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2010 Wit & Wisdom

Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center High Tech High International Class of 2010 1/1/2010 1  


From the Words of the Seniors of the Gary & Mary Senior Wellness Center Documented by the Class of 2010 May 2010         3   


Table of Contents  Memories & Stories  9

You Can’t Make Up Stories Like This 


New York, New York 

Esther P. 


I Remember 

Barry G. 


From Tampico to Coronado 

Armando W. 


Montego Bay, Jamaica 

Roger C. 


Cars Life 

John C. 


It Was a Perfect Paradise 

Gary G. 


I Guess I Was Too Young to Know 

Armando W.  


More than a Kid from Harlem 

Lonnie B. 


Day by Day 

John Z. 


I Was Honest 



What the Truck?! 

Don Carlos 


A Wonderful Journey 



Mr. Prince 

Irving P. 


My Mother 

Eileen B. 


Pride and Joy 

Joanne B. 


Like Your Fingers 

Rosita C. 


I Married a … 

Art C. 


Love is a Mystery, and Life is Magic 

Leo N. 


Pure Romance 

Bob B. 


Relationships & Family 



Learning & Advice  I Wanted to Be Somebody 

Nason H. 


Growth is Like a Diamond 

Violet M. 


The Man Who Said, “You Know?” 

Pedro A. 


Get Up 

Alfonso S. 


Need to Fly 

Leo N. 


When You Make it to the Top 

Angel L. 



Gary G. 


My Wise Friend, Leonard 

Leonard H. 


One Day at a Time 

Gaylan C. 


The Times Have Gone to Hell 

Gary G. 


Got Optimism? 

Enedino V.  


Solamente Una Vez 

Thomas S. 


She Said I Was a Lone Wolf  

Kenneth C. 


To Live Life, To Not be Afraid to Live Life 

Frederick M. 


I’m Lucky 

Stephen B. 


Bucky and the Blues Wizard 

Bucky S. 



James S. 


Here We Are 

Serena Q. 




Memories & Stories

You Can’t Make Up Stories Like This from the words & stories of Joe

Have I got a story for you… We used to call the players by the first initial of their name so nobody would know who they were. Once there was this mystery guy very big tipper. We became friends. One day he comes up to me, “Will you give me some money?” “I’m sorry, All I got is 140 dollars.” Here, he takes off his watch. “I don’t want your watch. You’ve given me thousands of dollars.” “I’d feel better if you hold it for me Next time, I’ll come and get it.” Three or four months go by. I go to the host who takes care of him He says, “I don’t know what happened to him. There’s a rumor out there That he took all the money His wife was going to divorce him, and he left the country.” A year goes by, two years, three years, and I got this beautiful gold watch. But, I’m hoping that the man will come back. Not only because he was a good tipper, but because he was a good friend. So I’m walking by the Thunderbird Jewelry Shop, and I see one that looks just like the one I got. So, I went inside I said, “Are those watches very expensive?” 9  

Now, I’m talking about when money was ten or fifteen times “what it is now.” He looks at my watch and says, “I’ll give you ten thousand for it.” (100 grand now) What does it retail for? He says, “25,000.” I would of sold it for 25,000. I said, “You’re a crook.” Hahaha. “Nah, I’m just a good businessman.” I had it for years and years. He never came back. I gave it to my son. I told him to guard it with his life. If he… he sold it, I’d kill him. Hahaha. You can’t make up stories like this. Before you die, go to Italy. The Vatican… Takes your breath away. Renew your faith. They have churches all over Europe that have bodies of priests in a glass case that feel like me and you. In Portugal, when a person dies they put them in lye because too many people waking up in caskets. All the great artists in the world Bernini, the main architect of the dome Some idiot carved his initials in Christ’s leg. He went to jail 10  

and will never get out. Go to Florence. There are streets of people with marble. Artists sell it for nothing. I bought so much glass The Louvre. Nothing like the Vatican, though. Stayed for a month. There so much to see. I threw the coins in the fountain. The artists have a contract to do one fountain. One side has a statue of a man with water shooting out of his mouth looking at the other ones going “paaaaaaaaaaah!” Documented by Dan D.



Memories & Stories

New York, New York from the words & stories of Ester P. New York is very exciting To me New York is full of life. I miss New York Tremendously. Just like the pioneers, We ended up in San Diego. Why you wanna be out in the godforsaken... It was wonderful Like utopia. It was so different from New York. There was no culture. I miss the culture. I miss the Metropolitan. If I wanted a bagel, They had to bring it from New York! Or we had to go to L.A. It was unbelievable. See, when you come from New York, You're not afraid. There’s nothing to be afraid of... You know how to handle yourself. You’re street wise. But when you're a New Yorker, A New Yorker is adventurous. When you go to New York, Pay attention to yourself. But people are... 13  

I try to make them understand Always be open, Enjoy, Be careful, Pay attention to yourself. New Yorkers make lifetime friends. It’s not, “Have a good day,” Or, “Have a nice day,” and They’re done with you. New York, I have all my lifetime friends. When I’m going to New York, You can see my fingers start Snapping I better be well read. I better be ready! Cause it’s always hot. New Yorkers are hot! Documented by Eve W.




Memories & Stories

I Remember from the words & stories of Barry G.

Yeah, I remember when I was young. I sat down next to the radio back then we didn’t have TV yet, but yeah, sat down next to the radio the morning we found out that Pearl Harbor was bombed, and we heard that over the news. I remember that… it was very devastating. Graduated high school in ‘58, no ‘52, yeah… I played a lot of sports, not on the high school team, but out… Baseball, basketball, that’s about it. We didn’t have a football team. Before I went to high school, some guy playing football got killed, so they didn’t play that for a while after… I played in a band once... They used to call me “Hot Lips,” ‘cause I played the trumpet, Ha ha.


My career and everything it was one of the greatest… I really enjoyed working and getting experience in the computer field and being at the forefront when all the new developments were going on… They once sent us up to MIT when they created the first, using military computers… and they took up 2 or 3 floors… they had vacuum tubes and everything… it was great. Try hard, stick with it. Documented by Rollin G.




Memories & Stories

From Tampico to Coronado from the words & stories of Armando W.

It’s kind of a dream to me It’s a surprise Is it a story? Yeah. My name is Herman Wright. Actually, my name is Armando... Armando Wright. A-R-M-A-N-D-O I was born in Tampico, Mexico Like, 700 miles into Mexico. My mother was born in Oklahoma. My father was born in Louisiana. They had a lot of kids. Like, thirteen, or something like that. Then, the whole family migrated to Oklahoma They got with the Smiths. Their real last name was Lafayette; It sounds like it’s from Louisiana – Lafayette – But they changed it to Wright. I’m thinking they did something to make those white people mad ‘cause the whole family ran. They all went up there. This surprised me. My parents were very quiet, didn’t have much to say. I had lots of questions to ask them. Nine? Eight. Well, you gotta count me in there Because I’m the fifth one, and there are four more: Royce, Andrew, William, and Donna. They were born in the United States. They’re dead. 21  

My sisters are all alive. Vivian, the first born, is still alive, Ester has Alzheimer’s disease, and the youngest is Donna – She is still alive. I’m telling you this story, and to me it’s like a dream. It doesn’t seem like it would be. It doesn’t seem real to me. I don’t know why. Being in Mexico, All I would hear was my family. They were always together, talking in English, I didn’t speak English. But, anytime my mom would ask me to do something, I understood, and that’s the funny part. We left 1945 after the war. I went to school for one year in San Diego. I was born in 1937 I’m 72 I was born in December, on the 4th. Absolutely, my father worked for an American oil company. He had a job as a guard. He had a big ol’ gun. We went into that camp one day, we jumped in that swimming pool, and they just let us swim We all got on the bus, my brothers and sister. I sat in the middle because I wanted to see America. After a few stops, “Y’all gone have to move to the back of the bus.” I looked at my mother. She said, “Let’s go.” I said, “No.” I was fighting because I was mad. I don’t really like America. Documented by Jazmarie C. 22  



Memories & Stories

Montego Bay, Jamaica Created from the words and stories of Roger C.

