Thursday, March 26, 2020

Cleaning House (Michael aka Man-Tin)

I'm lucky enough to be able to work from home, and since I can't use public transit for the time being, I have some time on my hands. I remember a few years ago, older bud Mo McCooper asked me to check for unpublished stories by some of his friends. One such friend was Man-Tin "Michael" Chan, so I went through Best Day's digital attic and found a couple of his old stories. I don't want to overwhelm the readers, so I figured I'd post a sampling of five stories for now:

Michael Chan Man-Tin
My Story
My name is Chan Man-Tin, Michael.  I was born in Shanghai China. By 1933 I was in Hong Kong.  By the year 1950 I learned Cantonese. After a few years I can speak Cantonese or English to make friends.
I started my garment factory to make different garments which were ordered by overseas customers for 20 years.
Finally I changed my work to become a stock broker for 15 years and then I retired.
I came to join my daughters’s family.  Four years ago I retired from the Securities company and in 2006 joined my daughter and her family.  I sent them here for education in the year 1970.
Now I am retired and enjoy my personal life peacefully.

Michael Chan Man-Tin
It’s Thursday Again

Time flies, it’s Thursday again. I really do not know what I have done for the last week.
I feel the weather is so good for us here—humid when you working in the office or not. Our feeling is good and enjoy the surrounding so good.
Best wishes and regards to all of us to meet together.
Good day for all of us.

Michael Chan Man-Tin
Happy Times
2nd of January is my birthday of 82 years! It gives me joy to have a very happy time on that day. It makes me feel wonderful during the day. Early in the morning, every member of my family said some good wishes for me which made me so happy!  I personally have to thank God who gives me a good and happy life to be here with members of our group to enjoy the party. 
I sincerely want to thank all of my friends and relatives who share the happy times on this occasion!

Michael Chan Man-Tin
Time passes very quickly. I have been here for six years already. 
From the beginning, I was afraid to face the problem. After a few months, I begin to feel active to make friends with the American friends in the Senior Center. 
I feel very happy to enjoy life myself with the Senior Center in town to share the happiness with all of us. 
Now it is the Chinese New Year and time to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit and enjoy the happy life for the year. 

Michael Chan Man-Tin
Returning to My Own Country

It seem quite a long time to not see our club members and I hope all of us will be good for the holidays. I have returned to my mother-town to see my relatives and friends in Hong Kong for 2 weeks. The weather over there is very good during the summer time and all members of the families. We felt to a happy to get together and special for young persons, they grow up very quickly. 

I have a very good feeling for the young members of my family, and hope to meet them again on my next trip.

Best regards to all our members.

Also, you might have noticed a few pictures of the older buds above. These are our Socially Isolated Senior Selfies! I'm going around asking older buds to send their selfies to keep in the spirit of our usual Best Day workshops. Take a page from their book and keep in touch with the important people in your life, especially the older buds. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. You can share their stories through our portal right here, and you can volunteer as a transcriber (completely remotely) by emailing us at And if you're just plain passionate about supporting older buds and ending senior isolation, then like us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and share links to your favorite stories. Thanks for reading.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Maintaining Connections During Social Distancing (Jewel, Philip, and Aparecida)

Hundreds of thousands of businesses are closing down for two weeks, and people all over the United States are working from home and practicing social isolation. Philadelphia is no exception and Best Day will not be meeting in person for the next two weeks at least. Best Day is committed to ending senior isolation, especially during difficult times such as these. We will continue to share the stories of our older buds and keep in touch with them, without compromising their health.

Older buds are most at risk during this period, not just because of the virus but because of the isolation, loss of community centers and the difficulty in getting supplies. There is a lot you can do to help the older buds in your life, even if you can't be there in person. Call them at least once a week to check in on them and see what supplies they need. Arrange to have those delivered to them in a way that won't expose them to the coronavirus. And once you've done that, talk to them. Talk to them through FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook, and good old fashioned telephones. Ask them how their day was, ask them for that one story from their childhood, ask them for that one recipe you never got to write down. But most importantly, listen to them. Let them know you're there, and let them know you care.

For today's blog post, I want to showcase three stories about hope and community, from three unique older buds:
Jewel Grace
Bump In the Night

I am a walking miracle. I have survived two kidney transplants, bipolar disorder, and many panic attacks. How? You might ask. With determination, grit, art, music, friends, a loving congregation, my higher power - Goddess, consciousness, talented therapists, untalented therapists. So... We are all mirrors for each other, everyone is a student and a teacher. And most of all, I have leaned to accept myself just the way I am.
And that (just like the Beatles predicted) the only way to change anything is by loving it.

