Thursday, June 25, 2020

Father's Day in Lockdown (Elliott, Michael, Ann, Joyce, Norman, José)

Having a global pandemic, to say nothing of global Black Lives Matter protests, puts Father's Day in a different perspective. Many older buds have children of their own, but not all older buds live with their children. Some of their children live in different houses. They can go to their parents' house to drop off groceries, but they can't stay with them for fear of infection. Some of their children live in other states entirely. They can send their parents care packages and Zoom chat with them, but crossing state lines could cause more harm than good. Some of the children lived with their parents before the lockdown and can't afford to move them into a safer environment. They do their filial duty and wonder if that will cause their parents' death. Some of the children set up separate suites for their parents, minimizing contact while maximizing proximity. They know what their parents are up to and how long they were gone, and catch up with them through windows and sliding glass doors. Or they diligently monitor their own symptoms and isolate themselves so they can hug each other without risk.

Every Father's Day is different, especially during an epidemic. This post's devoted to the fathers and grandfathers of Best Day:

Elliott Doomes
I'm thinking of going to Wildwood, NJ for Thanksgiving. I have some family there. I have my daughter, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, three grand daughters, a grandson, and two great-grandsons.. The two youngest ones, they may recognize me, but they really don't know who I am. I mean, they hear me called "Pop-Pop" but I really don't think that they understand the significance of that title.They think its just my name. It's not who I am. I want them to know who I am while there's still time. I neer met or knew my grandpa and I had very little time with my father. I knew him, but I never got to know him. He passed when I as just about eight years of age. And I often wondered about who he was and what kind of man was he? I was liked by all my grandchildren and both of my grandchildren for who "Pop-Pop" really is. When I visit them, I very seldom hear my name mentioned by them. Although my grandson has my first name s his middle name, and so does his son. Although they know where the name comes from, they really don't know who that person is. And that's what I want them to know. So this holiday visit provides me with the opportunity to spend some me-time with them and perhaps I can create some memories that they can think back on and relate to. I had no such memories in my life and I didn't have much time with my paw. Although we lived in the same apartment, I only saw him at dinner time. After dinner, hew as preparing at bed for the net workday and the next workday.
Michael Tsuei
After All

My best friend, her parents, recently passed away , both descended at twenty minutes from each other. They are both in the late eighties, both healthy and happy couple, always together, meant for at parts to each other, dearly in love, every time. We had a family get together for the holidays with good friends. They were always holding hands, taking care of each other dearly. When the wife was feeling ill, he stayed in the hospital. They husband stayed with her day and night. Then suddenly the wife’s condition get rose, passed away while in their sleep. The husband’s heart broken, everyone felt his pain. At that night, he came home from the hospital, before that, he said goodbye to his children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, the next morning at his bed, the daughter found out he also passed away, never woke up.

I still remember these two so in love, around themselves or in the public. So the even grandchildren, sometimes get embraced said (OMG, old people do that, grosses us out).

But the daughters grown up with her parents once made it common, have a different explanation (don’t forget everyone one was once young, once crazy in love with someone or two…)

In our eastern tradition, most of us, very very open to expressing the personal feelings in public or around friends. We’ve been told “you needs acting according to your age).

So lots relatives talk about their behavior, may made bad example and erupt the young people.

Now they are all gone, children start to miss their company so much, so deeply.

Just not too long ago the  famous movie star Debbie Reynolds and her younger daughter (Princess Leia) both passed away in two days, then are no questions in my mind, when someone so in love with each other, may be that just want to go with it and never wanting to waken up!

