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|Lesbian Family Vacations|
I wanted to go to California. My sister has a new granddaughter that I haven’t seen, and I can never get my fill of the ocean. Girlfriend wasn’t interested. Okay, we’ve taken separate vacations before, but I didn’t want to go alone, so I asked, "Where would you like to go?" And that’s how we ended up in Washington D.C. over spring break. My 78-year-old mother lost a close friend recently and has been lonely. Mom loves to travel and we thus became a threesome.
The cabdriver who picked us up at the airport pointed out the Pentagon and showed us which side was damaged on 9/11. The effects of 9/11 are everywhere. The White House was closed and the perimeter has been moved back several blocks. We were searched numerous times as we did the "tourist" things. Not just at the airport (where I had to take off my shoes), but just about everywhere we went. (I finally learned to leave my nail clippers at the hotel.) There were stories, too. One woman told us her company had people in town for training on 9/11 and the company authorized the employees to buy a car to get back as all the rentals were gone, no one could fly and room on the trains and busses was nonexistent.
D.C. is a town of opulent memorials. I saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Solider, JFK’s gravesite, and the Lincoln, Jefferson, Korean, and Viet Nam Memorials. There are statues to everyone. The best being the Marine’s raising the American flag at Iwo Jima. At FDR’s memorial I had my picture taken next to a statue of Eleanor and discovered her shoe size (at least the statue’s shoe size) was bigger than mine. Our hotel was near the Pentagon and every time we passed the thing, someone would show us "the spot." A guide at Arlington Cemetery told us that the plane went over them so low that they could see passengers beating on the windows right before the crash.
One day we went to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. The next we rented a car and drove to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, which is near Charlottesville. Everywhere, tour guides talked about the founding of this country and the men who founded it. They talked about the important events that shaped America, from the Robert E. Lee, whose home was lost to taxes because he couldn’t return to the area to pay them without being arrested (that home is now the site of Arlington Cemetery) to Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial.
While I was in the area I wanted to visit Lambda Bookstore. I called them and discovered they were a block from Dupont Circle. And so began the biggest adventure of the trip. Girlfriend, Mom and I, armed a street map, hopped in the rental car one evening and drove into the heart of D.C. For those who don’t know D.C.: it is laid out (on purpose) like a wagon wheel. Streets go north and south and east and west like most towns, but also go northeast to southwest and southeast to northwest. And every once in awhile there are streets that loop around. Dupont Circle is one of these--two lanes with entrances and exits to cross-streets (several one way) every few feet. We found the bookstore and found a place to park in short order—a miracle. Mom actually went in with us, though she stayed pretty close to me. I bought as many books as I dared (considering I was already over packed) and a special queer gift for girlfriend. The biggest problem in that area (except for parking) is when you want to leave and suddenly all the streets look alike. I was driving. Girlfriend was supposed to navigate, but Mom is a backseat driver with no absolutely restraint. I went around Dupont Circle at least 22 times. I took one exit only to find myself on Embassy Row, exactly the opposite direction I wanted to go. I went back with the clear idea of going half way around the circle and heading home. Wrong. I couldn’t find the right direction. Suddenly girlfriend was very quiet (this happens only when she’s so mad that she’s ready to kill); Mom was shouting "Starbuck’s! Starbuck’s!" and I was laughing, because there was no other sane response.
Washington D.C. is beautiful at night with all the monuments and Capital Hill lit up. Every big building is named for some famous servant of the people. Nothing is named after a movie star. There are stories, thousands of stories, about the founding fathers and the growing pains of this country, about a group of British treasonists who developed the concept of democracy, about men and women since then who contributed (many giving their lives), and now I can add to it my own story of Dupont Circle and how I finally got found the way out.