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The Life Story Club of Love

Reverend Samuel E.

Members of the Life Story Club 

came to my apartment to visit me. 

Oh, they made me feel so honored

as if I was a great big celebrity. 

And when they came to visit me, 

it was just one day before spring. 

Oh, if I was able to 

I would twirl like a dervish and sing. 

Oh, yes, I would, I’d twirl like a dervish 

and twirl and twirl with my hands up in the air

and if someone thinks I’m crazy 

unequivocally I don’t care.

Some drove from New Jersey

all the way to Brooklyn to visit me. 

And like I said, I was so honored 

and I’m sure that you will agree. 

I was actually in my living room 

lying on my back in a hospital bed 

because I couldn’t walk 

with a black veteran’s cap on my head. 

My wife Venus was obviously there, 

however, she kept a low profile. 

She opened the door and greeted them 

with a head wrap and a great big smile. 

A trumpet came with his horn 

and Minerva, his lovely wife

they brought coffee and pastries

oh, they really sweetened up my life.

Pastries, french crullers, Boston cream 

coffee with sugar and cream 

oh, they brought everything 

to fulfill a coffee lover’s dream.

We hugged deeply together as a show of our affection. 

There was so much love. 

We definitely had a strong connection.

The trumpet player played “So what?” 

A jazz tune by Miles. 

I said, hey, is that “So what?”

and then we exchanged some smiles 

and when he got finished, 

he put his lips to the horn again 

and he played a new song, 

When the Saints go marching in 

and I played a video that his wife 

sent of him and members of his band. 

There was a percussionist, a piano player,

and him with his horn in his hand. 

Oh, the wonderful camaraderie was exceptional 

and very nice and something money can’t buy 

oh, no, no, no, not for any price 

oh, one gave me a rubber band smile 

that stretched all across her face 

and that this is no lie 

I can testify there was love all in my place.

And we get together by phone on Thursdays 

each and every week.

We open our hearts and our ears, 

then we listen to each other speak, 

and when we hear each other speak

about the things we used to do

to me, it’s always exciting because  

I learn something wonderful & new.  

And we have a prompt each week

or something that we want to share,     

and no matter what I’m doing 

I join in, with my Bluetooth in my ear.

However, we don’t do any video chats   

that’s why they came to my place.

And when they walked through my door   

I saw everyone’s friendly face.

Hey, I don’t want to be disingenuous     

someone named Arther wasn’t there.

He’s the oldest one in our group and    

his stories are wonderful to hear.

He tells stories of his experiences    

about things that I never knew,  

then the others tell theirs

about things I was oblivious to. 

Oh,  they gave me a nice certificate   

with ” Life Story Club” and my name   

Oh, it’s so beautiful, that want to      

display it on my wall in a beautiful frame.

Members of the Life Story Club came to my apartment to visit me.

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MY POETRY

ALVA K

I write poetry, and my poems are usually based on something I’ve seen or heard, a situation I might have seen in the street, or how people react to one another. And so I’m going to read an untitled poem that I wrote back in 1996 when these two people were at a place where I worked and they were both married but attracted to one another.

I write poetry, and my poems are usually based on something I've seen or heard, a situation I might have seen in the street, or how people react to one another.

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THE DAY WORLD WAR II ENDED

ARTHUR S

World War II has come to an end. Sunday, about four, five, six o’clock, the word had just come over the radio that World War II was over. It was in August 1945. I’m babysitting for my brother and sister-in-law, a two-year-old and a one-year-old, and I’m taking care of them, and there’s a sudden commotion out in the street. It took about 15 minutes for the city of New York to go crazy.

World War II has come to an end. Sunday, about four, five, six o'clock, the word had just come over the radio that World War II was over. It was in August 1945.

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MY TIME AT VIRGINIA UNION UNIVERSITY

BARBARA C

Being in the environment of a historically black college is that sense of belonging and sense of support… I got to participate in the sit-ins during the, I’m not going to tell you what year that was, and going to the world wars and sitting at the lunch counter and being a part of historical experience that broke down segregation in public places in the south.

Being in the environment of a historically black college is that sense of belonging and sense of support

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A TRIP TO EUROPE WITH MY GRANDDAUGHTER

FELTON H

When she became a little girl, I put her in dancing school at about seven or eight. And I wanted her to be sophisticated and charming. And then I decided, well, maybe I’ll start traveling with her so she can see people in other countries. So I took her to Paris. I took her to London first, and then we got that fast train to Paris. And while we were in Paris, I took her to Notre Dame.

When she became a little girl, I put her in dancing school at about seven or eight. And I wanted her to be sophisticated and charming.