Philip Pai
God In My Daily Life

I was born in mainland China, and grew up in Hong Kong. My parents were Catholic, me too. When I was young, I attended Catholic school. Therefore, in my mind, I just knew God which is the Almighty God. Sometimes, when I have difficulties, I pray for God, then I know how to do. I remembered when I attended a Sunday mass to worship God, the priest said that where is God? Where in heaven? He said heaven is in front of you. Where is hell? It is also in front of you. In our daily life, if you treat people kindly, people will love you. If you treat people not good, they will not like you, therefore heave and hell is not so far. It is in your mind. After, if I have hard times, I will talk to God and pray to God who will direct me. So everyday I pray in the morning and read the bible that gives me lots of word from God. Sometimes, I think that God reflects in the human beings life. God also gives us everything in our daily life. Most of God's words come from the bible. If we love God, we should "love" the person who knows how to love around us, such as family, friends, relatives, etc. There are other words "happy" is also very important. I am so glad that God gives me so many things from the Bible in the daily life. 

Aparecida De Souza
A Quality I Loved About My Father

My father was one of the most peaceful persons that I ever knew or met. He was always calm, never seemed to get angry about anything, and never ever beat his children. I don't think there was even a conflict in his life that he wouldn't have faced and solved, always good naturally, or sometimes, jokingly. One such occasion, as I remember, and I was no more than 4 or 5 years old - this has impressed me so much that I could never forget it: My father had sold one of his horses to a man that lived 2 or 3 farms away from our place. The buyer had not made any parents to and a long time passed without the family hearing from him One of my uncles (my mother's brother) sent word to the man that he should come and pay his debt to my family or he would "do I don't know what." Soon after that, one day, the man showed up at our porch - I remember, the scene - everyone was outside meeting him. One funny thing is that he had left the horse way up on one side of the road, very far. He came in no friendly mood, screaming and saying that he refused and was not going to pay anything to anybody! My uncle followed, exchanging words and screaming at him the same way, and at no time jumped to personal aggression, ready to hit him. My father threw himself between the two and simply said: If it takes a fight to solve the problem, forget about it: I pardon you, you don't owe me anything - the horse is yours!

Once again, please keep in touch with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. You can share their stories through our portal right here, and you can volunteer as a transcriber (completely remotely) by emailing us at And if you're just plain passionate about supporting older buds and ending senior isolation, then like us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and share links to your favorite stories. Thanks for reading.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Story Slam Surprise (Eleanor)

Last week, we did a mock story slam so the Best Day Buds would get a feel for The Moth’s story slams. Some were already familiar, but others couldn’t go onstage or stay out late, so we decided to do this as a teaser. Eleanor even brought her own bell to let people know when they ran over five minutes.

Before the Story Slam even started, we were greeted by older bud Rochelle, who had been out of commission for a year. And she brought her ration book, like she said she would the last few times I saw her. It came from when she was only six months old! She didn’t want any pictures take of it, but everyone got a good look at it too, and it looked like this, but with a different name.

The theme was “Feeling Lucky,” and half the storytellers began by saying they didn’t believe in luck. But every older bud except one told a story. And they were powerful stories, too! Stories about taking an Atlantic City vacation without spending a dime, a secret marriage in Panama, and fighting death after giving birth. Some people who thought they'd never be able to share a story onstage shared an incredible personal moment at the mock slam, and some people who had trouble writing down their stories delivered them beautifully off the cuff. It was a magical moment, and we'll be doing another one next month.

To celebrate our successful story slam, and the return of an older bud, we've included this story by the belle with the bell, Eleanor!

