Good News Monday #11: Vanilla Beane, Penguins, and Rent Holiday

First a bit of neighborhood good news that isn’t in the press and probably won’t be and maybe shouldn’t be.

CoCo visits a local ceramic paint-your-own craft store. She takes her time. Ms. Owner and staff help her with some of the fine details. Ms. Owner awarded CoCo V.I.P. status at the store for life. CoCo was in the midst of creating little bunnies for her nieces and nephews when the Governor announced that non-essential business should shutter.

Bad news for a small business owner. Bad news for CoCo. Ms. Owner prepared a bag of paints and brushes for CoCo to take home so she can complete her work. Ms. Owner told CoCo to bring her finished work to Ms. Owner’s home, ring the bell, and leave it on the stoop. Ms. Owner will happily take the finished work to her shop, fire up the kiln and complete to process for CoCo. All at no additional cost.

What a sweetheart! Ms. Owner is an unsung hero of mine. I send a big thank you to everyone who is doing small things that make a big difference.

Vanilla Beane Turns 100 years old

Photo from

At about the same time Rosa Parks was making national history, Vanilla Beane quietly made history in Washington D.C. That’s when she began making hats. She worked at Washington Millinery & Supply Company as an elevator operator. When she wasn’t busy operating the elevator, she began making hats.

“We’d spend eight hours there [working the elevator]. But you weren’t busy all the time, so I would work on my hats. I bought some supplies from this place because it was a hat supply place. They encouraged me, you know, when I would make something. And I finally got a job with them as a supply clerk, straighten-up stuff, and I would watch people… the different designers coming in buying supplies. And I learned by watching them.” – Vanilla Beane


Among her customers was the civil rights leader, Dorothy Height. Dorothy wears one of Vanilla’s hats on the forever stamp commemorating leader.

Vanilla still works six days a week. Except on her birthday this year.

As a lover of hats myself, this quote from BET tickles me:

“You have a certain air when you put on a hat. If you put on the whole shebang and you’re satisfied, you walk different. You act different. And people treat you different.” – Elaine Saunders (a friend of Beane’s)

Penguins roam the aquarium

Aquariums around the countries are releasing penguins, allowing them to wander and observe. The videos bring a lot of pleasure to people quarantined in their homes. (I know, I know, it’s not such good news to the penguins who would rather be in the natural habitat.)

Forego Rent, Pay People

Young Investment Company in Arkansas told their tenants to pay their employees, not their rent. Young Investment owns several buildings offering office space, apartments, and other commercial space in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

“We ask that you use this money instead to pay your employees and take care of your family. Stay strong. We will get through this together!” Young Investment Company wrote. CBS News has reached out for more information.

For more about this story, click the link to CBS News

Relief funds are set up for bartenders, restaurant workers, gym instructors, hair-stylist,and other people who have no vacation pay or sick leave. CBS News offers a link to some of them. Click here, if you are interested in helping.

As for me, I’m doing a few small things of my own. I got out my church directory and call someone who lives alone just to say hello, let them know they’re missed, and see if they need anything. I’m getting out my sewing remnants and making masks.

I admit, I’m sorta glued to the news these day. Still, I’m focusing on the good in the world.

What good news stories are on your radar this week?