Museum Musings: Valentine’s Day at the Museum

I came upon these guys at lunch time last week. Photo credit Wondering Rose.

“Where’s the photography exhibition?” a middle-aged American couple asked me.  I’d noticed them earlier because they were wearing shorts, even though yesterday was a chilly, windy day.  Before they walked away she turned to me and said, “I love your necklace. Its beautiful.”

As it was Valentine’s day, I wore a “heart” necklace Mr F bought me many years ago.

“And I love your earrings too,” she said. I had on red earrings.

“Thank you,” I said,  “If you like my jewelry, I think you’d most probably like to see what I’m reading?”

“My god, how did you know I always ask my friends for titles of books?” she said.

Without saying a word, her husband sat down on the bench opposite my satellite store.

She was one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. She told me her name was Joanie, they were from Minneapolis, and had come to Los Angeles to visit their son who’d recently moved here, and as she bent down to look at my book – Radical Acceptance by Tara Bloch – she first complimented me on my glasses (honestly!)

Her phone rang while we were discussing whether it mattered which one of Thich Nhat Hanh‘s many books one should start with. She walked away to take the call.

“It was my son,” she told me after she’d finished the call. “We were supposed to meet at the museum this afternoon, but he called to say he was stuck in traffic and wasn’t going to get here in time. He suggested perhaps doing something this evening, but I heard his girlfriend shouting in the background that it’s Valentine’s tonight. I told him we’d see him tomorrow.”

Joanie recommended a book called “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese which I’ve read and can also recommend.

further to our discussion of dreads

[Another woman earlier yesterday told me to read, “Mountains beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder (“the true story of Dr Paul Farmer“).]

She's a model, from France

At the end of the day I served a young couple.  The young man, who was wearing one of those knitted caps with flap thingie’s over the ears, had such a baby face he looked as though he were still a teenager, and even when they came up to my register, his girlfriend, who had beautiful long blonde hair, continued hugging and kissing him.

I smiled at them, “I can see you’re enjoying Valentine’s day,”

In reply the young woman  jumped up and down, and waved her left hand, and said something I couldn’t hear, but I noticed she had the most gorgeous deep blue eyes.

She got impatient waiting for me to answer, leaning forward she said in a breathless rush, “Look what I just got. He just proposed to me. In the garden. Here. Now. At the museum. Look at my beautiful ring. Ohmygod..!!!!” and once more wagged her left hand, which I finally understood was shorthand  for  “oh my god look at my engagement ring“.

Silly me!

As I congratulated them, and shook their hands I realized I must be the first person they’d shared the good news with, so I leaned over and hugged them, and they cuddled some more, and giggled happily.   When I looked at the people patiently waiting in line behind them I saw Robin, one of the gallery teachers, was next in the line. I called her to join in the celebration.

“Did you say yes?” Robin asked.

I didn’t need to ask that question, because this young girl’s eyes were shining like stars, and she kept staring at and rubbing the ring on her finger like it was *magic*.

Andrea was 8 1/2 months pregnant when I met her last month - Leo was due Feb 6

I don’t know whether it’s just me, but it seems as if everyone’s pregnant these days.

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34 Responses to Museum Musings: Valentine’s Day at the Museum

  1. Aruna Byers says:

    The book “Mountain Beyond Mountains” is the story of Dr. Paul Farmer (not Katy). One of my favorites also. Highly recommend.
    Aruna in Japan

  2. souldipper says:

    Rosie, don’t look for any special stars in the sky. I promise I am NOT preggers! 😀 Hope Leo is healthy and enjoying our planet.

    Are all people who visit museums this interesting? Or do you just bring out the best and most interesting aspects of them?

    • dearrosie says:

      I also hope Leo’s arrived safely.

      Many school groups came today. The students all did some serious shopping at the Children’s Store where I worked. A large group of grade fours from an inner city L.A. school touched everything, yelled “How much is this? How much is this?”, didn’t understand that tax is added to every purchase, handed me wads of squashed $1 bills, didn’t understand that if they had $2 they weren’t able to buy stuff that added up to $15…

      • souldipper says:

        Wow…so in other words, have no sense of $? Strange that a teacher would bring in students without a little tutelage in commerce.

      • dearrosie says:

        Amy I’ve mentioned before how frustrating it can be when a kid in Grade 4 – who is about 10 – doesn’t understand that if they have $2 they still need extra for tax, and that they must check prices and cannot bring a pile of things that add up to $15 and expect to smile and get it all.

  3. magsx2 says:

    An awesome photo of the guys doing hand stands, I just wonder why? But their shadows also look awesome a great shot.
    Dreads, I thought they were long gone, obviously I was wrong, you just feel like getting something anything and try and fix it all. I doubt, she will ever get the knots out, and like others before her, they will have to be cut out.

    I love the Marriage proposal, that does make it a very special Valentines Day for the young lady and guy involved. 😀

  4. Val says:

    I’m not pregnant – but then that just leaves quite some several million of the rest of the planet’s population who probably are, including my husband, your husband and everyone else’s husband. 😉

  5. I love this and meeting all the interesting people you met on Valentine’s Day! The guys must be best friends to have the same thing in common…a wish to view the world up-side-down. I love your jewelry and I love Joanie’s son’s girlfriend’s (a lot of possessives here) comment of reminder…hilarious. And to be the first person to receive that couple’s big news. You have such a fun job.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Georgette,
      What I’ve learned from the years I’ve stood behind my cash register is to be observant, a good listener, plus not to be “shy”. If I hadn’t spoken to the happy couple they wouldn’t have shared their news.

      The guys doing the handstands were in a large jolly group of guys, and one of their friends was photographing them. You may be interested to know that at the same time they were doing handstands, a group of young women were jumping high in the air while a friend photographed them. I don’t know whether they were all part of a student group on a tour of the museum. I managed to whip out my camera and capture the handstand guys because the chap on the left had trouble balancing, but the women jumpers only did their trick once…

  6. No pregnancies in this neck of the woods – it would be nice to hold a newborn again, though…

    I feel sorry for Joanie and her husband – coming all that way to visit their son and it seems like he is too busy with his life to carve out any time for them…

    What an interesting day Valentine’s Day was for you! I wish the newly engaged couple many years of joy, love, laughter and companionship! Sounds like they’re off to a good start. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      HI Barbara,
      Joanie’s husband didn’t seem happy when he heard that they weren’t going to see their son at all that day. I wondered whether they realized they’d booked their trip over Valentine’s Day.

  7. Wow, you certainly meet some interesting people! Love the engagement story, so sweet.

  8. Mags is right about the photo of the guys doing hand-stands. It’s terrific. The shadows almost make it look as if it is the “shadow person” holding up the actual person.

    I had to laugh when you said if was cold and chilly in LA today. Bet it wasn’t 28 degrees chilly like it is in New York this morning. Nice try for getting sympathy from us. Didn’t work! 🙂

    I read and loved both Cutting for Stone and Mountain Beyond Mountain. My favorite book last year was The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Hard to think a book about the history of cancer would be so gripping but I couldn’t put it down. Also loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (book is better than movie) but for any wordsmiths, a funny, albeit old, book that I adore is called Ella Minnow Pea.

    Sounds like Valentine’s Day was a fun one at the museum.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi EOS
      I’m thrilled you like my handstand photo. Muchas gracias.

      28 degrees is lovely – if you live in a country that uses celsius – which is everywhere else in the world. Am I correct that the USA is the only country that didn’t convert to the metric system? And the only country that still uses a paper $1 bill.
      But 28 degrees F is awfully cold: hat-gloves-scarf-warm-coat-cold. Brrr…

      Thanks for the book recommendations. You’re the third person to recommend “Mountain beyond Mountains”. I must read it. Also “Extremely Loud and Incredibly close”, and your old favorite “Ella Minnow Pea” – which sounds very interesting:

      “Ella Minnow Pea is set on the fictitious island of Nollop, an isle 21 miles SE off the coast of South Carolina, and home to Nevin Nollop, the supposed creator of the well-known pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” This sentence is preserved on a memorial statue to its creator on the island and is taken very seriously by the government of the island….”

  9. shoreacres says:

    My favorite here is the photo of the fellows doing hand-stands. They’re a perfect representation of what so many others in your post were experiencing metaphorically – having their world turned upside down, one way or another.

    As for the dreads, can’t you just imagine what her shadow would look like if she did a handstand?

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Linda,
      I’m delighted to hear that you also like my handstand photo.

      I spoke to the woman with the dreads when I asked to take her photo. She was chuffed that I’d noticed and wanted to photograph her hair. She told me she’d been growing her hair for about 15 years. Sheesh!

  10. munchow says:

    What cannot a day to the museum lead to! Amazing how many interesting people intercepted your way. So many lovely encounters. That it is really the blessing of life. Thanks for passing it on.

  11. I echo Barbara’s feeling for Joanie & her husband and Shoreacres’s question got me wondering too.

    That’s a lovely garden, Rosie. Can you eat lunch there? What an exciting job you have; reading books & meeting new interesting people at work everyday. What qualities/ qualifications would I need to qualify for a job like yours? Besides patience, I mean.

  12. dearrosie says:

    Hi AIT,
    Yes I eat lunch in the garden most days. It’s beautiful I have so many favorite spots especially next to the water …

    It would be nice, but we aren’t sitting, relaxing in a chair reading books at work – we’re standing all day smiling at passers by… I had my book in my bag.

    If I were hiring someone for the position of Museum Store cashier I think the main qualification I would look for is someone who likes “people”. The visitors at a museum are folks who are relaxed, enjoying themselves, perhaps part of a boisterous school group, often on family outings, but sometimes there are really sick people in wheelchairs with family members trying to remember there’s a life out of the hospital, sometimes a person is experimenting with dressing up as the opposite sex (I think you have to wait about a year before you can have the sex-change operation), and of course we get the rich and famous whom we are NOT allowed to recognize. All of these people must be welcomed and treated like everyone else.

    • Hmm.. the gardens & the water bodies to stroll in during breaks, would be added incentives. Is there no place to sit in the store?
      It is puzzling to hear that it’s not allowed to recognise the famous. What about an autograph or a picture, if Meryl Streep or Tom Cruise walks into your store? How else does one capture the memory?

      • dearrosie says:

        The gardens are lovely. I only eat my lunch inside on rainy days.
        There are no chairs in the main store. We do have a chair at some of the satellite stores, and may sit, providing no tourists are there.

        We aren’t allowed to jump up and down and ask for their autographs just so the rich and famous can come to the museum and feel like ordinary folks enjoying a day with their families.
        One Saturday night about 8 years ago when Ben Kingsley walked past my satellite store the security guard, who was standing opposite me, was so excited to see him that he said “Hello Gandhi”. And Mr Kingsley shook his hand, and was very gracious.

      • Thanks for sharing that, Rosie. I would have probably done something similar if I saw someone I admired.

        P.S. – It’s Gandhi.. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Many thanks. Spelling corrected – my apologies to Gandhi.
      I’m grateful to know I have a blogging buddy who also checks my spelling 🙂

  13. Sybil says:

    For a second I thought the happy pregnant woman was the one who just got engaged … and I was going to recommend that she knock off the jumping up and down !

    You are where you’re meant to be Rosie.

    I too, love the image of the hand-stand gang and shadows …

    • dearrosie says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment Sybil. I’m really happy to know that the handstand photo was so successful.

      I was sure I’d get comments when I ended my Valentine’s post with a photo of a pregnant woman, and wondered why no one said anything. Don’t you think she looks great? I love her yellow outfit. She looks like one of the people in the Wizard of Oz.

  14. Priya says:

    Hey! I didn’t know about the birthday! Happy belated birthday.


    I feel sad I missed it.


    I would’ve missed the shadow-real thing in the handstand picture if your readers hadn’t pointed it out. Looking at the photo now makes it so sort of surreal.

    I do not like dreadlocks. I am sure of it now.

    8 1/2 months pregnant. Andrea’s cute. And am sure Leo’s cute, too!

    I wish I had legs like the model from France.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Priya,
      Birthday wishes are always lovely. I thank you.
      On one of my posts about the age of Aquarius I mentioned that I was born under that sign and Mags and Amy mentioned in their comments that they were also “Aquarians”.

      I’m glad my readers pointed out the hand-stand shadows to you.
      I also do not like dreadlocks. Or tattoos.

      I wonder whether I’ll recognize Andrea if she comes into the store with Leo in the stroller 🙂

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