Living in Joliet was bad. Four months of snowy weather and four months of hot, humid weather No good; that's why I'm in San Diego. I travel a lot. I usually go where it's warm or hot. Like the Caribbean, to Jamaica and the grand Cayman Islands, south of Mexico, south of the Tropic of Cancer in there. Last September, I was down in Jamaica in a sports bar in Montego Bay, the Hip Strip Or, as the Jamaicans say, “hipster.” No problem, huh. The manager came over and said, "Hey Roger, do you follow boxing?" "A little bit." "Well, turn around. You see that big guy sitting there?" "Yeah." "That's Lennox Lewis, the former heavyweight champion of the world." "Hey, go over there and ask him - maybe I could meet him, talk to him, or that." Then, I hear this big boom, "Hey Roger from San Diego, I'd like to meet you." "You'd like to meet me?" He's living in Jamaica now; he retired as heavyweight champion. We talked about boxing and Jamaica and stuff like that. Not too many people meet... famous people... He was just there. But, I'm always glad to meet the new people and especially someone like him. I got a picture of him and I together. Speaking of Jamaica, I go twice a year - two weeks in the spring, two weeks in the fall. Have a nice time. Nice food. Beef, chicken, Beer, Appleton Rum. 25  

I like white sandy beaches and turquoise water, a combination between blue and green. I enjoy it, just keep going back there. I’ve been to some of the other islands, too. But, I like to go back there, you know? It’s very nice. When I go back down again, maybe he'll be there too. Documented by Kalyn W.




Memories & Stories

Cars Life from the stories of John C.

He’s a “lowper,” not an upper. Born in Michigan, makes him a Michigander. His house was called the Little Ponderosa His dad was the provider His mom was his rock She’d explain things to little ol’ Johnny that's what she called him Things about life and what his brothers Dick and Phillip did. His mom worked in a Hudson’s. She used to drop him off in their ‘48 Chevy and go to work at Hudson’s. His dad worked for Chrysler, His first car was a ‘47 Chevy, that was for seven dollars. He found Lucky Stripe, a kitten of the litter that a momma had in the trunk of that ‘47 Chevy. Then there was a Chrysler Hemi, and then the ‘65 Chevy II Nova With the midnight blue exterior Light blue interior, Two-door hard top With the antenna at the back, with the white well tires. Then. there was the salmon pink ‘57 Belair convertible He never got around to painting it. One of his brothers married at sixteen and owns a yacht. The other brother drives a Peter Belt wrecker, One of them big ones with six wheels and a huge chain. He needs to get my affairs in order, So he can retire and take the train to go back to and play grandpa for his grandkids. He hasn't seen his family for a couple years now. His life's been full of cars, Whenever he went on a date and got started you could see her just "tunin' out". He’s got no regrets and he could go tomorrow. The family is three generations strong again and he’s done what he has meant to do. Documented by Dillon C. 29  


Memories & Stories

It Was a Perfect Paradise  from the words and stories of Gary G.

It was a perfect paradise, everything was wonderful, not all fucked up like now. Back then, the Twilight Zone was new, and it was only on Friday nights. And all the other crap on TV was bullshit. We’d make popcorn. Saturday night, Sunset Strip. Back then, you could smoke weed in the Navy. I mean, they were not with it, they didn’t know. I mean, I was a weatherman, and I would work 24-hour shifts. I would deliver the weather forecasts for the next 48 hours to the helicopter squadrons. I would just stop in their office and plop it on their desk. I would be in my car smoking a joint and I would take a big hit, stop my car and run in, plop the weather down, exhale and leave. And they would be like, “Is the weather here yet?” “Oh yeah, we can smell it.” But then they cracked down. Documented by Ed S.



Memories & Stories

I Guess I was Too Young to Know Created from the words and stories of Armando W.

I guess the reason my father came was to send for us. We went by bus all across the desert. We all got on the bus, My brothers, and sisters, and I. We all sat in the middle where the windows were at. We sat there so we could see. We wanted to see America. You know me... All I wanted to do was see. But, everyone else went to the back. With no windows. Nothing. You couldn’t see from there. And after three stops the bus driver came, “Y’all gon’ have to move to the back of the bus!’’ I looked at my mother, and she told me to go. I yelled, “No, no, no!” I was fighting because I was mad. I was mad because they were taking me away. Taking me away from the window. I was a curious kid, and all I wanted was to see. I didn’t know why they were doing this. I guess I was too young to know. But, we took the bus all across the desert. Finally, we got to El Paso, Texas, and we crossed the border. I’m not going to lie. The minute we crossed that border The air felt heavy. Something was wrong. 33  

I didn’t like America. Documented by Raphael P.



Memories & Stories 36  

More than a Kid from Harlem from the words of Lonnie B.

That was a time when people respected policemen, but it was - I had a good life. I got, I have twelve other brothers and a sister In Harlem. I was a momma’s boy, and I did well in school, and I like people, so my brothers taught me all the sports and everything like that. I liked it. I enjoyed my childhood. It was very good. I’ve been playing drums ever since I was seven years old, and I can draw anything I see. I’ve had three bands, I’m the lead singer. I was working ever since I was eleven. I have had various jobs. Then I went to the Army, two tours of Vietnam, I’m a decorated war hero. 82nd Airborne. I jumped out of airplanes. It was a rush. I mean, it’s a big rush. It’s really pretty much fun, but then when I had to jump overseas in ‘Nam we had ground fire and they were shooting up at us. You just keep hoping that ground would hurry up and come up. I was Special Forces. Once you get over your fear of being killed, then you’ll excel. Hell, man, if it’s my time to go today, I’ll just go; but, I’ma do my job, and that’s what I did. I was decorated for saving a few guys’ lives. I don’t usually talk about my Vietnam experience. I don’t sleep well. I don’t have nightmares, but memories come to me a lot. The war movies don’t depict what really happened. I’m glad I’m over it now, I’ve been off the medication years. Ninety days in mud and water. The only things over there that wasn’t poisonous over there was us. I didn’t conform. Gangs. Which is something I never wanted to be. I’ll be sixty-one and still go to Mission Beach and play basketball on Sundays every Sunday. I play every American card game, I shoot an outrageous game of pool , I play a very good game of chess, ping-pong, tennis. I’ve never been sick a day in my life, never. My children 37  

attributed that to, I loved her. They are a beautiful version of me. My wife is white which was another obstacle. My kids came out with beautiful stripes. Four. I drove her away, and when she left me, she said, “I didn’t leave you because I didn’t love you. I left you because I couldn’t live with you anymore.” I was kind of fortunate because I had custody of my kids. I went to court and got custody of my children. They turned out fine, and I’m pretty proud of them, actually. I hadn’t seen my daughter in a very, very long time - many years because I had gone to prison. I went to prison, and I was in prison a long time. I shot someone, and, well, my daughter found me on the internet. It was pretty good, and I’m a pretty good father. I loved them regardless. She was so happy to have me there and then. She was always somebody I could run to. I don’t wake up in the morning needing a beer, and I haven’t a beer in over a week now, which is very unusual for me. I won’t let myself be down, I just won’t. I’m grateful to wake up every day, so therefore I wake up in a good mood every day, just opening up my eyes makes me feel great. It takes too much energy to be pissed off. If you’re going to hurt my children, I’m going to hurt you. There is no doubt about it. I wake up in a good mood every day. It brought tears to my eyes, so ever since that day all I ever do is help people. Documented by Ross D.




