Friday, March 2, 2012

Making the Case for Vintage

Making the Case for Vintage

The template arrived a few days ago for the layout of a museum installation I’m mounting in May. Six glass cases, their shapes and dimensions sketched out for me on a couple of 8½" x 11" fax pages, will hold an as-yet undetermined number of vintage hats, which will be on display over the next year.

I’ve been pulling millinery marvels out of the Mobile Millinery Museum  archives for some time now (at least a hundred of them are in a holding pattern at the moment), and I’ve spent time considering which pieces to select for the year-long exhibit. What a joy it is to lift the lids on so many decorative hat boxes stacked in rows according to their size and shape, and find the tissue wrapped, forgotten treasures inside. Often, the labels are as intriguing as the hats themselves  Once the final decision is made, I’ll be happy with my choices, but space restrictions being what they are, many beautiful pieces will have to be left behind.  

The same can be said of my life. The cases, empty and transparent at the moment, remind me of the years ahead. How will I fill them? What experiences and pursuits will I bring with me from the past into this new adventure? Time being what it is, some things will have to be left behind. 

Can anyone offer advice on this process? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Project Life: The Seventh Decade

So far, this sixty thing that looms large and fills me with trepidation, is a blank slate. The big day is two months away—May 6th, to be precise—but I’ve been thinking about this big old landmark birthday for a while. It’s not that I mind turning 60 (well, I do a little bit), but it’s what everyone else expects of 60 that bothers me.

I thought I might handle the whole affair by throwing myself a second 50th birthday party. That would give me another decade to get used to the idea. I figured that anyone who attended my original 50th birthday party, might raise an eyebrow or two, but be too polite to bring the subject up. And wouldn’t it be fun if a few of them thought that they were going crazy?

I discussed the plan with my oldest daughter, figuring she’d go for it in a big way. After all, if I’m shaving off ten years, didn’t that give her license to do the same? She reminded me that the local press was at my first 50th to document the event, complete with pictures. I dismissed that argument. Who remembers a newspaper article from a decade ago?

“Why don’t you take off twelve years like you usually do?” she asked. “You know, just go with the age of your boobs.”

I explained that this wasn’t about being cute, but that I was having real trouble knowing how to best spend the next ten years. ‘I know how to do my fifties,” I stressed. “I could easily do them again.”

“But the world needs a road map for what sixty looks like,” she said. “I’d like a road map.”

And so here I am, the Queen of Denial, about to show the world what sixty looks like.