pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: To Grandmother's house we go

18 October 2012

To Grandmother's house we go


Washington, DC
13 October 2012

When I knew her--from my birth to her death in the late 1980's--my grandmother lived in a condo on Connecticut Ave. It is the gloomy interior of that place, filled with cigarette smoke, ancient blinds under dilapidated drapes and paintings done by my uncle, that I think of when I think of her. She was widowed long before my birth, and though she was well-provided for, she never behaved as though that was the case.

If she was widowed early, she was also half-orphaned young. Her mother died of a stroke when she was 14 and her older sister was 16. Their father worked in the Car Barn--now Georgetown classrooms, then the place where the trolleys were parked (there is an interesting history of DC mass transit here if you like that sort of thing). According to my mother, my grandmother and great-aunt were charged with making him lunch and taking it to the Car Barn before they set off for school.

I'm not sure what year the family moved to this house in Georgetown, but it was built in 1900 (that's a bunch of separate houses, you know. Like Amsterdam, Georgetown favors tall, narrow row houses). If you look carefully (the morning was bright, the street shrouded in shadow), you can see the street car tracks running through the middle of the street.

I'm never quite sure what to make of personal history colliding with a greater history. It's a strange sense that I play no part in a greater whole, even if my DNA does.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. I don't think I mentioned that at 4:30 the morning that I left on this trip, I found that my Nikon battery was dead and I couldn't find the charger before the taxi appeared to bear me off to the airport. So every photo I took, I took either with the iPhone or my iPad. I think that taking photos with an iPad is fairly bizarre (and very unwieldy), but it's a decent camera. It's also worth noting that I hope this post makes some sort of sense, but I'm not banking on it. On the plane home, I was unfortunately seated next to the nastiest little old man, who despite his good suit and ability to get a 1st class ticket, had the most abominable manners and spent the 2.5 hours I was stuck next him spewing germs everywhere. For two days now, I've had a horrible fever (which resulted in FABULOUS fever dreams last night. Seriously! If only...) and I hold him responsible for the fact that I hurt everywhere. Probably best to stop now...

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