Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kennedy Walking Tour in Georgetown

Last Friday, November 22, 2013, was the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination at Dealey Plaza.

I remember going to the Sixth Floor Museum as a junior in high school in Dallas with my friends Leighton and Beth on an assignment for our AP US History class. Leighton was rushing through the museum, glancing at everything just for a quick second while Beth and I slowly and deliberately read the first panel. Leighton then ran over to us and said "Hurry guys! We have six floors of this stuff!" Oh Leighton -- history major she was not.

(It's called the Sixth Floor Museum because Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from the sixth floor of that building, the Texas School Book Depository....... not because there are six floors of the museum.) 

It's not a typical choice, but if I could go back in time, one of the days I'd go back to is November 22, 1963. Just to feel the shock waves pulsing out from the center of the nation where the tragedy took place. Just to be an observer of the very event that would mark an entire generation. My dad was 16 in November 1963 -- the exact same age I was on September 11, 2011. I will never forget the shock of that morning when I first heard about the plane crashing into the tower as I sat in my 2nd period geometry class, and as it became readily apparent as the morning progressed that America had been attacked by terrorists. Peace had been ripped apart and trampled upon, regard for human life and welfare had been casually tossed aside, and not a soul in America wasn't affected by the news of that day. And although it was only one man on November 22, 1963, I think our nation felt the exact same way that day -- maybe even to a stronger degree. After all, Kennedy was not only the leader of the strongest nation in the world, but he was an a man extremely admired and a symbol of both American prosperity and morality. 

Jim Denison, a pastor and writer in Dallas, wrote this about the assassination of JFK on the Denison Forum last week: 

Landon Jones, the man who coined "baby boomer," said of the tragedy, "For the Baby Boom children, this was the most mesmerizing moment of their youth.  Time was frozen."  According to historian Todd Gitlin, "The educated young felt [Kennedy's] call, projected their ideals onto him.  His murder was felt as the implosion of plenitude, the tragedy of innocence.  From the zeitgeist fantasy that everything was possible, it wasn't hard to flip over and conclude that nothing was."

Author Stephen King believes the tragedy ripped away the veneer of an ordered world, leading to "a universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark."  According to Steven Spielberg, "Kennedy's assassination started a chain reaction—a kind of house of cards started to come down, not immediately but gradually over the next decade."  Count what came after Dealey Plaza: the Vietnam War and protests, Woodstock and the sexual revolution, Watergate, postmodernism.

America pre-1963 feels united and purposeful, a Norman Rockwell family around the Thanksgiving table.  America post-1963 feels chaotic and reactionary, a Jackson Pollock drip painting.

Kennedy's assassination changed America forever. It's pretty monumental. 

Where am I going with all of this?? Ohhhh well I was a history major, you know. And I also was a U Guide at UVA. Giving both historic and admission tours is most definitely one of my fondest memories from college. So in honor of the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, I took Michael on the Kennedy walking tour in Georgetown this past weekend. We loved it. And I kept going all googly-eyed over the homes that John and Jackie met in, lived in, and mourned in. The best part is that the homes are all within a one-mile radius of our little apartment. Joy! 

We went the unconventional (more like lazy) route and instead of walking to the houses chronologically in the order that the JFK lived in them, we walked geographically: from closest to farthest away from our apartment. Surprisingly, doing it this way turned out to be pretty fun because it was like putting together pieces of a puzzle as we had to remember where he lived first, second, etc. However, for the sake of this post, I've posted these pictures in chronological order. (If you want the easier walking route so that you aren't back-tracking all over Georgetown, I added that at the end.) 

Tour time. Here we go!

Here I am outside of 1528 31st Street NW. Kennedy lived here while serving his senate terms from 1946-1949. It was here that he began his presidential planning.

And here I am outside of this gorgeous house at 1400 34th Street NW. Kennedy shared this home from 1949-1951 with his sister, Eunice (what a name), before she got married. The back, upper deck of this Georgetown mansion is to die for!

This little love shack at 3260 N Street NW is where Jack met Jackie at a dinner party. Kennedy rented it from 1951-1953 while running for Senate.

And here we have a little townhouse the Kennedy's rented and lived in right after they got married. This home, 3321 Dent Place NW, happens to be about 100 yards from where we live! Gosh, I love that. Jack and Jackie only lived here for five months from 1953-1954 before they had to go back to Massachusetts because of Jack's back issues. Our neighbors, sweet John and Eleanor, remember the Kennedy's living here. They have told us stories about how Eleanor's parents used to sit with the Kennedy's butler and maid and share neighborhood news. How cool is that.

This little gray house at 2808 P Street NW is where Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage and developed much of his presidential campaign in 1957.

From there, they moved into my favorite house! This green-shuttered beauty is where the Kennedy clan lived from 1957-1961 as the presidential campaign progressed. After this, they moved to the White House. I think this house at 3307 N Street NW is so purdy.

Finally, this home at 3038 N Street NW is where Jackie mourned her husband's death after his assassination.

And lastly, for dinner, we went to Martin's Tavern, the iconic Georgetown pub serving presidents for the past 78 years. Martin's has it all -- history and great food and drink -- we had salmon and shepherd's pie and Blue Moons. Heavenly! As a congressman and then senator, Kennedy used to sit in Booth 1 and read the newspaper while enjoying Sunday brunch. And it was here, in Booth 3, that Jackie accepted his proposal on June 24, 1953.

Love and happiness. Well, at least for a little while for Jack and Jackie.

And so concludes the tour! I do hope you enjoyed it. We sure did. It's pretty fun to live in a town where history abounds.

Our trusty map we used.

That little house is where we live -- hee hee.

Our list.

So high-tech, I know.

If you want to do the tour and walk it in a way so that you aren't zig-zagging all over the place, the numbers above correspond with the numbers on the map. You can pick your starting point based on what's easiest for you. Capiche??

Also, I would LOVE to give you a tour, if you'd ever like to do one. I'd include tons more tidbits than I've written here, and can also recommend what to eat at Martin's (or pretty much any local restaurant) and where to get some good deals while shopping. (Kidding -- good deals and Georgetown do NOT go hand-in-hand.) If interested, please email careybeth (dot) catalino (at) gmail (dot) com!

I didn't say this up front, but this post is going into the "Things I Love About Georgetown" bucket. So that would make this TILAG numero dos! (Here is #1 in case you missed it.)

We're off to New York City -- happiest of Thanksgivings to you!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tilly and Tony's Wedding {in which we highlight a time well spent}

These two goofballs got themselves lawfully wedded a few weeks ago.

A happier time was never had.

(Don't miss the baby bump on the left in the above photo. Amazing!)

Barbie even made an appearance at the nuptials.

She is so cute.

My handsome date was looking handsome.

And I just had to include this picture since there is nothing cuter in all the world.

Then there are these girls. There is a Nashville, Charlottesville, DC, Houston vibe going on here.
Ok --  this is how we know each other. From left to right, girl 2, 3, 4, and 5 all were best buds at UVA. Girl 3 went to med school and now residency with girl 1's sister in law. Girl 6 married girls 2, 3, 4, and 5's friend from UVA, and girl 7 married girl 5's husband's friend from Duke, and those husbands also went to school with girl 1. Girl 5, 6, and 7 all lived in DC together, and girl 5 and 6 still live in DC together. But also girl 1 and 7 used to live in Charlottesville (girl 7 still does,) so they were buds there. And girl 3 and girl 4 live in Nashville with girl 1 now. And girl 2 married girl 6's husband's really good friend from UVA. And girl 7's husband used to live in Houston with girl 2 and her husband, who still live there. Ok, so, how do we know each other and who lives where??

Ready go!

Confused?? It makes sense to me! The world is small.

Let them eat cake.

Full hearts. These are my bossom buddies, give or take a few missing faces.

Oh and lest I forget, there is a newbie addition to my frands who I love so much (both my frands and the newbie.) Coming in at 24 inches is the adorable Miss Chandler Lewis. She is my favorite eyebrow-less child I have ever known.

Chandler's got some crazy aunties and by that look on her face, I think she knows it full well. Ohhh sweet baby, you are loved.

Oh sweet friends, you are loved.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Caught in the Act

Oh Lordy.

I got caught doing what I love most.... vegging on the sofa after a hard day's work.

...with a tin of popcorn.

Deer in the headlights.

How embarrassing.

Do not do what I do.

But do make time to "lay like broccoli" like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, except for the whole hooker thing.

Vivian: Let's watch old movies all night... we'll just veg out in front of the TV.
Edward Lewis: Veg out?
Vivian: Yeah. Be still like vegetables. Lay like broccoli.

I don't even care. I am so happy.

You totally win if you know that I actually quoted a movie quoting a movie just there. I'm tricky like that.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Acts 9


Why??? Why do I do it? Why do I make promises and then have to follow through with them??