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ONCE A DANCER, ALWAYS A DANCER

MARGOT B

So, I got into this Broadway show. It was such a special time in my life. I worked with so many people, all these famous people that I had seen on the movie screen. And out of that show came Juanita Hall of South Pacific and Pearl Bailey. At that time, she was in a movie: Karma Jones, Alvin Ailey, Jeffrey Holder, and Diane Carroll—all these famous people. And I resisted as a principal dancer.

So, I got into this Broadway show. It was such a special time in my life. I worked with so many people, all these famous people that I had seen on the movie screen

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A PERFECT DAY

MINERVA C

I just wanted to share that my girlfriend came in from Long Island yesterday to accompany me to the cardiologist today. I had an important appointment, and my husband had also said he would attend with me… I was delighted to go by taxi to Manhattan, listening to music with the sun shining, with the clear blue sky, with my friend and my husband, and then to see the doctor in person and show them who saved my life two times.

I was delighted to go by taxi to Manhattan, listening to music with the sun shining, with the clear blue sky, with my friend and my husband, and then to see the doctor in person and show them who saved my life two times.

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AN ARTIST

Phyllis C

I was hoping that the art teacher would realize I was an artist. And he said, one day, you will be known as an artist. And I was so happy and excited the whole class. We were all artists. This is an art class. On Sunday morning, I used to be the first one of my siblings to run and get the newspaper because I wanted to copy the pictures to see if I could learn how to draw and paint like the other artists in the newspaper.

I was hoping that the art teacher would realize I was an artist. And he said, one day, you will be known as an artist

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From a Boy Scout to a Soldier

REVEREND SAMUEL E

Well, to begin with, as a young guy, I was a Boy Scout, and we learned discipline. We wore uniforms. We took the Boy Scout oath. We learned how to march, all of that. But then as a teenager, I got into another organization where we wore uniforms. I was a marine cadet. They called us leathernecks. And I learned the same thing: how to march and salute. I wore uniforms and we met at the Sumner Avenue armory. We learned karate, judo, and jujitsu and even learned how to work with weapons or rifles.

Well, to begin with, as a young guy, I was a Boy Scout, and we learned discipline. We wore uniforms. We took the Boy Scout oath. We learned how to march, all of that.

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Growing up in Queens with an Italian Family

Theresa L

My name is Theresa, and I am 64 years old. I’ll be 65 in October, and I was born in 1958. And I represent the great borough of Queens. And I want to put that out there for Arthur, who thinks Brooklyn is better. Yeah, Brooklyn is better, but I love Queens. I loved growing up in Queens. It’s the most diverse borough or area in the whole world. There are more people from more places. I don’t have a story, but I’d like to comment on the fact that my life has been very good or very bad. And like Alva had said, she’d like to concentrate on the good. So I’d like to concentrate on the good, which was my mother’s side of the family. 

And I’d also like to comment about Arthur being alone. I’ve been alone most of my life. I had a family. I don’t have any children due to circumstances I don’t want to get into. I never got married. Although if anybody knows anybody, I’m interested now!

But anyway, I grew up in an Italian family where my mother and aunt, her sister, were the most wonderful people anybody could ever know. And I was very fortunate to reap the benefits of their wisdom and knowledge. Now I could talk about jazz and old movies and food from my mother, and I would make food from anybody that would give her a recipe. She’d make it taste even better. And I have such fond memories of my mother and my aunt. My aunt was twelve years older than my mother. She would have been 100 years old this Sunday. And she was by far the greatest person I’ll ever know. She sacrificed her life to raise my mother and, myself and my brothers. 

And I just reconnected with my sister from another mother a year ago, and we’ve gotten very close. So now I have a new family that I didn’t have before, even though they don’t live around here. But it is difficult to be alone when you’re older. And I don’t have any family left except for my sister, who now lives in Georgia. And like I said, we only reconnected and didn’t grow up together, so it’s a different dynamic. But it’s very great and interesting. I have two nephews, four great-nieces, and one great-nephew, which is, to me, so great. And I love this Life Story Club because I can relate to almost everything everyone’s saying. 

I mean, my mother and my aunt, I grew up with a very strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and I grew up Catholic. I grew up in East Elmhurst, where I still live, and the friends I made in grammar school at St. Gabriel’s Grammar School are still close friends today. We don’t get together as much as we want because people have moved to many different places. However, we still connect through Facebook phone calls and text messages. That’s been so great. 

And I love where I live right now because there’s a community called the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community I’ve been part of since I turned 60. And that’s how I found out about the Life Story Club. I’m very blessed to have the friends and the connections I have now because being alone is difficult, but it makes it so much better to have people you can connect with whenever you can connect with them. That’s so true. That is so true.

My name is Teresa, and I am 64 years old. I'll be 65 in October, and I was born in 1958. And I represent the great borough of Queens.

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