Ann von Dehsen
Deer Spotting

During each summer of my childhood, my family went to the Poconos for a few weeks vacation. On the ride up, my father and I would start our weeklong game of deer spotting. Simply, if you saw a deer and called out “deer!” first, you scored a point & the one with the most points at the end of the week won. Being 5 years older than me, I guess my sophisticated sister thought the game was dumb & did not join us. My mother, being from the Bronx and never entirely comfortable in the woods was far too busy looking out for life threatening bears to join us. So it was just a game between the 2 of us that eventually became a tradition. Even years later when riding in the car with him in the suburbs we’d still shout “deer” during a very rare sighting. After suffering a stroke towards the end of his life, my father spent some time at a rehab center. On golden autumn day as I was pushing his wheelchair thru the gardens, I noticed a deer in the distant woods. I decided not to yell “deer!”, as I was afraid it might scare & confuse him, just as my father yelled “Deer!” and we shared a laugh & a hug. It was also on this walk that he told me he was ready to die & for me to remember happy times together instead of being sad. Within a few weeks he was back in the hospital and we knew he did not have much time left, yet he continued to have some good days so my sister & I took turns being at the hospital. I had returned home for a day or two to be w/ my children. On the first day home I received a phone call that Drs. Did not think he would make it thru the night so I immediately started the 2 hr. ride back to the hospital. Now it was not uncommon to see deer on my route through N.J. Pine Barrens to the hospital. But, on this particular night as I approached the last circle on Rt. 70, 3 very large deer walked calmly out of the woods, stopped & appear to look right at me. As they slowly moved on I looked at the car’s clock & saw it was 8:10. A few minutes later I got to the hospital and ran towards my fathers room but was stopped by the nurse & my crying sister. “I’m sorry,” the nurse told me, “but your father did just a few minutes ago, at 8:10.” So, it may have been a coincidence, but I believe those deer represented my father’s final, loving goodbye.

Joyce Woods
I Wanted a Large Family

I don’t even know what I’m going to say. Okay, I’ll talk about me. Back in 1967, that’s when I decided to leave home and get married, I was 19. So a lot of people didn’t think that was quite a good idea. “Do you think you should finish school first?” or “don’t you think you should just wait a while? Maybe you should save more money.” My mother had a lot of older friends and my parents were elderly when I was 19. They were married 21 years when I was born. So they’re elderly and I came up by myself so I had a nice calm life. I didn’t even know I lived in the ghetto. This is on our block, I knew everybody, the same people when I left, and even the grandparents I would go back and take care of my mother. They and all the children would live on that block, the same parents lived there at that time. So, as far as luck is concerned, I believe in luck, because I know what people mean when they say that. I know what their idea of luck is, and I understand your meaning of it too. I have very diverse life, so I think we have every religion in it from Judaism to Islam to African Methodist, Baptist and I’ve experienced it all. And what I’ve found, most people want good things to happen for their families. They want good honest life. Well I had decided since we didn’t have many children in our family at a very early age I think I was about seventeen that I wanted a large family. Eight to be exact. I would draw my little stick figures. The school I went to I got tired of blue and white uniforms, they were gonna have brown and beige, and I would draw that and it was it in my mind how I wanted these children. Because I was a woman, my father had died when I was nine, and I couldn’t understand why you would carry the father’s name, but I didn’t have a brother. So I said if I biologically have children, well they’ll still be a part of my father, and a part of me, and my mother. So I think I was a very mature child for my age by them being so old. All my friends were old. Even my mother would tell me sometimes, she showed me a picture after I was a teenager, she said, “you see all these people in here?” They were all seniors that had been my friends and passed away. She said, “There’s something wrong with this picture. Everybody’s on here’s dead but you.” So I didn’t have hardly any friends when I got older too much but I did have a large wedding. It wasn’t intended to be large, it was supposed to be fifty people and I think the way I thought I wanted my mother to be happy because if I had lived with my boyfriend she would have died so I decided to go ahead and have a wedding. But it was supposed to be small. We ended up with nine children. The reason why we had nine was because, and they were all full-term natural births, I didn’t have any medication, nothing to put me to sleep, not that I was a hero but we were trying to eat right. During the first time that I first got pregnant we started reading books and started going to Lamaze classes, everything that we could get our hands on was trying to find out and it was a very nice experience. So a lot of times, and you see I’m not really lucky, I don’t gamble. A couple of times I did try to play a number I never win. I’m talking about street numbers back in the day, right? So anyway I did it a couple of times but I don’t like to lose money, I like the shows if you go to Atlantic City. I used to be a lifeguard out there as a teenager. Okay, sorry. Okay, one more thing. So, after having nine children, a lot of people look at me like, “oh my God,” you know, they look at you like you’re a piece of meat or something, they have a bad idea. But I thought out how I was having children, and that’s what I wanted to do too, and I think that I have some pretty good children. Not everybody has the same type of experience but I think several of them have gone on to college and finished. One works at NASA and that gives me an opportunity to travel. I met a lot of the astronauts there. When they go different places I can go as long as I pay for my plane ride, everything else, I’m there, I could be anywhere else in the country. So they’ll send me tickets, and I can’t afford all of these things but having a lot of children in my family worked out nice for me.

