Thursday, May 28, 2020

Zoom 3: Zoom With a Vengeance (Frances, Eleanor, Delores)

It's been three weeks since we've started our virtual Best Days, and things seem to be getting into a rhythm. The bad news is, Norman's still waiting for his computer, so we won't be able to see his handsome face for a while. The good news is Frances' Zoom worked, so we got to see her face! The better news is that Ann shared a story about how both her daughter and her grandson were featured on WXPN's own Kids Corner. And if you're not from the Philadelphia area, then you should know that that's a pretty big deal, and that Kathy O'Connell is basically the God of children's programming. Perhaps there will be some cross promotion in the future?

Before we get into the stories, I'd like to wish everyone a belated Happy Mother's Day and Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Especially since this was founded after our fearless leader Benita had a heartfelt conversation with her grandmother in Hong Kong. And in these crazy times, it's more important than ever to support Asian run businesses and Asian run non-profits. You can donate, subscribe to our newsletter, send a note to our older buds, or follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. If you want to volunteer yourself, then email us at And if you know older buds with stories, then you or they can submit them through our portal right here.

And now, without further Die Hard references, please enjoy this week's stories:

Frances Bryce
Joy, Confused, Sad
The involvement in my daughter’s wedding was a period of happiness, that brought me great day. She met a young man at work and they became friends, he was from St. Louis and finally returned to his hometown after a couple of years. They kept in touch by phone, she related to me after he had been away that he was returning to Calif. They again begin to renew their time they had before he left Calif. which grew into an engagement and then planning to get married.
I accompanied her when she selected her flowers, wedding dress and the site for her wedding (on a boat) it was a small wedding with her intimate friend, and my best friend that all attended college which made the event even special, since she (my friend) was my daughter’s godmother.
A wonderful memories that still bring joy to my heart when I look at the picture, from her wedding and remember what fun it was for me to be involved in her marriage event. I have said if I could invent a son in law he would be my model.
This date they have a very loving relationship for more than eight years.

Eleanor Kazdan
Why I'm Glad I Did Not Like to Be a Server In A Restaurant

I feel very lucky to this day that I did not like to be a server in a restaurant.  When I was 21 I got a job in Toronto at a Ontario Place, which is a big tourist attraction in Toronto.  And it was a seafood restaurant called Stoodley’s.  I had never been a server before, but I went out and bought the uniform – white bell bottom pants and a blue and red top, and I tried to be a good waitress, and I just did not like it.  I didn’t like having to be nice to people all the time and hoping to get good tips, and I did not get good tips.  Other young women did.  So after a couple of weeks I decided no, I do not like to be a waitress, and I went back to my old summer job working for the government of Ontario as a typist. 

And so after I’d been at that job for about two weeks a friend of mine, Elaine, also had a summer job right near where I was working in the center of Toronto.  And she said, “Let’s meet for lunch!” So I said, “Great.”  She was a summer student, a psychology student.

She said “Well my fellow psychology students and I meet at Womens College Hospital, we go to the hospital cafeteria and we have lunch there.  So I met her- met her twice actually, and the first time was not memorable.  There were a bunch of people there; I didn’t know them at all. But the second time, I was sitting beside a very cute guy.  And after a while he started asking me questions, and he was very interested in the fact that I was a musician, I played the piano, and I sang…he asked me a lot of questions; didn’t tell me much about himself. And I remember him leaving the group and I turned to Elaine and I said “He’s really cute!” 
So I went back to my job typing and towards the end of the day my friend Elaine called me on the phone she says “Guess what? That guy asked for your phone number!” So, oookay.  I was excited.  I left work and that night I was going to a concert.  My piano teacher had given me tickets to a free summer concert.  And so I was going by myself; walking down the street, kind of hanging out between work and the concert, and I happened to bump into the cute guy.  And I was feeling a little embarrassed knowing that he’d asked for my phone number.  So we talked for a little while, and he said “What are you doing tonight?”  And I said “Well, I’m going to a concert.”  So he said “Can I come?”  And I said “Okay!”  So that was our first date!  We met in front of the concert hall- I was very impressed that he showed up early, he wasn’t one of these people that was trying to make an impression by coming fashionably late. When I got there he was already sitting, waiting for me on a wall.  And that was our first date – July 25, 1971.  And we’ve been together ever since!  I was very lucky.

