Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Career in Common (Ann and Rochelle)

One of my favorite things about Best Day is when the older buds' stories and conversations build on each other. In this case, older buds Ann and Rochelle both taught special education when they were younger:

Ann von Dehsen

06.04.2020

Special Ed Privileges

You know I was a teacher for a while too, Special Ed teacher, and we used to have conferences with the parents over the services the kids were entitled to and the white families would come in with all their information and often they would hire an advocate to fight for the rights they thought their kid needed; they thought they needed more speech, they wanted a longer summer program, they wanted the district to pay for activities in the summer like horseback riding and things and they would usually get those privileges. And then our Black families, this was in Delaware County, were mainly from Chester, living in poverty and they would come to these meetings obviously very, very nervous and frightened of us and sit there very quietly saying, “Okay. Okay,” and never voicing that maybe they needed more than what they were getting. And a speech therapist and I often spoke up to our supervisor and saying, “This child needs more therapies.” And after a while with the dialogue, they began to get more therapies, but once our supervisor called us in after a meeting and said, “You have to stop suggesting these extra therapies. It’s very expensive. It’s not in our budget and these people should educate themselves on what’s out there.” So how do you educate yourself on what’s out there when you don’t know and you’re living in Chester, you know? So that was huge to me too. I’ve just been trying to think of those types of stories.

 

Rochelle R. Tynes

06.18.2020

Special

It was interesting but you know, it was working with special needs kids. They tell you, even though people don’t do it, after a certain amount of time you should switch to so-called normal kids and then go back, transition back and forth. And I’m telling you, there ain’t much difference between the special kids and the so-called normal kids. They all have something, if its good or bad, they got something.
We special. Gosh, just the fact that we are writing these stories and telling stuff that we remember. The fact that we remember it is special. I’m telling you. 

 


If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know have careers in common, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.
 

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

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Day Tripping (Eleanor and Denise W)

Yesterday, my mother and I went to York to get our second vaccine. The vaccination process has been very confusing, between the wait lists, the flawed Rite Aid system, and rush of people who trying to get vaccinated so that things can go "back to normal." Every site in my hometown was reserved, and Rite Aid didn't really have a "hang around at the end of the day and see if you get lucky" policy. We had to go two hours out of the way to get our vaccines, we couldn't really walk around or linger in cafes like we used to, we had to be careful with which bathrooms we used, and we could only eat take-out. But it got us out of the house and into someplace we don't usually go. It felt like a vacation. In honor of my own day trip, here's some stories about older buds on vacations of their own:

Eleanor Kazdan

06.18.2020

A Trip to Toronto

I probably won’t be at Best Day next week. I’ll be on a driving trip to Toronto to see my daughter. We’re driving on next Thursday to go. I don’t think I’ll be able to log in- I’ll be somewhere upstate New York. So, I’ll miss you all next week but I hope to be- I’ll be in Toronto for three weeks. We have to quarantine for fourteen days. We can’t go anywhere so, anyway I’ll try and join the group from my daughter’s place. Oh well, if I can get across the border without a problem I’ll be delighted. We are supposed to as a Canadian citizen.