Memories & Stories

Day by Day from the words and stories of John David Z.

They tried to call me uh, uh, Buzzard, Blackie, Flacko, um, "Zoozooers," but they never stuck. My- the only name was David. I love my country, I-I do, I really do. But things changed. Honestly didn’t do nothing, honest. I didn’t tell on two guys what they, what they did. Robbed two kids. 97 cents or 79 cents, something like that. One of the kids, cast on his arm. My so-called friend was gonna hit him. Two guys were gonna hit him, they were gonna rob, gonna hit him, I said, “Hey! What are you doing?” Ya know... They got mad ‘cause I told them not to, leave him alone. They knew it was me. I went to juvenile hall 41  

I wouldn’t tell 'em who the other guys were. I learned not to trust nobody, not even the so-called friends. Two years.... two years. But - to me... I don’t believe in anybody treating anybody we're all humans all people we’re all, uh animals. Learned to be honest. To - to take care of your family. Why I am the way I am, I dunno. Because of the way I am, people take advantage of me sometimes. And, uh - I haven’t had many relationships because I've been in prison most of my life since I was young, and, uh... and, uh... I dunno. I believe every relationship is by itself. And, uh... I mean it’s not I can't say well, you treated me bad, so all women are gonna treat me bad. You know, everybody’s different. You know, and so I've learned to accept the person for whatever they are, instead of arguing or fighting with them, I leave. That’s why I have so many boys.

I'm proud of my son Danny. I'm proud of my son Danny and my grandkids. My oldest, my daughter 42  

is 51 and my oldest son is 50, ha. I have great-grandkids, too. Christopher, Carlos, David, Solomon, Vincent. Yeah, and I have Johnny. You know I'm proud of myself ‘cause I've always been there to protect women and kids. All of them. I went to state prison. 19 years. I saw the little girl, always in the dark, and you know, just sittin’ there. And I asked him, What’s wrong with your daughter? And she replied she was afraid. And then when I found out. I asked her, and she had told me what had happened. This guythis guy bothered this nine-year-old girl. Uh, I told him to leave to leave town. I gave him a week, and he didn’t. I went to court for it. You know, but they asked me why I did it. I told them it was ‘cause I was in a fight, because if I would have told them because of that little girl, then that little girl would have been nine years old, 43  

they would have had to question her and you know, you know. And IAnd, so I didn’t want the little girl to go through any anything more emotional. ‘Cause when I did it, they asked me, uh -- if my my lawyer told me, uh oppose everything, and I said, I'm pleading guilty. ‘Cause I did it, I did it. If I got started something, I have to pay for the consequences. And that’s how I felt. I live every day by day, sweetheart. I really do. I wish it could be different. I wish it could... Documented by Marianna J.




Memories & Stories

I was Honest Created from the words and stories of Emelda

I was in the Army when the war broke out World War II. I was an ROTC. Our commanding officer was General Douglas McArthur. He told us that we had to report for active duty. That was when the Japanese forces invaded and bombed. When we reported for duty, when the Japanese forces bombed Manila, each got a field rifle and ammunition. I was assigned to guard the Manila Bridge to prevent from sabotage. Japanese forces invaded Manila and had lots of weapons and war equipment, guns and artillery. So, General Douglas McArthur declared that Manila be an open city because there were many civilians in the city who would be sacrificed if we fought the Japanese forces. We went to Bataan to fight, but the Japanese forces cut us off. It was hard because if we all went to reinforce Bataan we might all be killed. Wiped out. They said, "We need you." The Philippines surrendered to the Japanese forces because it was futile to fight the Japanese. The Japanese had the equipment and the manpower; we were not prepared. We all continued the fight. Two years of fighting. You know what? 47  

We fought the Japanese with the element of surprise, we fought at night and won. Then we fought the garrison and we almost wiped out the whole garrison. The U.S. Army sent us lots of ammunition and food so that we would survive. When the U.S. army came, after the Japanese forces were almost defeated, the liberation force came and they were surprised why there was no enemy to fight them. They were surprised because we wiped them out. Documented by Zach M.




Memories & Stories

What the TRUCK?! from the words & stories of Don C.

I used to drive 18-wheelers. You know that song, “I had been driving all night…” All of a sudden this flying saucer landed on the divider. There was a grassy mound divider between the roads, And this flying saucer landed there. I hit the brakes, almost wrecked my truck. I shocked some of the sleep out of me. I looked back to see what this flying saucer was doing and it wasn’t no flying saucer, but, it was spinning real fast this was back in… Maybe ’68. I came out of Nevada with my brakes out Going across Utah, going to Salt Lake, I came up on an accident. As I was going up the mountain in the winter with an empty flatbed no weight. there was black ice on the road. I’m not going fast because you can’t; it’s just too damn slippery.


Everyone’s flashing their lights that means there’s trouble. Fifteen, twenty cars all piled up, tangled up. I touched the brakes, my trailer went sideways. I couldn’t control it; I couldn’t stop. I went over the side of the mountain Literally, over the side of the mountain I kept fighting it. I went down along the side and went right back up the road on the other side of the cliff. It’s humanly impossible, totally impossible. I just figured I had a hand from above That’s the only thing I could figure. Documented by Aleesha R.



Memories & Stories 54  

A Wonderful Journey from the words and stories of Manfred

1967. I was working for IBM in a place in Pennsylvania called King of Prussia. I was working on a farm reconditioning IBM machines. I had a beard. I just started growing my beard. It was a beautiful dark beard. It was a real hit with the ladies. I was single. And, uh, I liked the beard. I had it for six, seven months. Working in a plant. Now, when you work for IBM you gotta wear white shirt without stripes. They were very particular those days, the 60s. You can’t be drinking; they won’t pay for cocktails for their salesmen, and they are very, very particular about the dress and your appearance. So, they couldn’t promote me to a line manager… because I had this beard… But, they couldn’t tell me to cut the beard. I had to figure out myself… by innuendo. So, the plant manager came over and said, “We want to promote you next week to line manager - a few dollars more a bundle – but, we like to have managers that are clean cut. So, it was my birthday, July 27th 1967, and I tossed and turned about it, and finally I wanted to be line manager so I cut my beard on my birthday, became clean-shaven and nobody recognized me anymore because without my beard I look ugly. Okay… I went in Monday morning, and they started to process my application for promotion. They promoted me in mid-August, and I was so unhappy that I had to shave my beard… 55  

which was very good looking; it looked very distinguishing …to get a promotion. Then, on September the third, I quit. Documented by Jesse S.




