We all have plenty of things we might like to go back and do over from our younger years if we could.
One of those for me would be to repeat the day trips that we used to take to Washington D.C.
Yes, “day trips” from Chicago to Washington D.C. back in the late 70s.
Since my father worked for the airlines we were able to fly for free. Our neighbors father also worked for the airlines. The five of us kids would get dropped off at the O’Hare airport where we would fly to DC by ourselves, hop on a bus into the city and “tour” the museums, then fly home.
At least that is what we told our parents we were doing. In actuality we would spend the day playing frisbee in the park.
It seems absurd to me today that as children, (my brother the oldest at 16)...with no cell phones mind you - were allowed and able to do such things and again for basically free.
I suppose this is where my love for this city began, mostly I love the historical aspect of this city.
When my youngest daughter was in eighth grade I had opportunity to go to Washington D.C. with her class. This was by far my most favorite trip I have ever been on. One of my most favorite places in this city is, the “kitchen gardens” at Arlington House, nestled on the Virginia hillside rising above the Potomac River and overlooking the city. The vegetable garden was used to feed the residents of the plantation, while flower gardening was a favorite pastime of the Lee women. Mary Lee sold flowers from the garden to raise money to help freed slaves return to Africa.
I have not been back to Arlington since this trip with my daughter but I will make it back there at some point in time. I wish my younger self would have discovered this place on one of our 1970’s day trips. While I do have great memories of sitting on the lawn of The National Mall with my siblings and neighborhood kids, I find myself now...longing to be alone in those gardens, lost in the history of Arlington.