Thursday, November 7, 2019

One Day More (Hazel, Norman, Ann, and José)

Only one more day until Best Day’s 10th Anniversary Celebration! You and the older buds in your life still have a chance to contribute to our story wall, so send us stories through this form. And click here to participate directly in our celebration at the Philadelphia Senior Center, 509 South Broad Street, Friday November 8th, 10AM-4PM. You’ll have the golden opportunity to hear your favorite storytellers live and in person, and meet the volunteers who spread their stories all over. And here’s a story sampler to whet your appetite:

Hazel Nurse

As a girl growing up in a seashore town, every election day was a day of high activity in my neighborhood.

My dad, president of the Fourth Ward Republican Club, had eligible voters meeting after work in the evenings at the corner store to inspire good results week before Election Day.

Politicians often attended these gatherings along with many business people. Often job promises and even tasty foods were evident.

Today, law notices have been circulated to ask residents to attend meetings to hear about new voting machines. Will this new technology advance or hinder our election day results??

Norman Cain

When I become comfortable with a situation, I dread the prospect of change...which would mean, perhaps becoming emersked in a situation that would be uncomfortable.

This month, two changes in my life happened. The first one death with commitments to activities at several Senior Centers and a communal writing program at Drexel University, that program that consist of numerous workshops and individual assignments. My Senior Center commitments consist of a bi-weekly Afro-American session, two monthly book clubs, two weeks of Best Day of My Life sessions (Center-in-the-Park and Phila Senior Center), a poetry session and four line dancing classes. There months prior to September, all of the aforementioned activities with the exception of my line dancing classes were on summer recess, a situation that permitted me to slow down and do a lot of sleeping in. The summer classes have begun. The fact that I again have to maneuver at a rapid pace will be accentuated by the second change I mentioned. On the 30th of this month, I have to move; thirty, leaving my place of residence for the last six years. While my new location is only a block and a half a way, dreaded change has still slapped me in the face. I will miss a few nice neighbors, but the new location, while nice, does not have a washer and dryer. Then there is the question of transportation; whereas my present location is close to transportation, my new location will require me to travel several blocks to catch SEPTA. To make matters worse, one of my life dancing classes has relocated to from 20th and Christian to 21st and Snyder. That class is held from 10:45 to 12:00At 12:00, I could take the 17 bus that runs beside the center and make several other connections and make my Center-in-the-Park Best Day 1:00 pm class on time, or no later than 15 minutes. The new location at 21st and Snyder will present a problem. I feel that life is a series of changes, I guess I will have to do it now.

Ann Von Dehsen
Life at Jefferson

Over the past several weeks, I have been supporting a friend as he undergoes chemo in a formerly unfamiliar place that I now call Jeffland. I never realized how many buildings and blocks make up Jefferson Hospital. So far, we have spent time in the neuroscience building, Cribbons building, and the oncology center. Strangely, we took a 1 minute ambulance ride from neuroscience to Cribbons. There was neither urgency nor time to use the siren, but the driver let me push the button anyway, much to my inner child's delight.

We quickly learned the hospital routine - morning rounds by various attending physicians leading every growing groups of residents who look more like high school students than med students. We make up nick names (Dr. Tweed jacket, Dr. Baldy, and Dr. I don't-understand-a-word-you-say).

Lunch time, pill time, walk time down to the hospital bridge of Sansom Street and check on the food trucks' lunch time business. Then, there are the volunteer clowns who roam the hallways. They mean well and they volunteer their time, but somehow, we just didn't enjoy their visits with their corny usual jokes and sound effects. So whenever I saw their huge polka dot shoes luring down the hall, I'd run in the room and say, "Quick! Pretend you're asleep" and wait for them to pass by.

But its truly the nurses who are the stars and directors of the daily show. I really cannot praise them enough. Beyond their impressive medical knowledge, they come armed everyday with smiles, gentle humor, compassion, and encouragement. They consistently made us feel as if he was the only patient on the floor.

Slowly, a camaraderie develops between the patients and their families as we pass each other on the floor, noticing who has graduated from cane to assisted walking to walking only with an IV pole. "You look great today - your colors so much better." We share homemade cookies and banana bread and wish them well upon discharge. In this atmosphere, their politics, social status, religion and ethnic background make no difference. We are simply human beings just rooting for each others survival and happiness. And somehow this gives me a sense of hope and peace. 

On quiet afternoons as the patient slept and the chemo dripped, I often gazed out the window at the old, but once elegant, white stucco building across the street. It housed a tacky perfume store on street level, but on each of the eight stories above, there are 3 floor to ceiling windows encased in architectural sculptures of rosettes scrolls and 2 lions holding shields that said 1854. They appeared to be mostly unoccupied apartments being renovated, but I enjoyed imagining them as the apartments of starving young artists back in the early 1900s throwing paint on their canvases and screaming at their models who would later become their lovers, oo la la, until the being IV brought me back to reality.

José Dominguez
One Rule For Each Couple

My son-in-law is a kind of macho man and last February when I was visiting him and my daughter, Bealdy at their home in Houston, Texas, I had a chance to prune it. 

I was praising my son's home dealing, because he cooks, cleans the house and does everything necessary because his wife Sasha is a hard-working woman. Then Alex told me: Suego (father-in-law) Pondro does things that he is not supposed to do. I was mad about having hearing that, that I said, "Just wait a minute, every couple has a very particular arrangement that arrangement never applies to other couples because it is so intimate. For example, "I said, "My wife Maria and I used to have a very very unique marital arrangement. I guess many people thought that we were strange people, because she was so strong and appreciative and I was so easy going, but we were happy and our arrangement never applied to other couples in the same way Pondro and Sasha. They have their personal way to live and they are happy and perhaps some people believe he is doing house keeping so other state proper of the wife but they don't mind, they are happy and the some with you and Bealdy perhaps some people believe you are a strong couple because they away you live, but I suppose one happy and your arrangement doesn't apply to any other couple" and I stopped my comment.

Alex was annoyed about my speech and told me Suego, " I was not criticizing Poncho, I was just realizing his hard work in a positive way." And I close the little discussion saying you want to praise a person please use the proper words.

See you tomorrow and wish us a Happy Tenth Anniversary.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri