Ms. Edwinda….again

Ms. Edwina, what can I say?!

She is a force to reckon with.

I was walking in the Met when I noticed Ms. Edwina sitting on the bench in the Greek and Roman Art wing. She wasn’t doing much. Just watching people walk back and forth. It was a Friday and the place was packed with children.

I had just bumped into one of my former students, Syriana, who was roaming around with a summer camp decked out in purple tee’s.

Syriana! Is that you?

Hi Ms. Hurley!!!

I was surprised to see Syriana because I never saw someone who I knew in the Met. When I looked ahead and walked closer I couldn’t believe my eyes. Ms….Edwina?!

When I saw her, I waved excitedly. I couldn’t believe I ran into someone from my own community! Not only that, but an elder! Ms. Edwina (who I blogged about before) has the persona of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. I met her while attending Fordham University. We crossed paths so much she started to talk to me. She would compliment me on my outfits and how I carried myself – every time she saw me. Which meant a lot. She didn’t know her words meant so much. She was always cheerful. She spoke with hugs and each hug went a long way.

Once we crossed paths and she complimented me on my black and white outfit – that I felt totally good in. She got to me before my secret crush got to me, who didn’t think I looked great at all. Funny, I can still remember his words.

Really, Lilly? I can’t believe you are even wearing that.

What do you mean, Really, Lilly? What’s wrong with my outfit?!

He stopped talking to me when I demanded what was the matter. Not that what he thought mattered anyway.

I sat next to Ms. Edwina.

Omg, what are you doing here?

I come every year, Child, to check out the Met Gala.

The Met Gala?

Yeah, The Met Gala. She looked me in the eye. Surly you know what the Met Gala is?

Yeah, I do. (I wasn’t about to say no- after she said, Surely you know…)I had clips of news paper images in my head. That was what knew of the Gala.

….Well, every year after the event is over, they showcase the outfits for the public to see. Did you see the exhibition?

No, I noticed the ad in the phamphet but never thought about seeing it myself.

You should go! It is so good!!

Okay, are you going back-

Nope. I am resting these here legs chile.

I sat beside her and asked if she saw any other exhibition. I had just gotten emotional in the Afro-futuristic Period Room and wanted someone to share my sentiment with. But she hadn’t.

She continued, I walked into a wrong room by mistake!!

Oh, which room was that?

Her response was so funny, I asked her if I could record it it share with you!

The Story Continues

art work by Aneesa Mason

Every year my students read works written by great authors and poets. The work is usually fit for the times were living in. This year, my principal placed a book I saw many times in my hand,

Here, this is for your class.

I don’t think she was thinking how serious I would take this small token of knowledge passed down to me so quickly. She was simply cleaning out the library and a few books needed a new home. She placed in my hand, Rosa Parks autobiography. Which I finished reading and placed it instantly on my syllabus for the fourth grade this year.

Below I am sharing note I made while reading the book:

Reading Rosa Parks: My Story (written with Jim Haskins)

In 1954 Black people were very happy for the Black vs. Board of education ruling. Finally, it was said, separate education couldn’t be equal. Page 101 reads, “…we all waited to see what would happen next. The next question for the Supreme Court to decide was how to go about desegregating the schools.”

Rosa Parks went to a workshop called “Racial Desegregation: Implementing the Supreme Court Decision” at Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. There she met with likeminded individuals to discuss ways to implement the law. This was in the summer of 1955. It’s 2023 and teachers are still taking classes on ways to implement the law- which isn’t a law anymore. It’s been overturned this year. But classes are still given to American teachers so Americans can learn how to be inclusive.

In Memoriam: Sam Gilliam

I learned about abstractionist, Sam Gilliam, at the Brooklyn Museum.

I stood in the museum, looking down at his work from the stairs. The more I stared, the more I could connect with it.

Ahhh, yes! Memories of my sophomore year in high school returned to me. Art club with Ms. Skelly!… the Met and The Gates by Christo and Jeanne- Claude…

While in high school, I couldn’t believe hanging up fabric for the public could be so exciting and fulfilling, but it was. My friends and I posed for photos and tried to touch the fabric blowing in the wind. We were given little squares of orange textiles, which I glued in my photo album.

I approached Gilliam’s work and read the text. I also researched him and enjoyed the backstory of how he came to paint canvas and let his work hang without restrictions. He was looking out the window in D.C. and noticed the cloths on the clothes line.

Towards 1-2-5

I walked by this Monsieur twice. Going and coming.

When I asked him if I could photograph him he asked

Parlez-vous francais?

I was a bit shocked that he didn’t speak English. The little bit of French that I learned in college did not come in handy. I forgot everything.

I should have said, Puis-je prendre votre photo? but I pointed at his clothes and used the word photo instead of picture.

Ahhh, oui, oui.

merci beaucoup!