Denise W

02.25.2021

The Best Surprise Ever

My story is called “The Best Surprise Ever”. My daughter and I were seeking tickets to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. This museum was a part of the Smithsonian institutions. It was established in 2003 and opened its doors September 2016 with a ceremony led by the President Barack Obama. This museum was free but obtaining access to this historical monument was challenging and frustrating. So I called the museum hoping to be on a long waiting list but that was to no avail. I wrote a letter requesting tickets far in advance; it didn't happen. I researched group trips to go into the museum only to find that several were full and there were no guarantees for waiting lists. Entry into the museum required a time entry pass. Time entry tickets were available for three months in advance, same day passes were available online starting at 6:30 am. We were in Washington visiting by brother Don, and we were unsuccessful in securing tickets online, so I asked my brother to please pull some strings and allow my daughter and I to go to this museum. And his attitude was a little nonchalant, he basically told me that he was able to go the first night, but I had a feeling he wasn't on a quest to finding our tickets. So of course I didn't give up, on a subsequent visit to visit Donny in Washington we decided to go to the museum and ask “How can we get a ticket to get in? We have tried for two years with no luck.” The Usher outside of the museum giggled and said “Oh do you want to go in today?” We anxiously said “yes.” He told us that all we needed to do was go to the back of the building, wait for maybe about 30 minutes and we would have access to the museum because they have a policy that the first 400 people standing in line will be able to just walk in. We couldn't believe it.
So we waited for 20 minutes, to our surprise we were in and did the same thing the next day. I think it takes about two or three days to really visit the museum. And special points of interest were, Harriet Tubman's shawl, Oprah Winfrey's studio couch, South Carolina a slave cabinet, Chuck Berry’s Cadillac from 1973, and the Emancipation Proclamation was there. There were 37,000 rare artifacts on three floors. We saw Muhammad Ali’s head gear, a Jim Crow railroad, Emit Till’s casket, Nat Turner’s bible, and the Green Barrel lunch counter that was a part of the protests, Michel Jackson’s fedora were just a few of the fascinating things that we saw. And of course there was another floor with the achievements of African Americans in every field, sports, history, scientists, etc, etc. It was just amazing, amazing and I am so happy, and one thing I did see was a hat shop that was in here in Philadelphia in the Philadelphia area and it had hat shop and that lady was featured in an exhibit, it's because hats were very important and still are important to many people, particularly the Black churches so. I was just so glad that we walked up and got in immediately after so many tries and that's the end of my story.


If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know have heirlooms and stories of your own, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.

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

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hey again. This week's blog post will be a little late, but I'll update this page as soon as I can.

Caitlin

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Heirlooms (Eleanor, Ann, Frances)

Best Day has mentioned before that it's done a project where people write stories related to their family heirlooms. With the weather getting warmer and Spring on the horizon, it only seems right to feature stories about the things we may find during Spring Cleaning.

Eleanor Kazdan

05.28.2020

Heirloom

This is a story about my father Aaron Kazdan, who was born in 1918 and the year never meant that much to me except it was his birth year but now the last pandemic in the world, the Spanish flu, was in 1918 so that year makes me realize that my father was born during a pandemic. And I never heard anything about that pandemic, strangely.
My father, when he was in his 20s, was in the Canadian Airforce. So, I grew up with this painting hanging in my parents’ house, my whole growing up years. My father died in 2005, very strangely he died on the very day we bought this house in Center City, so he never knew about it or got to see it. It was on the day we were closing on the house and we went ahead and closed even though my father had just died.
So about 10 or 15 years before my father died and my parents still lived in their big house, I got up the nerve to ask them if I could inherit this painting because I’ve been an art lover all of my life and I wanted to stake my claim to this beautiful painting that was done by one of his buddies in the Canadian Air Force. I don’t even know the person’s first name but I think his last name was McClellan. So, I was surprised when my parents said “Just take it now.” So, I took the painting and I hung it in my house. It hung in my suburban house for a number of years and now it’s been hanging in this house for 14 years.
It shows my father in his 20s. The other thing is that I also inherited—or I took, I guess you would say when I was cleaning up my parent’s house when they moved to another apartment out of their suburban house—I took all of my father’s letters that he had written while he was in the Air Force. A lot of them were to my mother. Somebody had fixed them up as pen pals when my father was in the Air Force and he wrote a lot of letters to my mother. He had actually never even met her at that point. But he seemed to be very taken with her and he told her a lot of details about his life in the Air Force. And I was very moved to be aware of my father’s voice when he was about 24 years old, especially now that I’m 70.
To have that view into my father when he was so young, and he was quite different from the father that I remembered growing up. My father was very quiet and didn’t interact that much. He was very introverted. But in his 20’s he seemed to be quite different, he seemed very lively. It gave me a very different perspective into my father. So, I have his letters and every once in a while I read them. I still think I should be compiling them and putting them into some kind of a book, but I haven’t done that yet. I guess the pandemic is the time when people seem to do those kind of things, but I haven’t. And I have his painting.