Delores Wilson
I'm Alive

I want to share a story that actually happened to me in ’75, in the delivery room.  And what happened was that originally I was told that I was gonna have twins, but when it came time to deliver, they found out that the baby was breach. So ok, they’re going along with all this medical jargon, which- I understood what they were saying.  And the doctor said “We’re gonna have to turn him around.”  OK.  And as they’re doing what they’re doing, I hear some more medical terms and I discerned that complications had set in.  Either I’m going to have a hysterectomy, or I’m gonna die.  This is how serious it was. 

So what happened was, they turned the baby around- he was fine.  And the hospital that I went to, Germantown, they didn’t give you anything, they just gave you a spinal.  So I was awake, as I thought.  But in between the time before they transferred me to the gurney, I happened to look down and I saw red.  And I said to the doctor, I said, “I’m bleeding.”  They hadn’t noticed, and they looked, and she said “Yes she is!”  So they transferred me back on the table.  So in the meantime apparently I went out.  And what I saw was- I was going through a tunnel.  And I saw this blue light and this white light at the end of it, and there I saw Jesus.  And he said to me- he said “Go back.”  Because I said “I want to come!” He said “Go back.”  He showed me my son who I had not seen.  He never opened his mouth, but I understood what he was saying telegraphically.  And, I understood what he did.

Ok, so, in the meantime they had taken me to my room, and when I woke up I thought, this nurse who looked like one of the flying nuns, (that’s the kind of hat she had on) – I asked for water, she gave me water.  I asked for the bedpan, she gave me the bedpan.  And I went back to sleep, or so I thought.  So when I wok up again, for REAL for real, I looked- I saw I had an I.V. in my right arm and I had a coudé catheter.  So I looked around in the room and I noticed I was just the only one in the room, and two more beds.  So I discerned that I was in intensive care. 

So I’m still discombobulated because I feel fine, I’m thinking it’s something wrong with the baby.  So in the meantime at Germantown at that time they had the chart at the end of the bed so I scooted down and I read the chart.  When I read the chart, that was life changing for me.  It was life changing. 

What had happened…when I read the chart, I realized the baby was fine.  But it was me.  It changed the whole way that I thought about God. I was raised up in the church, I was baptized, and I wanted to return to the Lord.  It just changed my whole outlook on life.  And what happened- when the nurse came in, I asked her, “How was the baby?” She said “The baby was fine.”  But she had a look in her face, that- it isn’t the baby.  They never said “It was you”..

So, long story short – I rested that night- I went to get up, she said no, you stay in the bed.  She said just stay in the bed.  So I stayed in the bed, and that next day they took me to see the baby.  And from that point on what the Lord had said to me concerning that baby, he enabled me to follow through with it.  And I‘m thankful for that, because that was one of the most blessed days of my life.  I’m alive.

We're in the eye of the hurricane right now, and it's more important than ever to maintain contact 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. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Zoom 2: Zoom's Harder (Philip and Carolyn)

Last week, we had our second Best Day on Zoom. It’s one thing to run a successful and exciting workshop on Zoom for the very first time. It’s quite another to do it regularly. Especially Zoom doesn’t know that meeting’s supposed to be weekly, so you send out an expired meeting ID. Also, some of our older buds transitioned from phones to Zoom accounts for this workshop. And the first time anyone uses Zoom, there’s always at least five minutes of microphone trouble and people making sure their camera works. Nonetheless we had several amazing stories, some of them about local restaurants, and we kept the best day spirit going throughout all the glitches and dropped calls.

