about how awful that year was – pimples, flat chested, [and those] orthopedic shoes that I had under my desk.
My mother absolutely refused to let me get a bra and I wore undershirts. I felt embarrassed.
One day after school, I took my babysitting money, went to the Sears store near my house and bought a bra that I only needed for self-esteem.
My mother never said a word.
To this day, I am proud of that small act of rebellion.

Frances Bryce
07.25.2019
A Southern Glance

The small town in South Carolina, Laurens, had a population at that time of approximately 10,000 people. Segregation was the rule. I to this date did not and still found it difficult to understand. Hard to imagine white and colored water faucets, fountains all the water from a common source. Black and colored bus stations. Everything that could be separated into white and colored, including restrooms at public places.
I attended school in the colored section of town. My high school was located outside the city. Each day I had to pass by a white high school, near where I lived to get to school.
My second year in high school, the building burned down. We attended school in a church until the school was rebuilt, this meant the new school was more modern than the white school with moveable seats, unlike the ones that was permanently anchored to the floor. The seats from the white high school were then forced to the new colored high school and the new seats were sent to the white high school. Other unbelievable occurrences happened like new uniforms for our high school was not bought and our old ones were from the high school (it didn’t matter that funds were siphoned off to the white high school and the colors were not the school colors of our school.
Living in the south had a lot of things that were positive, hospitality among the positive things. Neighbors were a very important part of my early life, which meant that we had to respect them as well as our parents.
At the end of legal segregation, one high school that everyone attends.

Ann Von Dehsen
07.25.2019
Sports World

Caught up in the excitement of the US Women’s Soccer Team’s victory, I realized how greatly and positively things have changed for girls and women in sports. When I was in elementary school, long before Title 9 leveled the playing field, we had co-ed gym once a week. It was more like a structured recess than gym – we played a lot of dodgeball and had a lot of relay races. In 6th grade, however, we had separate girl/boy gym classes. Already the lines were drawn as boys had gym 3x a week and the girls had it twice a week. The boys were given t-shirts and gym shorts with the school’s initials on them and we girls were told to wear a shirt with shorts underneath on gym days. We were also given a very new, very young, very male gym teacher, known as Mr. B. I [doubt] if Mr. B’s dream job was teaching a group of 6th and 7th-grade hormonal girls, but it did mean certain advantages for us. For example, we had to “change” into our gym clothes behind the curtain on the stage in the gym. Now, remember “hanging” meant whipping off our shirts to expose our shorts, a move which should take less than 10 seconds. But given the fact that Mr. B was not allowed to step behind the curtain, we stretched the time out until we heard, “Girls, please come out,” then “Let’s go,” and finally, “Girls, NOW!” On days when one just didn’t feel like participating, she would go up to Mr. B and use the universal female excuse of “I have cramps.” After his blush faded, Mr. B would stammer, “Uh OK, uh just go over there and observe.”
Mr. B loved softball and we pretty much played it whenever the weather cooperated. Two of my friends and I often volunteered to play outfield because we enjoyed the peace and quiet, could talk about it, and even look for 4 leaf clovers since it was extremely rare for a ball to get past shortstop. Unless, unless, unless, Muriel stepped up to the plate. Muriel consistently hit over the fence homers (meaning we outfielders still didn’t have to work) and when she pitched, it was inevitably a “no-hitter.” Muriel was a very nice girl who was told “no” time after time when she asked to try out for little league. So finally, Muriel tucked her hair under a baseball cap, borrowed her brother’s clothes and went down to the field for little league tryouts, registering under a false name. No surprise, she hit 3 homers at her 3 at-bats and pitched a perfect inning. When the winning player’s names were announced at the end of tryouts, Muriel’s pseudo mane was of course amongst them. Having a flair for the dramatic, she walked up to home plate, pulled off her cap and shook her long mane of churls as the adults gasped and the kids cheered. In fairness, the adults got in touch with some little league executives but were told the bylaws strictly forbade females in a male sport.
Things improved for us girls in high school as we were exposed to a wider variety of sports. I really liked tennis and archery. There was a tennis team – for boys only – and an archery club for boys only. The only all-girl teams were gymnastics and cheerleading. But over the years, things did change and when my own girls were in high school, they played on the lacrosse team and field hockey team and the tennis team.
Slowly, the women’s tennis championship became more popular than men’s. Upon Women’s basketball team won 11 championships and 13 years own Mo’ne Davis propelled her Philadelphia team to the Little League World Championship.
During the victory parade for this year’s women’s soccer team, co-captain Megan Rapinoe popped the cork on a bottle of champagne trouncing, “I deserve this – we all deserve this!” Yes, they do, but they also deserve to win their next battle – equal pay.
Don't just save the storytelling for the summertime. Our tenth anniversary celebration is coming up during the school year on Friday November 8th, 10AM-4PM. You can donate here, and groups of students and families (home-schooled or otherwise) 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. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of playing hooky, then don't worry because it's a great learning experience and volunteering opportunity. If you are comfortable with the idea of playing hooky, then stick it to The Man by shedding light on a population that's typically ignored. Fight the power!