Ann von Dehsen

05.28.2020

Heirloom

So my namesake, Ann Von Dehsen, was my paternal grandmother. She died a few years before I was born, and I only knew a few basic facts about her. She was quiet, kind, and loved to laugh. She and my grandfather never had much money, but managed okay by living in a small New York City apartment before buying a small house in New Jersey. And she was well-loved by my father and his sister, my Aunt Dorothy. I had just one tattered picture of her laughing as she sat on a tiny fire escape of a city apartment. But growing up, she was more of a story than a real person to me.
Then, about ten years ago, my sister and I took a trip to Maine and visited our ninety-year-old Aunty Dorothy on the way. During the visit, she gave us each a piece of jewelry that our grandmother had once worn. My sister received a garnet pendant necklace and I received a ring that surprisingly fit me perfectly. We guessed that the stone was an aquamarine, and I have worn it proudly knowing that she too had worn it so many years earlier.
Well a few years later, while in a jewelry store, the jeweler complimented me on the setting of this ring and guessed that it was quite old. I asked him if he thought that the stone was really an aquamarine. After looking at it carefully, he told me, “Well, it’s actually just a piece of colored glass,” explaining that diamonds and gemstones were somewhat rare and therefore very expensive back in the late 1800s. He said that many rings had glass stones, and my ring very likely was also my grandmother’s engagement ring. So I liked this romantic story, and upon returning home I got out that very old, tattered sepia photo of Ann in the city. It was very hard to see, but she’s definitely wearing a ring, which I choose to believe is now my ring. So, knowing we share a name, a ring, and a love of city balconies, she’s become less of story, and finally more of a person to me.
Because looking back, my sister and I always wonder, we didn’t really ask that many questions about her. You know, she had died before either of us were born. We knew more about my maternal grandmother, but we just never asked much about her. And also, when we went to my Aunt at that time and she gave us the jewelry, granted she was older and I don’t think her sight was that great, but when we walked in, she said, “Ann, you look just like my mother.” So that was strange too. Now, through this I feel more of an attachment to her.

Frances Bryce

05.28.2021

Heirlooms

I just wanted to say about heirlooms, I have a large number of my mother-in-law’s, some very expensive jewelry. Some just fashionable. And so I hope my daughter will like some of it. It’s very precious and I wear some of it. She had a lot of jewelry.
Do I have a favorite? Not really because she had brooches and necklaces and bracelets; you name it, she had it. And what was important to me was that different time of the year like at Christmas time, she had Christmas tree pendants and so just had a lot of stuff. Some very nice things.
And long before she died she gave me the family silver, and that’s when my husband said, “You must be really in to get the family silver.”
She was very, very special. When people talk about their mother-in-law, I just can’t relate because we had a wonderful relationship.

If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know have heirlooms and stories of your own, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.
 

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 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Working 9 to 5 (Carolyn & Ann)

March is Women's History Month, a month to highlight the contributions women made to society. But these contributions don't come without struggle or embarrassment, and the women of the workforce have to be prepared for anything. Carolyn's story, and Ann's response, are about female workers walking in on their male and masculine-presenting bosses and finding something they never expected to see.

Carolyn Boston

02.25.2021

Can I Have Fries with That?