In honor of our budding oral storytelling tradition, here’s some stories from the story slam we did back in March:

Philip Pai
If I Were Young

I remember you know when I were young. I attended the college, and the high school, and the primary school. When I was nine years old I had the older brother who graduated from the high school or college who got good degree at graduate school. And that day I always dreamed– if I was in that age, I’m really happy – I would graduate from college, I would graduate from high school- I really admired him. But right now, my age was more than 30 or 50 years old. But I saw a lot of people- they didn’t go to college, or they didn’t get high school degree, but they still have successful in a lot of field. Such as the people who played the basketball and such as maybe a few weeks ago the guy called Kobe Bryant- they didn’t go to college. They’re very successful in the sport field. And other people—Mr. Edison—he successful at electric field. And another guy they called Vincent—he made the locomotives run during the war. And Mr. Bill Gates, I think he didn’t graduate from Harvard University. They still have really great successful at their field. In my mind, if I were young, I don’t want to go to high school, or I don’t want go to college, or I don’t want get a special degree—I just want to try my best at something, at that field. Maybe just do one subject like science or sports or another field—I think it’s better and successful for me. But right now I am older, I don’t have so many chance, I don’t have so many opportunity to today. If someday I were offered a children—but now my children are grown up, I don’t have a chance to teach them—if I have young children, I will tell them to do something you like, to do something you do, you don’t do everything. You think you are successful at your field, so I say that gives you a good chance to successful.

Carolyn Boston
I Have Been Blessed

I don’t believe in luck. And I Googled it, to see if there was a purified definition of what luck is and there really isn’t – luck is an adjective that describes something else. But I know that I have been blessed. And I had an awesome experience back in the 90s with my girlfriend and I. We were both working hard, we hardly had any money and we wanted to go to the very first TD Jakes conference in Atlanta. We talked on the phone and she said “I really want to go!” And I said “I do too but I don’t have a dime, I don’t have a plane ticket, I don’t have lodging money…” And she said “Look, we’ll just pray about it.”
So I put it in the back burner. I said, “That’s not gonna happen,” with all that’s involved and the money that’s involved with the conference. Well about a couple days later she called me and she said “We’ve got tickets!” I said “What do you mean we’ve got tickets?” She said “We’ve got airplane tickets!” I said, “But I didn’t…Wh- How did you get them?!” Turns out that her son works for the airlines, and he got tickets for both of us. And we weren’t flying coach- we flew first class. I had never flown first class! So I was like, “what in the world!” And she said “I told you- I told you – I told you, if we wanted to go we’d be able to go!”
So we got ourselves together, packed and headed out to Atlanta. Before that- her cousin lives on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. And her cousin stays in a trailer home (which you can’t even tell the difference between a trailer home and a regular home; they’re gorgeous). So we get out there and I was concerned about paying for a hotel and she said to me “Oh no, we’re going to stay with my cousin.” And I said “What, she’s got a trailer home…” She said “We can have the whole trailer while we’re there for the conference.” And I was really kind of freaked out. So I said “Okay..”  
When we got to Atlanta we went to the conference which was absolutely awesome and we just could not believe how things flowed. I believe there’s a purpose and a plan for everything, and I do know that what was in our hearts- those prayers were answered. 
So we missed our bus on the first night of the conference and we were staying outside of Atlanta. But here comes this lady, and we’re sitting on the steps saying “How are we gonna get back?” And this lady says to us, “I’ll take you!” I never saw her before, my girlfriend never saw her... she said, “I’ll take you back to where you live.” Okay! Second night something happened and we couldn’t get back where we were supposed to go and we stopped being fearful and thinking nothing was going to work out because after all these things happened we figured it was in the hands of God and he was going to take care of us. 
So what happened is, I hear this lady’s voice and she says “Carolyn?” And I turned around and I said “Yes?” And she said “What are you doing here?” And I said “Carol, what are you doing here?” She said “Well I’m here with my church for the conference.” This is a dear friend of mine, I’ve known her for years and I never knew she was going to the conference and she was right behind me. So she said “Come and stay with us.” We stayed with her in her hotel room with all these ladies, they had plenty of space. So we had free accommodations that night.
Anyway to make a long story short we never got to spend any money on the trip- we didn’t spend a dime. I’m not kidding you. So we took each other to McDonald’s and said look, “Let me treat you” and she said, “No let me treat you.” We couldn’t spend a dime.
I get back to Philly – we just had an awesome time. And I thought “OK Lord I need to spend some money,” because I had all his money saved up. It was Appreciation Day for SEPTA so I got to ride home for free. So I’m telling you, that was an empowering, challenging, awesome experience. And it’s that thing that I believe that really gives you the strength to move forward, and not to be afraid. And in terms of lucky, I say that I feel blessed.

You can share your older buds' stories through our portal right here, and you can volunteer as a transcriber (completely remotely) by emailing us at If you're an older bud yourself, you can share your story through this portal right here. 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. And check us out on 6ABC news, too.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Zoom! (José and Frances)

Last week was a groundbreaking event for Best Day! We had our first ever storytelling workshop on Zoom! It was an adventure for both the volunteers and the older buds, especially since so many of us did Best Day through telephone instead of through our computer. Fortunately, the older buds of PSC did something similar when we had our story slam back in March, so it was easy to take that format and translate it into a Zoom session. Our theme for last week was The Best Day of My Quarantine So Far, and Benita's even turned it into a challenge on Facebook. And Benita, Kian and Jett actually joined our first Zoom session too.

We started at 12:45 just to get everyone used to the new format, but we all got used to it quickly enough. And no matter how difficult things were in lockdown, all of us were able to talk about the best day of our far. We even got to do our Senior Selfie at the end of it...even though half of us were little telephone icons!

This week, we're inviting even more volunteers to our Zoom session to see what Best Day's all about, and we're even discussing uploading the audio from our Zoom sessions online for the world to hear. In the meantime, we still have plenty of stories on our blog for the whole world to read. Here's a few of them below:

José Dominiguez
My Second Pardon Experience

Maria my deceased and loved wife was indeed a character. She inspired deep and strong feelings of attraction-repulsion when we become US legal residents we attended to a Catholic church located at Sunland Park New Mexico. We were very active and were included in several ministries at San Martin’s Church. There we knew many Hispanic people with whom we socialized and prayed. One special lady was in touch with us and her name is Alma and we called her “La Chola.” She was very energetic and outspoken person. Alma was very dear to all the community and we enjoyed her good feelings towards us. Suddenly Alma was apart from us and obviously she eluded out presence. Few weeks later Alma stopped my wife in a moment when nobody was present and told her: Maria I came to ask you for pardon…I have spoken nasty things of you and…
Maria interrupted her saying: I don’t have nothing against you, thank you for your pardon request but don’t have nothing to regret from you.
“Nevertheless” Alma said: I can tell you what things I have said so you will know my wrong doing.”
Not interested: Maria said. You can keep does words for you. True pardon comes from Jesus: Pray and ask him for his pardon I am only a poor soul looking for my own salvation. And I thought for me it was a complete intent asking for pardon. Alma faced my wife, recognized her conduct, was willing to describe her faults and asked for pardon. Since then Alma is for me an example of a repented person acting as such