Relationships & Family

Mr. Prince from the Words & Stories of Irving P.

Irving Prince. Two, twenty-three, twenty-six. I was born in Brooklyn. Always felt very,very safe in New York. Marvelous. In New York, young men were excellent to women. [Open the doors? Do all that gentlemanly stuff?] Ev-ery-thing. Everything. Till I was fifty. I woke up in a dream to come to San Diego. And that’s what we did. [Do you ever go back to visit?] Well. I go back to visit and the arms are still open. It’s marvelous, all the time. If you pass someone on the street and you don’t stop they turn around and holler at you, “Are ya angry?!” And you have to rush over to hug and kiss them. But it was a wonderful, wonderful feeling; it really was. You must be well appreciated. Otherwise they’re stupid. Don’t argue, just get away. And you’re very special in the loveliest way. Well, first thing I learned: if something is nice, you say it. If it isn’t nice, you close your mouth and walk away. Tell me about the happiest moment in your life. That's my lover. [Meeting her? Or marrying her? Or the whole thing?] Everything with her! Everything worked out perfect Esther. [Esther… that’s a great name.] She’s a great person. We did very well together. I love my wife. My sixty-two-year wife. We always made each one number one. 59  

No two ways about it. You do for one another. You know we’re all good in different things. Don’t let anyone abuse you. Don’t give anyone your money. Don’t tell anyone your money business ‘cause they all wanna borrow and they swear they’ll pay back. But, they never do. You lead a good life and you’re nice to everyone. And you gotta remember that. Documented by Emma B.




Relationships & Family

My Mother from the words and stories of Eileen B.

Her last year she had dementia Her memory was Really bad Something was always missing or lost, You know? She would lose one earring So I would convince her To wear two different ones. Then she couldn’t find her door So I decorated it. I had to paint her cane So she wouldn’t lose it But the fun was, You traded places. You became the mother And The mother became the daughter. In that time You learn a lot of patience Learned to slow down And Repeat stuff. We got pretty close. She was the type People absolutely Adored. She was always Funny And I don’t know how she did it But she maintained Her innocence. 63  

She was Stupidly innocent and She trusted people Wasn’t a suspicious person Never was She was just A fun mother. But She couldn’t cook for beans. Documented by Melanie G.




Relationships & Family

Pride and Joy from the words & stories of Joanne B.

As far as I know, they are still here in California… I’m not sure. I lost them when they were little. They was taken away from me. I moved to San Diego in 1979, and I brought my family out here: Dixie May Marge, Billy Jack Lee, and Diana Elizabeth He’s named after three uncles. One, his dad’s brother Lee, two great uncles William and Jack Their father had a child abuse record and someone said they seen him Hitting her or hollering at our oldest daughter. That’s that and some other things that HE did that caused me to lose them. Be careful who you marry. As far as I know, they are still here in California. I’m trying to find them now. They are my pride and joy. I think my son did, but couldn’t pronounce my last name When I divorced their father, I took my maiden name back. I think he tried to get a hold of me, but couldn’t pronouce my last name and gave up Now I got it down as Joanne M. Bumbier. It changed, and he doesn’t know. They are all over eighteen. I can look, and I can get their information on them now. They are my pride and joy. Documented by Tiana S.



Relationships & Family

Like Your Fingers from the words & stories of Rosita C.

Oh, I have many stories. Stories With my - with my kids I have four kids, three boys, and a girl. I have Twelve Twelve grandchildren. Yeah. And seven great. All my kids, They’re all professionals. So, it’s really very nice that I am successful in bringing all those kids. I taught for thirty, forty - uh, thirty-nine years. I like to be dealing with children. Oh, I like it. Especially my grandchildren. It’s different to be dealing with your children, and with your grandchildren. Yeah, it is. I- I tell you the difference. They - your grandchildren - are more sweet than your children. They say, “Oh grandma, oh!” Oh, yes, you see? You have your grandparents, Sometimes you are spoiled. That’s why I'm telling my children, It’s different if you have your grandchildren. And it’s true. And some children are have different habits, They are not all the same although they are your daughter and son. Like your fingers, They are not the same, It belongs to your whole body. My – that’s my example. The fingers, it's only in one hand, but they are They have different sizes. So with your children, 69  

They have different habits, They have different types. You got that lesson? And I am a crossword puzzle addict. And all my companions are having this. I told them to do this, They will be busy. Especially now, If they are waiting for something. There was a lady there, In the green—there. I gave her a puzzle, Then once she cannot get the meaning of the word. She ask me, “How-what is the meaning of this? You know?” She passed the U.S. citizenship test by that puzzle, ‘Cause she was asking me. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s it. Sometimes in your life you have to commit some mistakes, Which you cannot avoid. But it makes me learn, that mistake of mine. If once I made a mistake, I have to—think it over how I could improve that mistake. Yeah. That’s – I -- learn a lesson about my mistake. ‘Cause if you will not make mistake, you don’t learn that lesson. We were married almost together for fifty--forty-eight years. Ah, you know Filipinos. I don’t say every Filipinos, ah? Once you are married, You have to stick to one. And I had only one boyfriend, he's the only one. Yeah, he’s the only one. Until now, it's already eleven years from his death. But I got his picture on my bedside. Because once I have a problem, I still talk to him. I talk to him through his pictures! Through his picture. Yes, that’s the way I express if I have some problems. 70  

And it really ease my self, If I express my problem to him although he cannot answer me. At first they don’t let me to, To continue my studies. My father say, “Women are only staying at home.” I said, “I know, let me go to school, Papa.” I will go to school. And, you know, he warned me, “Once you marry, without finishing your course-one bullet is for you.” One word means you have to do it. That’s why I was afraid. Education is four years, four years—I got it only for three years. Yeah, I finished the school in three years, Rather than four years. And my father was just a carpenter, And my mother was just a housekeeper. If you pursue to study, Finish your course. Try to strive. Yeah. Strive more! While you are still strong. Do more things, Plan for your future. Don't just Give up. You have still strength, You have still the wisdom, Do it. Well I think that's enough already. Are you satisfied? Documented by Sara C.



Family & Relationships

I Married a … from the words & stories of Art C.   

I was living in Chicago with my wife… I thought to myself… You married a ... I married a …! Every morning, she came to the breakfast table Oh, I went out with Pablo, and we did this... I went out with Juan, and we did this… And she just gave it away. And unfortunately, she was proud! So proud, that she told me! She was also a Catholic! are you Catholic? It’s such a thing that you’d be ashamed of and she was, as they’d say, You speak Spanish? She was very ogrioso; in other words, she was very proud! So I came to the conclusion, that she was a …! The fact that I’ve never returned to Chicago should indicate to her I know what she is! Now when I was here for one year because I’m a nice guy, 73  

I sent her landlord a check for $6,000 for a year of rent. As a result, she went to my bank account, and cleaned me out. She was sick, she was sick! I have no desire to go back to Chicago. I have no desire to see this woman. Documented by Matt C.




