Museum Musings: how did John Lennon show up during this quiet week?

“Name-tag of an 11-year-old student from Beijing”

The Museum’s awfully quiet, October isn’t a popular time of the year for people to travel.

“Is the museum always so busy?” a tourist asked me last Thursday. I didn’t know what to say…

A few days ago a volunteer overheard me trying to explain to a French-speaking couple –  in my school-girl French – how to get to the cafeteria, and she commented that she hadn’t heard anyone speak English all day. Some days feel like that.

Last Sunday morning in the childrens’ Store I was swamped by about fifty, eleven-year-old students from Beijing many of them wearing their Mickey Mouse paraphernalia from Disneyland, and intent on shopping in my store.    Even though they were from China and still in elementary school, they were able to converse with me in English, understood that tax would be extra, and paid me without any adult supervision.  It was a pleasure to serve them.

Unfortunately not all American elementary school children understand that tax isn’t included in the price, and many of them cannot count out the change.

On Wednesday afternoon, I served another group of eleven-year-olds from China. This was their name tag:

Name-tags worn by another group of Chinese students

11 year-old dancers from China

I think these kids were ballet dancers who had come to L.A. to dance. Unfortunately our language barrier prevented a proper explanation of whether they were dancing in a competition, or a show.

I wished them luck, and good dancing. I hope they understood me.

On Thursday I served a group of high school students from Japan who only bought art books and art supplies.   When I asked them whether they were all artists, they didn’t understand me. I wondered why they were buying English art books.

Karla K from L.A. resting her weary feet

A few of the people I met recently:


  Karla‘s a local L.A. artist

late modernism meets California expressionism

is what it says on her website.

I enjoyed chatting with her. She also likes hiking, and has hiked all over the States.


Bea Aaronson from San Miguel de Allende (on the right) and her friend Elizabeth T.

Bea Aaronson (on the right) bought several art books, “to take back with me to Mexico,” she said.

“Which town?” I asked. I don’t know why I asked, because I don’t know Mexico.

San Miguel de Allende.” she told me.

I’ve wanted to go there ever since my friends Helen and Angelo spent a winter at the artist’s colony there, over thirty years ago. “I’ve been thinking of going to a writer’s conference, and I hear good things of their International Writers’ Conference,” I said.

“I’m one of the teachers at the conference,” she said. “You must come. San Miguel is a spiritual place, you’ll love it,”

She gave me her card:  la casa verde, un oasis de arte.  It looks wonderful.

Another meaningful coincidence?

Carol F

This is Carol F from Washington State.
Her name is almost the same as my friend Carol F from San Francisco.

Katy only needed one guess to tell me where I’m from.

Claire from Albuquerque

Gail, Mary Sue and Ray


Claire is an artist and a potter from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She does art with soldiers at the Veterans Hospital there.

“It’s very sobering. Those kids are coming home so mentally damaged they’re like little kids,” she said.


Gail is from Crystal City, Missouri, and Mary Sue and Ray are from San Pedro, CA. They wanted to know where I’m from.  I told them to guess. After trying eleven countries including France, East Germany, Scotland, Gail said “I am totally baffled!”

It was Ray who finally guessed correctly. I should’ve given him a prize! Sorry Ray!

It’s funny how the conversation at my cash register can move from art and the lovely weather in L.A, to where I’m from, to peace and how it’s time to bring our young men and women home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  When Gail, Mary Sue and Ray finished going through the list of countries a man with the peace sign hanging on a chain around his neck joined in the conversation. He said it all made him think of John Lennon’s song “Give peace a chance,”.

Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, became an anthem of the American anti-war movement in 1969.
free music

Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
Minister, Sinister, Banisters and Canisters,
Bishops, Fishops, Rabbis, and Pop Eyes, Bye bye, Bye byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

(Let me tell you now)
Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation, Flagellation, Regulation,
Integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper,
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna
Hare Hare Krishna
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

* * * * *
Last week when I saw four women named Frances in less than two hours, I didn’t explain that I knew it meant I should contact my friend Frances, who lives in Italy.
Her mother passed away on Sunday.
* * * * *

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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26 Responses to Museum Musings: how did John Lennon show up during this quiet week?

  1. souldipper says:

    So we’ll be seeing some etchings after a trip to Mexico! 😀 Good. Enjoyed the photos. Just listened to a Ted presentation from the woman who is the “Oprah Winfrey of China” tell about what’s coming vis a vis the youth of China. They’re intelligent, well-educated and highly questioning of government and large corporations.

    The transformation is well afoot…

    • dearrosie says:

      Glad you liked the photos Amy.
      I’m interested to hear someone being described as the “Oprah Winfrey of China”. I’m going to look for the TED link.

      I don’t need to read about education in China or the USA in the newspaper. I can see it all from my cash register. I can tell you which children are polite, or well educated, and which ones have $100 bills to spend.

      • Reggie says:

        Hello Rosie

        I found that comment most intriguing, so I looked it up on TED – here is the link to the talk, Yang Lan: The generation that’s remaking China:

        The description says: “Yang Lan, a journalist and entrepreneur who’s been called “the Oprah of China,” offers insight into the next generation of young Chinese citizens — urban, connected (via microblogs) and alert to injustice.”

        Now I’m just waiting for it to buffer (and to make myself a cup of tea wth a fresh breadroll from the bakery) before I watch it (we have a slow internet connection down here).

        P.S. With regard to the four Francis’es – talk about synchronicity indeed! I am sorry it was such sad news, though.

      • dearrosie says:

        oooh I love the idea of a lazy Saturday morning cuppa tea with a fresh bakery bread roll Reggie…

        Many thanks for finding the link to the “Oprah of China,” TED talk for us.

        I can tell you by the time of the 3rd and then the 4th Francis the hairs on my arms were standing up, and I had trouble focusing on counting out the correct change, I so desperately needed to get to a phone and contact my friend.

  2. magsx2 says:

    What a fantastic variety of people, and very nice photo’s as well. It must be wonderful to meet all these different people everyday, it certainly would make the job more interesting I’m sure. 🙂

  3. dearrosie says:

    Sorry folks, there was a problem with the John Lennon/Yoko Ono YouTube of “Give peace a chance”. The problem’s been rectified (one word was missing at the end) so you can hear it now.

  4. Cindy says:

    The pic of Claire is not showing … funny the kids have name tags 😉

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Cindy,
      I just checked and Claire’s photo came up on my page. That’s strange it didn’t open for you!
      I also thought it funny that the kids would have name tags.

  5. Bwtty says:

    Lovely post and snaps! I feel like I was with you at the register…what a tide of humanity! Loved the kids from China and Claire from NM!!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Betty,
      I didn’t photograph from my register when I first started this blog, and on those busy days with the constant line-ups I don’t have a minute to pull out my camera, so I can’t always share what I see. I wonder whether you’d have enjoyed the post as much without the photos?
      I hope Claire from N.M sees your comment.

  6. jane tims says:

    Hi Rosie. You meet so many interesting people in your work. The photos are a great addition. I also like how many people need that bench to rest after their day at the museum! Jane

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Jane,
      I love that bench. I’d love to do a book of photos of people resting on the bench. Have you ever seen the photos Walker Evans took – in the 1940’s in New York city’s subways – with his camera hidden in his coat? I love those pictures – they’re unposed and real. (we had an exhibition of them some years ago). Unfortunately one cant take pictures without permission now so the spontaneity and freshness is lost, which is such a shame

  7. Priya says:

    I like Karla, and the fact that she did stop to rest her feet. I would, too. Your museum must be huge!

    And Claire from Albuquerque does look like an artiste. It shows.

    You are, in a huge way, giving peace a chance, Rosie. You’re showing us just how all right the world is, if seen with the right perspective. And all that is not all right, is bound to improve. If we have the right perspective. See? I am rambling again, aren’t I?

    • dearrosie says:

      I asked Karla if I could take her photo because I loved the way she rested her feet – can you see that they’re not flat on the floor?

      Our museum isn’t so big – it’s just tiring standing on the hard floors.

      It’s thrilling to me, and giving peace a chance to see people from all over the world standing peacefully looking at art.

      Please do ramble Priya. Although I wouldn’t call it rambling.

  8. Sybil says:

    Oh how I’d love to work at your museum ! The world comes through your door. I’m going to watch that TED lecture. Thanks.

    As for John Lennon… he was right all along … we should give peace a chance. Sadly, few of our wars are fought for the reasons we claim.

    • dearrosie says:

      Sybil, it is thrilling to watch the world walk through the door and to hear so many languages spoken at my cash register. Today I watched a Russian girl translating one of my English books into Russian for her mother. I found it to be a very touching scene.

  9. Rosie, I loved this post!! Let’s plan a holiday to San Miguel de Allende!!

  10. Kathy says:

    Looks like you have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Lucky you! (And I would like to go to San Miguel de Allende, too. Come to think of it, China, too…)

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Kathy,
      I’d love to travel more, but being able to meet so many people from all over the world at my cash register every day is a great alternative to traveling, and I feel fortunate.

      Yesterday I had a conversation about global warming with a man from Frankfurt, Germany. He told me that their summers are much hotter with more thunderstorms, and last winter they had an enormous amount of snow in December, but no snow after that.

      If you were offered a plane ticket to one country now, which one would you chose?

      • Kathy says:

        I can answer that question very quickly! My nephew is getting married in Nicaragua in January. A ticket to his wedding would be so wonderful… Another niece is in Singapore. I would settle for that, too. 🙂

      • dearrosie says:

        Kathy I agree that it’s important to go to one’s nephew’s wedding, but Singapore has always called to me…

  11. bronxboy55 says:

    Rosie, I hope you’ll go to that writers’ conference. I think both you and the conference would benefit from each other.

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