MEMORIES PAGE 23

My memories don't stretch as far back as others. I came to Washington, DC in my early 20's from a bit of a sheltered childhood. This was in the early 1980's. It was an eye-opening experience. I lived in a group house up in Chevy Chase (3 women, one guy which was even in the 1980's a bit radical - at least for me). I remember just going downtown was a bit of an adventure as it was still pretty seedy. This was post the 1970's and there were still a lot of really funky clothing and shoe stores on F Street. There was one in particular Caviler's?, it was on the corner and they had some very outrageous clothes - clothes that would have done a pimp proud. I also remember the porn stores on I think 11th street and also across from the National Gallery where the Spy Museum is now. I'm not a prude but I would never go in any of them, but they were interesting none the less and they added a certain flavor to downtown DC. Of course its not everyone's taste, but it definitely gave downtown DC some flavor as opposed to the everything closes up at 6pm that we have now. I also remember that Dupont was the gay center and no one would think of walking over to 14th street - it was far too dangerous. I did one time and in broad daylight I walked from 14th and P up to 14th and T. What an eye opening experience. Drug look outs on almost every corner and the thrill of adventure (this was at a time when DC was tauted as the Murder Capital of the US). I also remember the prostitutes that used to hang out at Thomas Circle...of wait, they still do!

Mike Junge


I just saw your posting of memories through the Historic Washington listserv, and wondered if you've ever had people write about a specific subject. My interest is Union Station -- I'm writing a history of it for my dissertation, which you can see at www.washingtonunionstation.com. I'm interested in hearing more stories about people's experiences there, particularly before World War II, and would welcome suggestions on ways to get those.

Thanks. I enjoyed reading people's comments.

Bill Wright


I just read the posting of someone who mentioned "Dick Mansfield." Boy does that bring back memories. I remember the song he always had us sing: "We're Safety Carefuleers. We use our eyes and ears. We look both ways before we cross. We're safety carefuleers."

I went to Fillmore elementary at 35th and T Streets in Burleith (in between Gordon Jr. High and Western High). Fillmore is now a school for the arts, as is Western (Duke Ellington). The school had four teachers (1956-63, I believe): Mrs. Redfield - Kindergarten; Mrs. Middleton (my favorite) - 1st and 2nd; Mrs. Mills - 3rd and 4th; and Miss Tennyson - 5th and 6th. In 6th grade we had to actually memorize (a naughty word in today's schools) poems and recite them (long poems ... and we were supposed to recite them with feeling!) ... this was one of my favorite parts of school ... that and the school "band." We played "Melody flutes" ... I still have the music book that went with them. We walked to school and walked home for lunch.

My dad owned Myers Delicatessen on MacArthur and Dana (later became Charlie Brown's luncheonette) during this time. I have such wonderful memories of both neighborhoods - Burleith, where I lived, and MacArthur Boulevard.

We used to go to the Calvert movie theater with one dollar, which purchased admission, popcorn, a soda, and one candy bar. Watched double features - many cowboy movies. Sometimes my brother, Ralph, and I went downtown to see movies at RKO Keiths. We could ride the bus anywhere back then, and loved it. Sometimes we'd ride downtown where Ralph would buy a model car at Coors Hobby Shop and I would buy sheet music at Campbell's music.

I've had a posting on this site before, but had to respond to the mention of Dick Mansfield. Take care all, and thank you for wonderful memories.

Elissa (Myers) Weeks


HI DEBI -

I AM READING A LIBRARY BOOK " WASHINGTON ALBUM " by WASHINGTON POST. IT HAS A LOT OF PHOTO'S FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON TO 1990. IT HAS A PHOTO OF THE "GAYETY" FROM MID 1930'S TO WHEN I WAS DRAFTED MARCH 1943 9TH STREET WAS MY PLAYGROWN. I WAS NEVER IN IT AS I WASN'T 21. THE GAYETY GREATER WAS JIMMY LAKE "MAYER OF 9TH STREET" I CAN STILL SEE HIM NOW GETTING THE MEN IN. HE WAS ALSO THE ANNOWSER AT UNLINE AND TURNERS ARNERS(14th & W ST). THERE WERE SIX MOVIE HOUSES AND EIGHT BOOK STORES ON NINTH STREET THERE. MY FAVORITE WAS "STRAND @ 9TH and D" IT ALWAYS HAD A TRIPLE LIKE WESTERN/POLICE/MUSICAL NOW F B I BUILDING. EVEN WARNER BROTHERS HAD "CENTERAL" THERE. I LIVED IN PETWORTH ACROSS FROM ROCK CREEK CEMETARY WE HAD ALOT OF WARNER BROTHERS MOVIES IN AREA LIKE: GEORGIA AVENUE HAD YORK, COLONY, SHERIDAN AND SECO(GIFFORDS) 14TH STREET HAD SAVOY AND TIVOLY WE ALSO HAD KENNEDY AND TAKOMA, IT WAS 15 CENTS ON SATURDAYS CANDY WAS THREE FOR 11 CENTS AT PEOPLES.

GOD BLESS

RAY DAILY


Your site brought back a lot of memories! I grew up in S.E. D.C., Randal Highlands, and went to Kramer Jr. High and Anacostia Sr. High, graduating in '59.

I have a website for Anacostia Alumni which also includes links to many places mentioned by your contributors including Glen Echo, Gifford's, Mighty Mo and others. The address for the website is:

www.anacostia.homestead.com/anacostia.html

Thanks for all the memories!

Ron Dunnington


Hi Everyone!

What beautiful memories all of this has brought back! Places that long have been forgotten, came right back after reading all the entries.

I was born in Washington, DC in 1956 at Hahnemann Hospital (does anyone remember it? Where was it located?) I really have no idea where it could have been.

I remember living in a apartment on Lamont St., right off Mt Pleasant St. There was a fire there when I was 4 (janitor had fallen asleep with a cigarette). Everything turned out ok. (I was saved by a fireman that carried me down the escape ladder).

Then we moved to another apartment on P St. between 17th and 18th St. Went to nursery school on P St. also. I don’t remember the name though. My dad used to work on Connecticut Ave. at a car dealer. The name was Barry Pate. Then my parents bought a house (3112 18th St. NW) near Mt. Pleasant. I went to Sacred Heart School thru 8th grade.

The house was great. We could hear the lions growling in our backyard since the zoo was so close. My dad changed jobs and started working at another dealer on Irving and 14th St. It’s funny but I just remembered my dad telling me he had seen boxer Bob Foster have his car fixed there. I also remember that many Cuban families (refugees) used to live in that area at the time. (By the way my best friend still lives in the area and I always go back and reminisce)

Memories:

Heller’s Bakery (delicious cakes)
Kennedy’s assassination (Principal announced it thru the speaker and everyone just cried)
Trips to the zoo
High’s Dairy store on Mt. Pleasant St.
Great meatballs subs on Mt. Pleasant and Lamont St.
Woodies, Hechts, Kahns, Lansburghs (all the Xmas displays)
Movie Theaters: RKO Keith, Avalon, Uptown, Tivoli, Savoy
Glen Echo (My mom had ridden on the roller coaster when she was 7 months pregnant!)
Beaches: Chesapeake, Triton, Beverly
TV Shows: Romper Room w/Miss Connie, Pic Temple, Ranger Hal, Bozo the Clown)
14th St. Stores: Woolworth’s, Lerner’s, Beyda’s
Kiddy Parks: (not in DC) Enchanted Forest, Storybook Land, Marshall Hall

Later mom and dad moved to Arlington, VA. Which is of course another chapter in memories.

If anybody remembers the hospital I mentioned that would be great. I’ve mentioned it to a couple of people, but nothing. I saw an entry where they mention some DC hospitals, but this one was missing.

Thanks for all the great memories it has brought back. Really enjoyed it!

Maria


My thanks to Debi for the reminiscent DC website and I’d like everyone to know what a trip it has been reading your stories and comments. If my input seems a bit sketchy, it’s because I’m trying to squeeze a lot of memories into as small a space as possible.

In the spring of 1943, my dad loaded the family onto a north bound train and moved us from Savannah, GA to Washington, DC where he’d found work in the commissary at Bolling Field Naval Air Base in Anacostia. A decent paying job during the war was wherever you could find it. I was a lad barely six years of age when the Southern Railway train approached Union Station and I was awed at the sight of the Washington Monument looming in the cityscape. For years, Dad told the story of how I loudly exclaimed, “Look at that tall pencil”. Our new home was a rented row house at 13th and D Streets SE where I soon became familiar with places like High’s Dairy Store, Peoples Drug Store, and DGS grocery. FDR was in the Whitehouse, WWII was at its height, and there were manned machine gun and anti-aircraft emplacements atop building rooftops and in wooden towers throughout the city.

Toward the end of that summer, we moved to a suburban Maryland community called “Hillside”, just a mile or so past the SE district line. Our address was 1220 58th Ave. S.E., Wash. 19 DC (zone later changed to Wash. 27 DC) and, when we got the new rotary dial telephone, our number was as HI- (Hillside) 6910. Having stood as the central seat of my upbringing and childhood journey, the old white frame house stayed in the family until the early 1970’s. It was where we heard news of the war’s end broadcast over the radio in 1945. It was where I began first grade of school at Bradbury Heights Elementary and later graduated from Suitland HS with many of the same kids I’d started with. It was where I began collecting mementos in an old cigar box during my junior year (1955) that, to this day, still holds a HS football ticket stub from a game between Suitland and Montgomery Blair.

Even though I grew up in Maryland, downtown DC was just a short ride away using the W,M&A bus lines. End of the line was 11th and Penn. Ave. NW and a Capital Transit bus or streetcar would take us to further destinations. We often went to the zoo, Smithsonian museums, parks, memorials and just about everywhere imaginable - and of course, Glen Echo. I recall seeing my older brother on sort of a scooter type vehicle inside a large building at Glen Echo. I was too young for this ride so I stood below and watched as the scooters circled around on an elevated track and then down a big ramp. Does anyone remember this ride? Or am I confusing it with some other amusement park? When I got older, I took dates for paddle boat rides at the Tidal Basin, canoe rides on the C&O Canal and hay rides to Great Falls. We had one pizza joint, a small Italian restaurant near Coral Hills, and there was the Dixie Pig BBQ on Marlboro Pike. I craved the subs at Eddie Leonard’s Sandwich Shops and the Little Tavern in Anacostia sold nickel hamburgers by the slab.

I moved to Texas in December of ’69, where I’ve spent half of my lifetime, but DC will always be in my heart and Chesapeake Bay water will always run in my veins. I learned to water ski in an inlet of the Bay. First time up, the skis slid out from under me and I scooped a jelly fish inside the rear of my swim trunks. Assuming the sting was from smacking back into the water, I didn’t give it much thought until I was back up for a second try. I reached around to rub my thigh and, feeling gooey strings of tentacles, I yelled to high heaven and let go of the ski rope. But, that’s the Bay for you! How well I remember the good times at Colonial and North Beaches. N. Beach had a saltwater pool, a wonderful carousel and a large picnic park.

We still have friends and family in the DC area so my wife, Sandy, and I go back there whenever possible - but everything is so different now. I recall back in the early ‘60’s when I parked my unlocked car near the steps of the Jefferson Memorial (after dark)) and walked up to the domed shrine to show a visiting relative some of the sights. But those days are gone forever - as are the Wilson Line boat excursions down the Potomac River to Mount Vernon where we picnicked on the mansion lawn. I think my most treasured memories are from the holiday season when my mother took us kids downtown on shopping trips to department stores such as Hechts, Lansbergs and Kanns. On those cold winter nights, as we waited on 11th Street to board the next available bus out to Maryland, my heart was warmed with lingering images of Christmas scenes and Santa’s workshop that I’d seen in the store windows.

I am now a 71 year old little boy (at heart) who will always be thankful for having grown up in the DC area. I still dream of owning a train layout like the ones I used to see at the Lionel store. I can still sense the fresh rubbery smell of brand new tires at the Firestone store where I browsed Schwinn bicycles and Red Ryder B-B rifles. And I’m sure it would still take me ten minutes or more to make up my mind as to what flavor ice cream cone to buy at the High’s store.

When I moved to Texas, I was unaware that any of my past family had ever migrated to the Lone Star State until I read in our genealogy about a great uncle who’d lived in the Austin area during the time of the Civil War. He owned a farm in what is now called “Marble Falls” and it was from his property that a large block of pink marble was quarried at the request of the U.S. government. The document tells of a delegation charged with acquiring a stone from each state to be displayed at intervals within the stairwells of the Washington Monument which was at that time under construction. The stone blocks were to be shaped and emblazoned commemoratively to represent each U.S. state. The slab of marble from my great uncle’s farm was dragged to the rail yards in Austin on a large wooden sled, pulled by a huge team of mules, and then lifted by crane onto a flatbed car bound for Washington. When I was a kid growing up in the DC area, I climbed the stairs of the Washington Monument several times and I recall seeing stone markers exhibited with names of U.S. states but I had no way of knowing that one of them had been donated by an ancestor of mine. I am very proud of this, just as I am proud to call DC my hometown. And my hero’s will always be the brave folks aboard United 93 who, on Sept. 11, 2001, thwarted a terrorist attack on the landmarks of this cherished city.

Thanks for listening.


Jack


Debi

I am trying to find out about an old restaurant that was located at 824 14th street NW. It was called the Blue Mirro. I was ran bye a relative of mine and I have an original menue from the place. I am trying to find out a little about the place. Any information or pics you could give me would be great. Thanks

Jake


Hi, Debi,

I'm enjoying reading through the stories on your DC Memories site!

I was born in Durham, NC in 1965, and almost immediately moved to the northern Virginia area and have lived here ever since. (In fact, when my parents told me I hadn't been born here, I didn't believe them.) The first place I remember living in was Sterling Park in Loudoun County, when that route 7 corridor was still mainly rural. I attended Triple 7 School near what is now Countryside. Sadly, Sterling Park has fallen on hard times since then.

My father worked in Washington for the United States Senate. I remember going into town with him and seeing the old tracks for the streetcars. Also the city bus system that predated Metro, although I can't recall the name at the moment. I also remember going down to Union Station (BEFORE remodelling) to ride a few stops on Metrorail's Red Line when Metro first opened.

I recently started writing a blog about a prefab house built inside the D.C. Armory as part of the 1955 Washington Home Show. Does anyone have any recollections of that event? The home was later moved to Herndon Woods, Virginia. Would also love to hear from anyone who lived in or around Herndon Woods in the Fifties or Sixties. Here's a link to my blog:

http://missjanshomepage.blogspot.com/

Thanks, looking forward to reading more!

Janet Greene


Hey Deb,

Enjoying your memory page. My Mom and I moved to Washington in 1933 when I was 18 months old. She and my father divorced and we moved from Montgomery, Alabama. Mom remarried a year later to a very nice man and as far as I was concerned he was my Dad. We lived at 2148 "O" Street, NW., Apartment #202. My dad worked for Chestnut Farms Chevy Chase Dairy delivering dairy products to residents in Chevy Case area of Washington. My mothers sister worked in the cafeteria at Chestnut farms for more than 20 years. My dad was in an accident in November 1939 when his milk truck turned over on him and killed him.

At the time I was enrolled in Whaitman Elementary School just a few blocks from our apartment. (Not sure of the spelling on the school). It's strange what a person remembers from childhood. I was only in that school for a short while. Only completed the first grade before we moved to another part of the city. But I remember a little song I learned while there. I can give you the words, not the tune.

Washington my Washington

We love thy name

Washington my Washington

Long live thy fame

Down thy great avenues

Birth patriots fought

Heart thou art of all the nations

Gateway to God.

After my dad was killed, mom decided she wanted to move from the apartment. She found a brick home at 4500 13th St. NW. The real estate agent tried to get her to purchase the home for $7000.00, but she didn't. Nice house, on the corner of Allison and 13th St. Just across the street from Roosevelt High School's basketball courts. We moved there in the summer of 1940.

I remember when the war started in Dec 1941. An air raid siren was installed on the roof of the college that was directly across Allison Street from our house. (Sure was loud) I was going to Powell Elementary then. The school issue all the kids dog tags with our name and address on them. We were required to wear them to school everyday. I still have them. They are hanging on the wall with my Air Force dog tags.

I can't forget the blackouts, because of the siren across the street. We had blackout curtains on all the windows. I remember, the air raid warren came pounding on our door during one of the blackouts. He could see a speck of light from one of our windows. He wasn't to friendly about it.

Sometimes, I would sit out on the front porch during the blackouts and watch the light beams from the search lights rolling across the sky from downtown. I also remember purchasing war stamps they sold at school. The teacher would take up the stamp money each morning and give you your stamps, We had a little stamp book to paste them into. When the book was full, it would amount to $18.75. After the book was full, you turned the book over to the teacher and she would see that you received a war bond worth $25.00 if you held on to it for ten years.

Out house wasn't far from Rock Creek Park. My friend and I would go to Rock Creek Park and wander around. It had some large size vines that we would swing from. It was also fun to p[ay in the creek. In most parts the water was very shallow. Shallow enough to walk across by stepping on one rock after another to get to the other side. Very safe place back in the early 1940's.

I attend Brightwood Elementary School, graduated in 1945, then on to Paul Jr. High, come close to graduating from there, but we moved to southeast Washington, so I transferred to Kramer Jr. High, then on to Anacostia. Left Anacostia High to attend Chamberlain Vocational School. One regret, I lost the graduation picture from Paul Jr. High, class of 1948. I would love to find someone who may have a copy or know where I may be able to purchase a copy. Mother died when I was sixteen, so I quit school and went to work, so that picture was the last school picture I had taken.

Korean war started in the summer of 1950. Joined the Air Force Dec 27, 1950 and was discharged from James Connally Air Force Base Sept 26, 1954. Returned to Washington with a wife and two children. Married a Texas girl while station in Waco, Texas,. She loved DC and the area around it, but decided to leave and return to Waco in 1962 where we now live. Washington had started to change very quickly along about then and not for the better.

I had a wonderful childhood, growing up in Washington. You folks who have share your thoughts about DC, have brought back some great memories and places and people of long long ago. The theaters, Hot Shoppes, Howard Johnson's and a host of other places. I could write a book on the sights and sounds I remember about DC. I hope to add more thoughts at another time.

Thanks for the memories. Below is a picture of my graduating class from 1945. I am in the 5th person on the first row in the Boy Scout uniform.

Reed E Johnston

rejohnston@grandecom.net


I was born at Georgetown Hospital in December of 1958. I just turned 50 and as one would expect, one gets more sentimental as the years go by. I lived in Mount Rainier from 1958 to December 1967 and my memories are many. My parents both alive and well were so young. My father was a graduate student at Maryland while my mother worked at the old HEW downtown. I spent most of weekends at Maryland, thus my passion and love for the Terps began then. Our first home we lived in was upstairs on Shepherd Street. The home was owned by a wonderful and warm family named Dressel (would love to see them again). We lived there until 1962 and for a about six months lived in the Chillum Road Apartments before ending up at 4100 33rd Street in Mt Rainier, where we lived from 1962 to December 1967. We moved to Rockville where I have basically spent most of my life. I remember many things, both the good and bad about Mt Rainier:

Let's just list the good:

Mighty Mo's
Drive Theater which was near mighty Mo's and Burger Chef. (I saw Lilies of the Field with my parents, Battle of the Bulge, Absent Minded Professor and Shaggy Dog)
Queenstown Theatre (saw Hard Days Night and will probably never experience anything like it again as kids screamed the entire movie as they did the next year when Help came out - God I love the Beatles!)
Queenstown Giant (our Giant)
The old trolley tracks on Rhode Island Avenue where Safeway was
Bass' Liquor and Tic Tock
Langley Park
Kiddy Land
Magruder Park
Greenbelt Park
Ledo's

I attended Kaywood Kindergarten and remember the day JFK was shot. I attended Mt Rainier Elm from first grade to the middle of 4th grade before we moved. I remember all my teachers and all of my friends. It broke my heart when I learned in 1987 that my best buddy who lived on Bunker Hill Road, died the same day my first son was born. My friend's name was Kevin Buisher and I will never forget him.

Finally, after over 40 years I finally ran into someone from my old neighbor hood (Byron Zeigler) in the summer of 2008. It was great to finally being able to talk with someone about that era

Thank you again for this site

Del