Norman Cain
Baseball, My Father and Action Speaks Louder than Words

My father was a quiet reserved man who never missed a days work. Before we awoke in the morning he would be at his job. He was a custodian at 30th Street Station. He would return in the evening, eat and immediately go to bed. While there was definitely love between us there was little interaction.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. There were two small events that occurred between myself and my father that I will forever contain within my mind.

The first event occurred when I was around twelve. My father came home with two baseball gloves and took me to a nearby lot where we engaged in an extended lively game of catch. I never knew my father could play baseball. He was good. Each time the ball thudded against our glove it echoed love.

The second action between my father and I that spoke louder than words also had to do with baseball. This event took place when I was around 14 years old. One day we were both practicing with our respective teams at Belmont Plateau in Fairmont Park. I was with a youth baseball team and he played for a Penna Railroad  Team.

We did not know that our practices were at the same time. When we noticed each other we left our teams, walked towards one another and shook hands without uttering a word. Two events involving baseball between us spoke a multitude of words.

So actions do speak louder than words, especially when love is involved.

José Dominiguez
Walking in the Streets of Philadelphia By 11th St

[I was] walking to take Sofia, my granddaughter, to school in the crossing to Bainbridge. Nearby us a parent with his 5-year-old son interrupted our way. Slowing down our speed, I heard part of the conversation. “My son,” he said, “All people of that country hate us, so what can you expect from them?” I was astonished. The dialog was short, simple, and with huge consequences.
The first part of the statement implied not that some of the people hate us, or a few, or the majority — but ALL the people of that country. I imagined millions and millions of that country hating. It was a gross generalization because is impossible to survey the hate feelings of so many people. The second part of the statement “hate us” was equally disturbing. Who is “us?” The white people? The United States population? Was I included as an immigrant that I am? If I become a US citizen do all those millions will hate me? Obviously it’s not possible to do a mathematical and a statistical correction. I was witnessing the generalization of a parent’s point of view used as an educational experience. In that educational chat, the parent is defining who is hating who. And in a way, according to my pessimistic perspective, he is also giving the argument so the child can rationalize eventually his own and personal hate.
I did not hear nothing near to “love your enemy” as the New Testament states, but instead I heard “Beware that they hate us.” So, whatever you do or feel has to take into account that all those millions hate you and hate also all the rest of the United States’ population. The sad conclusion of that parent son educational interaction is that love is restricted to those of our own status because they are the ones who accept us.
Where is the love lesson? The child is innocent. He does not hate by nature, but we as parents can prepare our children to have arguments [or] to rationalize hate feelings when the time comes. May we as parents stop the intolerance preparing loving, mature, and responsible children.

There's lots of ways to support older buds, both in and outside of Best Day. You can donate to Best Day, 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. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds (In honor of the Black Lives Matter Movement) and LGBTQIA+ older buds (in honor of Pride Month.) And don't forget 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. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri