Monday, April 09, 2012

March on the Capitols

(EDITOR'S NOTE:  I wrote recently about the Sparrow's epic trip to Washington, DC and Annapolis, Maryland . As exciting as their immersion into the workings of the political history of the Free State as a guest of one of its premier players, Senator Jennie Forehand was, that was only part of their unforgetable adventure.
Here is “The Rest of the Story!”  -Ed)

By Warren Sparrow

Our oldest granddaughter, Lydia Peele, teaches math at Wheatley Education
Campus, two miles northeast of our nation’s Capitol. She
invited Becky and me to spend some time with her and visit her school. Therefore,
we planned this trip which covered 800 miles, including not only the Washington
visit but also one to Annapolis.

General John  Logan Statue

It was five days of “fun” except for the agonizing minutes I spent during four
spins around Logan Circle, praying for some kind-hearted DC driver to let me out.
Alas, we escaped and ultimately found our way to our granddaughter’s apartment
which is about a mile from the Wheatley campus.

As we drove close to where she lives, we noticed many police cars with their
blue lights flashing.

 When we got directly in front of her apartment we noticed some “Emergency No Parking’ signs on the posts. It was about 4 p.m. The signs
warned motorists not to park there until 7 p.m. We defied the signs and parked
directly in front of Lydia’s place. Why not? We had lots of bags. Surely, we
thought, we could wait there until she got home from school.

Meanwhile, the blue lights kept flashing at the corner up ahead. Then a tow truck pulled up and stopped next to our car. The driver was a policeman. He was
polite but intimidating when he said, “Any of these your car?” I confessed. He said you will have to move it. “You can park across the street and be OK (even though the temporary no-parking signs covered both sides),” he said.

I drove around the block, confronting more police cars and more blue lights as I turned the corner. “If this is a drug bust, it must be a big one,” I thought.
Perhaps somebody had been murdered. As I turned another corner to get around
the block my cell phone rang. Instinctively, I answered it. It was Lydia who said
she was nearing her place and she had seen my wife up ahead. That would have
been fine except for one thing: It is against the law in DC to talk on the phone while
driving, especially when a police officer is five feet away. Fortunately, I “got off”
with a warning. I continued around the block and parked on the other side of the

Marine One and Decoy
By the time we had unloaded our stuff and stored them in Lydia’s
apartment, we noticed helicopters buzzing around. They went directly over us.
Being more than curious at this point, we scrambled onto the street and asked the
tow-truck officer what was happening. He said he knew but could not say. The tow-
truck guy was really cute about things. We chatted with him about being from
North Carolina. He said he was from Danville, VA, and all these police were in the
neighborhood just to greet us. He said for us not to worry, our car would be fine in
its new spot.

We went inside for a few minutes and listened as the roar of a helicopter got
louder. Back outside we went. As we reached the sidewalk we saw the Presidential
limo zoom through the intersection. By the time we got to the corner, the limo had
parked under a temporary canopy in front of a restaurant a half-block from the

A large crowd had gathered at the corner. It was not long before folks
began to tell each other that the President and First Lady were having dinner at
the neighborhood’s newest restaurant. What a hoot. We noted the snipers on the

That was the second day of our “March on the Capitols.” It was also the day we met with the CHS54 website Bored of Directors
 at Clyde’s Restaurant in Friendship Heights, MD.

Becky at Wheatley Educational Center

Becky and Lydia
 The following morning we visited Lydia’s classroom at Wheatley Educational Center which is about one mile from where she lives. Becky and I
gave a wide-ranging presentation to Lydia’s 8th grade math class, telling them some
Winston-Salem history as well as some personal history.
Naturally, because it was a

Einstein and de Sitter (New York Times photo 1933
math class, we gave the class a picture of Willem de Sitter (Becky's grandfather) with Albert Einstein. 

We left Lydia’s class and drove to Annapolis where, thanks to Senator Forehand, we got floor-level seats during a Friday session of the Maryland State Senate.

I cannot say enough about what a wonderful time we had!

 (EDITORS NOTE:  According to Wikipedia, Willem De Sitter made major contributions to the field of physical cosmology. He co-authored a paper with Albert Einstein in 1932 in which they argued that there might be large amounts of matter which do not emit light, now commonly referred to as dark matter, or "dark holes."
Washingtonians call it, "The Logan Circle effect. -Ed)