Sunday, June 14, 2009
All-American Icons and their Power to Heal Me
If the human race survives into the new age, what do you think historians - say - 5,000 years from now, will make of the ruby slippers? Or the costume of 3CPO from the Star Wars films? The laptop on which Sarah Jessica Parker "wrote" for Sex and the City?
How adorable! I kept thinking, looking at the icons of this nation's culture at the Museum of American History yesterday. I'm guessing future historians might be puzzled, and perhaps not as amused as I was, by what is precious to us.
I studied for quite awhile a long row of protest buttons, dating back to the Suffragettes. A big percentage of these pins hail from the time when I was coming of age. There are pins calling for Civil Rights, "Women's Liberation," and many of them railing against the war in Vietnam. The era of the 1960's is historical, so bizarre to me since I remember it clearly. The 60's protest and peace pins are at least what you could call vintage, if not quite antique - not yet anyway. Just like me, I guess! Whoa.
One of my favorite rooms in the museum is the hall of First Ladies. In it are inauguration dresses going all the way back to Martha Washington's lovely - and almost unbelievabley petite - gown. That room is intensely haunted, but happily so. Walking in there is like entering a tea party that has gone on for two hundred years. Nice.
The pic was so blurry I decided to shamelessly photoshop it.
Of course there's an original Barbie, wearing her swimsuit and high heels, naturally. Interesting that she was paired up, not with Ken as you might think, but with G.I. Joe. Oh yeah! That's America! I thought, though I must have said it out loud because the people who were having their picture taken in front of a vintage vacuum cleaner a few feet away looked at me strangely right after I said it.
I know this is silly, but gazing at the ruby slippers (they're so tiny! Size 5!) really helped me move forward from all the weirdness of last week. The ruby slippers helped me heal - go figure! Onwards & upwards.
This is a banner on top of a stage set up in front of the capitol yesterday. The people were dancing for peace. Isn't that nice? I thought so, too.