Thursday, October 28, 2021

Tricks and Treats (Elliot, Eleanor, and Carolyn)

Happy Halloween everybloody! Today's blog post is a grab bag of king-sized stories all about Halloweens of the past, back when neighbors handed out entire slabs of cake to trick-or-treaters:

Elliot Doomes

10.24.2019

Childhood Days I Remember

I could never fool anybody at Halloween. It never mattered what I put on. Everybody always said, "Come on, Elliot. We know its you." I guess I had a distinctive walk or something. One time, I dressed up as a cowboy with a mask, but I didn't fool anybody. I had a devil costume with a hood to it, and I still didn't fool nobody. Sometimes, I would just put on some old clothes I had out grown and cut some holes in them, put on a floppy hat and old shoes with iron on the heels and tips and put soot on my face and dress up as a hobo. And, I'd have an empty wine bottle with tea in it and stable and stagger down the street like I was a drunken bomb. That's what people called you back in the day when you were a consistent drinking. It didn't matter if you were a working many with a steady job. If you got drunk on the weekends, they'd say, "There he goes again, that drunken bum." People didn't use as much profanity back in the day as they do now. Nowadays, they'd call you much worse. The biggest par about Halloween was pretending to be someone else. That was a big kick for me. Did we get a lot of candy on Halloween? Yes, we did! We got everything. We got packets of candy corn. We got miniature Hershey's; we got potato chips, we got those sour jawbreakers. Sometimes, we even got apples. I never liked the jawbreakers because they were hard. I used to trade them off for chocolate kisses. Once in a while, one of my friends mom would have a little party where they'd put apples in a tub and we'd try to bite them. We had pretty safe holidays back then. We never had candy with razor blades in them or pills that looked like candy. And we had an area we went to and we never went past there. And by 8-8:30, we were exhausted and ready to go home and go to ed. It was easy back then. We didn't need to be chaperoned by an adult to make sure we were safe. And we used to brag about. "Oh we got this," or "I got so many of that" and it was fun. But Halloween is not fun today for most kids in certain sections of the city. It's not safe or fun. I mean you have to tell your kids to inspect the candies they receive and make sure they're in a sealed package, and make sure they never go alone and only in large groups. Children today don't remain children for very long. Childhood ends before their time and I think children have to grow up real fast in this society in which we live today. They grow up real fast. I wonder one day if we'll have no children, if the circumstances and conditions forced upon the at an earlier age now a days. I mean, we expect children today to be little adults. We don't want them playing, we don't want them to get their hands dirty. I mean we played baseball in the dirt, we wrestled each other and played football without helmets and all that stuff. We caught the ball and they would tackle us and our shirts would get torn in the dirt and it would be all in good fun. But kids nowadays are not allowed to remain kids anymore. I'm glad that I had the experiences of being a child to explore my curiosities, to try and attempt to do things that I was told not to. I still agree that we learn through our experiences. I remember reading with a question asked of a man how would you describe the sum total of your life. And he answered, the sum total of my life is my experiences.  