Frances Bryce
Play Cancelled

Recently a friend and I bought tickets to see a play depicting the life of Marvin Gaye. We live in different parts of the city. She is in the west of the city and I live in the south, Center City. We agreed to meet at the theater for the performance at 3:00 pm. I arrived at about 2:30-2:45 pm and she was not there. A notice on the window stated the performance had been cancelled. My reaction was a disappointed one. A couple from New Jersey had driven over and we expressed our disappointment. One of the ladies said she did not get a notice of the cancellation. I recalled getting a series of calls that I did not recognize so I did not answer. My rule is if I don’t know or recognize the number and no voice mail is left, my assumption is that it is probably a scam or robocall. On reflection, it was probably a call to let me know the play was cancelled. We who were wondering why stayed for a short time went to the box office for a receipt and was informed that the amount of the tickets had been returned to my account. I took a bus and returned home. [I] Assum[ed] that my friend who is always early had read the notice and was on her way home. She does not have a cell phone, so I could not check that she was now home or on her way there.
When I finally was able to get her she informed me that she arrived after I left and remained in the area until 3:30pm. I asked why she stayed after she knew the production was canceled and after the time it was past the register time of 3:00. She stated that she was waiting on me.
I said we will agree that if any future events that we were to see cancelled. Then we would leave and for her to consider an inexpensive cellphone so we could connect with each other.
She arrived later than usual she told me, because the driver carried her two blocks from her stop and not being a fast walker, it was necessary to retrace the two blocks where she wanted to catch the next bus. I now will try to think about other ways to be sure we are on the same wavelength.

You can share your older buds' stories through our portal right here, and you can volunteer as a transcriber (completely remotely) by emailing us at If you're an older bud yourself, you can share your story through this portal right here. 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. And check us out on 6ABC news, too.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Eye of the Hurricane (Eleanor and Elliott)

The weather's getting a lot nicer, curves are flattening, states are easing up on their lockdowns, and everybody wants to spend time outside. However, there's still too much risk for things to go back to the way they are before. Masks should still be worn, social distancing should be maintained, and travel should be limited to the essential (and essential travel means different things to different people.) We're in the eye of the hurricane right now, and it's more important than ever to maintain contact 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. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs.

Eleanor Kazdan
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be living in the U.S. I grew up in Toronto. My parents were both from Jewish immigrant families. My mother’s family settled in Montreal. My father’s family settled in New York City but moved to Toronto when he was 1 year old. I was a dyed-in-the-wool Canadian girl, and quite proud of my country. My husband was born in Toronto but grew up in Detroit. He moved back to Toronto in the ’70s to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam war.
So Canadian life went on. School, college, marriage, children. My daughter was born in Toronto and 8 months later we moved to Montreal for my husband’s job. My son was born in Montreal. Life was cozy. But things don’t stay the same for long.
One day Gary came home from work and announced that his company would be moving to New Jersey. He was one of just a few people who was asked to move with them. All of the other hundreds of employees were let go. I was happy for him but devastated at the same time. How could I leave my Canadian life? My friends, family, neighbors? It seemed overwhelming, especially with 2 babies. On the other hand, it seemed like an interesting thing to do for a few years. That few years stretched to 5, then 10, 20, 30! Another lifetime! It has now been 36 years. People sometimes ask me if I miss Canada, or if I plan to move back. “No, I don’t,” I say. The U.S. has become my home.

Elliott Doomes
Molehill to a Mountain
I’m going to attempt a little humor, but then again maybe not.
[I was] standing on the crowded subway platform [with the] doors opening and everybody rushing in. It was so packed that people literally had to squeeze by one another. One gentleman accidentally bumped the guy in front of him. He politely said, “Excuse me, sir.” The gentleman who was bumped then turns with an angry hostile stare in his eyes.
“Excuse me,” he said angrily. “Only one of us can occupy this spot at a time. As big as I am you couldn’t see me? Why didn’t you watch where you’re going? Am I that small?”
The gentleman who accidentally bumped this guy slid away into the crowd with a look of fear on his brow. The abuser, the abusive person, took nothing and made it something that it ain’t.
So remember: think before you speak or become confrontational over nothing. Do not take nothing and make it something that it ain’t.

You can share your older buds' stories through our portal right here, and you can volunteer as a transcriber (completely remotely) by emailing us at If you're an older bud yourself, you can share your story through this portal right here. 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. And check us out on 6ABC news, too.
Also, not all of these Senior Selfies were taken within the past few weeks. Some of them were from before the lockdowns. So if you're wondering why dome of the older buds are surrounded by other people with no masks, that's why.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri