Friday, January 25, 2008

Old Stomping Grounds

I miss DC so much every time I go and come back. I miss the architecture, the way all the original names were engraved in stone on some part of the building, the small city blocks, the slower-than-normal city pace. I just find this city to be sweet, perhaps because it's where I grew up.
As I've mentioned, my father had his own photography studio and his sister, Aunt Ollie, ran a sightseeing business. In the early days, their offices were right around the corner from one another on 6th street between E & F, NW. Not the best of neighborhoods in the 60s, 70s and early 80s. My brothers and I all had to work at a very young age. I remember selling souvenirs with my brother Jim at White House Sightseeing when I was still learning to count, subtract and multiply. That's how young I was! (I think I finally had to get a social security card when I was about 11!) I loved using the big old cash register that sat way taller than me and opening the counter and showing customers different DC trinkets. It was a lot of fun for a kid. When I grew a little older, I started working for my father after school, probably around 5th or 6th grade, either developing the negatives or cutting the pictures and wrapping them. As I progressed up the ladder, I started keeping the books, writing letters to customers and doing the payroll each week. There were times when I would be carrying thousands of dollars to and from the bank. I was never bothered by anyone--probably because my brothers and father knew all the "peeps in the hood," so to speak. Perhaps they were even looking out for me, who knows. And, of course, I always had that "don't even think about bothering me" DC look. I think my brothers had it worse than I as they were spread thin. They had to work at either the sightseeing business, the gas station my Aunt Ollie and Uncle Vin owned on 6th, the photography biz or later at the bus wash. I only did the two--being a girl, as it wasn't appropriate at the time for me to pump gas or wash buses, I suppose. Plus those were really dangerous areas. Jim tells the story once while pumping gas, the pump didn't stop and the gas flew up in his face (he was probably pre-teen) and the local bum (as we called them back then) jumped into action and pulled him away and flushed his eyes out with water. To this day, he still looks out for the homeless and down and out around his Capitol Hill studio, and they look out for him. Anyway, I feel this is my city and I would love to live there again one day. To hell with the terrorists, I say.

So, back to some pics. Here is the Cowgirl Creamery shots I took while the brother did some cheese shopping. I would love to have a shop like this down here in Nashville to pick through. (I'm going to come out there Val, I swear!)

Take a look at the vat of olive oil. Oh yummy!

This is 8th Street with the National Archives in the background on Constitution Avenue. There's a farmer's market here on certain days. I don't know why the rainbow on the street reminded me of Philadelphia, but it did. We certainly didn't have any farmer's markets on these streets when I was growing up! It all looks so different now, I could hardly get my bearings.

Ok, now I'm homesick, again.


Saucy said...

I want to visit Washington DC so very badly. It looks charming.

Jeanie said...

What lovely memories! Coming to your blog (and life!) later, I didn't know that about your dad -- so, your photography is partially genetic?! Nature or nurture -- you never know, I suppose, but I loved the photos you included with this post, especially the cheeses -- that's clearly my soft spot in the culinary line. OK. one of them.

Storybook Woods said...

I have never been to DC but this is how I feel about SF. Clarice



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