Eleanor Kazdan

10.29.2020

Three Generations of Halloween

Growing up in the 50’s in an uptown neighborhood of Toronto, Halloween is something we looked forward to all year long. With the help of our mothers, we fashioned costumes of witches, cowboys, and pirates. One year, my mother dyed a sheep black and sewed a costume that looked like a rendition of a traditional Chinese outfit. In those days, we had never heard of the world “appropriation.” We went out trick-or-treating with our friends starting at age five. Our parents would never have thought of going with us.
As soon as dusk fell, bags and pillow cases in hand, we paced the neighborhood, knocking at the doors, and chanting, “shell out, shell out or I’ll knock your windows inside out.” I think that’s a British expression, you know a thing that they do in England, because I’ve never heard that here. Here, people say, “trick or treat,” right? But anyway, the treats were mostly homemade: candy apples covered in melted caramel kisses, chocolate cookies, slices of cake wrapped in plastic. My mother insisted on giving out raisins in wax paper instead of candy, which was a bit of an embarrassment. Word quickly spread amongst the neighborhood kids about which house had the best treats. Mrs. Murphy across the street from my house was usually at the top of the list. She came to the door, greeting us in her lilting Irish brogue and filled our bags with caramel, chocolate, and candy apples.
When the night was over, I went home, where my mother would immediately throw out all of the caramel kisses, as they were bad for our teeth. Ironically, my teeth were always worse than all of my friends who ate all the candy that my mother wouldn’t allow us.
The Halloween tradition continued for me in the 80’s and 90’s with my own children. Costumes were largely still homemade although there some occasional commercial costumes to be found. We lived in a suburban neighborhood where parents went out with their children. I always got dressed up as well, usually as a witch with a long blonde wig, a black pointy hat, and green makeup. There had been some well-publicized incidents of razor blades being found baked into some homemade treats, so suddenly, we were not supposed to hand out anything but commercial goods. The kids came home loaded with little chocolate bars. My plans for how to manage their eating of so much candy changed from year to year. Some years, they were allowed to eat a few treats every night. Then, hearing the wisdom of other parents who got tired of the whining of children trying to eat more than allotted, they were permitted to stuff themselves until the candy was gone. Unbeknownst to them, I had raided the bags of all the Mounds and Almond Joys and stocked them away for myself. I was utterly heartbroken when one year, my kids told me they didn’t want me to go out with them anymore. So I dressed up anyways to greet the trick-or-treaters at the door.
Now it’s onto the grandkids. They buy their costumes at huge Halloween stores. Growing up in the city, trick-or-treating seems to be out. It’s not considered safe. Kids are more likely to have parties, or go to local stores, where the proprietors give out treats. In their West Philly neighborhood, there was a great tradition of a Halloween parade which started on Baltimore Avenue and ended up at 42nd and Osage, where for 30 years, the residents had blocked out the street and set up tables with an incredible array of sweets. Neighbors dressed up in fantastic costumes sat in front of their decorated houses and handed out treats as well. One year, when our first grandson was three, he disappeared in the crowd. Everyone in the family apparently thought someone else was watching him. This led to the most panicked and terrifying five minutes of our lives, until a man responded to my daughter in laws cries and said he had seen a child alone. Soleil was found. This year, I don’t know. They have moved to a new South Philly neighborhood- a small treat that has its own traditions. I’m planning to dress up with sparkly black Batgirl mask, join the princess and the pirate, and see what the evening brings.

 


Carolyn Boston

10.29.2020

Haunted Dolls

In the mood of Halloween, I wrote this piece for everybody. It’s a funny piece- it’s not very serious but it’s funny. During one of the nights, I couldn’t sleep. I was servicing the radio and discovered a station called ‘Coast to Coast’ AM night radio talk show. The talk show topic dealt with the paranormal and political conspiracy theories. Callers to the station discussed their experiences with angels, near death experiences, return after dying, ghosts, and alien abductions just to name a few. The talk show host is George Noory and the recording studio is out of Sherman Oaks, California.
The subject that night that I was listening in was ‘haunted dolls’ and how they capitulate fears. Guest speaker was David Weatherly, who is a renaissance man of the strange and supernatural. He travels the world in search of ghosts. The subject that night was David Weatherly’s new book called ‘Eerie Companions.’ Mr. Weatherly has written several books on the haunted dolls, including black-eyed children, strange intruders, and of course, the subject was ‘Eerie Companions’ that night and it was really mind-blowing what I learned. I don’t really study—I didn’t know anything about haunted dolls, but the discussion involved the development of the movie ‘Chuckie’ and how Chuckie, the haunted doll, the demonic doll evolved from these writings about dolls that are haunted. There is a very famous doll that they talked about called the Annabelle doll. Annabelle was the doll that they said if you went in to see Annabelle that she would cause tragic things to happen to you. She’s housed in the Occult Museum of the Paranormal in Monroe, Connecticut, and she’s kept in a glass box and they have ritual prayers over this box so that whatever happens, she doesn’t escape. They also talked about- oh by the way, Annabelle was, Saturday Night Live, this past Saturday, they were all talking about the Annabelle doll. A lot of people won’t go in to see the doll because of the fear of it. There’s a lot of things that comprise the Annabelle doll with human hair, and it was from a little girl that passed away.
It was very interesting to hear about the different dolls. They talked about the ventriloquial dolls (they talked about when you’re a ventriloquist how the dolls can become haunted), Talky Tina (she was on the Twilight Zone), Mr. Creepy Doll, they talked about dolls that are handmade, and how they can really cause fear into human beings for one reason or another. I really found it interesting. I’m a curious person and I thought that in light of today’s session, it’s something that we could talk about that was interesting. Another thing they mentioned on Coast to Coast, they talked about a thing called the Ranch, which is supposed to have extraterrestrial space ships and things that come in and out, and people avoid the ranch because of its history in the eerie and the haunted and the paranormal. It’s something that I found interesting to listen to and to hear people from across the country that call in and give their experiences whether it’s a ghost or whether it’s returning after dying. It was very entertaining, and it was something that I really wasn’t looking for, but it did keep my interest, and it was something that I learned about that was really in light of this Halloween weekend.
I’m not really sure if I believe in haunted dolls myself. Nothing is beyond “beyond.” So I wouldn’t- I’m not afraid of dolls. I’ve had dolls since I was a kid. I’ve never thought of haunted dolls. That’s a good question. I really can’t say. I’ve never seen one, but from what I’ve heard about this Annabelle doll, there’s just this fear across the nation about this doll, it’s just that famous. I have curiosity about it, let me put it that way. I have curiosity about it. I have to see the doll.
Well one of the things, when they were transporting Annabelle- I can’t believe I’m talking about this- in my research, the man that took Annabelle to this museum, they said that his breaks kept failing, and he almost had several car accidents while he was transporting her. And they said if you go into the room where she is, and if she doesn’t like you, bad things can happen to you after you leave. They’ve documented this stuff, and apparently, it’s just something that causes a lot of fear in people, and they don’t bother to go near her.
I think that there is a realm of things that happen beyond what we see and when something is perpetuated…evil, I believe in evil. I know that evil is very real. Anything that is involved with evil, not so much so that it’s haunted, but that the object or something that’s evil, I believe in evil and if it’s evil it’s going to cause problems. I believe in evil, good and evil, and some things are evil. 

 

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 have Halloween and Mischief Night, 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, October 21, 2021

Stories from Our Healthcare Workers (Simmoune, Kaitlyn, and Joyce)

As we've mentioned in our last post, we've had two nurses, Simmoune and Kaitlyn share stories when they visited Best Day. And it is our profound pleasure to share these stories with you today, along with a little extra story from one of our older buds:

Simmoune Echiverri

09.21.2021

Untitled

The plane had just landed, and we were getting ready to grab our bags from the overhead compartment. My dad hastily got up from his seat and started fumbling through our bags making sure we had everything-our luggage was over the weight limit so we had to pay extra; we had to make sure our money wasn’t wasted. Looking back, it seemed inevitable that we would overpack. How do you fit your entire life into 4 checked bags and a couple of carry-ons?

My little sister started to wail as my mother started getting up from her seat. The suddenly noisy sounds of the entire plane trying to get all their bags and exist must have been a shock to her peaceful nap. My mother tried her best to soothe her, but her cried just got louder. At 4 moths old, she was already making sure her voice was heard. While my dad gathered all the carry-ons and my mother continued to try calming my sister down, I followed behind with my little Hello Kitty rolling backpack.

Soon after getting out of the long line to exit the plane, we were met with another long line at customs. We waited for what seemed like an eternity. During which I started to think about what lay beyond the customs agents’ cubicles? What was America like? I wondered what it would look like; would it be similar to the UK? Would I make new friends? In the middle of pondering these questions, my dad tapped me out of my trance. He asked, “Are you ready?” Although I didn’t know if I was ready or not, I put on as brave a face as I could and I said “OK.”

By Kaitlyn Downey

09.21.21

Summer of Fire

This summer I worked on a local fire crew doing wild land firefighting back home in Montana. I have done this every summer since high school, and this was my fourth and final summer doing so. I was sent on a two-week assignment about 9 hours away to fight a fire that was a couple thousand acres big.

I was nervous, but excited to get the experience (and money) that came along with it. We drove the 9 hours to Billing, MT and by the next morning, were headed to the mountains. Little did I know we were going to be camping up there for the full 2 weeks… We set up camp with our tents, sleeping bags and campfires.

Each morning we would wake up at 5am to the chilly summer aur, get our yellows/greens and boots on, and away we went. Hiking a couple miles into the fire, working our 12 hours, and then back to camp. This repeated daily until we reached our day 14. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically but the group of 19 people I was with made it all worth it. We grew very close, shared lots of laughs, and made so many memories. By the time our assignment was done, I felt like I had known everyone for much longer than the 2 weeks we spent together.

Heading down off the mountain and back to the nearest city, I had one thing on my mind- a long, hot shower. I will always remember this experience and I’m very glad I got to share it with the people I did.

Joyce Woods,

01/16/2020

A Good Lesson

I am a fairly happy person and always have been. Although I have had plenty of personal problems in my life, especially with health, family and various friendships, as I am sure we all have being seniors. The longer one lives eventually all kinds of experiences follow. It seems I always spring back, after all, in a reasonable amount of time.
The state of the worlds human problems always seems to be a weight on my mind. As child I worried about war, people starving, elderly people in nursing homes. You name it, I worried about it trying to think of a solution for it.
For instance, once in my childhood I suppose I must have been about six years old coming from my grandmother’s house which was about four blocks from mine. I saw a man which would probably qualify got the title, Bum! Now days I suppose the terminology for his description would be homeless. As I remember I kept staring at him. He fascinated me with his way of caring for himself there on the pavement. Folding his shabby blanket, brushing his warm coat, smoothing his beard, slicking his hair back with his hand, wetting his face with the tiny glass that contained a small amount of water in it he poured carefully in his hand, the remainder he drank not wasting a drop.
He didn’t see me observing. In those days I was always quick to take action. He sparked my problem-solving skills. I immediately thought of my mother I could hear her in my mind as clear as day. She would never let anyone go without who was in need. She would say it’s the right thing to do. “That’s it”, I said, she meant it! I’m taking him home.
I decided to let myself be known. I quickly introduced myself, asked him a few questions, i.e. what was his name? I think it was Nick. Where was his family? He said he didn’t have one for a long time. I said, Do you have a mother? “She’s been gone for a very long time”, he replied.
I looked into his eyes, I remember liking what I saw. He reminded me of Uncle Remus, you know from the Walt Disney movie. I told him I wanted to take him home with me, my mother would take care of him since he didn’t have a mother and no home. I didn’t know then, but he must have been as na├»ve as I was. I took this gentle giant soul by the hand and we walked off to my house.
He seemed shy when we got to the steps. I knocked on the door briefly. Mommy came to the door with a terrified look on her face. I didn’t understand this look.
She grabs out for me and says, “Are you alright? What’s happened?” I said, “I found Nick and he needs a house and a family. I remember you told me you would help anybody. I told him you would let him live with us.” Well I guess you know pretty much how that situation turned out.
Nick didn’t get to live with us, but my mother gave him something to eat and wrote something on a paper she gave to him. He sat on the porch. I was told to tell Mr. Nick good-bye, nice meeting you and was sent in the house. Later I found out mommy gave him Father Mitchell’s number. He was our head Priest at the parish. She told him that she had sent Nick to him. Father let us know later they were able to he will be alright.
I learned a good lesson. 


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 have stories honoring our healthcare workers, 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