|The author and A. Lincoln|
But we made it to the plane and soared over what is known as flyover country. The reason it is so called should be self-evident. Someone explain it to Trump.
To economize we stayed in a tiny Air B&B. Perhaps tiny is not the word. It was not possible to find it with a map but could be located via a microscope. There was a bed wedged the "room" and just enough space for our luggage, provided we made no attempt to open it.
Sunday morning we met youngest daughter (she is a resident now of Brooklyn) at Penn Station where we caught a train for our nation's capital (still in Washington D.C.). Our journey took us through Baltimore, Philadelphia and best of all Wilmington, Delaware, i.e. the jewel of the Christina and Delaware rivers. I'd never been to D.C. before and was looking forward to soaking in a little history having taught the subject for a couple of dozen years and studied it since I started reading. My old cynical unpatriotic heart was actually somewhat moved by being at the Lincoln Memorial, Abraham Lincoln having been a decent sort and certainly worthy of a monument or two. Prior to that I was quite excited when, much to my surprise, we found ourselves walking by the Watergate. Yes, that Watergate. The scandal that brought down the Nixon presidency has been a subject of fascination for me, indeed it has been ever since the story unfolded over four decades ago.
Right by the Watergate is the Kennedy Center and that's the way it is in D.C. with one famous place right next to another. We could, of course, see the Washington Monument from pretty much anyplace we stood, or sat or walked or ran or drove. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial touched me as the Vietnam war formed the backdrop to my youth and is another subject that has interested me. We also went by the World War II Memorial which was beautiful but a little bit too festive to commemorate an event in which so many innocents were slaughtered. We capped off our day by going by the White House. Given who currently resides there (a racist, misogynist, homophobic, narcissist, megalomaniacal, dimwit) it was surprisingly depressing to see this beautiful, historic seat of "democracy." Living in Berkeley and working in San Francisco, I was surprised to see, for the first time live and in person, some yokel wearing one of those god awful Make American Great Again hats. It was fitting that he looked like the village idiot's poor relation.
We spent the night in a hotel which in comparison to our Air B&B was the Palace of Versailles.
|MLK Jr. Memorial|
After spending not enough time in that museum I met the family and we spent not nearly enough time at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. (Not being able to spend enough time in a museum was the theme of the trip, as it is whenever one travels.) This museum was one of the best history museums I've ever set foot in and indeed one of the best museums of any kind I've had the pleasure to visit. It brilliantly captures the scope of the African American experience from Jamestown through Obama's election. Anyone who has any time in D.C. should make a point to see it. It was also refreshing to be in a museum that was -- and this is no surprise -- so well attended by our Black brothers and sisters. I can only imagine the mixture of pain and pride that comes with a journey through this part of history. Later we went by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and despite the ubiquitous school field trip brigades, it was another moving experience.
|Taken from Empire State Building|
In the coming days the rain was gone although after a few comfortable days it was replaced by blazing heat. I do not like hot weather no matter if I'm working, running errands, sitting at home or playing tourist. We forged on. There were many highlights the highest of which were again museums, namely the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (that's the Met to us sophisticates). There was Cezanne, Matsse, Picasso (Spanish chap, look him up), Van Gogh and Italian named Giorgio de Chirico who I'd been unfamiliar with, Wyeth, antiquities, Medieval artifacts and so much more. But again never enough time. I love museums, they make me happy and provide temporary cures for depression when I am so afflicted. It also makes me happy to be in bookstores and New York boasts one of the best, Strand's. I happily roamed around it and with great restraint managed to buy only two books.
We also went to Grant's tomb, I was determined to see it having recently read Ron Chernow's magnificent biography of the man. I was most impressed and particularly loved the location in Riverside Park, a lovely area. We stopped by Columbia University on the way. My mother got her M.A. there right around the time my two literary heroes, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were also there. A fellow named Obama also attended Columbia, many years later. I also liked touring the home where Theodore Roosevelt was born and spent his first few years. I have decidedly mixed feelings about TR but have always been unequivocally fascinated by him. I took my first trip to the top of the Empire State Building and it shouldn't surprise one to learn that the views are magnificent. We also strolled across the Brooklyn Bridge which would have been a lot nicer had not 17 zillion other people and half a jillion bicyclists not been going across at the same time.
|A Picasso currently at the Met.|
Sunday was departure day. We took an Uber to daughter's residence and our driver was an old gent who when he found out we were from near San Francisco berated that city for its over abundance of gays and lesbians. He further maintained that there were virtually no gays in New York. The driver excused his homophobia on the basis of his being Jewish. Sorry, pal, there's no excuse for bigotry and trying to blame your religion is a lame one at that. I gave him one star and left a comment why and Uber refunded our ride.
After breakfast and time visiting our child it was time to return to the Bay Area. Our flight home was relatively crash free and it was nice to be home and to see oldest daughter. Today is Memorial Day and tomorrow it's back to work. I'd rather be going to a museum.