When I received the promotion to work for a real estate attorney in the law department at the Bell telephone company, now known as Verizon, I was thrilled to experience a new challenge of learning something I had never experienced during my career at the telephone company or even been exposed to.
My first few weeks were times of adjustment, that is learning real estate terminology and processing contracts. The real estate attorney I worked for appeared to be OK. He was heavy on dictation, to a point where I feel almost overwhelmed. One day, he buzzed me to go into his office for dictation. When I went into his office I saw him lying face up on the floor under his desk. His head was pointing toward the door of his office and he wasn't moving; it appeared that he wasn't breathing. And I didn't see any response at all. I called his name but there was no response. So I ran out of his office, got another attorney and said that it looked like he was dead. The other attorney ran in, and I heard him say “Connie.” That was my boss's nickname in the department short for Conrad. “Connie, are you OK? Hello are you OK?” Finally there was a verbal response from my boss. I heard the other attorney ask “Why are you on the floor under your desk like that”. My boss responded “My back was hurting and I thought if I laid a flat on the floor it would stop the pain. And I wanted to put on my brace so it would relieve some of the agony I was in.” I was outside the door listening. The other attorney came out and said “Everything 's OK now.” My blood pressure had gone straight to the roof. Later the other attorney and I fell out laughing. Let's just calm him Jeff. Jeff comforted me “Don't worry about it, it's OK.”
Part two as usual I was on alert to take dictation; I wasn't disappointed. My boss buzzed me to come into his common for dictation and off I went with my steno book. When I entered his office he wasn't there. I couldn't imagine what had happened to him; he had just buzzed me. I left my boss’ office and sought out Jeff, and asked him if he saw my boss pass by. I said “He just buzzed me to come in for dictation” Jeff got up and we went into my boss’ office.
Jeff said “I didn't see him anywhere and I didn't see him his pass by so I don't know what happened to him.” There was no sign of him, there was no sign of him.
I said to Jeff, “This is crazy. Do you think he could be in here?” I pointed to the closet and I was laughing, just joking to Jeff with Jeff. Jeff said “Nah.” But before I caught myself I whipped open the closet door and there was my boss, in boxer shorts down around his feet with white socks and went up to his calves and his back brace slung halfway around his body. He had a little pair of white briefs or something on and I guess he wore that under the boxers. I almost passed out. I heard myself say Jeff, who couldn't see the inside of the closet, and pointing I said “He's in there.”
“What!” Jeff said. I said “He's in there” Immediately I slammed the door shut. I slammed it faster than a speeding bullet and along with Jeff got out of the office at warp speed. Later after I got over the shock Jeff and I were hysterical along with the other secretaries that had seen what had taken place. My boss didn't call me in for dictation for the rest of the day. Of course you surely must know why. I couldn't have sat across from him and kept a straight face taking dictation.
I just wanted to add to the story that I told because I felt that those of you that are participating in this class are thinking what bizarre behavior that the attorney that I worked with had. He was problematic but the general counsel lounge manager and administrators in the law department did speak with him and he never did that or carry out that behavior ever again because I know that it was very erratic behavior and certainly not something that should happen in an office. I took it with a grain of salt. But I did want you guys to know that he was reprimanded about his behavior. The whole law department—they heard—you know, we were all like in a group so everybody knew the story, we just laughed about it forever.
To this day when I think about what happened I still laugh like crazy. Both situations where hysterical and of course those two stories were the highlight of my experience in the Law Department of Bell telephone.

 

 

Ann von Dehsen

02.25.2021

Unlocked Doors

I had a friend that worked for a photographer once, in the big house, and he mostly took pictures of people in sports and all. And he would often lock his door. I guess she was sort of like a secretary to him. And he’d be in there for long periods of time without a client or anything. And one day she didn’t knock and the door was unlocked and she walked right in and he was standing there dressed up in his drag, in women’s clothes. Standing there and posing in front of the mirror.

And that sounds like it was only the beginning of the story. That session was pretty packed, so I only got to hear that part, but I'll send Ann a message and see if there was any more to it.

If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know have shocking stories from the workplace, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.

