Thursday, December 5, 2019

Moth vs. Frost (Eleanor, José, Ann)

Hi everyone. Like I said in last week's post, some of the older buds and I went to The Moth this past Monday. Usually, the line goes up two flights of stairs and sometimes extends outside of the building; way before the doors open at 6PM. This time, the line only consisted of five people until about 5:45, and even when the doors opened the initial line-up of people only filled half of the World Cafe. Many people either got delayed or stayed home due to the inclement weather. So that left only the die-hard Moth fans: Ann (and her friend), Eleanor (her husband and their two friends), José, and myself. José, surprisingly, didn't have a story planned for that show's "Family" theme. Then again, family can be a very complicated subject, and the "write as if everyone's dead" adage won't necessarily protect you from living, breathing, angry relatives. Nonetheless, everyone had a good time, and I got to make friends with even more older buds.

Even though the older buds didn't take the stage on Monday, you can still read their stories below:

Eleanor Kazdan
The Goat

Over the years, my husband and I have spent a lot of time sitting in Rittenhouse Square looking at the adorable and iconic statue of a goat. One of the benches right in front of it has a plaque saying, “Eleanor’s Bench,” so even better. This goat attracts children like a magnet. They like to play in the dirt around it, get hoisted up to sit on it, and make new friends on the surrounding benches. Early morning with coffee in hand is a great time to goat and kid watch.
After a few years, we began to think of grandchildren and wonder if we would ever have them. Goat watching took on a new significance. We were elated one day with the news that our daughter was pregnant. Those hopes were dashed with an early miscarriage. Then came a terrible few years with difficulty getting pregnant and 2 more miscarriages. The goat became a place of sadness.
Julia finally did have a baby, and my son and his wife had 2 children. All are boys. It sure was exciting the first time we were the grandparents hoisting our own grandchild up on the goat.
Now they’ve outgrown it.
The goat disappeared for a while for renovation. I guess too many little hands and feet wore it down.
It’s back now and we still sit on Eleanor’s Bench looking at the goat and counting our blessings!
José Dominguez
My Entrance to the Graduate School at The University of Texas

After I had finished my Bachelor’s Degree, I always dreamed to study for a Masters of Psychology, but in those moments being in Mexico, I could not figure how to plan it until a friend of mine was hired at the University of Texas as a Political Science teacher. He helped me take at least 3 courses at the University of Texas without the assistance of a counselor, so I was looking for a plan.
My last course put me in touch with the education department and I was uncovered from my incognito and low profile studies by a very strict graduate professor, Dr. Bonnie Brook. She called me and told me that I needed four conditions to continue at the University. First, to take the standardized test, secondly, to find a way to support myself as a full-time student in the USA, thirdly, to take an advanced writing course and finally, to be accepted by the graduate school as a formal student of a master’s degree.
In this [story], I will describe something about my advanced English course. My professor was Dr. Johnson, a super-intelligent, sardonic and ironic guy. His superb control of the English language made him a treat for all of us whose English level was not acceptable. At the end of the course, Dr. Bonnie Brooks called him to ask about my performance as a student. For me, that information was critical since I was under conditions (or under parole). But if Mr. Johnson reported something negative about my grades, I [would] have to struggle to find another way to study my masters. So Dr. Johnson answered to Bonnie Brooks: Jose’s performance in my course? Well, he is ok for being “a turkey.” And that was it. I was accepted. I don’t know if it was an insult to my intelligence but I was accepted as a full-time student at the Graduate School. About being or not being called a turkey, I believe it is a matter of circumstances, opinion, and luck perhaps in a turkey but I don’t mind.
Ann Von Dehsen
Island Wisdom
On my trip to St. Maarten last month, my friend and I visited an elementary school in one of the small villages. It had sustained damaged during Hurricane Maria and had only reopened in February, a year and a half later. To celebrate the reopening, parents had designed and painted a 4-panel mural depicting various families. The principal allowed us to visit a 3rd-grade classroom of 25 kids. Right away, we were impressed by the brightly decorated room as well as the brightly-dressed, attentive students wearing the school’s uniform of bright yellow button-down shirts and plaid shorts or skirts. The teachers told them we were from Philadelphia and immediately one little boy politely raised his hand and asked, “Do you like the Eagles?” (Yes). Then another asked, “Did you go to the Super Bowl?” We said no, but we went to the parade which seemed to equally impress them.
The primary language spoken at the school is English, but students also learn Dutch and French, the two native languages of the split island. As we walked around the room, they were proud to show us their written work, some of which was written in all 3 languages. It was their recess, but some chose to stay in and talk to us informally. One boy proudly said, “I’ve been to Philadelphia!” So I asked what he remembered to which he replied, “Not much, I was only a month old, but I have a sweatshirt with a broken bell on it.” Then a very quiet little girl came up to me and softly asked, “Have you met the Trump?” I said “No,” then paused and said, “I don’t really want to meet him.” To which she wisely replied, “Good, he is a very mean man who does not care about people!” So much for diplomacy… I met a 10-year-old girl on a distant, small island who speaks the truth about the Trump.
I want to give a huge Thank You to everyone who donated to our 10th Anniversary celebration over the past year. You really made our anniversary one to remember. And the party may be over, but we never stop sharing stories. If you or an older bud have a story to share, send them our way right here. Thanks again for everything you've done for us so far, and Happy Holidays.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri