Museum Musings: I used to have long hair; Where’s the second floor?

I haven’t shared Museum stories for a couple of weeks. Even though it’s not a busy period, I’ve got a large backlog of stories waiting to be told…

Many women were in wheelchairs.

“Virginia Nichols, on her first outing since her cancer treatments started”

 This is Virginia Nichols who’d had a liver transplant three months ago.

“I used to have long hair,” she said while looking at jewelry, “so I didn’t bother wearing earrings, but now that my hair’s short it may be a good idea to buy something…”

I assumed she’d had her hair cut.

“I have a rare blood type, and was on the bottom of the list for a transplant when out of the blue I received a phone call that someone with my blood group had died. I flew down here the next morning, and had the surgery that day.”

The afternoon she spent with her girl friend at the Museum was her first outing since her surgery and chemotherapy. They both bought a piece of jewelry, but it wasn’t for themselves, it was a gift for each other.

Virginia is one of those people I’ll never forget. When she told me her story, I cried with her.

I hope she’s able to dance again soon.

* * *

“Can you tell us where the second floor is?” they said.
What kind of question is that?
“It’s upstairs,” I replied, pointing up.
They thanked me and went upstairs.

* * *

I don’t have a desk. I carried my mug, a silver thermos and my blue water bottle in my bag.

As per the advice I received from some of you on ways to avoid the long line-up at the coffee cart, I  filled my thermos flask with hot coffee at 7 am in the morning, and only drank it at my 4 pm recess.

My opinion?

Coffee that sits all day doesn’t taste very good. Though still warm, it was *stale*.

I still drank it, and was glad to avoid the ‘queue‘, but nah…

* * *

I recently mentioned my experience with a group of 11-year-old Chinese students at the Children’s store. Yesterday I served a group of nine-year-old American schoolkids:

“Two dollars, please,” I told a girl. As she looked for her money, a boy interrupted to ask, “How much is this?” and he held up a smencil (i.e. a smelly pencil – with scents like bubblegum, coconut, cola – that the kids love but which make me sneeze if I stand too close to them.)

A large percentage of American kids have not been taught manners, and will either shout “How much is this?” across the store, or come up to me when I’m busy serving someone else, and shove the item in my face saying “How much is this?” until they get my attention. It’s infuriating, especially as the price is marked either on the item, or on the side of the container.

The girl took a long time to take out two dollar bills, so I turned to answer the boy who was waving the smencil in my face, “One dollar-sixty-five,”  I said to him, giving him the price with tax.

The girl, still taking out her money, looked up at me with a hopeful smile, “one dollar-sixty-five?”

“No, I already told you that you owe me two dollars.” I said looking at the girl.

to which the boy says, “Two dollars?”

I’m not making this up.

 “Stop interrupting, and listen when I speak.  You,” I point to the girl, “must pay me two dollars. You,” I point to the boy, “the price of one smencil is one dollar-sixty-five.”

It’s exhausting.

* * *

“I want this!” said the little girl to her Mom and picked up a box that was almost bigger than her.

“You don’t even know what it is,” said her mother.

“I want it,” she said.

“You’re only two, you’re too young for this. See here, it says on the box you have to be six, ” said her mother putting the box back, the little girl in her stroller, and pushing them out the store.

* * *

I met these two Italian guys last week: Nicola Sciamanna, who comes from Rome,  a flight attendant with Alitalia, and his friend Luca Bravetti.

I enjoyed chatting to Nicola, who speaks excellent English, but Luca and I could only smile and shake hands because of our language barrier…

Nicola’s the first flight attendant I’ve met. He told me he does Alitalia‘s “Rome to L.A.” flight about once a month. Perhaps I’ll see him next month.

He bought the Screaming Scream.  I didn’t comment, but next time I see him I’ll ask him if he enjoys hearing that awful sound in his home.

* * *



He told me his name was “Shel“, but when he gave me his credit card it had another name, “KJELD”.
“This isn’t your card!” I said.
He explained that he’s Norwegian, and in Norway K+J=SH.

I had to believe him.


Seven year old Gressa from Arizona who was on vacation with her parents, was allowed to choose one thing from my shop. She chose an owl finger puppet.

“My name means “Greener Grass” in Norse,” she told me, “And you know what, I was born on Earth Day.”

* * *

Jeanne’s mom died on July 17th

“I had a really lovely day,” Jeanne told me when she came up to my register.

“Good. I’m glad,” I said

“Thank you. It was important, because my mother died in the summer,” she said.

I didn’t see why it was important to have a lovely day if her mother had recently died,  but I told her I was sorry for her loss, and gave her my condolences.

Her mother died the week before my Mom.

* * *

When a group of mentally challenged adults walked past my satellite store, one of the middle-aged women had a scowl on her face, her hands in fists, and was stamping her feet just like a five-year-old kid having a temper tantrum.

“She’s a stomper!”   the woman in charge said as she lead them past me.

Oh man…

* * *

Ruth from Victoria, Canada told me that when her parents emigrated to Canada they’d hoped to sail on the Titanic, but it was overbooked, so they sailed a month later.

* * *

Ngozi is 8

Ngozi, in the photo above, is eight.  After choosing a few things from my shop, he put everything down on the counter by my cash register and, quickly and accurately while waiting for his Mum added it up in his head. Smart kid.

Remember the Sharp for Men magazine article I wrote about earlier in the summer, which said men could wear stripes with checks?

My young friend was wearing checks with checks. Too cute.

I look forward to seeing him again.

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.
This entry was posted in Families don't you love them, Museum Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Museum Musings: I used to have long hair; Where’s the second floor?

  1. magsx2 says:

    Wonderful stories and photo’s. I hope everything works out for Virginia, she seems like such a lovely Lady.
    Some children just don’t get it I feel, that certainly would of been a frustrating moment. Loved the read. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mags,
      Thank you for your very kind comment.
      I hope Virginia will leave a comment with an update to how she’s doing.

      I met her and the Italian guys a couple of weeks ago, and they may have given up on my writing about our chance meeting.

  2. Boris says:

    Well .. it seems that all is not lost and there are a few smart, optimistic and articulate people out there, even if they need some manners; lovely post, rosie m’dear

    • dearrosie says:

      Welcome back Boris. Thank you for writing. It gives me much pleasure to know you enjoyed my post.

      I hope the odd teacher will stop by and read this, and will be inspired to teach their kids manners.

  3. souldipper says:

    Rose, please ask the young man in the checks and stripes to call me. I want him to come with us when a bunch of women go out for a meal and we forget to say “separate bills”!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Amy,
      I’m sure Ngozi would be great company at lunch and what growing boy would say “No” to having a meal at a restaurant, especially if all he has to do is add up the bill.
      Next time I see him, I’ll tell him he has an invitation to have a meal with a group of women up in Canada. I look forward to his Mum’s reaction…

  4. Reggie says:

    Such an interesting range of stories, Rosie. I love how you keep your eyes open and notice unusual things. And how you get the stories! 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Reggie,
      It’s all in a day’s work really. I enjoy meeting people, and even though I’m not chained to it, I have to stand behind that register until 6pm every day, so I’m happy to listen to the stories, and everyone has a story to tell.
      Thanks for writing Reggie.

  5. Priya says:

    Ngozi is such a sweet child! Even though his face isn’t visible, the picture speaks a lot. And then your story corroborates it. Perhaps the other children could learn from him? Somehow?

    Virginia is a brave person. I hope everything goes well with her, and that she had a brilliant time there at the museum.

    My parents have a trick for keeping the coffee “almost” as good as new. Fill the thermos flask with piping hot water, keep for a few seconds, drain out, and fill in piping how coffee. Screw on the cap immediately. It’s worked for them for all those endless road trips they make. Perhaps, if you have no choice, you could try this out. But I know, there’s nothing like freshly made tea or coffee.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Priya,
      I also wanted to show Ngozi’s beautiful hair. His Mom told me its all natural – he hasn’t cut it for a couple of years.

      ooh I like that hot water trick. I’ll definitely try it. I’ve also discovered another trick ie. to buy my coffee at lunch time when the lines aren’t long because the cafeteria’s still open.

      I hope Virginia remember me and my blog and makes her way here, and can tell us how she’s doing.

      I hope reading all this didn’t strain your eyes Priya. Take care.

  6. I’m pretty crazy about Ngozi, too! Thanks for sharing your inner museum thoughts … and by all means splurge on the afternoon coffee!! You’ve definitely earned it!! xoxox b

  7. jane tims says:

    Hi Rosie. ‘Where is the second floor?’. One to remember. Jane

  8. bronxboy55 says:

    Rosie, I must insist that you collect these museum stories and put them into a book someday. But please, not before I visit you at work and say something brilliant, like, “I know the second floor is upstairs. But where’s the third floor?”

    • dearrosie says:

      Dear Charles,
      It would give me the greatest pleasure to see you at my cash register, even if you ask for the third floor (which unfortunately doens’t exist). I wonder whether I’ll recognize you …???

  9. Jo says:

    I can imagine how exhausting it must have been for you – but I just loved your “smencil” tale!
    Reminded me of an Abbott and Costello routine!
    Pencil, smencil… what’s next…?

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Jo,
      Thank you for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed the “smencil” story. I don’t know the Abbot and Costello routine. I’ll look out for it.

      • Jo says:

        (not exactly like it, of course)

      • dearrosie says:

        Hey Jo,
        It’s brilliant! I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. Thank you for sharing it. Of course I watched several others… I love the Limburger cheese sandwich routine.
        The top 10 only goes from 10 to 6: “part two will be released shortly…” so I’ll have to come back!

        You know next time something like that happens at my register I’ll think of Abbot and Costello and hope I manage to carry on without laughing like a crazy woman … heh heh 🙂

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