Relationships & Family

Love is a Mystery, and Life is Magic from the words and stories of Leo D.

I was born in Holland, [Lived there] until I was about twenty-one. Love is how I came to America. I met her in Israel; we fell in love, but things changed when we moved here. Stuck in our own ways, we went separate ways. I traveled seventy places, made connections here and there. And I have no kids. Life is all about being safe; it’s a dangerous place out there. They call me MacGyver; I fix things and like to see how they are taken apart. I keep a little list: stay healthy, eat healthy, have faith in God, be careful, be happy, and be nice. Love is a mystery, and life is magic. How did we get here? What is love?


So many questions, not enough answers. My dreams always allowed me to become a king for the night and float through the sky; that was my favorite part of my childhood. Life is magic. Documented by Hannah J.




Relationships & Family

Pure Romance from the words and stories of Bob B.

Oh, let me tell you Something really worthwhile. The real god. Write down his name. Adi Da. Read his books, you’ll get all of the answers. Love Death Everything else. Read his books He’s the world Some people say there are many gods. Some say there is only one god. But there is only Adi Da. He was it. God is very strange, Trust me, I know. But anyway, He’s got the health book, The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace. He knows all about death. I’ve already told you. Only God knows about what happens after death. It’s a beautiful thing. He has a book called Love and Emotion. It’s all about sex and emotions. His bio is… Um… I’m getting old. I can’t remember. If you wanna know all the answers... You are blessed. Oh, he’s a wonder. My first love… I fell in love with her when I was nine years old. 81  

I used to leave her gifts, ring the bell and run away. Then, about 12, we got together. We had a great love affair until she was 17, and I was 18. I joined the army. She cheated. Best thing that ever happened to me. Went through all the years. Then the husband died and she came into contact with me. We were going to get married. I realized… just the old love affair talking. Just the old stuff. It wasn’t real. Just the old stuff. We were on the phone one day I said, “I’m not coming back.” She didn’t believe me. But that’s over with now. I didn’t love her the way I thought I did. “Better to have loved and lost, then to have never loved at all?” You ever seen the movie called Wuthering Heights? That’s how I loved her. I was Edgar. “Pure romance?” Yeah. Pure Romance. Her name, Her name was Victoria. Documented by Sydney S.




Learning & Advice

I Wanted to Be Somebody from the words stories of Nason Hamilton

I wanted to be somebody, if that’s what you mean. But I didn’t have a chance. See, back when I was going to school, I didn’t know nothing about no “senior.” What is a senior? 10th grade, 11th grade, or what? I dropped out. Yeah I dropped out, 10th grade. I dropped out to make a livin’ back in Mississippi. Picking cotton, and chopping cotton and all that back in them days. No kind of livin’ like it is today. I wanted to have a good job, be well-trained, education. But I didn’t have a chance. My brains ain’t that good. I had a pretty good-sized family, a big family. I had seven brothers, four sisters. I’m the second oldest. I know you ain’t never heard this before, but “young buck,” You know I like the ladies, I like visiting people, stuff like that. That’s what my life was like. I didn’t think it was gonna be so pleasant, that great. I didn’t think it was going to be as great as it is now. I got laid off back there, Come to California on vacation. That’s the only way I could get my unemployment, you know. Come out here on vacation in 1980, got a job working for the trolley I liked the trolley work better. Paid you more better. Then I took sick in 1993. I had two heart attacks and two strokes and a major heart attack. You know, if I could get a job, I would. Nobody wanna talk to me, want me on their job, I’m disabled. Had heart surgery, three valves replaced. Uh, the happiest part of my life 85  

is being around my kids. I got seven. Family is the biggest part of my life, yeah. I am most proud of my kids. They’re all grown up and got good jobs and got a sensibility of their own, They all live in the south of Indiana. See, I lived in Mississippi and come to Chicago, then I left Chicago and went across to Indiana. I haven’t seen them since 2006. I was back there on vacation when I had the heart attack. I had open heart surgery, Don’t know whether you’re dead or livin’. I was in the hospital for six weeks. I have learned a good lesson about my livin'. I know I’ve got to work; that’s the most important thing I know about life. I come to learn how to work for my kids, raise my kids, love my kids, and all that kind of stuff. Oh, kids your age? I love to see ‘em learn, listen, all of that stuff that goes together. Good school, good schoolin’. That’s what I love to see, all this challenging going on, And if it get even better than that, or even worse, I don’t know what to say. I didn’t have that kind of challenge back in my day. Y’all have a better chance of getting your learnin’ than I ever had. What I used to say to people is you can be wise at life, but you have to have motherwit with it. Motherwit is that you got good sense, good thinking sense, and good vision. You look at things your way, and other ways, and you get things done better that way.

The whole world needs to understand one another, 86  

and how to get along with one another and what’s best for one another. And that’s it. The whole world needs to understand one another, just like each other. Yeah, that’s it. Documented by Emily L.



Learning & Advice

Growth is Like a Diamond from the words & stories of Violent M.

I had a great childhood. I had good parents. I kept myself quite busy. So I am a people person, and I have a lot of compassion. The Lord allowed me to live this long, always learning about something different and new. And give information and share to others. You know…. I never had no idea what it was going to be like. Since I can’t see the future I just… Because it was day by day, as it comes to me. I changed… I went into a lot of different... uh, changes in life like the seasonsmaybe a little more than seasons. But you know, Just be ready for whatever the change was, good or bad. Do the best I can with it. I am a lot like my father. My father was a very people person and giving person, 89  

and I’m a lot like him with my personality. And I want people… I want to be the example that nothing is impossible to change Show love. Love because love is sometimes the hardest thing to show when you go through a lot, but it’s not impossible. Regrets? Umm…regrets… I think I never took enough information down, and took enough pictures of my family. I have a lot of memories stored in my mind, but to even capture it in color… I think that is what I regret. Not taking enough information and pictures to… to... to go back on to show and tell. I feel that...uh, having… uh, reaching out as much information in life, in school and experiences that you could grow forward uh… that, I think, is wonderful that we never stop growing. Growth is like a diamond: it doesn’t lose its shine, it only gets better by age and time. There is a lot of happy moments and things in life where the simplest is 90  

sometimes the happiest. So I think this… that the teenager, the young child, to learn this when they are young, that they have a nice memory. Because mothers and fathers make mistakes. And they know what their mistake was after the child grows up and goes out into the world and then the parents say, "Oh, I should have done this, or I should have did that." And because none of us as people are perfect. We are always going to have flaws. It’s all in learning. Learning is very important, you know. Documented by Chyna M.


Learning & Advice 92  

The Man Who Said, “You Know?” from the words & stories of Pedro A.

