Random Conversations

Happy Birthday To Me!

Happy Birthday To Me!

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An Abundance of Conversations

It is my birthday evening as I start to write – and what a wonderful day it has been! Calls, emails, and e-cards filled the day, building on the calls, cards, and gifts that arrived days earlier. I feel celebrated, basking in the glow of the warmth of so many close friendships. It is a beautiful feeling that brings me great joy.

Last year was a big birthday – the start of a new decade. This one simply brought another year, but it was still deserving of something special. After thinking long and hard about what I most wanted to do, I decided on an Indonesian lunch (delicious!) and a long overdue visit to MoMA – the Museum of Modern Art.

Historical Conversations

I have written about my ongoing conversations with the city in which I live, and MoMA added to them in delightfully unexpected ways – starting with a digital preservation of a 1911 film that captured snippets of NYC life from the Statue of Liberty to midtown.

All four of my grandparents were immigrants and entered the country at Ellis Island around that time. I always wondered what they saw as they docked at the tip of Manhattan.

Skyscrapers were already present. The camera explored lower Manhattan and moved uptown, settling for a moment on the Flatiron Building, which I walk by often, and the clock standing on its Fifth Avenue pedestal, which still works today.

People were shown commuting to work – all with hats. Cars were driven alongside horse-drawn carriages. Trolleys ran up and down Fifth Avenue in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which stood the test of time far better than the trolleys did.

The film opened a window of understanding for me and connected the past to the present. Much was different, but much of the past has remained. I thought about my two sets of grandparents, wondering how they got from Manhattan to Ohio where they settled and raised their families. I only met one of the four, and so many questions remain unanswered.

Art-Inspired Conversations

The main exhibition at MoMA was over 140 works of Georgia O'Keeffe from a 40+ year period entitled “To See Takes Time.” (It sure does!) What I most enjoyed were images that started with charcoal on paper and progressed to multiple versions, ultimately appearing in paint on canvas.

Each progression of design revealed her artistic mind in motion – curious, creative, beautiful.

A room of Mark Rothko paintings drew me into his world of color. The museum’s explanatory note about Rothko stated his belief that “art was a profound form of communication….” I fully agree.

Art capturing history … art creating a world of color and design … all conversations for my soul.

Reflecting on a Perfect Celebration

Conversations filled my birthday with joy – friends, artists who offer gifts of inspiration, and the overlay of NYC history and my grandparents’ first experience of their new home. I spent the day by myself, but I was not alone – and I enjoyed every minute of it.

And the final touch of perfection? Walking back to where I had lunch, resting my tired feet, and enjoying a deliciously refreshing frosé. And so a new year begins…!!

Birthday Frosé — Photo by the Author

Cathy Joseph is the author of the Random Conversations blog and is currently seeking representation for her book, The Art of Having a Delicious Conversation.

© 2022 Cathy Joseph. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday To Me!”

  1. Sounds like a perfectly delightful day.
    I love moments alone when I can go and do exactly what I want at a moments notice. I love sharing my birthday month with you my dear, longtime friend.

  2. Happy Birthday Cathy…may the year ahead bring you an abundance of blessings and conversations that touch your soul.💕

  3. A belated Happy Birthday, Cathy! I’ve just stumbled upon your site while going down memory lane. Much love to you.

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