As for our senior selfie...José volunteered to take it, but his camera wasn't working. It looked like he had a permanent Instagram filter, and not even the good kind. So he borrowed mine, but my phone case slid around over the camera. So now it's another, different Instagram filter** ;)

*Pizza Hut is not an official sponsor of The Best Day of My Life (So Far)...yet.
**Instagram is not an official sponsor of The Best Day of My Life (So Far)...but who knows?
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Southern Hospitality (Frances and Rochelle)

A conversation with the older buds will often take interesting terms. For instance, last week we were talking between stories, and the conversation turned to Southern hospitality, i.e. if you go down South, you will get fed. Whether you want it or not, the food is inevitable.
Norman knew it, Frances knew it, Elliot knew it. Joan wasn’t from the South and never went, but one of her foster mothers was from Georgia and she was the best cook Joan had ever met. José never quite had Southern hospitality, but he had a lot of Mexican hospitality. He even said the best places to find it are the small towns far away from the major cities like Mexico City and El Paso. Delores said that when she went to New York, she saw two different types of hospitality in New York “among people of [her] color.” If you went to their house for a party, and they came from the South, they would feed you. If they were born and raised in New York, then you could drink all the liquor they had, but they wouldn’t feed you. Ann said the New Yorkers she knew would feed you, but they were typically Italian-American. I’ll be going down to Atlanta, Georgia myself in a few weeks, so I’m looking forward to a little Southern hospitality myself.

Speaking of hospitality, our tenth anniversary celebration is coming up during the school year on Friday November 8th, 10AM-4PM. You can donate here, and groups of students and families (home-schooled or otherwise) 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. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of playing hooky, then don't worry because it's a great learning experience and volunteering opportunity. If you are comfortable with the idea of playing hooky, then stick it to The Man by shedding light on a population that's typically ignored. Fight the power!

And in the spirit of hospitality, we have a sampler of stories for you to enjoy.

Frances Bryce
4.9.2015
Springtime

A couple of weeks ago the sun came out and the daffodils peeped its head hoping that they would make a grand entrance. The weather again decided that it had not made its first debut, so the flowers were again on hold.
The past week the weather gave us another treat by bringing warmth more days. The tulips, daffodils and pansies were again on display, along with others. Macy’s had a flower show that was beautiful, and gave me an opportunity to see what we have in store, to look forward in planters if you are limited to a small space.
The calendar says spring is here and now the flowers are catching up with the anxious expectations of what's to come.
We will get to put away the wool scarves, heavy coats and hats, so enjoy whatever the thermometer reads. Also, after spring comes summer, no complaining about the hot weather.

Rochelle Tynes
4.9.2015
Because I ask so many Questions

Preventatives and Preservatives - Does anyone remember being given different remedies or patented medicines for a given time of year? Such as, in the Spring we got a syrup and molasses tonic to clean us out from the Winter Blahs. In the Fall, Winter and other times we got a dose of Castor Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Father John’s or Turpentine on top of something in a spoon. We were given Paregoric and Afetas bags to wear and other items to prevent us having various illnesses. However we usually felt so yucky and smelled so bad from the bags around our necks that no one within a 50 foot radius would come near us unless they had on the same bag. Were these remedies a preventative or a preservative? When we talk among ourselves and relate our experiences of having taken or being given these items we really be grateful because we are still standing. They seem to have been preservatives as well as preventatives.

Thanks for reading, and take care of yourself.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, August 1, 2019

School Daze (Frances and Norman)

School’s still out for another month, but for some reason a lot of us wrote about school. Ann wrote a story about middle school gym class and her friend who secretly tried out for Little League disguised as a boy. Frances’s story was less idyllic. Back when segregation was still in full swing, Frances went to an all-Black school that burnt down. It was rebuilt, and as a result it was more modern than the all-White school. The all-White school couldn’t have that, so they took the new equipment from the Black school and made them use the older equipment from the White school; including the uniforms that didn’t even match the school’s colors. If there were ever proof that “separate but equal” just wasn’t. Finally, Eleanor wrote about growing up tall and being jealous of the cute short girls, and I told her as someone who grew up a “cute short girl” I would have gladly switched.


Our tenth anniversary celebration is coming up during the school year on Friday November 8th, 10AM-4PM. You can donate here, and groups of students and families (home-schooled or otherwise) 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. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of playing hooky, then don't worry because it's a great learning experience and volunteering opportunity. If you are comfortable with the idea of playing hooky, then stick it to The Man by shedding light on a population that's typically ignored. Fight the power!
Norman Cain
8.27.2015 
I'm Back 

Because of illness, I missed three consecutive weeks of "The Best Day of My Life (So Far)" story-telling and writing club.
Missing those three sessions were as painful as my illness. Because the "Best Day of My Life (So Far)" story-telling and writing club is very dear to me and it is my favorite activity in and out of the Philadelphia Senior Citizen Center network. 
I'm happy to be back and I'm happy that Benita is back and I must say that the volunteers did a wonderful job in her absence. They sacrificed, persevered and exemplified dedication.


Frances Bryce
9.17.2015
Hearing What Is Said

I thought I knew how important that the receiver hear what the speaker says. My sister visited me for my birthday, and I was made aware how often she received messages from me (spoken) quite different from what I said, which led me to explain what was said by me.
I remember the exercise that brought to mind, how one person said something to the person next to her and the message was transferred down the line to a few people. When the last person responded what was supposed to have been the original message, it was different and had no or very little of the beginning message.
One day after she insisted that I said one thing different from what I said. I  remember my friend, a psychologist, suggested,to ask the person what they heard after a message was related to them. This made hearing what the speaker said so they could both agree.

Thanks for reading, and make the most of your summer.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri