On the post I wrote the night before I left for New York, I told you that I once had been an intern at the Museum of Broadcasting. First of all, there is no Museum of Broadcasting in New York. There is a Museum of Television and Radio. It’s a cool place, and if memory serves me correctly (which it seems to do less and less of late), I was there once during my college years and I sat at a computer workstation and selected a broadcast to watch: the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. That was very nifty. The commercial breaks were every bit as fascinating as the program itself.
When that debut performance aired originally, I was three. I remember dancing in front of the TV with a belt of my mother’s as a prop for extra flair and flourish. No one—not even Mom—can corroborate this memory, but I am quite sure of its accuracy. I distinctly remember the feeling of whipping the belt around and dancing with abandon to this wonderful, happy music. I remember all the girls in the audience screaming. They were apparently excited to see these skinny musicians with floppy hair in dark clothes, singing fabulous songs about holding hands, twisting, and shouting. (Honestly, I don’t remember what actual songs the Beatles sang that night. I’m sure some aficionado out there does know. I could Google it. But, I’m in a hurry here. No time for accuracy. If you are over fifty, you saw the show and you know what I’m talking about.)
Back to the museum.
When I was in New York on this last trip (which was life-changing by the way, but that will have to wait for another blog post), I was heading down 5th Avenue on the M4. I think I remember that bus number correctly. I was day-dreaming about how beautiful New York City is, even, or perhaps especially, on a rainy day. Or maybe Manhattan is only beautiful if you don’t have to live there day-in-and-day-out, dealing with high prices, congestion, grime, and cock roaches. Frankly, not having been there in nine years, New York seemed to me to be cleaner, safer, and just plain healthier than it did the last time I was there. Or maybe it is me who is those things. I don’t know for sure.
There I was on the M4, on a misty day on 5th Avenue, slowed at 103rd Street (I only know that is the right cross street because I just fact-checked it on the museum’s website) when the Museum of the City of New York loomed up in my sight. Bingo! That’s the place I did my internship. Silly Lisa. The reason I conflated all these things in memory is that my job there was to inventory the contents of files related to television and radio in New York. And, as you may know from the last blog post if you read it, what I learned there had little to do with television or radio, and more to do with corsets and poetry, and the fact that old, famous people can sometimes be a little cranky. I forgive them for this. It is hard enough being old. Imagine being old and famous.
So, I stand corrected. And, I have a photo of the museum to prove its existence. Can I prove that this is where I did, in fact, intern? I cannot. You will have to take my word for it. But visuals do not lie, and I remember walking up this stairway every Friday morning the first semester of my senior year in college and feeling very small, but also filled with potential. I was twenty and I had an internship at a museum in New York City! How cool was that?
This photo was taken not from the bus, but later on that day when I walked the 70 blocks up 5th Avenue from the New York Public library to where my hosts live on the Upper West Side. Why did I do this? Just because. In New York, the streets beg you to walk on them. And, they provide this wonderful numbering system to allow you to mark your progress. It is very inspiring, really. Ten more blocks! Just 10 more and I will have done 50, 60, 70. How can you stop yourself when the numbers are right there, egging you on?
And so, I am egged on, and I stand corrected. I find great value in remembering these things from my youth, like the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or my first internship. Even if I don’t have every detail (or even most of the details) exactly right, I have the overall feeling right. These are memories of potential, and of good things to come. They remind me that while I am starting to mark the years in higher and higher numbers—and that one day, there will be an end to this mythical journey up 5th Avenue—there is still so much exciting stuff left to be and do, and lots and lots of time in which to be and do it.