Good Bye Washington

My parents moved to Washington DC in 1983. For my mother it was perfect, but not right away. She loved living in a semi-southern city, but learning to get around was a struggle at first. When my parents first got there they lived in a corporate apartment while they renovated yet another house. Their apartment was in Crystal city, which my father deemed the Houston of Washington thanks to the lack of zoning. Their apartment looked out on the Potomac which gave them the best view and sound of planes landing at National Airport (way before it was renamed Reagan National.)

The house they were moving to was in Massachusetts heights. In the winter when the leaves were down you could see the navel observatory and the VP residence across a little valley in the back of their house. Despite my parents apartment being right at the fourteenth st. Bridge and just down the road from Memorial bridge, my mother could only find her way into DC by taking the Key Bridge. While renovating the house if she needed to go to the design center, which was on 14th street, my mother would drive all the way up to Key Bridge, cross into Georgetown and then go all the way down to 14th st. It took a while, but eventually, maybe a few years, my mother learned how to navigate the city.

My parents lived many lives in DC. From their first stint they left for a short while for my Dad to live in San Francisco and then Kansas City, where my Mom joined him. Then it was back to DC where they lived in Georgetown. Then they moved to Pawleys Island and London and then Back to DC with this last place they had by the cathedral. Somehow my mother kept coming back to Washington.

But this last time was the hardest because they also lived at the farm and they were getting too old to live in two places at the same when neither place is a vacation area. For my Mom she was not in DC enough to be part of regular clubs or activities she had enjoyed when she lived their full time. She had no garden or outdoor space of her own so the beauty of the farm kept her there more often. Then the driving got harder and harder. Not the same way with not being able to figure out which bridge was best, but the aggressive city driving does not suit older drivers with failing eye sight.

This morning, after two hard days of packing, my mother and I packed the last of our sheets and towels and the mugs we drank from this morning and closed the door on the last place in DC my parents will live. Not having the burden of caring for a second home was freeing for my mother. She was generous with giving my sisters, Carter and me the things we wanted from that home. Simplicity is a welcome state at this point. DC was wonderful to my parents, but it is so much easier to age in North Carolina. Goodbye Washington.

2 Comments on “Good Bye Washington”

  1. Davis Bingham says:

    I loved reading this touching little essay, Dana, as I do all of your writings. I’ll be happier, though, we get back to in-person worship at WPC and can tell you these kinds of things face-to-face. And maybe give you an appreciative hug (if Russ wouldn’t mind!).

  2. dana lange says:

    I look forward to hugging you too! Russ agrees

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