Good afternoon everyone. Earlier today, I came from a volunteer appreciation awards ceremony at the Philadelphia Senior Center, so today's post is all about appreciating the volunteers who transcribed out stories during the pandemic. Below we've got stories transcribed by Dalla, Devon (currently on the Pacific Crest Trail), Deborah, and Charlotte. Thank you for everything you do for Best Day:
The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
(Transcribed by Dalla)
Last week my great niece and I took a tour of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden located in the West Philadelphia section of Fairmount Park. I planned for many years to visit the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden but never had the opportunity to do so.
The serenity and elegance of the Shofuso House with its many waterfalls, rock gardens and weeping willow trees left me with a sense of peace and tranquility. I was transported to 17th century Japan and experienced the simplicity and beauty of this Japanese house.
The first thing required is to remove your shoes before entering the house. The tour guide explained every facet and function of the house. She thoroughly explained the ritual of the tea ceremony and what all the gestures represent.
For an experience away from the stress of life and a view of an entirely different lifestyle and an environment yields a restoration of mind, body and spirit, I would highly recommend a visit the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.
Why I Became a Substitute Teacher
(Transcribed by Devon)
I wanted to become a substitute teacher because some of the best memories, some of the only memories I have of school are when my substitute was there because it was such a different day. It was different from the run-of-the-mill day where I was going to read and write and do math. It was something different and it strikes me as a memory because she would say like, “Okay everybody write a poem,” and our teacher never asked us to do that. So when the substitute was there, I remember that day in sixth grade where she asked me to write a poem and I can almost remember the poem. It was about my low self-esteem and how I couldn’t do anything except sit at home and play with myself.
I know, I had low self-esteem when I was in sixth grade. My parents were divorced, and I really loved my father and I didn’t see him for years after that.
I think being in the seventies as a single woman was tough, I talked about that but it was a defining part of my youth. Other people have hardships in their families too. I see some women in the senior center that raised three children by themselves. Luckily, they had their mother living across the street and they did it and all their kids become professionals and they’ve got good jobs in Philadelphia or elsewhere and it’s really admirable. You know, my mother did that herself. She raised three children by herself. We didn’t even have a relative for 500 miles around, you know. She had it pretty hard. I really appreciate my mother. I appreciate her more.
(Transcribed by Deborah)
I want to share a really quick story since we’re on the topic of colds and getting sick. Before this pandemic I used to get 2 or 3 colds every winter. So, a year before the pandemic I said, “You know what? I’m going to try using these masks.” So I went to CVS and I bought a pack of surgical masks. And I just kept one on me and any time I was on the bus or the train, I wouldn't put it on, but if someone coughed or sneezed I would put it on. And I just did that.
Well wouldn't you know it? That year was one of the worst years for getting colds and I usually get 2 or 3 as I said. I did not get any colds at all. So that’s when I was convinced I am going to be wearing a surgical mask whenever I get on the bus or the train, any enclosed space. So, it works. It works!
Just Down the Road
(Transcribed by Charlotte)
I’m writing about a trip that my husband and I took to Jamaica, and that’s been some years ago because he's been deceased for a while. The night we arrived at our hotel we had planned
to get an early start the next day. This was a beautiful island in Jamaica and we were staying in Montego Bay.
The first day we awoke early. There was no time to waste we wanted to get away and see the island. The sun was brightly shining, as we got on our way. Our first day on the beautiful tropical island. vegetation surrounded the hotel: bougainvillea, agave and many other things. My husband and I started on an adventure. He was one of the men who do not ask direction. Our little car with the steering wheel on the right side when we picked it up. At the rental, the attendants gave us a map and reminded us to keep to the left side when driving. My husband got in on the drivers’ side, I sat next to him ready for a fun day ahead.
We pulled out of the parking and started, and immediately made the wrong move, and we were on the side of the road which we should not have been, and a car with a fast rate of speed was coming in the same direction as we were driving. My husband corrected his driving flaw and he got us out of harm’s way. I closed my eyes, prepared for the worst. A disaster was avoided. I took a breath and we continued on our way. I noticed as we drove the gas stations ahead were very far apart and the last time I had seen one was at least 5-2 0 miles in the past.
At this time I said "When do you stop and get some gas?"
And he said in a very sharp manner, I thought, "When we run out." I accepted it as a charge to say, “I’m taking care of this and I don't want any help.”
“I see,” was my reply and immediately started admiring the beautiful flowers and the rest of the island. It was a perfect day, moderate temperature, colorful nature, a few animals grazing, cars that zipped by at a fast rate of speed. I never saw a speed sign, probably missed them while looking and admiring the beautiful scenery that nature had provided. Soon the car gave us sputtering sounds, as if to say "I don't have long to keep this up." My husband looked at me and he looked at the gage. In a sheepish voice he said, "I think we may be out of gas."
I made no verbal reply. My facial expression however said, "I guess its time to get some gas since you have now run out." He managed to pull the car to the side. A man was walking by and my husband asked him "How far down is the next gas station?” and the man said, “Oh just down the road, man.” I rolled up the window and made myself comfortable as my husband disappeared into the distance walking.
I drifted off apparently and when I awoke my husband was jumping off the back of a truck with a gas can in his hand. He emptied the contents in the tank and we got underway. About five or ten miles later we arrived at the gas station that was just down the road. He returned the gas can and filled the tank.
I guess we had had enough excitement that day, especially on the first day. Maybe next time I see a gas station I will stop so we can keep the tank full because just down the road is quite a distance.