Jon’s Birthday at Smithsonian 1970 8


From my mother’s journal 1970:

July 13

Mileage: 53,713 Gas is .41.9 cents a gallon!

Left Greenwood Hills at 10:30 AM on the way to Washington D.C. for the day. It’s Jon’s birthday. He wanted seafood. Daddy Thompson taught Jon to fish. Daddy T’s joke – he asks “Do you know what kind of diet I’m on?” You reply “No”. His answer “A seafood diet. I eat all the food I see.” The restaurant was O’ Donnells in the city. (charged $20.00)

The parking is not easy. It is very crowded. We walked to the capital building, saw the Library of Congress, and part of the Smithsonian. A lot of interesting exhibits at the Smithsonian – the Hope Diamond, Charles Lindbergh’s plane, a moon rock, and a lot of animals at the Natural History Museum. Couldn’t begin to see everything. I think it would take more than a week. We’re coming back tomorrow. All the museums are free. That was surprising. Did get some ice cream at one of the cafeteria’s to celebrate Jon’s birthday some more. (1.50)It is very stuffy and hot today.

We leave at closing time – 5:30. The traffic is confusing. We drive in circles because we can’t make out the road signs for a way out of town. Finally Robbie pulled into a service station to ask for directions – it is in a rough part of town. All colored. A policeman with his hand on his billy club came into the station, staring at us. He looks as if he is wondering why we are here – out-of-place – the only white faces around. A sign on the window at the station said “No cash kept after dark – for safety” That sounds serious. This indicates the policeman’s concern.

We saw colored GHETTOS. We’ve never seen anything like that. It is shocking! Drove out Baltimore Freeway but realized it was the wrong way. Had to turn around yet again (Robbie is mad). Came to 705 to go back to Greenwood Hills.

Stopped at Howard Johnson’s for supper. We are exhausted.

Tuesday July 14 A.M

Gnats are thick around the campsite. The air is very still as if it might rain. We head out for more sight-seeing at the Smithsonian. Stop at Howard Johnson’s for breakfast(8.11). Delicious. The smog and smell of smoke is prevalent outside the restaurant (in Chambersburg, PA). Stop for gas before we get to D.C. because gas is cheaper – 39.9 cents a gallon. Got to the city about 11:00. R let us out at the Smithsonian while he went to find a parking spot. Parking is the biggest pain in the neck here. No parking anywhere nearby. Who planned this place? No parking at all. Probably a million visitors a week and no place to park!!!

We waited a long time. Finally R got back to us. Apparently he found a space 12 long city blocks away. (we know because we had to walk back to it at 6 PM). The temperature isn’t nearly as hot today as yesterday. Good cloud cover but thankfully no rain. We had to miss many exhibits because of lack of time. Every person in the US should see the different museums here, at least once in a lifetime. Everything but the parking shows good planning and care.  No elderly person could walk all day at these museums and then 12 blocks back to the parking spot – much of it uphill. We bought lunch and some souvenirs ($5.45) while here. Got supper at a Mexican restaurant but it was too much as we weren’t that hungry. (13.35)

Took lots of pictures. The original Smithsonian building looks like a fairy’s castle.

We stopped in Riverdale to see John and Carolyn Reinhardt but only John is there. He seems to enjoy living in the Washington D.C. area.

Ice, groceries, crushed ice $3.22

Wednesday July 15

R got a tool and worked on car while Becky and I hand-washed clothes. I separated the rest of the clothes. We cashed a $50 check. All went to the washateria. 7 Loads of clothes (3.00). Began to rain, hard. Sharp lightning – put out the lights just as our clothes were dried. Whew! Lunch (3.62) When we got back to camp a man Robbie knew came over and invited us to go visit. He lived at the top of the mountain yet had 3″ of water in his basement from that day’s rain. It rained all night. Awake listening to rain drip into tent top. 

 

 

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