Monday, October 5, 2020

Turning 60 during the Coronavirus


For my 60th birthday, Wesley suggested we go to the Peninsula Art Museum in Newport News to see the Wyeth exhibit. This is an exhibit of NC, Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, three of my all time favorite artists.  My love of the Wyeth's art began in high school when one of my best friends invited me to go with her and her dad to the opening of an Andrew Wyeth exhibit in Greenville SC. I knew very little about the art world then, but that exhibit opened a window for me that I have never forgotten. 

When we went to Maine during Wesley's last year of high school, we went to the Farnsworth museum in Rockland Maine, where they have an extensive collection of the Wyeth's work. I literally stood in on of the rooms and cried, I was so overcome with emotion from these works of art. 

My birthday was September 23rd, but we were delayed traveling, so this past weekend we finally got out of town. A belayed celebration, but no less wonderful. This was Wesley's first trip anywhere since March of this year when the COVID pandemic began, and only my second trip out of town. We are both  still very apprehensive about travel and social visits, so this was a challenge for us both.

We brought most of our own food to avoid restaurants and fast food places. We packed hand sanitizer,  wipes and masks and a blanket for outdoor eating, water bottles, books, sketch pads and off we went. The trip was only three hours to Newport News, we arrived at noon and had a really nice picnic on the lawn of the museum. 

We had perfect weather and the museum was empty, so this was a great first trip out for two people that have been mostly isolated from the world for seven months. I do get out for groceries and brief shopping, but I don't do normal things like this anymore, sad to say.  The exhibit was great, breathtaking work by all three artists, and curated in a way that showed their growth and process and offered a peak into their lives as working artists. 

I enjoyed this show so much and it was a wonderful way to celebrate my 60th year of life. Wesley and I both came away feeling inspired and in awe of these brilliant artists and our hearts were lighter after a rather awful week in the news cycle. 

Travel during COVID is not for the faint of heart. You can't just hop out of the car and go do a thing anymore. Got your mask? check. Hand sanitizer? check. Take the elevator? no. 
Stand next to people? no. Try out the local restaurant? no. Get take out? yes.  
It is an effort, I'm telling you!

We tried to do as much as we could in outdoor spaces, and if a place had a crowd, we didn't go in. We ordered takeout from a local Indian restaurant for dinner and set up a little mini buffet in our room..... after we wiped down the TV remote and the door handles and the counter tops and the lamp switches and wall switches and ..... OMG!  the most challenging was having to use public restrooms. You really start to obsess over other people's germs once you have to pee!

I feel like we did things as right as we could, followed the CDC guidelines to the letter, and then some. I wouldn't want to do this often, it was a lot of work, but this trip was well worth the effort. It was good to get away for a few days. I am still not ready to meet with friends, oddly enough. The thought of conversation with these damn masks on is more than I want to deal with. It is so hard to not see people's faces. I never realized how important that is in communicating with others. It is so hard and it wears me out to talk through these stupid things. No hugging for a greeting. No smiles to be seen or frowns from a sympathetic ear. I don't know why, but I cannot get my head around visits with people right now, but I can go out of town and wander unknown streets..... baby steps I suppose..... 

On Sunday, we went to Yorktown. That is a whole other post for later...... until then, here is Jamie Wyeth's Pumpkin Head to enjoy on this beautiful fall day!


Michèle Hastings said...

What a lovely birthday celebration! My ex-husband grew up in Thomaston and Rockland Maine. His family still lives there. We went to the Farnsworth probably 20 years ago. It really is gem. Back then Rockland was more of a fishing town and not as touristy as nearby Camden and Rockport. The locals used to say "Camden by the Sea, Rockland by the Smell". :-)

oldgreymareprimitives said...

Once more..I LOVE those paintings so much also.
You are being cautious which is good, and it will get easier and better. Imagine if we always had done this during flu season or when we think we might be ill like they do in other countries. Many lives could be saved. My mom could not leave the house during flu season as she was always on Immunosuppressant meds, and far too many folks are careless and stupid.

Tracey Broome said...

Michele, we loved Rockland so much and it still did not feel as touristy as other towns, especially around Acadia! We talked about moving up there, but I just don't like cold weather, I'm a beach girl!

Z: yes.... those paintings...... amazing! Worth the exposure. Still seeing so many without masks and now our stupid president and his shenanigans, he really does not help things. Imagine, all those people that didn't get to say goodbye to a loved one and he prances out of the hospital saying don't let the virus dominate your life!!!! OMG!!!!!