Growing up in Washington, D.C. means no other Independence Day celebration will live up to your childhood memories. For a relentlessly political, cynical city, they throw a heck of a party.
First, there’s the National Independence Day Parade. This ain’t no small, hometown parade where the local horses and fire trucks are the stars of the show. This is A Historical Spectacle. There are hundreds of Uncle Sams (some in balloon form or on stilts). Bewigged Founding Fathers abound, as do Paul Revere impersonators. Military bands–past and present–are pressed into service, sweating in wool uniforms and 100 degree heat. My sisters and I once counted seventy-five Betsy Rosses. (We would’ve liked some Deborah Sampsons better, but we cheered what female historical figures we could get.) Continue reading Salute to Stupidity (#256)
I envisioned a flag with flowers for summer, an autumn flag with falling leaves, a black cat for Halloween, and Christmas flag with a polar bear. Of course I would fly the Stars & Stripes for Independence Day. Continue reading Red Flags (#226)
The first time I ever heard the n-word, I was in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was nine, walking with my mother and stepfather. Two kids ran past. One called the other a word I’d never heard growing up in Washington, D.C., despite having classmates and friends of multiple races.
My mother pressed her lips into a thin line, then said, “I hate that word.”
In case you missed it, there was a Women’s March on Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. (No, I can’t bring myself to call him President. Since facts no longer matter, I guess I don’t have to.) The organizers had a permit for 200,000 anti-Trump protesters.
Over a half-million people showed up, with pink hats and hilarious signs.
I’m not a fan of pink. I scorned the traditionally feminine color as a child, insisting that all my clothes had to be blue. This was not easy for my parents, thanks to gendered marketing. Blue dresses were tough, and a girl’s blue bathrobe was downright impossible. They gave me a boy’s blue bathrobe. I loved it.
I wanted a blue winter coat. In the midst of a bitter divorce, struggling financially, my dad didn’t have time to hunt for a blue coat (this was before Amazon). So I wore my blue bathrobe to school. Continue reading Broken Hearts & Pink Hats (#169)
Once upon a time, there was a Junior High School in Washington, D.C. It was a public school. Each student was assigned a home room. Each home room elected a Class President.
The Class President did nothing. Until May.
In May, the school threw a carnival-themed fundraiser. The Class President was responsible for getting a game from the slightly insane (and thoroughly terrifying) Glee Club Teacher. She had a closet that clearly had storage space in another dimension. Continue reading The United States of Junior High (#156)