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!