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

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Report Card (Eleanor)

I always like being able to show off artifacts in Best Day posts to go along with the stories, whether they're ration books or pictures from the Worlds' Fair. Back in June, Eleanor shared her kindergarten report card from 1955 during a Best Day session on Zoom, along with a short story to go with it:

Eleanor Kazdan

06.18.2020

My Kindergarten Story

I didn’t write anything but like a lot of people I’ve been going through some old letters and pictures at this time and I came across my kindergarten report card from 1955. Now just to back track a little bit, when my kids were young, I read a book called “The First Three Years of Life.” And the psychologist who wrote the book, his theory was that your personality is completely formed by age 3. And that always stuck with me. So, it was very important to spend lots of time with your children up until age 3 and well beyond.
So, I happened to come across this report card from Toronto. Here it is. My teacher was named Eileen King, its from June 29, 1955. And I was shocked. It’s a big narrative, I don’t know if they still do this in kindergarten but its written in this absolutely beautiful cursive writing. Front and back, very, very expressive. I doubt that teachers do that now, probably, no, no. So, I was pretty shocked because I’m 70 now and I’m really the same as I was in kindergarten.
So, I’m going to read a few excerpts. And of course, not all of you know me that well but this stuff is the truth about me. “Eleanor is a tall,” well I was tall in kindergarten, not that tall now. “Eleanor is a tall, serious 5-year-old with satisfactory appearance.” She didn’t say Eleanor is a gorgeous 5-year-old. “Eleanor prefers quiet table games, alone or with a small group, rather than more active play. She is more self-reliant now, able to solve her own problems. Eleanor does not find it easy to be expressive among a large group but is really trying to overcome this.” Well guess what, I’ve never overcome it, 65 years later.
“On the whole she is quite mature emotionally. Sometimes Eleanor prefers to sit back and let others contribute during music and discussions, while at other times she is ready to participate. Her detailed handiwork convinces us that she has many splendid ideas to offer. Emotionally Eleanor is stable and mature. She is a little more ready to chat with us now. Eleanor is alert to all that takes place in the classroom. She contributes ideas and completes her work with great care.”
This is kind of a summary. “In her own quiet manner has established a friendly relationship with each of her classmates. She prefers to follow rather than lead group activities. Eleanor seems a very steady and self-reliant child, able to solve minor problems without adult assistance.”
Well, I’m like the same. I am the same as I was in kindergarten. I am much better in small groups; I prefer to follow rather than to lead in groups. So, anyway that’s my kindergarten story. It was a real eye opener.




 


If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know have artifacts with interesting stories behind them, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.

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

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Let's Go Thrifting! (José, Eleanor & Liz)

Picture, if you will, a thrift store. Rows upon rows of vintage clothes or slightly out of date fashion. Stacks of obscure or off beat books and computer games. Retro furniture tucked neatly in the back, flanked with framed pictures and Butterick clothing patterns. Muzak piping through as you root through overstocks and donations, knowing each item has its own story. And as you wait in line and check which colored tags correspond to which discounts, why not read a few stories about going thrifting:

José Dominguez
02.11.2021
Refleccion Vestido: A Dress Dissonance and a "Poor Man's Body"

After Maria’s death all her clothes packed in boxes ended as a present to our dear friend Dora who was, and still is, in tremendous economical distress. Among those garments there was one related to a petit family affair that I kept imprinted in my neurons.  
The mentioned dress was the one Maria used in Ponchos’ wedding back in 2009. In a previous trip of the couple to Juarez, Sasha asked us about the way we were going to dress for the celebration; Maria showed her a green dress that she believed was appropriate for the occasion and told her that I was going to use a black suit and the issue was settled. After Sasha returned to Philadelphia; days later Maria’s affluent friend gave her several very fine clothes. One of them fitted her body exactly as if it was made specifically for her. I told her that dress was better to be used at the wedding than the option previously pointed to Sasha; she agreed and I decided also to change for a light color since the formality will be in summer. At the wedding day we faced a disaster; the in laws were not so happy about our appearance; Maria’s color dress was very similar to Sasha’s mother dress; my suit was almost the same color as Myron’s. We noticed several not verbalized signs of discontent; providentially the day ended full of happy memories that diminished our wedding protocol transgression. the damage was done and satisfyingly it didn’t become a family tragedy.
Later, looking in the internet I found a rule that we violated: (speaking about groom’s parents) ” You should opt for a different color than the bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride dress”. Years had passed after the wedding etiquette incident. Now, living in Poncho’s house I find myself in a new world of experiences oriented mostly by the here and now. Related to the way I dress I can say that I have learned to prioritize weather protection instead of good looking. The result was expending less in garments instead of making an investment on image pampering. In that venue almost all my clothes were Ponchos’, and successfully they are suited for the climate demands and to my body size. Joking with Poncho I told him that I have a poor man's body because everything suits me.
Fortunately, here, in the USA I have entered in a new world; now I have less money than ever but, at the same time, I have, as ever, a far diminished interest on money. That simplicity of life did not begin in Philadelphia. Just arriving to America in December 2012 Maria put me in touch with big stores of secondhand clothes. The Mexico I left behind, or, more properly, the Jose I left behind, was more embedded into class ideology, and I, as a beneficiary of the system, shared and cherished consciously or unconsciously some ideas that gave me advantage and comfort; one of those was about the use of pre-owned clothes; in some upper class mentality to buy not new clothes will be perceived as a decline in status since only poor people will do that. Here in US we found a culture more open and rationally oriented to recycle and to use resources properly; such way of thinking helped people, as me, that do not have enough money or do not want to spend it unwisely. As my brother Ramon said, I was born again, we ended spending much less money in clothes and at the same time did not accept social pressure to live a good life.
After three years of being legal residents we were invited to share our lives with Beatriz and Alex who happen to live in Houston. We moved to their apartment that was located in a large and fine building in League City, Texas. Just want to mention that the garbage service was very efficient and clean. Tenants had several large containers available were to put the waist. One morning I took my trash bag and went to the public container. My surprise was when I found a neat white long sleeve shirt hanging to the metal structure. It was covered with plastic and ready to be used. I interpreted that someone wanted to make me a present. I took the shirt and it fitted perfectly to my poor man's body…


Eleanor Kazdan
02.11.2021
Thrifting With My Daughter

Before my daughter learned to drive and we lived in the suburbs, she would ask me every weekend “Can we go thrift store shopping?” And we would go to the rounds of the thrift stores, and I had no interest at first, in every buying anything from a thrift store. But while I was waiting for her a couple of times I was like, “Well let me just look around.” And I found some fashion. And it could be stuff that had never been worn before, new stuff.
Liz Abrams
02.11.2021
Name Brands

I found that my children, they always wanted the name brands when they were younger to keep up with their other classmates and girlfriends. Until they got a job and I said I’m not gonna pay; at that time, $50 for sneaks was a lot of money. I said I’m not paying it. I said I’ll tell you what you can do, you can get your little jobs during the summer, save your money and then when school starts you can buy these expensive sneaks. And they said okay.
As soon as they accumulated their funds at the end of the summer I said “Let’s go and get the shoes.” “Oh no we don’t! We’re going to the thrift store; I’m not paying that kind of money.” As long as it was coming out of my pocket, it was okay. They got very economical when it came to their money and they learned about thrift stores, oh yes they did!
 

If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know have stories about shopping in thrift stores, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2021

In the Meantime (Norman & Frances)

It's getting close to the 1st anniversary of the COVID lockdown in Philadelphia. Back when we first started, we couldn't imagine how could live without restaurants, movie theaters, vacations, or haircuts. And while many of us cheated in little or not-so-little ways, we also made do with the restrictions we had. We socialized on Zoom, watched livestreams and watch parties, color coordinated our masks, cleaned our houses, and baked a lot of bread. Whether we worked from home, worked in public, or didn't work at all, we lived through a world we never thought we could. Today's post looks back at older buds getting into the swing of things, during a period when lockdowns and social distancing shifted from an unbelievable nightmare to a ho-hum routine.

