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Jeanne Goes to the Big City

July 6, 2014

file under blues, since that rhymes with news, as in the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

By the first week of July, summer is well underway: travel plans have been sketched out, tickets reserved, and new suitcases purchased–some folks have already packed and unpacked.

Me, too. A couple times.

A nephew’s high school graduation on a Wednesday morning in mid-June, in downtown D.C., followed in short order by a cousin’s daughter’s wedding in central Pennsylvania, seemed to call for a week away from the office. I prefer a relaxing pace for travel, as well as a chance to mow the grass before leaving for five days.

My personal reward was a solo trip into D.C. on a day in between celebrations.

Things in big cities don’t always have to be on a larger scale than in the “small town” I live in, but they often are.

Consider the 40-foot, bronze front doors at the National Archives. New York architect John Russell Pope designed the giant Corinthian columns and the main entrance to speak to the immense importance of the documents stored within. Pope created his building design in 1930; Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Typewriter Eraser X, in the nearby National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden was constructed in 1999. I have no idea if erasers were needed for the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, but typewriters didn’t come along for almost another 100 years.

I did know, however, from my first glimpse of the the star-studded carpet at DAR Constitution Hall and Metro escalators that I was out of town. Big time. If I hadn’t, the suspended screen I saw in the lobby of the Newseum the next day would have confirmed it.

Charlottesville’s latest census stats peg us at 44,000-plus, but no one is quite sure if that’s when the 23,464 UVA students are in town, or out of town. Albemarle County’s urban ring adds another 103,000 de facto Cville residents, but all of that pales next to the DC/NOVA/Maryland metropolitan area with more than nine million heads counted as of the 2012 Census estimate.

Patrick’s senior class at George C. Marshall High School in Fairfax County included 418 of them.

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