They say yes with their mouths but their hearts are not with me... Doesn't Jesus say something like that? I think so.

And so. And so I must follow through and write about Acts 9. Even though I feel like my heart is not there right now. I would so much rather write about something else, something more "fun," and not have to write about the wonderful passage that is Acts 9. Here is a lesson to learn: if something is on your heart, you should write it down right then and there, and not belabor it or waste time or say "I'll get to it later" -- because you know what? The later is now the NOW. And here I am complaining about how I said I would write about Acts 9, and it's been 17 days and I still haven't done it.

So, here we go. I am saying yes with my mouth but my heart is not in it... but I have a prediction.

It is this: that by the time I am finished writing this post, my heart will be all in.

Let's get started.

Acts 9 -- I've been reading Acts in my morning QT lately. Acts is the New Testament parallel to the Old Testament Judges. In Judges, the cycle of turning away from the Lord is repeated over and over, and Israel's oppression and idolatry gets worse and worse. Bottom line? It's a low point in Israel's history. The phrase "and they again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord" is on repeat the whole time. Geez louise, that stinks. But thankfully there is the NT and there is Acts! And Acts tells of the total opposite -- it tells of people turning away from idolatry and sin and coming to know Christ in crazy numbers despite trials and persecution and stoning and prison and ship wrecks and... it's totally glorious. And Acts 9 tells the story of Saul's conversion.

Saul. I don't know of a better example of a life transformed than Saul. A man who "breathed threats and murder." A man who was on a mission of imprisonment. If Jesus can change Saul, Jesus can change anyone. I mean anyone.

In the previous post, I wrote about how I've been reminded lately to open my eyes to the simple wonders in my everyday life. It was while thinking about this that I noticed how much sight, seeing, vision, and eyes had to do with Saul's conversion.

Now I know what you are thinking. "No duh... Saul goes blind for a few days... we know the story. Moving on." Well, to that I just say: slow it down. Breathe it in, child. There is much to be discovered in a passage that you think you know well. There was for me, at least. Take note:

  • 9:3 - A light from heaven flashed
  • 9:7 - men with Saul "seeing no one"
  • 9:8 - "Although his eyes were open, he saw nothing."
  • 9:9 - Was without sight for three days
  • 9:10 - Ananias had a vision
  • 9:12 - Saul had a vision of Ananias who would lay hands on him "so that he might regain his sight."
  • 9:16 - "For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."
  • 9:17 - The Lord who appeared to Saul has sent Ananias "so that you may regain your sight."
  • 9:18 - Scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.

The physicality of Saul losing his sight was humbling. He had to be led by the hand. He was physically unable to do anything without assistance. He didn't eat or drink.

But what about the metaphorical loss of vision? Saul was already blind, but now his outer physical blindness matched his inner spiritual blindness. Saul literally was blind to the Lord and his loving-kindness. He was blind to the Lord's call, despite his knowing that it was the Lord who called him that day on the road to Damascus. And aren't we all that way too? Without the Lord opening our eyes, aren't we all blind, groping about aimlessly, trying to figure out how to live without sight?

But how can we live without sight??

Open my eyes Lord, that I may see, like it says in the Psalms. Open my eyes to the simple joys of this life, open my eyes to the beauty of creation (case in point: last night's sunset), open my eyes to the suffering in my city, open my eyes to see my deep-rooted character flaws, open my eyes to see how much I am loved by my King. There are thousands of ways that my eyes need opening. Just like Saul.

I was thinking a lot about the meaning of verse 16. God says, "For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." We know two things about Paul (formerly Saul) from other places in the Bible: that he had really large handwriting (Galatians 6:11) and that he suffers from some form of physical problem (2 Corinthians 12:7).

I'm pretty sure (and most people agree) that Paul's thorn in his flesh is his impaired vision. And I'm thinking that his impaired vision was likely from the light from heaven that flashed around him on that fateful day. And it's something that would keep him humble for his whole life. Something that always would bring him back to the Damascus road. Every time someone asked Paul about his poor eyesight, he probably told his conversion story. How he "breathed threats and murder" against the very God he now served. How he once denied the very cross that he now preached to the world. And how his eyes had been opened, literally and figuratively, by the Holy Spirit.

I want to live with my eyes open. I think they are, but I also know that sometimes the world and its worries can make them shut... or at least make them flutter and squint.

But I know this is true -- that I can say, with Paul, and like the man born blind:

"One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see."