HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TONI MORRISON!
Toni Morrison, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor, and educator celebrated her 80th Birthday February 18, 2011.
My first-born and newly married daughter Renita had the distinct honor of attending Ms. Morrison’s 80th birthday celebration last Friday evening at Madison Hall-Library of Congress-Washington, D.C. Renita’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Marilyn Mobley gave her the illustrious invitational hook-up.
I asked her to share the highlights of the event with me, so that 3 Chics could share them with you all.
“My first Toni Morrison read was the “Bluest Eye.” I read Song of Solomon as part of Oprah’s book Club, and ages ago, I remember seeing the book Jazz on mama’s bookcase. As you can see from the program below, the gathering was quite special. Jessye Norman regaled the honoree and guest with a Duke Ellington classic, and NPR’s Michel Martin was the Mistress of Ceremony.
At the conclusion of the program, I hurried to find my mother-in-law, as the program went over the expected 8pm ending. I was expecting my sister at my apartment around that time so I was in a hurry to leave but had to say goodbye and thanks. Once I tracked down a very sociable and popular mother-in-law, she made it clear that I couldn’t leave without meeting Ms. Morrison.
Just being there was enough for me, and I wasn’t interested in interrupting the lady of the hour. There were tons of people surrounding her, sneaking photos, and just trying to get a good look at the legend. I didn’t want to impose; but my mother-in-law insisted. (Thank God for Mother-in-laws!) **looking at you, Mrs. Mobley**
We finally reached Ms.Morrison, and I was introduced. (And this statement here is very telling about the lady of honor: “It was as if she had been waiting to see me all evening.”
I shook her hand and told her how much I admired her and wished her a Happy Birthday. I was totally zoned out, just being in her presence but I believe she said something along the lines of “Very good to meet you too, and I’ve heard a lot about you.” I think she said congratulations too on my recent marriage. *Me: Ok, I think I would be just a blushing up a storm here. LOL* Anywhoo… that was more than enough to knock my socks off! It was truly an Amazing evening!”
Thank you, Renita, for sharing a slice of Ms. Morrison’s birthday event with us, and don’t be a stranger around these parts. Ha ha…
You can view a scanned copy of the actual birthday programme here: tonimorrison
3 Chics hopes that you enjoyed this small glimpse into the celebration of an American treasure.
Here are a few good video clips of Ms. Morrison on writing.
The 2001 C-Span interview “In Depth With Toni Morrison” is a classic. Watch it here.
Here’s to another healthy, happy, and creative year, Toni Morrison!
Oh! How could I forget the classmate of hers, who is also distinguished in her own right. Mary Wilburn. She told just the best stories of Toni. I so enjoyed that evening and am still tickled a week later!
Hi Renita. I’m so excited that you got to meet Ms. Morrison, and got to share such a precious occassion with her! :-)
Happy Birthday, Ms. Morrison
What are some of your favorite works of Ms. Morrison’s, Rikyrah?
Did you know that Toni Morrison lost one of her sons last December? He was 45 years old. His name was Slade.
The Bluest Eye is my favorite. Beloved is second.
I can’t say that I have a favorite, but Sula would come close to it.