Tuesday, October 14, 2008

There Are Fifty States But There Should Be Fifty-One by Lynn Thorp

In honor of my big birthday, here are 50 thank-you notes and random thoughts about Planet DC and its satellites:

  1. I feel like I am really home in DC when I am at Ben’s Chili Bowl.
  2. When we were buying our house in Mt. Rainier, we were also spending every night protesting the first Gulf War at the White House, so 2 year old Nicole thought we were buying the White House.
  3. May 1993 – got arrested right there while handcuffed to Martin Sheen. Before he was President.
  4. The pedestrian thing is okay, but I miss driving by the White House.
  5. If it weren’t for one of DC’s homegrown industries, there would be no West Wing- television as an art form.
  6. Thank you for MacArthur Boulevard.
  7. Thank you for Fletcher’s Boat House.
  8. I could drive MacArthur Boulevard with my eyes closed.
  9. Newcomers can’t really understand what the Boulevard was like 30 years ago. But the spirits are very loud if you listen for them.
  10. The squatters just can’t get the Marion Barry thing.
  11. The Awakening belongs to DC, but at least my adopted county has it.
  12. I can’t find anybody who remembers Hamilton Arms in Georgetown, but I am 95% sure it’s not a Brigadoon-type thing that I imagined.
  13. The first time U2 came here they opened for the Slickee Boys. Three months later they were famous, and Slickees opened for them.
  14. The first time the Clash played here, opening act Bo Didley asked me to introduce him to some girls.
  15. Thank you for Garrett’s.
  16. Thank you for DC rock and roll.
  17. Thank you for The Raven.
  18. In the days of DC Space, people were scared to go down to what is now the Gallery Place “whatever it is.”
  19. Thank you for Lyn1.
  20. Lots of people don’t know that the guy who wrote the piano solo for Layla is a DC guy who was in Nils Lofgren’s first band, even before Grin, and he has a bit of a sordid history. Look it up.
  21. You could learn all you need to know about life at the People’s Drug Store lunch counters.
  22. Sitting in DuPont circle with a coffee and a book is one of my favorite things.
  23. I was taught to drive on the Beltway because there was so little traffic on it.
  24. Because they grew up around here, my kids don’t see color, and they can spot b.s. a mile away.
  25. Thievery Corporation could only come from DC.
  26. The sign at the Wisconsin Ave. Little Tavern said “Buy ‘em [chunk of sign busted off] the Bag.”
  27. My cat Kyoko and I used to share a roast beef sandwich across the street at the Georgetown Roy Rogers on pay day.
  28. My sister Maude built Washington Harbor.
  29. One year the Bullets won the championship, and the Kinks played. ( I thought the hollering and hoopla in the streets was for the Kinks.)
  30. Sky King was jealous of me because he wanted my old friend Dan all to himself.
  31. Thank you for all the local bands and the guitar heroes.
  32. The best 4th of July fireworks are the ones rescheduled due to storms. Rare but priceless.
  33. Piggy really did jump off Key Bridge and survive it.
  34. Mom and her women friends lived above Duke Ziebert’s downtown in the last year of WWII. They would go on group dates with the few men left in town, and someone would stay behind to pocket the excessive tip for spending money for the week.
  35. During WWII many women who were liberated ahead of their time came to DC and did all the jobs usually reserved for men, most of who were off in the military. These became some of our local and national heroes and paved the way.
  36. My mom had an apartment at 14th and Harvard in the late 1940’s. Dad lived his teenage years at 16th and Harvard. My parents lived together at 18th and Kalorama in the 50s. They lived in McLean next to Robert Kennedy’s estate in the late 50s.
  37. Thanks from a grateful nation for Chuck Brown.
  38. If Congress would stop meddling with DC, it would have more enlightened laws than many.
  39. My friend Dan never stopped considering NJ his home, but he loved DC as much as any native.
  40. Half smokes are our thing.
  41. Streets that are called “Roads” are the old farm routes used to deliver food to various parts of the area. MacArthur Blvd. was Conduit Road. There are still Canal Road, Loughboro Road, etc.
  42. Baltimore has Mencken but we have Pelecanos.
  43. Bistro du Coin is not a bad thing to inhabit the space of Food for Thought, karma-wise.
  44. Pizza and bagels are a shortcoming, I have to admit.
  45. It’s too bad you can’t sleep on the beach in Dewey anymore.
  46. Someone must have a photo of the old House of Wig on F Street that I can buy.
  47. Adams Morgan on weekend nights is like Time Square on New Year’s Eve. Rather frightening, not my thing but worth trying out now and then.
  48. The hullaballoo over snow days is a deliberate way to get a mental health day. Don’t knock it, join it.
  49. Until there was widespread AC, tons of people slept in West Potomac Park.
  50. Flying into National (don’t call it the other name), is awesome every single time.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:50 AM

    hey lyn2! great piece -- and YES, Bob remembers Hamilton Arms very well indeed -- he and John Hall used to, um, go on trips there... and Hall might even have lived there for a while -- when I saw that, I had to call Bob at work to ask him --- nope, it's not all in your head!!!
    Love the Little Tavern sign ref; oh, how many bags we bought at 3am ; there's a place down in Winchester that serves authentic Little Tavern burgers; it is owned by the daughter of a man who worked at a DC LT for many years -- so she reproduced the burgers, steamed little buns and all -- Bob and I saw a sign out by the road that said "Little Tavern Hamburgers" and made a u-turn to check it out and were astounded; I'm not sure it's still there, but I hope so. I always loved the awning sign at the Waffle House, not to mention the hallucinations everybody seemed to have had there of all the employees and patrons jumping up for big soul music production numbers -- and then sitting back down as if nothing had happened.
    Another insignificant, but amusing, tidbit: at least 3 of the Rosslyn Mountain Goats were opening at that Clash show...
    Maybe want to check your source on that Nils thing -- that piano bit on Layla was written by Jim Gordon, drummer for Derek and the Dominoes, who was an LA session player, not a DC-ite, and not in Nils's first band -- he did however, play on Cry Tough -- @1975, I think. Gordon might still be in jail for killing his mom...yikes!!!
    Handcuffed to Martin Sheen? Now, that's HOT.