Eleanor Kazdan
A New Venture

A few years ago, I went to the Free Library to hear Jane Pauley talk about her new book - "Your Life Calling - Re-imagining the Rest of Your life." I hadn't heard about her for years. I knew that she had left her job at NBC due to bipolar disorder. Her talk was inspiration. It's never too late to begin new ventures and add excitement to your life. Her parting though was, "Say yes more often!" I have often thought of this advice since then. It's tempting to stay in your comfort zone. 
Well, a few months ago, my Spanish teacher at OLLI, Temple University's senior program, called me with a proposal. Would I be interested in teaching an intermediate French class in the summer. She asked me because she thought I was a native speaker, being from Canada. I explained that I was not a native speaker, but had been quite good at French many years ago. 
Having never taught French, and having never caught in the classroom at all, the thought was intimidating. Could I do it? I thought of Jane Pauley's "Say yes more often." So I agreed. I brushed up my French, met French-speaking friends for lunch, watched French movies. My French brain began to work again. 
A friend gave me some advice on classroom teaching and I taught a practice lesson with some friends as Guinea pigs. Yesterday was my first class. There were 10 students. My hand was shaking as I wrote on the board. But after about 15 minutes, I relaxed and began to enjoy myself. The class is only for the summer until the regular teacher comes back. But I feel great. Thanks Jane Pauley!
As more and more measures are taken against coronavirus, we want to remind you to keep in touch with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. You can share their stories through our portal right here, and you can volunteer as a transcriber by emailing us at And if you're just plain passionate about supporting older buds and ending senior isolation, then like us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and share links to your favorite stories. Thanks for reading.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Historical Figures (José)

Not so many pictures of our older buds writing today, because we all went to see the PSC's Gospel Choir's Black History Month Concert last week. And of course, our very own older bud Joan was the star of the show. However, that didn't mean we didn't get some stories from our Best Day buds.
That afternoon, I had lunch with my older bud Philip. Since the Gospel Choir was having their concert later that afternoon, Philip asked if they’d be celebrating famous historical figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. We talked a bit more about Abraham Lincoln and how he was a lot more complicated than in the textbooks, and then the conversation turned to Mahatma Gandhi. Older bud Elliot was sitting at the next table, and when he hard Gandhi’s name, he shook his head.
I know Elliot has some strong opinions about Gandhi, and I know Philip’s always looking to learn something new, so I brought Elliot into our conversation too. When Philip asked Elliot why he didn’t like Gandhi, he said that Gandhi fought a lot against the English Colonial rule, but did nothing to fight classism in India afterwards. Then the conversation turned back to Abraham Lincoln, and Elliot talked about how freed people were given the land where they labored after the Civil War, only to have it taken away from them and given to their former masters.

History is a very messy subject, and historical figures more than the sum of their crowning achievements. The people of Best Day are no different. They make mistakes. They make history. They make miracles. They make a living. They laugh, cry, do some things they regret and make up for it. And every single one of their stories is worth hearing.

José Dominguez
One Experience Two Perspectives
I’m amazed about how an early experience can be so permanent and how at the same time, the person involved in it can be so distant.
When I was 7 years old, even being almost a total introverted kid, I loved to visit my neighbor friends. On this particular day, my mother gave me as a present, a Mickey Mouse clock. Oh, it was so neat! It surpassed all my worldly possessions which were some marbles, some plastic little trucks, and one ball. So happy I was with my MM clock that I decided to visit my friend Marino Rios who lived 2 blocks away. He was impressed about my clock and suddenly he went to his room and returned bringing a shoebox full of plastic toys and told me, “Pepe, I change you my toys for your clock, think about it.” Playing, for me, was more important than counting the time so I accepted. So proud, I immediately showed my mother the super acquisition and explained the big deal I just made and the fun those plastic toys will give me. “You have been robbed!” She responded impatiently, almost mad. “But it will give you a lesson of the value of things.” She explained to me a huge comparison of prices, money, dollars, and fairness. At the end, I felt more like a stupid kid than a happy kid. But later I felt that such experience was funny and I spoke about it freely.
Until one day 67 years later, I found Marino Rios again, now a prominent physician. Believing he would remember the Mickey Mouse of my infancy, I tried to make a deal to refresh his memory. He told me, “I have no idea what you are saying.” I looked at his face and he was uncomfortable being spotted and ended, “I think you are confusing the person. I will never take advantage of nobody—specifically an innocent kid.”

If you want to share history through volunteering or transcription, please email us at If you can't volunteer in person, but want to send us stories from an older bud (or if you're an older bud with stories to share,) you can send them through our portal right hereAnd if you're just plain passionate about supporting older buds and ending senior isolation, there’s a lot of ways to show your love. You can like us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and share links to your favorite stories. Thanks for reading.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Black History Month (Joan, Delores and Elliot)

Happy Belated Black History Month, everyone. It's coming close to the end of February, so if you have any stories by or about Black older buds, then please send them our way through our portal right here. We have a lot of African Americans at Best Day ourselves, so there's no shortage of Black History during February or any other month. If you want to share that history through volunteering or transcription, please email us at And if you're just plain passionate about supporting older buds and ending senior isolation, there’s a lot of ways to show your love. You can like us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and share links to your favorite stories.

Here's a stories from some of our Black older buds, in honor of Black History Month. February may be over, but we plan to keep the spirit of Black History Month going for at least another three hundred and sixty five days:

Joan Bunting 
Being Lost
Have you ever been afraid of being lost? Most all of my adult life, I have the fear of being lost. It may have started when I was ten or eleven years old. 
The church I belonged to at the time took trips to Albany Park, Coney Island, or Wildwood, New Jersey during summer vacation. 
One year, we went to Wildwood, New Jersey. As you enter towards the beach, there was a lumber yard. Somehow, I got separated from my group would included my sister, Bernice, my brothers Eugene and Paul. 
I was always very thing, and I was carrying my sisters shoes which was too big for me to wear, so here I am all alone trying to find my way back to my church group. 
So I started walking, I walked and walked, and walked. I passed a group of young, but older than myself boys. They were a different color than me. I was called names including the N word. I just kept walking afraid to even turn my head to look at them. I utterly ignored them. 
Seeing that I wasn't getting anywhere walking in the direction I was walking in, I decided to turn around and go back in the direction from which I had come. 
After walking for quite a while, I saw an older couple turn into an entrance. So I said in my mind, I'm going to follow them. Low and behold, they were my guiding light to where I was looking to go. 
It was only god that gave me the mind to follow that couple. I believe He sent that couple there just at the right time for me to find my way back to the group I was with. 
Years later, I began to have nightmares about being lost. My first dream was that I had gone to church and when church was over and I was leaving, when I opened the door, it was a strange and unfamiliar location that I was in and I became very frightened because I was lost. 
After that first scary dream, I had other dreams of being lost. So one I dreamt that I was lost again. So I started crying and yelled that I was tired of being lost. Guess what, after that I didn't have anymore dreams of being lost. Last week, I accompanied Caitlin and two others to Drexel University. Not being familiar with that area, I had to be told how to get back to South Philly. 
Guess what? It was either that night or the next that I had neater dream of being lost. 
Being lost to me is a very scary experience when you're not familiar with where you are

Delores Wilson
Overcoming Odds

When I overheard the announcer on the radio say "Special Olympics" I recall the cabbie that picked me up after a 3-11 shift. 
I enjoyed his broadbased conversation. He asked if I had watched "Special Olympics," I reluctantly said no. 
He proceeded to tell me about his son who skied for the Special Olympics. The following week, he gave me an autographed picture of his son with his bio on the back. 
According to the bio, Ralph Green lost his leg at 16. Ralph was a victim of a random nearby fatal street shooting. Prior to that shooting, he was aspiring high school athlete at Belfort in Brooklyn, New York. A fierce competitor and an optimist, Ralph set out to make the best for his new life. 
He moved to Winterpark, Colorado site of the National Sports Center for the Disabled. He had never skied, but was determined to learn the sport. 
After a few years of training in 2004, he became the first African American to make the US Disabled Alpine Ski Team and competed in the first Paralympic in 2006 in Turin, Italy. 
When he's not skiing on the slopes, Ralph spends time spreading his time spreading hope to all the children around the world. Ralph has the competitive spirit. He stated, "I'm skiing until I am the best." 
Elliot Doomes


What Is a Fool?

I remember when I was a small child. One day, I ran home crying because my friend promised me that he would share with me as I shared with him, but he never does. My mother sat me down and said to me, if you expect people to treat you like you treat them, you'll have a very unhappy childhood. That statement stuck with me for a while and then soon forgotten. Even today, I still get taken in my other people's promises, "Lend me a couple of dollars, I'll pay you back in full on Thursday." "Oh, okay. I'll come back on Thursday." That was about two months ago and Thursday hasn't come ye! I had one person tell me he would meet me at a designated spot and he even game me a time! I was foolish enough to go to that spot and waited and waited and he still never showed up. And I realized that I couldn't be angry at the individual. I was angry at myself. I guess that's all part of my human imperfections. One day, I read a wise person who made this statement, "If you keep doing the same thing and expecting different results, then you are insane or just a plain fool." I examined this statement and tried to understand how it applied to me. And this is my conclusion: Being human, I am subjected to faults and fallacies, therefore, I may do foolish things, but I'm no fool. I'm just human. All human beings and that's not just me, have faults and fallacies. Those imperfections are what makes us human. I'm not insane and by no means am I a fool.  

Thanks again for reading, and enjoy the rest of Black History Month.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri