The Wisdom of Age Project—Hampton Roads, Va. 2013 Documenting Life Stories & How We Get By
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"Behind the Scenes at the Breakfast Club"


LIKE THIRTY-FOUR OTHER STUDENTS in my "Community Storytelling & Documentary Studies" class, Aubrey Kosa spent the better part of four months documenting the lives and stories of elders in the greater Newport News (Hampton Roads) area. Her documentary project—"Tuesday Mornings: The Breakfast Bunch"—profiles a group of men who have met for breakfast every Tuesday since 1995.  Her narrative story and multimedia soundslide show are the result of many pleasant breakfasts during the Spring 2013 semester, and not just on Tuesdays. If Aubrey missed any morning for her regular breakfast, Rhonda Hicks, a Warwick Restaurant waitress since 1984, phoned Aubrey to be sure she was all right.

   Such is the kind of close, even committed, relationship students have developed with elders over the years in this class. Many students continue visiting their elder subjects long after their project is completed.


   A fundamental goal of the class is to challenge ageist stereotypes, to bridge the social gap, you might say, between elders and young adults. And they do bridge that gap. I can say that with some confidence because, to a person, students tell me when the course is over that the elders whom they worked to document were no longer their "subjects," but their friends. The short video below offers some testimony typical of those many friendships.—Terry Lee, Associate Professor of English