Thursday, June 4, 2020

Because Black Lives Matter (Frances, Norman, and Delores)

My name is Caitlin Cieri, and I've been the Lead Facilitator the the Philadelphia Senior Center's Best Day workshop for three years. I'm going to get personal on this post and say Black lives matter. Black lives matter because many of PSC’s storytellers are Black. 

Black lives matter because Norman was targeted in the army for supporting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Black lives matter because Joan’s church did more to protect her from her husband than the actual police. 

Black lives matter because Elliot wants to know why he has no home country. 

Black lives matter because even after the doctors' offices took down the "Colored" and "White" signs Frances’ father always stayed in the "Colored" waiting room.

There's a lot of people who don't think Black lives matter. They also think José should be kicked out of his home, that Nouria should never come back to the United States of America, and that COVID-19 is all Philip's fault. 

These are just a few reasons why I say Black lives matter, but this blog is full of hundreds more.
But you know the older buds of Best Day's lives matter, and you know their families' and friends' lives matter. They're great storytellers, parents, spouses, volunteers, veterans, friends and pillars of the community. But most importantly, they're human beings who have the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and a life free from prejudice.

The Best Day of My Life So Far is a nonprofit that supports older buds, many of whom are People of Color, and I'm proud of what it's done. But I want to do more, and I hope you do too. If you're in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Senior Center has always supported older People of Color through all sorts of activities, including free and discounted meals, grocery delivery, and housing. Also, check on the People of Color in your life, whether they're younger or older buds. These are hard times, and they need your support. Share these stories on your social media page, and put the older POC buds in the spotlight. There's plenty more resources out there for people who believe Black lives matter, and some of you have already found them through Google.

And finally, click the links above if you haven't already. There's some great stories in there. If you're looking for more stories to read, I've posted a few below for you:

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.

Norman Cain


Proper Addressing

Yesterday a fortyish aged man who resides on my street called me “old man” and then “Pops.” 
I immediately informed him that I found both terms unacceptable. He apologized and asked me if I was interested in buying some shoes. I declined.
When I was growing up my parents emphasized that me and my siblings embrace the concept of respect to everyone, especially the elderly, who we addressed as ma’am and sir.
Fortunately, not all youth utilize the terms “old head,” “old school,” “uncle,” and “pops” etc. when addressing me. At best 60 will use the terms: mister and sir- when I visit southern states, I notice that the youth in general, use the terms mister, miss, ma’am, and sir when addressing seniors.
All people- no matter their age should be addressed in the proper manner.

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.

Thanks for reading.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri