SMITHSONIAN

 

Five in the morning. I am doing today’s blog.

I had to get up early. I have a six hour tour beginning just after dawn. I will see it all. Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, White House, Washington Memorial, etc. I will be dead when it is over!

Yesterday was the Smithsonian! The American History portion. Spent five hours. And I did not see it all.

I was surprised to learn that the Smithsonian is five separate buildings. I visited only one.

The correct name of that building is the National Museum of American History – Smithsonian Institute. Massive. Five stories.

My hotel selection continues to have been a wise one. I was only three blocks from the Smithsonian and could walk there.

I did many of the exhibits. Not all. Impossible.

The two exhibits seeming to garner the most interest were the ones dealing with the American Revolution and World War II.

I must admit that several times I became emotional and had to wipe my eyes. That was the effect of certain of the exhibits.

Everything on exhibit. Movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s, transportation, cooking, typewriters, the civil rights battles of the 1960s, the original Star Spangled Banner, and even Archie Bunker’s chair.

I am becoming increasingly aware of my age. 77. Yesterday it kept hitting me in the face. Here I was viewing exhibits covering things that occurred during my life time. I remember World War II, the sit down counter civil rights activity, President Kennedy, President Johnson, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and more. I was a part of the history I was viewing.

There was a docent explaining things about Revolutionary soldiers. Listening in were four young girls. Maybe seventh or eighth grade. No more than high school freshmen. I joined the group.

The docent explained that 25 per cent of Revolutionary soldiers were illiterate. When wounded and hospitalized, they wanted to communicate with their loved ones back home. They could not write. A nurse would help them. She would listen and write the wounded soldier’s words on a piece of paper. She used a pencil. The docent explained the pencil became popular as a writing instrument during those times.

Pens were normally used to write. But the pens of that day required ink. The pen was dipped in a small bottle of ink. Ink was not available at hospital sites.

One of the young ladies spoke up…..Why didn’t they use ball point pens?

A gem.

I found interesting that most if not all of the Washington museums are free. No admission charge. They are owned and operated by the United States. Thousands of people visit each one every day. Old and young. From all walks of life. Many families. I felt our tax dollars were well spent. First time I have felt that way about anything involving government spending in years.

I stopped at Macy’s on the way back. Only one and a half blocks from the hotel. A huge building. A whole block long. As big if not bigger than New York’s.

I bought a pair of new boat shoes.

Stopped for lunch at what appeared to be an attractive sandwich shop. It was. The food good.

The bed was my next attraction. I was beat and it was only 5 o’clock. Watched the Belmont from the comfort of the bed. Palace Malice was impressive in winning. Just as Orb and Oxbow had been in the races they won.

John from Jersey is a loyal blog reader. We have never met. But  through blogging we have become friends. John comments frequently.

John suggested I dine at the Old Ebbett Grill. Recommended it highly. The Old Ebbett is touted as Washington’s oldest dining salon. Began business in 1856.

The Old Ebbett was conveniently located. One and a half blocks from my hotel and steps from the White House.

I called too late for a reservation. I could not be seated till 10. I intended to be in bed asleep by that time.

Instead, I opted to visit the Marriott Bar once again. I ate at the bar just as I do in Key West. Crab cakes and calamari. As I was finishing and enjoying one drink too many, two young ladies sat next to me. I was honored. There were other empty seats available. Both no more than 25.

We chatted. One thought I was a grouch. I probably was. I was tired and ready for bed. Her comments were made pleasantly and appeared not intended to insult.

I gave the ladies my best smile and talked with them a while.

They both work in conjunction with Georgetown University in arranging medical conferences. All over the world. Yesterday afternoon a week long conference at the Marriott had concluded. Surgical Abdominal Reconstruction. They were partying after a long week’s work. I begged off when they asked me to join them. Thirty years ago…..perhaps.

Enough. I have to shower and be on my way.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

One comment on “SMITHSONIAN

  1. The Smithsonian is a national treasure. It actually is 19 separate museums, research centers and, of course, the National Zoo which I hope you check out. There is also a huge animal rehabilitation complex in Virginia. You must drop by the “Castle” Building across the mall as that was the every first “Smithsonian.” The museum was founded by a British scientist’s estate when his heir died childless and he willed it to the US for a museum.

    While not free, The International Spy Museum and the Newseum are also very interesting and popular. Both are well worth admission. The James Bond exhibit at the Spy museum was awesome but I believe it is over now.

    You should also stroll through Union Station, DC’s grand old train station and AMTRAK station. It has been fully restored and features shopping and dining just across from Capital Hill. This is where one catches either the train or ACELA or the quick bus to Manhattan. The buses are very inexpensive and nice, many with wi-fi and they drop you in midtown Manhattan.

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