I workedI worked with an accounting firm, This one Mongolian company. I put out my own accounting firm. Your move, ok? I just knew that I'd love again after a long, long while I'd love again. It was destiny's game For when love finally came on I rushed in line only to find That you were gone. What else do you want to know? I am writing a book about dialysis.. About lab results And my experience in dialysis, You know? How I have been treated I had four times of extensive bleeding. Besides that, I enjoy life. I sing sometimes. We have a music class I sing in that class. I had a good life over there. You know? I'm stuck with the If I would have just stayed there instead of going here… I know there are some good promises for my kids to study, Grow up in the U.S. They can get a good job. It is really hard ‘cause 93  

When I came here The job situation was bad. We just had to live In a garage. I really had to find a job, You know? Pay the rent. I worked at an airport Doing the cashier part at the parking. I had another part-time job Screening for the passengers Like security Security. I was ok with that, but sometimes my problem was Sometimes they call me They call me when I have not gotten my sleep. So, I had to quit that job. Then I finally decided I would go do my own job. I went, You know? I had training from my, From my brother-in-law Who has a factory. At first it was hard, You know? Having your own business. You have to have a stable job, You have to pay rent. I tried hard. I was working 16 hours a day. Working 16 hours a day for two years, I was able to accumulate good money, Buy my own house. I continued that. There were situations Where sometimes some customers It was becoming bad because some costumers weren't paying their bills. I lost a lot of money doing that. I managed to steer the business for another 5 years, You know?


I was able to survive, But I started having problems. I had cataracts surgery for my eyes, Left and right. I had to sell the house. There is no use in having a house If you don't have the money To pay for the mortgage. I sold the house. Stayed with my daughter. I was having problems with my eyes. It was getting better after the surgery. But then I had hemorrhoids from my diabetes. So I had this Hemorrhage. Oh, boy. It kept coming back. I had to do nine laser treatments. My eyes, You know? One of the veins burst. I can read it; just needs a powerful lens. I'm doing what I am doing I am trying to learn everything I can about my sickness. That's why I like to help somebody about my dialysis. I like to learn everything. The book is almost complete. It is hard to type everything with my eye. I use a lens, I have glasses, It's ok. I like to rest it. I don't want to over work it, You know? Otherwise I might go blind. Enjoy life. Whole not having all the attributes of being normal, You know? Documented by Sebastian S.



Learning & Advice

Get Up from the words & stories of Alfonso S.

Have I done any work down here? Well, this is part of my job here because, I mean I love what I was doing, I love working on Broadway. On Ninth and Broadway. I was a volunteer, volunteered almost two years there. And now I’m here. Every time I volunteer and help somebody, I feel proud. Yeah, I feel great. The nicest people have been the people that, That are here that I volunteer for. They’ve been very nice. You know, when I volunteer for something, I don’t get paid. They come here, they make sure there's enough food to eat. You know, in place of getting paid. It’s not all about me, but you know, people I care about, too. To try to save or try to help. You know what I'm saying? I just like to, keep myself busy at all times, Because when you’re not busy, Then you start thinking about things you shouldn’t be thinking about. My day goes by faster when I do something that interests me. We got people coming to San Diego, they come here with money. They get drunk. They been outta work so long they don’t know what work is. Then they let themselves go down. And once they let themselves go down, they don’t try to get back up. They lay there. Half of them so lazy, they don’t go eat where there food is. All they want is the hand out. They want you to do everything for them. 97  

All they wanna do is drink, smoke, and bad. That’s all they do, that’s all they do, that’s all they wanna do. That’s the only thing they know of. They don’t wanna do anything else, They just wanna lay there. Not all about that gimme. To start off, you gotta, in order to change things, You gotta want to do, You gotta want to do it, to help yourself, And that will lead you to something else, Bigger than what you are already doing. Be like me, do like what I do. You have to show people what you are about. If you show them what you are about, They might get interested in doing the some of the things I do. I volunteer, I don’t get money. I’m trying to do better, I'm not going to be down and try to do worse than other people. You got to get up. You can’t just sit around and drink all the time, You got to get up! Documented by Aryand M.




Learning & Advice

Need to Fly Created from the words and stories of Leo N.

I'm Leo. Nevris is the last name. My hometown is in Holland. Yeah, a small town. I grew up with it the Champions League games now, Ajax and Feyenoord, Johan Cruyff and them guys I grew up with them. Kicking the ball around. There have been several Relationships with girls. Those classrooms, in elementary school… I need to fly around; it was like a prison I gotta get out of here, you know? Running away. I wanna see more of the world. Sitting in. Be thankful for being here, you know? Call me Pink Panther, Clusso, Inspector, I was very scrutinous. That was my job, actually a cop in the Navy, pre-empted For medical reasons. 101  

Would have stayed on. You have to take care. Technology has evolutionized, Advanced. Every other week, A new gadget Gets smaller. Of your wits. I have a good family, over there in Holland. I visit them, you know? We had these big old radios, Animals living inside, Cobwebs and all kinds of stuff. I am what you might call an OIC: Over Informed Citizen. On my birthday, announced that JFK was shot. I was just a kid back then. Shocking... ...You know? Documented by Andreas S.




Learning & Advice

When You Make it to the Top from the words of Angel L.

Get along with people. I’ve taken sort of low care of people, and it comes back to you. Don’t leave them alone. When you get the chance, say hi. You don’t have to be a better friend, maybe just don’t piss them off because later on, they come back. I have a lot of occupations, but my main, I teach mathematics. I graduated with a degree in math, but that’s what I used to do, tutor people in mathematics. People bring problems and when you solve them, they are happy, they learn something, they like your style, and they go back to you. They come back, and they want to be helped again, and that gives me satisfaction because that means they like the way I approached the problem and they learn how to do it. I didn’t keep in contact with my family, and now I cannot go back to them because it’s been so many years. Use your time wisely, think about what you want, just do what you have in mind. If you make a mistake and you started young, you still have plenty of time to correct yourself. 105  

And when you make it on top over there, remember those that helped you along the way. Always do that. I threw away so much time. That’s one of the biggest regrets of mine, I used the time inefficiently. My plan was to get a doctorate in mathematics or physics, but I didn’t do it because money was not available. I could’ve gotten a part time job or something, but it was hard. The field I chose was not easy; you had to spend a lot of time studying. Don’t learn too many things halfway, learn one thing good. You have to enjoy it too, Otherwise, you won’t be interested in it. Most of the wise people, that’s what they learn to be humble. Don’t let other people judge you, make a judgment of you according on how you act. So humility is what I look at in a person. And knowledge. But, that’s what it means, if your humble, then you have knowledge, because you learn to show humility to other people. Documented by Eitan G.




Learning & Advice

Equanimity from the words & stories of Gary G.

Kindest? Hahaha… Kindest…uhhhh… My grandfather. He was my, uh… My little guardian, He raised me…. My relationship with my parents… It was ok. They died young, though, So it was unformed. My life work taught me, The most valuable thing By far Is time. Relationships don’t run on their own, They don’t have autopilot. Our parents’ generation was the Greatest Generation. They won World War II, and they turned out the greatest dope fiends the world has ever seen. Other than that, there was good music -better than now. Music. Rhythm and blues. Rock and roll. Focus. Equanimity. Poise. This word wisdom… it’s a funny, 109  

archaic, kind of a clunky word. It’s got emotional loading on a couple of levels…. Wisdom. Huh... It just sounds funny, “wisdom.” Some old guy, sitting on a cracker barrel slapping his knee, like Beverly Hillbillies or something. I don’t care. Death, misery, solitude -That’s what my future holds. After I die, that’s it It’s all done. It doesn’t matter after that. Documented by Juan R.




Learning & Advice

My Wise Friend Leonard Created from the words and stories of Leonard H.

