Road Trip Stories: ‘Remember when’

Two women with coffee cups in front of them

Angie and Lisa are Java Buddies.

With each road trip, our mission is to explore with an open mind and to discover and share tips for a better world. With many people talking about this epidemic of social “disconnect” and loneliness, we invite you to ask yourselves a simple question: When was the last time you recall feeling “connected”?

The question prompts us to think about what it means to be connected. Is it like riding a bike? When Lisa Ullven interviewed Dr. Bob Moore, a trauma incident reduction expert, as part of research for her book, Moore illustrated a simple yet significant technique that helps a person reflect on a time when they felt connected with others as part of the process to heal.

Reflecting on that feeling, Lisa’s mind leaped back to Thursday nights at 8 p.m. when it seemed every American stopped what they were doing to watch the latest episode of “Cheers”. The first airing was shared with family, who enthusiastically gathered together to watch the show. The spirit continued into the next day at work as co-workers talked about the show. Joking and comparing parts of the show they liked best, they laughed together, like an extended family.

To this day, when Lisa hears the sitcom theme songs, it reminds her of the joy she experienced as a kid running to the family room with her cozy blanket. As we look back on our favorite shows we loved to watch, we recall the people with us. Lisa shared how the theme song to “Sanford and Son” instantly brings back memories of watching TV with her family. She lost her father when she was only 5 years old, but she recalls her late grandpa joining in on the laughter and that incredible feeling of being connected.

As Lisa and I went down memory lane sharing stories of connecting way back in the day, it reminded me of a rare opportunity I will always cherish. It illustrates how a positive role model, no matter how brief, can inspire us for life. In my younger days, I volunteered at the Hamilton Playground (now known as Hamilton Recreation Center). The late Caroline Masters, the playground director, assigned me to volunteer side-by-side with Goldie Hawn as she taught aspiring ballerinas. While it was very brief and Hawn surely won’t remember me, I got to experience her genuine brilliance and kindness before she went on to share her sunshine with the world.

With Goldie Hawn a Washingtonian whom I will always adore, I was so excited when Lisa called me to tell me that Hawn and award-winning filmmaker named Tiffany Shlain are uniting to release a short film on the neuroscience of the adolescent brain. Recalling how kind Hawn was to the children and everyone she met, it is no surprise she is a champion of the MindUP Program to build mental health and resiliency for children and is now working with Shlain releasing a short film to help adolescents as they grow. The film is 10 minutes and is called “The Teen Brain” and is geared to teach teens (and the adults who support them) what’s happening in their brains based on the latest research, as well as give tools to regulate and navigate the powerful adolescent years. It will be released the end of March. You can find out more at

Reflecting on our conversational interviews with people living in high-rise luxury suites to people living on our streets, the common theme is we are all looking for more connection and would not mind life being a tad bit simpler again. As an actionable tip, we thought, what could be easier than enjoying a TV show with a friend or soon-to-be friend? Because Lisa and I met making coffee together at the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding Immersion, I think I’ll call this tip The Java Buddies Tip. You simply watch a TV sitcom together and then chat about it over coffee.

We piloted this idea with a few Java Buddy Test Pilots, who managed to come up with an even better version. The Java Buddies immediately played the theme song of The Golden Girls sitcom on their phones and jumped into singing, “Thank you for being a friend.” In minutes, they were singing, laughing and sharing memories. Like Lisa, they recalled who they watched those sitcoms with back in the day and enjoyed sharing those cherished memories.

Interestingly, as we checked on sitcoms that seemed to inspire us to gather like “The Golden Girls” and “Cheers,” we found each was filmed in front of a live audience. We think that may have added to the deeper connection experience. Just like us, the actors and actresses were vulnerable. We were all there for blooper mistakes and all. Life is messy at times, but we are in this together. We are resilient and we can do this connection thing again!

We invite you to check out our Road Trip Stories videos and tips. Even more, we look forward to hearing about your Java Buddies experience! Join us at

Angie Whitehurst is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media. Lisa Blackburn Ullven is the author of “Secrets to Sustainable Solutions.”

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