Washington, DC - in this beautiful city with its pristine homes, manicured lawns and perfectly tended flower beds,  in the city of my birth, the street where I lived are many childhood memories.

There was no need to lock doors I don't think anyone did There was no fear in walking late at night or letting children play outside unsupervised even after dark.

Every spring my Mother and grandmother would hire someone to help with the spring cleaning, this was a major event. Winter rugs had to be taken up and sent out to be cleaned and stored by Bergman's.  Heavy winter drapes were taken down and sent to be cleaned and stored.  Lace curtains with heavy starch were stretched on wooden frames with nails all around the edges (I can remember this was hard on the fingers), left outside to dry in the sun then hung. The winter rugs were replaced with some made of Sisal, slipcovers were placed on all the furniture ,it looked very cool and refreshing.  In the fall this was done again in reverse. And of course someone had to wash the windows inside and out.

Not too many people had cars in those days.  I guess there was no need- most everyone traveled by streetcar or bus and many people walked. I walked to school

The city was as peaceful as it was beautiful.  Many Sundays I took the Streetcar downtown and visited the many museums and art galleries alone; I had no fear, as there was nothing to fear. I loved these beautiful buildings with their priceless treasures. I would spend hours just looking at the beauty and learning a great appreciation for them.  I thought the Melon Gallery (National Gallery of Art), we always called it the Melon Gallery because the Mellon's gave such large sums of money to help build it and we Washingtonian's have always called it that),  was one of the most beautiful buildings ever.  A rotunda with columns, made of marble from around the world, endless rooms with shinning wood floors filled with priceless paintings and sculptures....

Sometimes I would visit the memorials, Jefferson, Lincoln and the Washington monument, other times I would walk to the Capitol.  I would go inside and gaze in awe at the splendor.  There were so many beautiful parks with flowers and fountains which would light up with color at night.  If I happen to be there when the Cherry Blossoms were in bloom, they too would be lighted, it was a truly magnificent site.

There was no trash on the ground, everyone had respect.  If I was on a bus or streetcar and there were no more seats and someone older would get on, I would always give them my seat  -man or woman or Mother with child - it was the way my brother and I were raised.  We were taught respect for everyone.

Sometimes on Saturdays I would take the Streetcar downtown to 14th & "F" street. There I would visit the beautiful movie palaces with their heavy velvet curtains and gold leaf columns, Mezzanines and balconies.  Every thing so beautiful in red and gold - the most elaborate was the Lows Capitol.  I loved going into the ladies room, for in there was a curio cabinet filled with tiny treasures, a feast for my young eyes. There was also a maid in attendance at all times to help you if you needed help

The shops on "F" street were some of the cities finest, Jules Garfinkel, Frank R. Jelleff's, where later I would buy my suites. And my most favorite store of all, Woodward & Lothrope - it was a department store, very upscale with sales people who could be trusted to always recommend age appropriate things.  In those days there was a floor walker who would meet you when you got off the elevator, (there was always someone to operate the elevator), he would escort you to the department you wanted.  "Woodie's", as we called it, had a wonderful tea room, sometimes as a treat my Mom would take me to lunch there and I would have tiny tea sandwiches and a chocolate soda

One of my favorite things about "Woodie's" was the way the windows were done up for Christmas. Each window was like a fantasy land, animated dolls dressed in the most elaborate costumes, some baked cookies, some wrapped gifts still others jumped rope, or trimmed a tree.  They were truly amazing.  I think there were 7 large windows in all, each a wondrous site. Mom & Daddy would take us down there on the streetcar to see them at night for that is when they were their most magical.

The owners, the Woodward's & the Lothrope's were local and they lived in the city in beautiful homes overlooking Rock Creek Park.  After the store was sold out of the families, it was never the same.

Also on "F" street was the Reeves bakery with its long marble soda fountain.  Old Mr. Reeves would sit right inside his store on a bent wood chair and greet everyone as they came in.  He was a very heavy and jolly man.  My Mother and Aunts loved their glazed nuts and they would buy them every Christmas time and they served the best chicken salad sandwich ever.

Other favorites in the city were the beautiful homes, Mrs. Meriwether Post, who was the heir to the Post Toasty cereal fortune had a gorgeous home in Rock Creek Park.  It was called Hillwood and her gardens were renowned for their beauty.  She left Hillwood to the city and it is now open as a museum.  Mrs. Evelyn Walsh McLean's home.  She owned the "Hope Diamond", a very large blue diamond which is said to carry a curse.  The Hope Diamond was sold to Harry Winston, a New York jeweler, who later donated it to the museum of National History in Washington. She had an estate called Friendship, it was not far from my home, and she also had a mansion deeper in the city. Really there were just so many, and it was wonderful to tour them when they were open for some special fund raiser.

When I was young, Washington was a city of beauty, of quiet tree lined streets and flowers .Everyone was friendly, neighbors watched out for one another, I so loved this city of my birth, and I have such happy memories of growing up there. And it was in this city that I found ever lasting love.

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Copyright Jerri
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