Norman Cain

06.18.2020

New Things

Finally, because of the benevolence of my Drexel Group, entitled the Writers Room, that I’ve been involved with for 6 years, they gave me a Chromebook. So that’s very good because now when I get to learning how to really use it I’ll be able to send material in and I’ll be able to get into where I can be seen during these sessions. Because I’ve been utilizing my phone and during the week I would have sometimes as many as 7 different sessions with all of the groups I belong to.
Of course, there’s the Best Day session and with my church there’s a Bible study and there’s also the church study. And then we have a meeting with my Writer’s Room from Drexel every Friday for about an hour and a half and we are given subjects that they want us to write on. Also, with Writer’s Room for the last 2 months they’ve had a monthly, about an hour and a half per week, on two different areas of writing. Four weeks of poetry and four weeks of literature.
Now I really appreciate what the Writer’s Room did for me because I was about ready to get a computer anyway because I had saved up some money. Not only did they give me the computer, but they walked through, via just Zoom, how to set it up and how to do certain kinds of things.
Now last Friday I actually went into the first Zoom meeting. It was 16 of us and that was the last meeting until September. They may have a few more meetings so we can stay together. I was really amazed because we had 16 folk there. When I finally got on and I saw myself I said, “Hey Norm you need that shave and haircut buddy.” It was very interesting and it’s new. It was a new thing with the technology. I was going to try to get on, so I could be seen today, but I got into conversation with a fellow and I was kind of late getting on. So that’s my story and I’m very happy about it, and I’m going to ask Caitlin to send me her email address or some kind of way that I could start sending stories in. So that’s my little story for today. Thank you.


Frances Bryce

06.11.2020

Tell It to the Judge

I was going to talk about when I first started quarantine in March the 20th and I thought it was only going to be for a week or so, and then when it went to month I said okay, I’ll do some chores around the house and I picked up some books to read that I had bought and never read. So this went on and on until I finally decided that I was going to be in the house for a while and there was no let up in sight, so I started to declutter and did the other things. And then finally, I’m not big on TV and I don’t have Netflix so one day I just happened to scroll around and I saw some judge kind of show. So the last time I saw it, it’s really an experience, so if you’ve never seen one you really should treat yourself. So one of the shows I’m going to tell about is this young woman had met a guy on one of these social media things and they were going to meet and apparently they both had an interest in cooking so they were going to a cooking class. So she said she got all dressed up and she had received the information that said dress casually. So she was going to meet this guy for the first time because all of their communication had been done on social media. So she showed up with a new dress and some suede shoes and they were heels. What she was suing for was during the cooking event, this guy was swirling his pan and some of the grease or whatever got on her shoes and she said they cost $700, so the judge wanted to know why would you wear those shoes and she said well they said comfortable and you know she wore those heels all the time so they were comfortable. So in the end of the program the judge said, “Well no one would expect you to wear suede shoes and heels,” and she kept contending that was comfortable for her and she had on some during trial. So the judge finally awarded her $250 because she felt like she was partly to blame for it, so the guy lost, and she wanted $700. My feeling was after the judge made the decision which I had no part in I said I wouldn’t have awarded her anything, because if someone showed up to a cooking class with suede shoes that cost $700, so she had no receipts to show she had even had it. So then I had watched another show with a similar kind of thing where people had borrowed money and then they said, “Oh, it was a gift”, so it was entertaining to me but I hate that I had to watch that most of the time. But that was uplifting in a way that I had never experienced it before.
I think it was the one that’s called ‘The Verdict’ and her last name is Hatchett I believe. My son and daughter, both grown up living in California and they love Judge Judy because she goes right to the courts. You know this judge, she listens and she comments. Judge Judy doesn’t listen to any of that. She wants to know what you did. Judge Judy when I’ve seen her- she can be quite insulting. She’ll say your elevator doesn’t go to the 13th floor- any kind of remark. And that’s what my son says he enjoys because she doesn’t go through. If you have a contract you have to show it to her. You can’t just come in and say, because she would never have rewarded that woman because she had no bills for the shoes and if you were not too smart to wear suede $700 shoes if she paid that much for it to a cooking class.
That’s how I got through some of the days.

If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know have stories about changing routines, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Introspection (Norman & Brenda)

There's been a lot of holidays in the past week. Lunar New Year, Galentine's Day, Valentine's Day President's Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday; all bundled within the shortest month of the year. And yet, as I watch the snow, now black with dirt and almost completely melted, I find myself thinking of the plans I made in the past few months or years; wondering how much they'll change in the future. The Best Day is just as much about introspection as it is about sharing stories. Today's stories feature older buds thinking about their lives and the struggles they face, and how it will inform their future.

Norman Cain

01.14.2021

Letter to Myself

You have at this point in your existence attained a state of peacefulness, something that has alluded you throughout the decades of your hectic journey across the corridors of life. For years your spirit was in the clutch of fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt. The trials and errors that you have encountered during your life’s journey have enabled you to understand the law of cause and effect. That law prompted you to armor yourself with a thick coat of perseverance. You began to attain goals that you had at one time felt unreachable.
You did not receive your PhD and become a professor at a Historical Black University or a professional basketball player or a renowned author. However, you did receive a bachelor’s degree in Education and became a teacher in the Philadelphia public school system. You played in high level basketball leagues.
In addition to having been published in newspapers and anthologies you were the author of a chapbook that was published by a publishing company.
You are particularly proud of your five children and 7 grandchildren. They have embraced scholarship, became model citizens, and have careers in their professions. You have learned to grow old gracefully but there are some societal problems that aggravate you. Systematic racism, police brutality, lack of affordable healthcare and climate change.
You like most African Americans have been experiencing segregation in places of employment, educational institutions, and housing. You have been for no apparent reason repeatedly stopped by the police. You have experienced policemen pulling their weapons on you on 5 occasions. The experiences you have had as a juvenile probation officer and parole agent allowed you to work closely with the police departments in various court systems. They in your opinion do not recognize the rights of brown and black people.
You cannot understand how America, with its wealth, research institutions and medical facilities have not been able to ensure that each American would have a form of health insurance. You also do not understand why America leads the world in Coronavirus deaths.
Having lived in Pennsylvania, the Pocono Mountains, the West Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, rural South Carolina, and a block away from the ocean in Ocean City, Maryland you have learned to enjoy and respect the gifts from nature. It saddens you to see the areas where nature once thrived become infested with hastily built homes with gentrification mobs and shopping centers.
Likewise, you are concerned with the Nation’s fragile infrastructure. You cannot understand why those in power don’t understand that global warming, which is being perpetuated by their greed, will eventually lead to a world to uninterrupted famine, earthquakes, volcanoes, eruptions, floods etc.
There is much more that I would like to write to you about in this letter. I hope that the words contained within this letter will invoke memories and give food to your body as it continues on your life journey as an Elder. In closing I beseech you to continue to fight the good fight, give no quarters to those that do not respect humanity.


 

Brenda Scantlebury 

01.07.2021

I Still Give Thanks For Life

I’m just thanking God. This is a new decade to this century, praise God. And thank God that we are all able to participate and having our right and sober minds that we can all think and feel and act and move about and that’s a blessing within itself. Even though some people have different kinds of ailments, especially those of older years that may be experiencing some things, but nevertheless, I still give thanks for life. I’m grateful to be in the year 2021.
So I just thank all of you and that this year will be a much better year even because of the confusion and chaos and all kinds of things that’s going on that’s so reprehensible, and I say “Oh my god.” And this country being a country that’s been kind of the one that’s been the leader around all the globe there of nations because so many countries mimic and follow our country and things and the traditions that we have. But to see what happened, what’s been happening, not only yesterday, but what’s been happening over these years, much better is expected. People need to be able to have differences without having to argue and fight and go to an even lower degree in order to hurt or take somebody’s life, to prove or say that they’re right. We all have some things that we need to think about and try to do better in our actions. This nation, we need prayer. If we believe in God, we need to pray and ask God to help us so that we can come to an amicable, you know, decision. Things will get better. We need help. Everybody needs help.

 
If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at info@bestdayofmylifesofar.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know are feeling introspective, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.
 
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