L-E-O-N-A-R-D. February 6, 1948. Oklahoma City, Born and raised. Kids? Yes. Married? Yes. I used to do a lot of things. Mother stayed in the city, I stayed in the country I don’t know why she sent me to the country. Must have been too hectic. I got three sisters that I know about And maybe some more That I don’t know about. I been a whistler, tire-seller Let’s see what else… I been a cook, a meat-cutter A graphic artist. Relationships? Don’t get too connected. Don’t let the left know what the right’s doin’. All the time. And how old are you? Eighteen? Well you need to know where you’r egoing and what you want to do. And try to set some goals. Try to accomplish that goal. Like me, I had goals. But, I couldn’t really pursue the things that I really wanted to do. You see. Black people were only allowed to do so much. We could only do janitorial, Cookin’, Go through back doors. Stuff like that. 113  

Now, you got a chance to do more and be more, So you can be happy about that. I guess that probably would be my regrets, That I couldn’t do all the things I wanted to do Based on the color of my skin. Challenges? Well, I don’t know. I think you got a better chance than I did. Better chance than my forefathers had. So,yo chances are better, You jus’ gotta pursue it. Wisdom? What makes them wise is the choices in life, The right choices versus the bad choices. How would I like to be remembered? As a tried-to-do, attempted-to Kind of person. Documented by Makayla M.




Learning & Advice

One Day at a Time from the words and stories of Gaylan C.

My name's C----. I go by my last name, not first. It's Gaylan though, if you were wondering. G-A-Y-L-A-N. I've been working hard my whole life. At eight years old, I was in charge of a hundred head of dairy cow. A whole one hundred! Lived in Utah a lot of my life, too. Grew up in Morgan. That's M-O-R-G-A-N. Morgan, Utah. Went to BYU too, did a mission trip to Australia for two years. Few years later I started a nursing home business with my brother. Made a lot of money, then I bought a Rolls Royce and no one, I mean no one could believe that Gaylan Clark was driving a Rolls Royce! Then, in 91' my wife died I remember kissing her goodnight on the 8th of December, and on the 9th she was gone. So I walked away from everything, my business, the house. I wasn't prepared for it, that's what it was. I wasn't prepared for being alone. And I'm a healthy bisexual, I've made horrible, horrible decisions when it comes to men I turned to drinking, too. But I learned how to deal with being alone I go to AA now And I've learned to stop looking for a Susan all the time... Or John! 117  

But one thing I always say to myself Which is something that they always say in AA And it's changed my life. One day at a time, Mr. Clark. One day at a time. Documented by Jessica B.




Learning & Advice

The Times Have Gone to Hell from the words & stories of Gary G.

I was in the Navy in the early seventies. Pickwick Books gave me a paycheck, worked my fingers to the bone. Earned my pay in an honest way. They were absorbed, soulless corporation ate them up a beast powered by greed We're headed to the Underworld. Lived in a military family, which implies everywhere. I lived in Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, back in Chicago. Parents in the Marine Corps, wish I could've seen them more. Semper Fi until we die. They were paid to kill, and kill they did. Fighting wars for corporations, Hades Express for this patriot nation. My wife and me got married up in San Francisco, before I got in the Navy, They called us hippies. We were ripped to the tits. Fifties and sixties, the times I grew up Perfect paradise, but now it’s fucked up. As we approach the gates of abyss, we start to see it’s a bottomless pit. Sell your soul, tell your hope farewell. These times are changing; they're going to hell. Documented by Sam G.



Learning & Advice

Got Optimism? from the words of Enedino V. Ya know, I’m religious. I'm a believer. Catholic. I’m a Mexican-American who was born in Illinois. Yes, Illinois. When the Great Depression started, I moved down to Mexico. I thought possibly that everything would be okay down there. Guess what - it wasn't. Did you know, I pretty much slaved out there in the fields for earning a dollar a day. Yup, a dollar a day. I was helping a farmer pickin’ beans. I was happy though, because in the 1937, I had to appreciate whatever I got and earned. People today are pretty pessimistic, ya know? No open-mindedness. I’m not really religious, but I’m just here passing through. Just a temporary thing. I simply believe in sharing and helping out people who are less fortunate than I am. I’m not a selfish person, even if I had just a little of something, I’ll still share it. I see today’s society, the hobos out in the alley ways. Pitiful. I see them holding signs saying, “We will take anything,” “God bless you,” or “Military Veteran.” I offer and ask them: “Would you like a meal?” They respond saying “No thanks.” The only thing going through their minds is just drugs and booze. Sad, I say. Sad. I don’t judge, because I am an optimistic person, and I definitely keep an open mind. I see a lot of people judging, even the government in all of the countries. Again… Sad. Do you wanna know another thing that’s sad? This world is becoming more and more of a materialistic world. In my generation, and in my family, we love and share everything to become closer. The meaning to be closer here is just disgusting in the eyes of today’s society. They feel vexed to the idea of showing love in public. So, in the end, the parents resort to something that shouldn’t be resorted to. “Things” How do you love a stationary object? How do you receive love back from the stationary object? To me, it’s just ridiculous. I simply wish the society today didn’t judge anymore. Keep an open mind.


Love. Share. Help. Before we end up corrupt. Love and have open arms for everyone.

Documented by Bryan Kento K.




Learning & Advice

Solamente Una Vez  from the words and stories of Thomas S. A great thing, great thing has happened today! I am the owner and operator of a bed and breakfast. And just today I have the keys! I wanted to help people. I was born and raised in China; I came here in 1949. I went to high school in San Francisco. Upon graduation I went north to attend Walla Walla College. I studied biology, and majored in zoology. Then I went and attended medical school. I always wanted to be a doctor and I had a chance to study medicine. I wanted to help people. So I went to study in Guadalajara Mexico. You know how to spell that? G-U-A-D-A-L-A-J-A-R-A. Then I had opportunity to start a clinic, Gerson Clinic. G-E-R-S-O-N. I was the founder, organizer, and owner. That was in 1977. In July, July 20, we had the first patient. It is an all natural means to treat cancer. It involves no drugs. No drugs, all natural. Drugs is like a two-edged sword. On one edge you have, it's good; it works, it makes you feel better, and on the other edge you have the side effects. I am for natural medicine. I want to help people get healthy and maintain healthiness. That's persistence... My regret is that I should have - and I almost did – but, I did not get my California license. Keep at it. Every time if you fail, keep at it, keep trying. That's one step closer. That's persistence. It gives you a slight edge. I am still looking. All three of my brothers, they have found the American dream. I have not, I am still looking. Freedom. Freedom and opportunity. Spend time with people. And do not cut people out. 127   

Always have a listening ear. Keep the aim in life. Work together as a group. When you are together you are strong. Music is my hobby. Shall I sing a song? Attention! Let me sing a song for you! Solamente una vez! Documented by Eli A.




Learning & Advice

She Said I was a Lone Wolf from the words and stories of Kenneth C.

