Monday, October 14, 2013

Philadelphia Weekend

I went to Philadelphia on Friday to attend a class reunion on Saturday. I arrived home this morning, Monday. No time for jet lag!
I am not really going to talk about the reunion, here. Not much. It's the first real high school reunion event I've been to. Five years ago, a group of us who have remained friends over the years got together for a weekend in the Catskills and three years ago, a larger group, 16, spent a weekend at Barnegat Light. In the five years, an email group and then a Facebook group have grown and grown and I've made lots of virtual friends. Some have become real, in the flesh friends on their trips through Paris and I've made an effort to meet up with them on my trips -- old friends and new ones that I never knew in high school. I've said it before and it continues to astound me how strong and supportive a group of women friends can be. I'm very glad I made this special trip for this reunion. There were around 120 of us.
Thank you again, Tony and Barbara, for picking me up and driving me from NY to Philly. I'll try to remember the next time I'm looking up flights and have separate browser windows open that I should not click so quickly on the least expensive flight. I loved seeing you. If I had flown into Philly direct, we could have met there and not had that long drive. Of course the long drive did give us time for a good chat and I loved it. Best to avoid Friday rush hour out of N.Y., though!
Jon, thank you for driving over. I enjoyed dinner with you and Eric and the speedy view of the Barnes.
I almost missed going to the Barnes and if Jon hadn't gone through the trouble of getting himself a ticket, I wouldn't have gone. I arranged for a shuttle ride back to JFK and for my 7:10 flight, with the recommended check-in 3 hours before, so the shuttle was to pick me up at 11:30! You kind of forget that you get a tour of Philly as the shuttle picks up customers all over town. I was not the first, so I can't complain. We got a nice tour of the Northeast before heading for the first drop-offs at Newark. The traffic delays on the N.J. turnpike going north were as bad as the ones we had southbound on Friday and we got to JFK at 4:30.
Back to the Barnes. I liked it. One hour is not enough. The museum building is interesting; the reproduction of the rooms of the original house is well done, so the works are shown as they were in the house in Merion. Barnes' disposition is, in my opinion, coherent. I could see the way the colors flowed from painting to painting to Pennsylvania Dutch chest. I liked the chairs and the pewter ware. I could see how the door hinges and other hardware guided the eye and framed the works on the walls. I could connect the works of different origins, different painters, and see their similarities.
I was not surprised that viewers are not allowed to photograph the rooms, but I was surprised that you can't draw or sketch, either. There's a lot of Renoir and I am convinced that I don't like Renoir as much as I thought I did years ago. I merely mentioned back in 2009 that Paul and I had been to see the Renoir exhibit and that it was too crowded, but I forgot to say how disappointed I was in seeing so many Renoirs. Barnes collected a lot of Renoir - the portraits of little girls, the family paintings, nudes. When I see a lot of Renoir all together, I just don't like it all that much. Cézanne is different. I like some of his landscapes and stilllife paintings, but I get depressed when I see his portraits. Barnes collected a lot of Cézanne, too. He also collected a lot of other painters, so I let my eyes wander away from the familiar Renoirs and Cézannes to look at the others. I'll take a notebook next time to jot down thoughts as I go through the exhibit. And I'll make it to the second floor!
Honestly though, a weekend trip to another continent with considerable time zone differences is not a reasonable thing to do.


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