Well, I believe, I believe in the Lord. The kindest… I guess my grandmother who raised me. My dad carrying me on his shoulders, uh piggybacks... I loved my parents; they died, however. Than I had my grandmother raise me. Well, both of my grandparents, mostly my grandma. Work hard and do your best. I was in a junior college, graduated nursing. That must have been the proudest. Relationships? Not to trust them. ‘Cause I've been hurt too many times. Alone? Um, I 've been a loner all my life, so I don’t know. Well, my grandmother used to tell me I need to find someone to get along with. She said I was a lone wolf. You need to have friends. 131  

Well, I didn't really accomplish much. I should have gone farther in school. Um... college or... Remembered? Try to be kind to people As a young person, set your goals high because as you get older it gets harder to follow through and achieve your goals. Trust the Lord. Documented by Maia M.





Learning & Advice

To Live Life, to Not Be Afraid to Live   from the words and stories of Frederick Nolen M.

Earliest memory: me in a nursery Mercy Hospital in a ward for children when there were nuns there. I was probably four years old. I just had an eye operation. I remember kids are crying, kids are crying; It was kinda scary. My mother, she was kind. Rarely, if ever, had a bad word to say. My father was really distant, distant person, if you know what I mean. All he really cared about was going to work and badminton. Relationships need nurturing. People think people are their friends, but they’re not. When you’re up, they’re there. when you’re down, they don't want to be. Good friends are good to have. You tend to have one or three good friends. My proudest moment… graduating college. San Diego State University. I’d liked to be remembered as a good friend, kind person. Life is short, it goes fast Enjoy life. Live it up.


Your generation’s greatest strengths: freedom, caring about the world, and drug use, of course. Fairness and consciousness about the war, about animals. Least strengths: people who thought war was okay. Wisdom: evenness of temper. Step back and look at the big picture. What's happening isn't probably that big. Stay out of people's lives. And people need to stop legislating people's morality. Like drugs and anything. As long as you’re not harming anyone then it shouldn't be against the law. People shouldn't take away people's freedom. To live life, to not be afraid to live life If you feel like you shouldn't do something, blah blah blah, kinda this, that, and the other. You probably should do it. Documented by Tatiana W.




Learning & Advice

I'm Lucky from the words & stories of Steven B.

Was my life what I expected? I dunno I wasted a lot of time when I was younger... I had nothing to do Being young is made to waste time Now I wish I had more time In a dream world I would have the time to do everything Sometimes it takes years to think of the things I got to do You just don't know what's coming up Young people don't know what's happening in their government You should learn about computers and make money You got to support yourself Nothing is cut and dry Don't smoke, don't drink I stopped smoking when I was twenty One little cough and I was done You got to be more serious My proudest moment was being a runner for the last ten years I lost my car... I ran the shit out of it I swear to God, I lost my car and started walking between the BART Stations Then I started running between the stations Then I started running everywhere After a while I did 5Ks and 10Ks I got my picture in the Competitive Magazine and the City College Newspaper I've always done well in my division Instead of poking around with seniors ready to die I get to hang out with kids My life right now is read, run, rest I'm lucky I didn't find out the thing I love to do 'til I was 60 You just don't know what's coming up You gotta be ready Documented by Allison F.



Learning & Advice 142  

Bucky and the Blues Wizard from the words and stories of Bucky S.

His roots began in New York. He lived with his parents until he chose to leave. At birth he was given the name Steve. “Why should I have someone else name me? 'Cause my first real name is Steven, so I always liked the name Bucky.” He became Bucky and moved south. He is a quiet man who doesn’t always express himself through his mouth. “Then, I came out here about two and a half years ago.” He left behind his girlfriend in Gulf, He headed west in his van like a lone wolf “I always wanted to come out to California. And you know, I never had the means or anything to do it, but I decided a few years ago, I was like, dude, I'm gonna do it.” He landed in Ocean Beach where he currently spends his time. He met a man named the Blues Wizard. “The next thing you know, I'm playing the drums with him over the there for a while. I kept contact with him and then, uh... He says, 'Hey Bucky, wanna play some more drums?'” He acquired some suitcase drums. Now he plays them with the Blues Wizard in front of the bums. “1961. Well, I just thought, you know, like meeting new people, and I had lots of friends.” 1961 was the happiest of times for Bucky. He considered himself to be very, very lucky. “When my mom passed away…” This was the hardest time for Bucky. He lost a close person to his heart that he misses immensely. “She is going to be coming out here soon hopefully.” Bucky’s girlfriend lives thousands of miles away. He hopes to see her again someday. “Just try to treat everybody fairly.” Bucky doesn’t pass judgment; he is kind. Bucky lives life with a very open mind. “You gotta have lots of patience. Haha, yeah.” When it comes to people, Bucky has met a few. 143  

He told me all about what you must do. In order to deal with people, patience is key. “Somebody that I don't know, tried to be fair to people.” When Bucky moves on he want to be remembered for being fair. He wants to continue living without a care. He wants his music to represent him. “I grew up in the 60s and that was the love generation. During the Vietnam War. Ya know, free love was nice back then.” He grew up during a different time in America. He views my generation as a needy group of young kids All we want is instant gratification and that’s it. “You are set up for disaster.” Millennials are in for a wake-up call real soon We are being set up for catastrophic doom We have many challenges that Bucky is glad he never faced as a kid. “Rock on, dude!” Documented by Evan S.




Learning & Advice

Patterns from the words & stories of James S. Â

Hailed from Cincinnati, Ohio Living in a house as a only child Shared with his mother and his father. During his childhood, James didn't think his mother loved him. She was a tough woman. First grade changed everything. Against an enraged neighbor, Mother defended him: "Lay another hand on my kid, and I'll kill you." Days were filled with chores, chores, and more chores. Cooking, cleaning and homework. At fifteen years old, Everyone was outside playing. He had so, so many responsibilities. Mom said, "I don't want my kid to be stupid." One rule was shared in the family: "Don't shame the family." No criminal activity, no girlfriends pregnant You'll never want to see his mother mad. "That woman was a terror." It was known, Post-graduation he had to leave the house. Ventured to Detroit, Michigan in search of adventure At the young age of eighteen. Movies, amusement parks, beaches, dancing and bands All were found. Cruising around town in a Pontiac Hot Rod "I remember that car made great turns."


Life's philosophy: No marriage, no children. "I saw a pattern of relationships going downhill." He didn't want this to happen to him. "People were on their best behavior for the first three years." He didn't have any kids, He didn't want to bring them into this world. "Mankind is not nice." "I'll suffer through it. I don't want my child to." Exhibiting perseverance, teamwork, coordination, contribution and endurance He triumphed his generations "consistency to drop their responsibilities." Living his life by these philosophies, He now resides in San Diego enjoying the great weather, access to the beach and NO SNOW. Documented by Sierra P.




Learning & Advice

Here We Are from the words & stories of Serena Q.

Don't worry about the future There’s a yellow brick road That we all follow You're going to follow this road No matter what Love every moment Just love yourself Stay happy You're beautiful Inside and out We didn't plan this I wasn't going to marry him But I did We weren't going to live here But here we are There comes a time When you let go And you let the story unfold Here we are Fifty-two years later They said I was going to die I had just my wish And I've made it And I live happy Happiness is the key Stay Happy Stay Healthy Because this is where we are And this is all we have Is this yellow brick road That we all follow No matter what Here we are

Documented by Mariah C. 151




Senior Wellness Center  
Senior Wellness Center  

Graduating seniors interviewed and documented the words and advice of local senior citizens through poetry.